Truly the most amazing time I’ve had in years!
The Atlanta Marriot Marquis was the largest hotel I’ve ever been in, gotten lost in, and burned over a 1000 calories a day in; walking, walking walking, becoming disoriented finding the lecture halls and even our way up to our room on the 41st floor. My partner in crime, Judy Kammeraad and I had so many adventures and misadventures our time was spent laughing hysterically, meeting new friends and associates and just plain having fun and learning. Learning a lot. Learning what is needed to advance our careers.
When we first arrived we were given a big red tote bag filled with romance books, and a flash drive of all of the handouts at the conference. That was cool. Wednesday started with an orientation meeting from 3-4:30, then Judy and I had a delic dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel. They were great about providing gluten free meals, by the way.
The rest of the eve we spent schmoozing in the many lounges throughout the hotel. Our badges said first timers and my first thought was, ‘They really had to advertise that?’ But yes they did! Everyone we spoke to was so wonderful, gracious, friendly and helpful. Writers answered our questions no matter their level and the comradery amongst them showed a tight knit group.
Thursday began the day of workshops. My time was spent in the crime workshops: Undercover Operations, Behind the Scenes at CNN, Forensics, Experts in Joint law Enforcement Execution, Medicine and Trauma, and Special Ops. Others I took were, Honing Your Pitch, From Identity To Essence, Adrenalin Shots for Plots, It Takes More Than Handcuffs, How to Tackle Taboos in Erotic Writing. This was in between the keynote luncheon and the awards luncheon, pitching sessions to agents and publishers, and the Kiss Of Death chocolate desert party, with the Saturday night Rita and Golden Hearts Awards Ceremony. I met so many people, too numerous to mention here, so I won’t mention any.
Thursday eve was the Kiss Of Death Chocolate party. The Daphne Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense writing finalists were there with their agents and editors. What solid and long lasting relationships these authors and industry professionals have! That’s a beautiful thing. Leave it to me to manifest yet another raffle. I won a bag, about 35 lbs! Included were three bottles of champagne, 3 bars of chocolate, and the rest were romance books!
Friday morning we were able to add pitch sessions to the ones we already had. I believe the universe manifests the right people at the right time and I believe that happened to me. I’m not saying to whom I pitched, but they were wonderful experiences with truly professional women. Friday and Saturday morning were the pitches and the rest of the time were workshops and book signings.
I gave FedEx business by shipping home over 30 lbs of books which came today!
Now partials of Gemini are out to the editor and agents that requested it and my part is to now take a deep breath, relax and wait…. and venture on to the next novel, which I already have.