Monday, July 20, 2009

Romance Writers of America in DC

Faithful readers might have noticed that I didn't blog last Thursday. That's because I and more than 1900 other authors (from the as yet unpublished to prolific NYT best-sellers such as Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber), editors and literary agents descended on Washington, DC for Romance Writers of America's® national conference. Attendees could:

--pitch their opuses during 10 minute agent or editor appointments, hoping to get a request for a partial (first three chapters and synopsis) or a full manuscript. The editor I met with laughed out loud several times (as intended, it's a humorous time travel + paranormal) and requested the full (don't get too excited, she always ask for fulls).

--go to any of 8 craft, career, publishing industry, writers life or research workshops offered every hour.

--hear editors discuss what they're looking for and answer questions at publisher spotlights.

--snag free books signed by their favorite authors.

But that's not all. Many invitation only events were held, including publisher parties/dinners for their authors. I particularly enjoyed Harlequin's 60th anniversary party at the Ritz (I got to go as an author friend's "date"), with bars and dessert stations featuring beverages and treats by decade. Some local and online RWA® chapters offered gatherings ranging from The Beau Monde chapter's Soiree offering Regency period music and a dance master to the Kiss of Death chapter's annual Death by Chocolate party and pre-conference FBI academy and CIA tour. Agents and editors met with current and potential clients.

And well-known authors spoke, including Janet Evanovich , who wrote 12 romance novels before switching to mysteries. Her Stephanie Plum series usually tops the NYT best-seller list (her July 18 video interview for The New York Times is here and her July 14 appearance on The Today Show here). Though she has published more than 25 novels, she teared up when telling the story of her first sale, an "it's always darkest before the dawn" tale. As did I, and many others.

What sub-genres are supposedly hot right now? I heard the following: steampunk, urban fantasy, middle grade, "Victorian is the next Regency", paranormal still but not vampires. Not so much: medievals (unless set in Scotland) or humorous women's fiction.

For more about the Conference:

listen to Scott Simon of NPR's story here. He offers his own attempt at writing a romance novel here

or read Monica Hesse of The Washington Post's story here. (though I am a bit piqued by her description of romance writers: "But if you squint and look for a general appearance trend, this is it: They look kind, comforting, domestic, as if they are wearing perfume made from Fleischmann's yeast. " How does one look domestic? And I assure you no one I know would ever wear yeast perfume.)


M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

Laura Essendine said...

Writers' conferences are just wonderful. I've been to the London Book Fair three times and it's fantastic to meet and network with other people who simply "get" what I do. A shared passion is always more enjoyable!

Laura Essendine
The Accidental Guru Blog