01 May 2007

National Conference

It's only May, but talk of the upcoming RWA national conference in Dallas is already picking up speed. Granted, such an undertaking -- escaping from our respective families for a week, not to mention the coordinators' massive responsibilities -- demands preparation. But beyond preparation, the national conference is the epicenter of the romance writer's year.

This July, I will attend for the first time. I am a conference newbie. From workshops to pitch appointments to the RITA and Golden Heart gala, everything will be new. I'll even get to swim! And I'll take my first solo airplane trip since May 26, 1997. Every trip since, I've had my husband or my children with me. Housewife that I am, such freedom appeals to me almost as much as the opportunities such an event presents.

My inspiration to pursue writing seriously took place in July of last year. Like most authors, I've written since childhood, but I'd never sat down and made a plan to become a professional. Then, trolling the usual romance book sites last summer, I became incredibly envious of all the ladies heading to Georgia. I want to go! So I put pen to paper and got serious about my commitments.

Last week, my Sherwood Forest-themed MS, Redeeming Will Scarlet, became one of three finalists in the Hearts Through History chapter's annual Romance Through the Ages contest in the Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance category. Allison Brandau of Berkeley will be the final judge. The winners will be announced at the chapter's annual conference awards breakfast. For me, attending will be less about the business and more about having met a goal for myself. I'm not published, but dang! I've made great progress! Now I'll jet off to enjoy the benefits.

So, for all of you Unusual Historical authors and fans, who will be attending in Dallas? What are you most looking forward to? What advice do you have for a newbie like me? Can't wait to see you all there!