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.