Romance Writer’s of America Conference, 2017

Welp.

I guess my dream of staying regular with this blog have come and gone. I had lofty intentions of blogging regularly, but…

Life.

It certainly kicks you in the ass when you get complacent, doesn’t it?

The world is a dumpster fire, but I’m focusing on the positives in my life right now. And after signing with my amazing literary agent a month ago, I have had a lot of personal positives to celebrate.

My agent sent me an edit letter after I signed, as my manuscript needed work before going on submission. So I’ve been spending the month knee-deep in revisions, while still somehow finding time for a week at a friend’s cottage, camping, kayaking, hiking, and enjoying Toronto in the summer.

And I went to my very first writer’s conference.

The RWA conference was 4 intense, busy, social, informative days in ‘good lord, it’s humid’ Orlando. As I am now several weeks removed from the event, I’m not sure I can post the fawning prose describing how inspirational it was. Instead, behold:

What I learned and did at RWA 2017 (abridged edition.)

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  • Orlando was hot. Although I already knew that.
  • RWA conference was huge. Like 2000 people huge.
  • Somewhat randomly finding a roommate on the roommate forum worked brilliantly. Shout-out to Alisa Kwitney, my roommate and now friend. We couldn’t have been better suited. She was generous, inspiring, and honest, and a whole hell of a lot of fun. I learned so much from her. And we danced for hours… (more on that later.)
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    Alisa and me outside the hotel

    Also, extremely randomly, the first person (other than my roommate) that I met at the conference, was a writer who also recently singed with my agent. Shout-out to Mona Shroff, who I first met in line checking into the hotel, and who I am sure will be a lifelong writing buddy in addition to agent sister.

  • Speaking of agent sisters, I have the absolute best ones. My agent knows how to pick clients, #TeamBrooks is awesome!
  • TeamBrooks
    L to R – Tiff Marcelo, Me, Mona Shroff and Robin Lovett

    My agency is the bomb. I went to a Bookends cocktail party and met so many lovely people. I feel fabulous about my agency, it’s agents and it’s clients. I am confident my career is in good hands.

  • My chapter is amazing– Toronto Romance Writers went out for some Mexican food in Disney Springs one night, and we had some great industry discussions over a lot of guacamole. IMG_1090
  • Speaking of Disney Springs, that place is insane. There is a live volcano. And a Lego dragon in the pond.
  • I met so many of my idols, and was too nervous and awkward to ask for a picture. Oh well. Did get the best, most awkward picture ever of me and my favorite author Tessa Dare.IMG_1149
  • Speaking of meeting your idols, can I say how amazingly nice, generous and all-around amazing some of my favorites turned out to be? Shout-out to Tessa Dare and Sonali Dev, especially.
  • And speaking of Sonali Dev, I connected with a group of other South Asian writers through my agent-mate Mona. It was such a privilege to meet other South Asians doing amazing things in publishing.IMG_1158
  • I brought home a lot of swag. Needed a bigger suitcase.
  • I danced for at least three hours straight. So glad I wore flats to the RITAs.
  • Speaking of RITAs, Beverly Jenkins is the best speaker ever, and I am so glad I was there to hear her lifetime achievement award.

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  • I brought home a lot of books. And then more books. And Books. About 40 physical, and a handful of downloads. Lots of reading on the horizon.IMG_1167
  • Many of the books were signed. Many of them haven’t actually been released yet.
  • Did I mention Tessa Dare is one of my all-time favorite writers? Look what she wrote to me. IMG_1292
  • The workshops were amazeballs. Especially the career ones (Although the craft ones were good, too).
  • The hotel was called The Dolphin, but I question the name considering this is their mascot. That, my friends, is no dolphin.

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  • Also, forget swimming with Dolphins, at the Dolphin you get to swim with Ducks!IMG_1152
  • I needed to take more pictures of the friends I met, and less of the food I ate. Reminder to myself for next time– TAKE PICTURES AND TWEET MORE.
  • Interesting moment – was dancing after the RITAs to Barbie Girl, when someone taps me on the shoulder to tell me that the man she was dancing with was the producer of BARBIE GIRL!!!  Romance writers come in all types!
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Alisa and I before the RITAs
  • I was interviewed for articles about RWA twice, once by Alissa Kwitney (my roommate) for the Mary Sue and once by Tessa Dare (who I am pretty sure is my actual fairy godmother) for Lit Hub. Articles are posted in my new Media Links tab.
  • There was a lot of people. I got lost many, many times. I had lots of hiding in corners introvert moments. BUT– so many writers are introverts. It’s fine. I realized they were as awkward as me.
  • Anyway, I’m sure I missed a lot, here. The biggest takeaway from the conference that I learned is this: Conferences are important. Go to them. You will learn. You will make connections. You will have fun.

I really, really hope I am able to go next year.

And now… back to revisions.

 

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