The Write Calling

Is writing your true calling? Here you'll find encouragements for writers, book reviews, publishing industry insider tips, and market news. Read musings on writing and publishing by Katey Coffing, Ph.D.: Life Coach for Women Writers.

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Location: Colorado, United States

Published fiction and nonfiction author who embraces her creativity and coaches other women to do the same. For information and prices, visit

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Romance Writers of America National Conference, Part I

Music I'm listening to: The Sun Always Shines on TV from a-ha

First, I'm happy to report that America Airlines has returned my final suitcase, after it spent two days at O'Hare without me. Huzzah!

Now then: NATIONAL.

Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.

I traveled there on Tuesday, which took most of the day because of a stopover and the time change from the West Coast. My mom had driven up from Florida to meet me there and do her own thing in Atlanta, so we stayed with one of her friends that night. (Hi Mom!)

Travel always does me in, so I didn't wake up until around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. I checked my email and was delighted to see a great message from my agent about the partials I'd sent her. She had some terrific ideas, and I got to mull them over at the conference, which is always a creative time.

Mom drove me to the hotel, and the first stop was—if you know my fast food habits, you've guessed this already—Chick-Fil-A. OMG, yum. I'd been drooling over the thought of The Best Chicken Sandwich in the World for months. You have to understand that I grew up in Atlanta, and that leaving behind any access to Chick-Fil-A shoves my taste buds into mourning. I got my sandwich, waffle fries, and a just-as-delicious-as-I-remember-it lemonade brimming with juicy, sugary pulp. Yes, I am a nut.

Oh, I also realized I'd left my notebook on the plane—dang it!—and my lipstick was lying on my bathroom counter back home, not doing me any good. Thank you, CVS, for supplying both, even if you didn't have my favorite Max Factor long-wear lipstick line (grrr).

At the hotel, I had one of the biggest delights of the entire conference: getting to meet my longtime critique partner (and one of my best friends), Shelby Reed, for the first time EVER. Shelby, Dahling: you ROCK.

I'd been trying to get to the special ScriptScene chapter workshop at 3, but Shelby and Mom and I were having such a great time talking that it just didn't work out. I'm pretty sure the workshop wasn't taped, either. :( Oh well. By that point I had been rushing for two days, and needed a chance to slow down.

I went downstairs to put my "Life Coach for Women Writers" brochures into the Goody Room and on the bulletin board. Shelby and I soon ran into two of our other critique partners, Gina Ardito and Amber Green. We got funny pics of everyone together. Alas, I didn't use my camera during the entire trip—but if I get copies of good photos, I'll post 'em.

The literacy signing was terrific. It was Shelby's second one, and I kept running back to her to make sure she was having fun. I also caught up with so many folks I'd been looking forward to seeing again—fab writer and friend Robin D. Owens, agents Dia Cornier and Paige Wheeler, Louise Ahearn (my editor for the year I wrote a motivational column for OCC), Janet Miller/Cricket Starr, Mardi Ballou... Wow, the list goes on, and at some point my brain started leaking out my ears, because now I can't remember everyone. Mea culpa!

Later that night was The Gathering, a special meeting of one of my favorite groups, the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal chapter of RWA. I dragged Shelby along and made her join the chapter, since she writes paranormal. Yummy nosh food, plus good little chats from agents and editors about what they're currently seeking. I'd been hoping to meet Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester, since my agent is about to send her one of my manuscripts, but if she attended The Gathering I must have missed her. Her colleague Chris Kessler was there, though, so we chatted for a little bit about his baby, the new Shomi line.

When The Gathering was over, Shelby and I went back to our room, and though we'd thought we'd be heading to bed, we stayed up chatting about plots, writing, and life in general until 4 a.m. After six years of knowing each other but the first time meeting, we still had a lot to say. :D

This post is getting long already, and I've only covered, more tomorrow!


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