I first went to RT two years ago, in 2011 when it was held in Los Angeles. (I wrote a post about it back then, if you’re interested.) Of the various writer workshops/events I’ve attended through the years, it was the most helpful. Hence, when everything worked out for me to attend again this year, I leaped at the opportunity. Since two years ago, self-publishing has grown to be on par with traditional publishing, and I’ve had quite a bit of experience in the interim and was hoping to sit in on some panels that had more focus in craft than those geared towards the “aspiring writer” I was more or less back then.
This concludes the professional part of my post.
RT13, not going to lie, rocked my ever-starched socks off. The food, the friends, the frolicking…. I went in with the best of intentions, wanting to earn every penny of my tax write-off. Arriving on Tuesday afternoon, I was already finding rationales by Wednesday morning about why
hanging out with my friends networking was just as legit a use of my time as sitting in craft or marketing sessions.
Let’s get one thing clear: I have respect for any person who takes the time and effort to write a novel, and the courage to put it out for public consumption. But beyond that, I *LOVE* some of my fellow writers who’ve become as close to family for me, despite the fact that our in-person meetings have been brief or heretofore non-existent. Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover-> two mouths of the south with hearts as big as boulders and side-splitting wit. Lani Wendt Young could make a statue double over laughing. (Please go read about what happens when a Samoan Girl meets an unseasonable snowfall in May at her blog.) Tine Reber takes loyalty among friends to another level. (And was able to find a party bus for 10+ hungry writers with just a few hours notice.) El James demonstrated how being one of the most famous people in the world doesn’t destroy your sense of whimsy and your humility, but may gift you with hugging superpowers. Jamie McGuire and Nicole Williams are automatic confidants, the type of people you feel as if you’ve known forever, and hope that you always will. Elizabeth Hunter is my sister in UF, and an inspiration on many other fronts. Tammara Webber’s grace rivals her beauty. And I’m positive now Angie Stanton and I are going to grow old together.
I also crossed paths with a few other sweethearts in an all-too-brief capacity. Dina Silver, Rebecca Donovan, Steph Campbell, Jillian Dodd, Elizabeth Reyes, Michelle Manikin, Cora Cormac, Lisa (sorry, Lisa, I’ve forgotten your last name ): I treasure meeting all of you and hope it’s not for the last time. (Actually, some of y’all are signed up for SFINE, so yay!)
And of course, I’m also a reader, and had some uber fan moments, including meeting FINALLY the incomparable Alice Clayton and Saranna DeWylde. And I may have had a mini-stroke when Delilah Marvelle recognized me.
And yes, I *did* end up going to some useful sessions, so I’ll be implementing those lessons here in the next few months. I promise. Well, I promise to try.
And perhaps one of the BIGGEST thrills for me was getting to meet, hug, and thank in person Melissa Perea. In a particularly dark period early last year, I had decided to renounce writing and pull all my works. By chance, or perhaps by fate, that day I was to pull, Melissa posted her review of A Love by Any Measure. Her inspired and complimentary words convinced me to give it another go. She truly saved my writing career.
I’m still in my post-RT haze, but all I can add to all this is, I can’t wait for NOLA in 2014.