Monday, August 6, 2012

Nationals Recap Part Deux!


This is part two of my RWA National Conference recap. Part one can be found on my personal site. That one stuck mostly to the basics, but I saved the fun stuff for the Revenge.

Jill Shalvis, me, Kristan Higgins
If you read part one you know I had the privilege of being Kristan Higgins' author attendant. What I didn't mention was the other author on my right. None other than… Jill Shalvis. If you wonder if I was pinching myself, I assure you, I was. The signing was scheduled for three hours but both best sellers sold out in less than ninety minutes. (No shocker there.) That meant I got to head out to meet with friends early.

And that's where the fun comes in. Not that ALL of Nationals isn't fun, but for me, the best part is the opportunity to hang with the people I don't get to see the rest of the year. First would be the young, talented, and gorgeous pair of Stephanie and Mary. From this picture you might be thinking, "How can you not hate them??" Easy. By some crazy twist of fate, these two are as sweet and awesome as they are pretty. It's annoyingly impossible to hate them.

Then there was all my new friends, also known as the Flock. After four months of getting to know my fellow Firebirds (2012 Golden Heart finalists) online, it was wonderful to put faces and voices with the names. Now when I read their emails, I can see and hear the person behind them. And we're already getting hyped to meet up again next year in Atlanta.

Though before then you can get to know them too. We'll be starting our own blog on August 20th with lots of fun features. Keep an eye on our website for more information.

Chance & me!
There were lots of little fun encounters as well. A quick hug from old friends like Cathy Maxwell and Debra Dixon. The chance to thank Vicky Dreiling for her help on my GH manuscript, and a brief chat with Miranda Neville in the lobby. A champagne reception (I had water *sigh*) and inspirational speeches. Pizza in the room and free books. The wifi lounge (best new idea of the conference) and massages by some of the hottest guys I've seen in ages. (I didn't partake but hope they bring those guys back in Atlanta. Would be worth the cost to fly them in.)

We did take an evening away from the festivities to enjoy Disneyland. The weather was perfect, the company stellar. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is much better in Anaheim than in Orlando. The park might be smaller, but I could spend every evening there. No wonder all the fabulous movie stars live around LA. It's like paradise. I mean, I left a 107 heat index and ended up wearing a jacket all week. Outside of the hotel! If I ever win the lottery, I'm moving over there.

Can't forget the big formal shindig on Saturday night. Being a Golden Heart finalist comes with many perks, and getting to sit front and center was yet another. Everyone looked fabulous. I gave Chance the assignment of wearing something that would pull attention away from me. She more than fulfilled her mission. (She basically made that hat. Is that cool or what??)

I'm just starting to recover from the jet lag, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And intend to. Only next year we'll have a full Pirate contingency. That hotel bar better stock up on extra rum.

28 comments:

Maureen said...

Orlando drools, Anaheim rules! Well, as far the Disneyland verses the Magic Kingdom part of Disneyworld. Epcot is hard to compare...

That pic of you and I is really good! Both of them! We look so brainy, both of us in glasses... And that piece of cake was AWESOME!

I had such a good time, after a slow start. I'm really looking forward to Atlanta. Jetlag doesn't pull me down too badly, so I'll be up for pirate shenanagins! And I see they have an impressive aquarium in Atlanta... Wonder if they have a kraken...?

MsHellion said...

I'm glad you had so much fun, but I'm really glad you're back because I was really missing out on the email. Priorities. Clearly next year if I don't want to miss emailing with you, I'll have to just hang around you. Or one of the other pirates since clearly you'll be published and/or attending to some other ultra-famous author.

I don't think you'll have the jacket problem in Atlanta...is there anything to see in Atlanta? *LOL* Hey, it's an honest question. I mean, I know they bottle Coke there, but I'm a Pepsi girl so...that doesn't impress me. *LOL*

I love the nickname the Flock though. Hilarious.

Haleigh said...

It sounds like such an amazing time! I've only been to the book-signing portion of one Nationals (2009?) but hanging out with you and Steph and Mary was the best part! And the pictures are awesome!

You know, I'm thinking . . . Atlanta . . . Marnee, you could drive straight down the coast, grab me and Terri, and we could totally road-trip it!

quantum said...

Nice pics ..... you all look so happy.

Not many men in sight though. Sort of a planet of women. A place for us men to dream about ...... er I mean dream about reading all those wonderful books!

Do the finalists for awards get points leading to something like an Olympic medal table?

It sounds Like a science conf in a way. You meet up with old friends and colleagues, make new contacts and down pints of ale .... and learn new stuff of course.

Terri, your (literary) horizons are clearly expanding nicely.
Well done!

TerriOsburn said...

That piece of cake was DIVINE! Thank you, Walt, for putting that on your menu. (Restaurant only served Walt's favorites. Walt had good taste in cake.)

We'll need to find fun stuff to do in Atlanta, though I'm likely the only one who thinks going to a baseball game would be awesome. I should drag Hellie just so she can ogle the players in person. It really is more fun to be there.

TerriOsburn said...

Chance can tell you that no matter what I have to do, I will still drag you everywhere possible. LOL! And we're a close-knit flock. Heather even brought boas for all the winners so they could sport their feathers with pride!

TerriOsburn said...

Hal - I can easily drive to Atlanta (done it before) but I'm so dead after one of these things, the idea of driving home after sounds dreadful. Then again, if I had driving buddies...

I was excited this weekend when I saw Southwest now has a non-stop flight from Norfolk to Atlanta! Y'all could always drive down and fly from here with me.

TerriOsburn said...

Q - There were more men in attendance this year than I'd ever seen before. And not just the cover models. (I think I saw two of those floating around.) During one of the lunches a man named Bob was at my table. He claims to write Romance from the guy's POV. He gave me a bookmarker but I don't have it with me here at work.

And thanks for the positive words. Unless I get my head back in the game my horizon will stay far off in the distance. Not kidding about the jet lag. Took until yesterday to a) stop napping and b) feel human again.

MsHellion said...

I could do a baseball game, but I really don't like the Braves. They're like my version of the Chicago Cubs (if you're a Cards fan)--except I can handle the Cubs and hate the Braves. So hopefully the Braves would be playing someone I loved. Like pretty much anyone. Unless they were playing the Royals...and then I'd be screwed.

Marnee Bailey said...

This sounded so cool when Ter gave me the abbreviated run down last week but the pics make it way cooler!!

I REALLY want to go to Atlanta. The hubs is talking about coming with me. So we'll see. So you may all get to meet my lovie. :)

But as I mentioned this morning, I need to batten down the hatches and put the nose to the grindstone and all those other cheesy cliches if I'm going to make the GH deadline.

I'm off to put some words on the page right now while I finish this coffee and the kids watch a show. :)

TerriOsburn said...

We'd love to have Mr. Gunner along! Several ladies brought their husbands this year, but for some reason I didn't see any of them until awards night. LOL! Wonder why!

I forgot to mention my encounter with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. A few of the Firebirds were talking before the conference about stalking her (in a totally harmless way) so I had Chance make some "I stalk SEP" buttons.

Upon encounter said SEP in the hall, I admitted I might or might not be the person passing those out then offered her the last one. She was very excited. So now SEP can officially stalk herself. :)

MsHellion said...

THAT. IS. AWESOME! *LOL* Hilarious!

Maureen said...

Yup, I'm the shadowy figure behind the stalking buttons campaign... I'm infamous in my own way!

I'm still shooting for a visit to that aquarium...

Q - Terri is right, more and more men are coming to the convention. It's just a hop across the pond, mate!

Sin said...

Jill!

She said she saw you.

It sounds like you had a great time! I'm so glad.

You and Chanceroo together are so cute! Like troublemakers.

TerriOsburn said...

I caught her to take that picture just before she was headed out to her next meeting. It was fun to watch readers come up in her line and smile and squee and get their picture taken.

We did have fun. And we don't get into near enough trouble as you'd expect from a couple of pirates. ;)

Maureen said...

My big moment was sitting down to talk with Jennifer Ashley at the little Starbucks in the hotel... And not drooling or stuttering or anything...

Very inspirational chat!

Janga said...

I'm being noble minded and overlooking Hellie's insults to Atlanta. I do love the pics, especially the faces shot of Ter and Chance. I'm so glad the two of you had a great time.

The Aquarium is awesome. I'm not sure if it's still the largest in the world, but it is huge and fascinating. If you go, try for Wednesday or Thursday to avoid the crowds, which will also be huge with tons of kids. My other don't-miss attraction suggestion is the Cyclorama. It deserves the superlatives it inspires. A visit made a history student out of the tweleve-year-old grand for whom Civil War history is now second only to baseball among his interests.

TerriOsburn said...

I'm not sure she so much insulted the city as revealed a simple lack of knowledge about the place. Which is why we need you to educate us. I will be googling the Cyclorama.

And I'm SO excited we might get to meet in person. Even if you only come for a quiet Bon Bon dinner off premises. I'll take what I can get!

TerriOsburn said...

The website link I keep finding doesn't work but I see from another site that it's next to the zoo. We could hit both in a day.

A civil war museum. Hellie is going to be all over that.

TerriOsburn said...

Oh, there's a murder mystery dinner theater. Does the Kiss of Death chapter know about this??

http://www.agathas.com/

Marnee Bailey said...

I am with Hellie in that I don't know much about Atlanta. I have a sorority sister who moved there a few years ago and loves it and another one who grew up outside the city. (Marietta maybe?) At any rate, they say it's lovely, if hot.

And I just tried to google the Cyclorama and I found nothing. :( I'll look some more. I find Civil War history so fascinating.

Janga said...

I don't know why the Cyclorama's web site is not working. There's a bit of info here.
http://www.webguide.com/cyclorama.html

Any Gone with the Wind fans might also be interested in the Margaret Mitchell House. And the High Museum is one of my favorite places. The Folk Art collection is exceptional, and I think Nationals will fall during the time of the Dutch exhibit next year that will include the first showing in the Southeast of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring."

TerriOsburn said...

Oh, The Dump. We must go see The Dump. You've got me with the museum, Janga. You're going to have to come down and be our tour guide.

Maureen said...

Pirates invade Atlanta! We'll take the aquarium, then the cyclorama, the museums... I'm making hats for EVERYONE!

MsHellion said...

I figured if I threw down the gauntlet, Janga would name not one, not two, but a good dozen or more MUST SEE items in Atlanta. (Savannah has appealed to me, but seriously other than the Coke plant, I didn't know what it had to offer. Clearly need to read up on that.)

I cannot believe I did not think of the Gone with the Wind museum. That would be at the top of my list; and I'd be up for any history museum. I'd also be up for a good ghost tour--I love spooky things. (Except for the spider I found in my underwear drawer this morning. THAT I did not appreciate. He has the day to evacuate or the truce is over. He can live in the sock drawer if he has to hang out at all.)

I would LOVE to see the Dutch paintings. That's probably the top of my list right now, if it's available. (St. Louis got to host the Pre-Raphelite paintings--which are GORGEOUS!--and I loved looking at those.) And I'm always up for an Aquarium and the other things Janga listed.

I'm truly sorry for offending you, Janga. You know I wouldn't have purposely pulled a Mitt Romney for the world.

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Love the recap and photos!

Yes, Atlanta is on - We're all going to meet our goals and take it by storm. We'll have to plan some special pirate events. :)

Maureen said...

A Gone with the Wind museum? I bet my buddy Jane has been...

Janga said...

I promise I never think of you in connection with Mitt Romney in any way, Hellie. LOL

Savannah! Too bad the conference is not there. It's one of my favorite cities. Atlanta is energy and modernity. Savannah is romantic dreams and whispering ghosts and invitations to the imagination.