Sunday, August 01, 2010

Orlando - RWA - There's No Place Like Home and Final Thoughts

So - I'm home. And it's so nice to be home. The conferences are great but I think just about everyone who goes is ready to head home by Sunday. It's been a long day, starting at 5:15 am when I woke up. The plane left at 8:15, a two and a half hour flight, a two hour wait for the shuttle bus and then a two hour drive home makes for a very long travel day. I didn't get in until 4:30 or so. And wonder of wonders, what a pleasant surprise, Brent really went to town while I was away and did a great job at cleaning the house. I was kind of hoping he would, but didn't really expect him to. Since once again, I left a lot of packing until the last minute, thus not cleaning like I wanted to, the place was in quite a shambles when I left. So it was ever so good to get home again.

But I had a wonderful time at RWA once again this year. There are so many memories I'll hold dear and so many wonderful people I met and met again that I'll keep in my heart. I can't possibly remember them all, but here are just a few.

  • Having Wendy for a roomie again. This is the fourth year in a row that we have roomed together and even though I only see her once a year, when I do, it's like I just sat down and had a nice long coffee with her last week. Instead of doing the Wendy, Wendy, Wendy thing, I just started making a list of books she has to read before next we meet. Of course I forget to give her the list, but Connor's Way heads it up with Lord of Scoundrels a close second. I think I have a few more on there, but I'll have to look it up. She also needs to watch North and South and yes, even if she doesn't love it to pieces, I'll still let her be my friend - my good friend :-)

  • Meeting up with Rosie again. She spent one night with us before her room mate Lisabea. This arrived. This is the third year with Rosie and again, it was just like I had coffee with her last week.

  • Seeing Lisabea again. This is the second time this year as we saw each other at RT in April. It's been most excellent getting to see her so often. And it's great hearing all her excellent news!!

  • Hanging with AnimeJune. I tell you that girl is a machine when it comes to sightseeing! She took in FOUR parks in two days!! Despite having the worst experience trying to get to RWA, I think things recovered for her in a most excellent way and I'm sure she will be sharing her news. And may I just say she has this killer red dress that she wore to the RITA's. Wowzers!

  • Seeing Aztec Lady again. She has such an excitement about her, she just makes you smile. I could always find her since I could hear her infectious laugh. She was always first or near the first in any lines and I think she made new friends each and every time. I also have to give her a special shout out, since she offered to ship the boxes of books I got to me. She commuted some nights as she doesn't live that far away. But we did get to keep her all night a couple of times. She offered to play mail person and saved me from standing in what I hear was a very long line.

  • I met Kim first at RomCon and now again at RWA. It was great getting a chance to see her and chat with her again. And *laughing* she gave me some Canadian change that she had saved and didn't think she would need. There is a slight travel distance between Canada and Hawaii.

  • Sarah also did the trifecta of romance conferences/conventions again and I was very excited to get to see and talk to her THREE times this year. And does she strut her stuff - in a good way *g*. One of my big regrets is I missed the Mulletgasm. I'm going to have to email her with my apologies. There were a couple of book signings around the same time and Lisa was at one of them and I didn't want to miss her. I did get down to where I thought it was being held and looked all over for it but didn't see Sarah or anyone else and so I headed up to the room. Wendy came in a bit after that and told me it was at the other hotel, the Swan - d'oh, but by that time my feet were so sore, I would have had to shuffle v e r y s l o w l y over in the most humid of weather I've ever endured and while the spirit was willing, the feet just couldn't do it. But I did have the mullet with me and was ready to wear it if that was any help.

  • The hotel itself. I thought it was a great place to hold a conference. After taking two days to find myself around it, I had no trouble finding where I wanted to go. The meals were good. Even though all three were chicken, they were each cooked differently and very tasty and the desserts were to die for delicious. The wait staff and all the hotel employees offered up the most incredibly good customer service. They really need to be commended.

  • The elevators. I know, I know, I've already mentioned them, but still they are worth mentioning. Not once did I have to wait more than a minute and not once were they crowded. With a conference crowd that huge plus all the regular guests on top of that, I was in awe.

Not everything was completely perfect. The weather was not to my cup of tea to put it mildly. When my glasses steam up at 7:00 in the morning when I stepped outside, that's just nasty for me. Beyond nasty. I know there are some confused people who actually like that kind of weather, but give me six inches of snow any day!!!

For those who are thinking of going to a conference or convention, I can't recommend the experience highly enough. I know it's expensive and very hard to do for some people, but truly, the experience is worth it. It's not just the tons of free books that you get, though that's certainly an added benefit, but it's so much more and I don't know if I can put it into words. But for me, going to past RWA conferences and RT, RomCon and RWA this year has been very empowering. Where once I hid what was for me an overwhelming passion; reading romance novels, I can now honestly say I'm proud of what I read and never again will I keep it hidden. This hasn't happened overnight but has come about over time. The women (and few men) who write in this genre are people to be proud of. They are smart, they are intelligent and they are people I'm proud to associated with. They do something that not everyone can do. They entertain us and they make us feel good when we close the final pages of a book.

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked, especially at RWA is what do I write? The first couple of years I answered almost embarrassed that "oh, I don't write romance, I'm just a blogger". But this year I had a different answer. Instead when I was asked what I write I answered 'I don't write romance, I write about romance. I love the genre and while I don't think I have what it takes to write a romance book myself, I can't help but write about something I love so much, whether it's a book that has touched my soul or rocked my world, or a genre or sub genre that I find fascinating or one that I would like to see more of, or sometimes of the authors themselves, I do have something to write and I want to help promote and share something I'm so passionate about with others of like mind."

And I think everyone who has thought about going to a conference/convention has the same to offer. They will get such a feeling of pride about themselves and what they love. I really hope that RomCon takes off since if they keep it they way the first one went, it is more affordable than the longer, more expensive conference/conventions. Being surrounded by so many people, meeting online or blogging friends in person is something I think everyone should try their hardest to undertake. At every conference I've attended, it's barely begun before I start thinking about the next one. This year it's a bit different as next year I want to go global and attend a convention in Australia; combining my life long dream of visiting there with meeting fellow romance fans from across the world. But whatever next year holds, it will hold meeting once again with what I very lovingly consider "my people"

I'll never say I'm just a blogger again.


CindyS said...

You my friend are very inspiring! And I would venture to say you've never been 'just a blogger' but I understand what you mean and good on ya! And wow, that's a lot of people and that's just the roomies!


Bronwyn Parry said...

Is it the Australian Romance Readers Convention that you're planning to come Downunder for? It should be fun - although not as big as RT :-) I'm hoping to be there, so do make sure you come and say hello!

And thank you for your reports from Orlando! I couldn't come this year, but I've enjoyed reading various blogs about the experience.

orannia said...

Thank you so much for the updates! I've so loved reading them! And I love your answer to the question 'What do you write?'! Perfect!

And YAH for arriving home to a clean house. Brent is a star :) Did the cats get up to mischief while you were away?

Hmmm, maybe next year's RWA...if I start saving now :)

azteclady said...

First of all, seeing you again was... well, you know *hug*

Second, oh when you get Downunder, you must must must give Bronwyn Parry *looking up* a very tight hug from me, pretty please? (and another one to orannia if she does make it there)

orannia, if you promise to make New York next year, I'll... well, let's just make a deal, shall we? You come over, I'll attend as well (one way or another! [twelve to a room sounds reasonable, yes?])

Hilcia said...

KristieJ that was a wonderful post! Thank you for keeping us updated. I hope you make it to Australia and realize two dreams.

PS: I'm with you on Orlando's summer weather -- love the place, not the humidity. :( I don't get to visit my brother down there too often at least not in the summer, lol!

Kristie (J) said...

Hilcia: Its been very humid up here this summer so I thought I was slightly prepared. But I discovered we don't know humid after traveling to Florida in July.

AL: Hugs to you!! You helped make it such a great experience once more :-)

Orannia: Hopefully I will get a chance to meet you next year as New Zealand is definitely in my must visit plans. I'm glad you've been enjoying the updates.

Bronwyn: Yes, it's the Readers Convention I'm hoping to make. And small is good too. RomCon was quite a bit smaller and I really enjoyed it. I hope we do meet. There are a number of Aussie readers I'd love to meet and spend time with.

Cindy: *laughing* when you are standing in a room filled with women who have written books that have carried you away, it's very easy to feel that you fall low on the chain. But I've realized that as a reader and as a blogger, I do have value and something to contribute. Its been almost a great realization.

Wendy said...

I knew about Florida weather in July well in advance - the problem for me was that I haven't experienced "real" humidity in about 6 years...since I moved to So. Cal. I felt damp and "unclean" pretty much all week.

Great to see you as always Kristie! I promise to read Connor's Way for one of the remaining months on Keishon's TBR Challenge. And uh, I need to actually buy Lord Of Scoundrels. I don't have it in my TBR! I know! A book Wendy does not own a copy of! Proof that the concept isn't an urban legend :)

Brandy said...

Delurking to say that I have really enjoyed all your recaps and you have never been just a blogger!

Mollie said...

sounds like you had a great time Krisite!

Kristie (J) said...

Wendy: That's right!!! You don't even have Lord of Scoundrels. I forgot. But *g* you still have to read it - heh, heh, heh.

Brandy: Welcome out of lurkdom. I did feel like 'just a blogger' for quite some time when face to face with authors like Nora Roberts or Nalini Singh or Lisa Kleypas and so many other authors that have given me so many hours of enjoyable reading. But now, I feel like I do have something to offer to the romance community online and going to these conferences has really given me that confidence!

Oh Molly, I did!! It's hard to put into words what it's like to be surrounded by people of like minds, of being able to strike up conversations with complete strangers knowing you already have something so fundamental in common with them. It's an incredible experience.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Kristie! Finally made it to Hawaii after an overnight in Vegas. Mahalo for taking those Canadian coins ... I was cleaning out my mother's condo in Tampa before driving over to Orlando and the coins made me think of you. I hope they bought you a cup of coffee at the airport!

I am still grinning from meeting the fabulous bloggers, including yourself, at RWA ... just as exciting as meeting the authors!

As we waited for our flight to Honolulu, I quickly cleaned out my purse and found AztecLady's cell number (I was supposed to call her Saturday afternoon but couldn't find the number at the time). So I called her and we chatted about RWA, blogging, et al. I am so blessed to be welcomed into this fabulous group of bloggers who love romance!

The TSA agents in Vegas thought it quite comical that hubby, two children, and I packed many books in our carry on luggage (FEX ground was not an otion for me). So I dug a few out, shared them with these agents who keep the skies safe, and told them to read bloggers!

Kids are back in school today so I can sort through my mail, my luggage, and my memories!

nath said...

Sounds like you really had a great time, Kristie and I'm so happy for you :D Lots of new memories again this year :D

Seems like the only black cloud was the weather... but can't really control that.

And go you for Australia!! I'll come and pack for you :P Be sure you have EVERYTHING! LOL.

Michelle Styles said...

Kristie --
It was great to meet you at the pj party.
I looked for you later as I took to carrying one of JT inspired romances around for you. No luck. If you'd like it, drop me line.
all the best,

~ames~ said...

Yay Kristie! I'm glad you had a blast. :P I always look forward to your conference posts. Thanks for posting your experiences. :P