Being almost a seasoned veteran now, a good deal of what made this year so great was seeing the excitement of the newbies. I asked Barbara and Aztec Lady is they would be interested in having an 'after the party' chat. After a little bit of trouble - getting AL on AIM and then getting Barbara up and running on the newest version, we finally settled down to a nice talk on the whole experience - the 90% good and the 10% of what could have been better. So - here we go - our thoughts
KristieJ: Yeah!!!!!! Barbara is in the building!! You are you both here now. Oh this is so much better then talking to you one at a time
Aztec Lady: hell, yeah and *sniff* thank you, Barbara *sniff*
Barbara: LOL, okay ladies. Let's get the ball rolling!
KristieJ: You should have seen me when I was first trying to figure this out - it was scary!
Barbara: My kiddos need to hit the hay soon, lol.
KristieJ: OK - So what made you both to attend the RWA conference this year? Barbara - you first so we don't get confused
Aztec Lady: The good news is that once you do this a few times, you get the hang of it [at least that's how it worked for me with yahoo, and I'm hoping this is similar *crossing fingers*] For me, I never thought I would actually have the opportunity to attend an RWA National Conference, but I've been always curious about the 'behind the scenes' author stuff since... well, forever, it seems. And then there's the lure of meeting so many interesting people I interact with online--bloggers, authors, author/bloggers, etc.
Barbara: Well, I was hoping to see Lisa Kleypas, lol. But you knew that Kristie. She's been my favorite since...forever. Wow, now I seem shallow. Thanks AL, lol. ((hugs))
Aztec Lady: *chuckling* not shallow, Barbara -- focused!
KristieJ: LOL - Barbara - you are fairly new to blogging so you missed all the experiences we blogged about in previous years. As you have aspirations to write romance, was that another reason?
Barbara: LOL! Well, the minute I heard about the workshops, my interests in attended peeked. I'm hungry to learn as much as I can about the writing process and RWA seemed like the best place to get some insightful information.
KristieJ: And AL - you first this time - how did it compare to what you thought it would be?
Aztec Lady: Oh my lord and all the levels of hell--you know how I read everything about RWA last year and the year before from everyone in romance blogland? I *thought* I knew what to expect. I mean, I thought, "sure, they had a good time, but there MUST be some exaggerating going on, nothing can be THAT good". Hah, that'll show me to leave the doubting tomasina home when dealing with romance readers, blogers and writers. It was amazing, incredible, wonderful and breathtaking
Aztec Lady: [yeah, I know, hyperbole here] but it was! I got into romance books and reading and prejudice and bias conversations with EVERYONE without a hitch just started talking and everyone knew where I was coming from--even if we didn't agree on the topic, Now I'll shut up--sorry Barbara]
Barbara: Not to mention EVERYONE was just soooo friendly!
Aztec Lady: [friendly: hell, and double hell, YEAH]
Barbara: You get a certain idea of what a person is like through blogging and I'll admit, I was a bit surprised by some people. I pictured them all serious (Aztec Lady) when in all reality they were amazingly laid back and fun!
KristieJ: Barbara - you probably missed this but last year there was a bit of chatter that bloggers shouldn't attend a writers conference - that RT was more for readers. Did either of you feel the least bit slighted or unwanted?
Barbara: I guess because I always seen AL posting on Kristie's more serious posts, I took her for rather serious about everything. But OMG, she's funny as anything.
KristieJ: (and I thought AL would be a bit more serious too *g*) then she is
Aztec Lady: oh god, what a horrible reputation to have -- good thing nobody was upset I am not all that serious *ahem*
Barbara: No, not at all. I do have to agree that "Party Wise" RT is more geared for the reader. But RWA, is perfect for everyone. It has just enough for pubbed authors, aspiring authors and readers alike.
KristieJ: Were they any authors - other then Lisa Kleypas that either of you were hoping to meet? If you did who were they?
Aztec Lady: the "bloggers shouldn't attend" bit? I didn't feel it, at all. The opposite in fact. I can't get over (and apologies if this comes of as conceited) over the many people who smiled vaguely and politely at me, then read the badge and went, "Aztec Lady!" and hugged me, or took my picture, or told me they read/like my reviews. Seriously, heady stuff. I felt so welcome, so at home, so in tune with everyone I interacted with.
Barbara: Oh heck yeah!! Eve Silver, Charlotte Featherstone, Anna Campbell, Toni Blake and as you all know, Samantha Kane. Ugh, I was such a fangirl, lol. OMGosh and Julia Quinn!!! How could I forget her?!
Aztec Lady: holy cow, my list is long--and I met almost everyone of then. Shiloh Walker--what a lovely woman!
Barbara: And I agree with AL it is a conference for EVERYONE. Lisabea/LBGregg -- another gorgeous woman
Barbara: Yes!!!! But Lisa was just so cool I forgot she was a writer, lol.
Aztec Lady: Virginia Kantra, Alyssa Day (again), Lauren Dane (again), Ann Aguirre (*kisses and love*) Beth Williamson (again), Nora Roberts, CLWilson. Oh god, I'm missing everyone...
Barbara: Oooh, I met CL Wilson, too. Very nice lady
Aztec Lady: Julie James, Tessa Dare, Caroline Linden... erm... hold on, there are more... *head desk*
Barbara: I missed Carolyn Jewel *sobs*
Aztec Lady: thank you! Carolyn Jewel. Olivia Gates
Barbara: Sure rub it in
Aztec Lady: Barbara Caridad Ferrer, Carrie Lofty
KristieJ: Wasn't Julie James a doll? I just love her - not that I don't love all the authors I met - but that she spent an evening with us was wonderful!!
Barbara: Julie is soooo pretty!!
Aztec Lady: Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran... there are more, there are more... Oh, Lindsay Sands
Barbara: YES!!! Merdith and Sherry...so nice!!
KristieJ: Are there any authors you met that you hadn't read their books that you will now try them?
Aztec Lady: and riffing off Barbara's comment: what's with all this gorgeous authors? isn't it enough that they are talented, do they ALSO have to be so beautiful?
Barbara: Yeah, Lisa's. She was too cute.
KristieJ: *g* There are a lot of gorgeous authors aren't there?
Barbara: Yeah, more than alot. OMG, Toni Blake is another stunner!
Aztec Lady: You know [or learned during the conference] that I'm in danger of losing the girly card, but even I could appreciate the gorgeousness when I saw them
Barbara Oh stop! You had the same shoes as me, so we all know you know good girly stuff when you see it.
KristieJ: I dunno - you were pretty girly during the RITA's *g*
Barbara: Thank you Kristie! AL the Girly Girl
Aztec Lady: Gah, please don't! I have a reputation to uphold! [and thank you]
KristieJ: It's not everyone who curls their eyelashes using a spoon - I've never done it
Aztec Lady: But seriously, gorgeous all around, all the time--which is so freakingly unfair when I was dragging but pretty much from Thursday on!
Barbara: She's got talent, that's for sure
KristieJ: I think everyone does by that time. It's such a go, go, go atmosphere all the time - specially if you take the first part of the week to do sightseeing
Barbara: I want you all to know I've slept nothing less than twelve hours since I returned home. I was SHOT! Twelve hours A NIGHT!
Aztec Lady: I wish I could have slept...
KristieJ: I took today off too and slept most of the day. I didn't even get dressed!!
Barbara: LOL! Aren't those the best days?
Aztec Lady: We drove back to Florida, leaving Maryland about 4:45PM on Sunday--and hitting traffic around Washington, which cost us an hour.
Barbara: Awww...stop complaining AL. Your man is a sweetie so I'm sure you enjoyed the extra time together
Aztec Lady: Got here mid morning on Monday, to a house that was upright but... well, let's say that leaving two teen age siblings in charge of the house wasn't my wisest move. I read to him as he drove, most of the night--Dorothy L. Sayers' "Murder Must Advertise" and man, did we have a fun time with it!
KristieJ: He is indeed a keeper AL!! What a great guy he is and I'm so glad I got a chance to meet him!!
Barbara: Awwww...I love that you two read together. That's so romantic.
Aztec Lady: ((Kristie)) and ((Barbara)) thank you--and I am most definitely keeping him :wink:
KristieJ: And meeting fellow bloggers - what was that like for both of you?
Barbara: Oh, meeting my fellow bloggers alone would have made the trip worth it. I was nervous, I won't lie, but it turned out to be the most fun I've had in a long time! Everyone was just amazing.
Aztec Lady: bloggers: oh. my. GOD!!! Really, no words. : Look, it's one thing to hit if off online, chat for hours or comment constantly on blogs--but to see a face, get a hug, and then just take off running on long conversations on this or that book, that trope, this cliche, that author...: it's just breathtaking, in the best possible way. By Friday I felt like I would burst into tears at any and everything--I felt so full of emotion - GOOD emotion
Barbara: I was really sad when everyone left
Aztec Lady: there's something indescribable about the acceptance and energy in that crowd.
Barbara: I agree 100% with AL
Aztec Lady: I was so effin' sad to leave!
KristieJ: I know - I feel that way each time too. The first year I was the last to leave and it seemed so lonely after everyone left
Barbara: Oh, believe me I felt your sadness. It was so depressing to return to the room alone.
Aztec Lady: please note that, as Pollyanna-ish as my previous comment may come across, I do know not everyone [and perhaps not even 7 in 10] people at RWA are nice and lovely, but that wasn't the point or an issue, at all.
Barbara: I had so much fun with all of you
Aztec Lady: Barbara, me too--it was just... gah, words fail me.
Barbara: It just sucks we live so far away from each other
KristieJ: I had such fun with both of you too!! Both of you really made it great for me - seeing you excitement -sharing the newness of it all with you
Barbara: Maybe it's for the best. Can you imagine those book shopping trips? We'd all be broke, lol.
Aztec Lady: oh god, the credit card bills would be *shudder*
KristieJ: LOL - well hopefully I'm stuffed with new books for a while. I looked at July and Augusts new releases and I think I'm safe until September
Barbara: LOL! Mine's already screaming for RWA!
Aztec Lady: as it is, Kristie is responsible for way too many of my book buys!
Barbara: I hear you! Kristie and her recs.
Aztec Lady: and she's right about 3 out of every 4 for me--that's just NOT good, I tell you
Barbara: I haven't been disappointed by Kristie yet.
KristieJ: So - by the time you add the conference fee, the hotel bill, food etc - it can be pretty pricey. Did you both find it was worth it?
Barbara: ABSOLUTELY! I wouldn't hesitate to spend it again, although....my hubby might, lol.
Aztec Lady: *ahem* well, you guys know *I* didn't cough up the dough... but if I have my way, I'll go again next year.
Barbara: Lucky lady...
Aztec Lady: *sheepish* I know
KristieJ: I think so too *g* While you almost get the cost back in books alone - it's the experience of meeting authors and even more special - fellow bloggers beyond price!!
Barbara: I won't be able to make next year's conference. But 2011 in NYC--I'm there!
Aztec Lady: YES! See, even without the free books [which hello, are NIIIIIIIIICE] it's the people there who made it so amazingly worth the time, effort and money
KristieJ: And what did you think of some of what they offered? How about the lunches. What did you think of the author speakers?
Barbara: It definitely is worth it!
Aztec Lady: I loved loved loved both speeches
Barbara: Oh, I thought Linda Howard was hilarious and I loved Anne Stuart's workshop on writing Dark Romance.
Aztec Lady: Hello, Mistress of preparedness and keeper of the nuts Howard
Barbara: that's Anne, btw. Lol
Aztec Lady: and then Eloisa James had me in tears pretty much from the beginning
Barbara: I missed Eloisa...I was too busy napping because y'all had me running around all day, lol. I was shot!
Aztec Lady: And of the workshops I attended (fewer than I had hoped, but the lines for the publisher signings sucked the time) were all really good, frankly
Barbara: They were all good. I just loved Anne Stuart's lol. She's toooo funny!
Aztec Lady: There was ONE author who, in my never humble opinion, should not sign to give workshops. Some of us are not public talkers, and we should acknowledge our limitations. Luckily the other two authors in her panel were AMAZING so I didn't end up leaving the talk.
KristieJ: I hope the publisher signings are rethought a bit. This years was the most disorganized I've been too - not to mention some didn't have enough books
Aztec Lady: Signings: I feel like an ass for complaining, but complain I will.
Barbara: Oh, I agree on the books bit. They should have had more. I ended up having to choose which signing I wanted to go to more because I knew by the time I was done the other wouldn't have any books left. Not that I'm complaining, I left there with well over 75 books!
KristieJ: I was kind of disappointed too. Despite all the books I did get - there were quite a few I missed out on.
Barbara: Yeah...Carolyn Jewel!!! *weeps*
Aztec Lady: The signings on Thursday were ohmygawd amazing--so many authors, so many books! piles and piles of the shiny, purty, new, coveted books....
KristieJ: And what about the literacy signing? Was that not an amazing, wonderful, scary zoo?
Aztec Lady: but I'm peeved that so many authors got so few copies for the Literacy Signing--hello, what'syournamepublisherIcan'tremember, Tessa Dare only got 15 copies. 15!!!! She has three books coming out in successive months and you only put out 15 copies for a literacy signing attracting something like 500 authors and over 2500 fans???? what the fuck?
Barbara: OMG I LOVED IT! Yes, it was a zoo, but I didn't care. I was too awe struck, lol. I met so many of my favorite authors!!!
KristieJ: I know - I really wanted to get one of her books - but missed out altogether
Aztec Lady: And then Berkley, NAL, Ballantine--I don't know how many of the tables at the signings were EMPTY and the authors who *had* books had so few that even the people at the front of the line didn't get more than two or three signed books
Barbara: I did stick to my plan of going up and down the isles. I was a bit nervous about asking for pics--as I usually am--but everyone was so gracious about it.
KristieJ: I had my list for the literacy signing but then lost it half way through - and without my list my mind went blank on the books I wanted. I only remembered most of them the next day and could have kicked myself for forgetting
Barbara: Ugh, CAROLYN JEWEL!!! That's all I'm saying about being forgetful. Dang it all!
KristieJ: Which just goes to prove how greedy we are book wise LOL - we get all these incredible books and mourn at the ones we didn't get! But honestly - entering those rooms filled with books - it's like beyond the biggest best candy store ever built!!
Barbara: I know! I was in heaven!!! Ladies...my mommy duties are calling. The kidlets have to got to bed. It's almost 10:00. Okay!!! I had so much fun and I just want to thank you both for taking this baby blogger in and making her feel at home. ((BIG HUGS))
Aztec Lady: Kristie, thank you so much for inviting us. This was very cool, Kristie! *hug*
This was very cool, Kristie! *hug*: Good night, Kristie *hug* and again, thank you. You made the conference a blast for me
KristieJ: And big hugs to you too!!! I LOVED meeting and spending time with both of you. You made it a blast for me too