Friday, 24 July 2009

RWA 09: Washington DC - Wednesday part 2

The Readers For Life Literacy Autographing is the point at which the RWA conference starts for me. I know that the official programme doesn’t get going until Thursday morning, but from this point on, I’m remembering that I’m an author, not just a tourist visiting a new city.

There were so many authors taking part in the signing that it had to be held in the largest space in the hotel – the Exhibition Hall. Tables are laid out in rows and every author has only a few feet to spread out her books and have space to sign them. The amount of organisation that must go into the event just boggles my mind.

When I arrived at my desk I found a cute little glow-in-the-dark bracelet and a note from my friend Julie Cohen, who I hadn’t bumped into yet. Here’s Julie with Kate Johnson, part of the UK contingent there at RWA. I know Julie isn’t actually British, but American, but she lives in the UK and she’s one of my RNA buddies, so she counts! And on the right is Harlequin romance author Donna Alward, experiencing the rush of her first RWA Literacy Signing. And below is me, ready to wear my pen out:

When the doors open to let the public in, I swear you can feel the floor rumble. There’s a stampede as eager readers rush to get a book signed by their favourite authors. Unfortunately, I’m not in the ‘stampede-worthy’ league yet, but one day—maybe.

I want to say a huge thank you and a big hi to everyone who stopped by my table and asked me to sign a book. I’m really bad with names, and I was still pretty jet-lagged, so I won’t embarrass myself by trying to mention you all individually. I know some of you said you read my blog so you get an especially big wave! One last picture is my roomie for the conference, Harlequin Presents author Kate Hewitt.

The two hours allotted for the signing sped by and afterwards I headed over to the Booksellers’ Best Awards, feeling a little nervous. Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses was a finalist in the Traditional Romance category. It was lovely to have fellow Romance author Donna Alward there (who was standing in for Jessica Hart) and Kim Young and Joanne Grant from Harelquin’s London offices (looking very glam on the left here). Even though the award went to Myrna Mackenzie for her wonderful story Her Millionaire, His Miracle, I had a really great time. It was a fun, friendly, low-stress kind of awards ceremony - just my thing!

Conference is no place to slacken off, even for a second, so the next stop was the bar where Donna and I met up with some of the other Harlequin Mills & Boon authors. Below is a photo of new Harlequin Presents (M&B Modern) authors Lynn Raye Harris, Kimblerley Lang with top-selling author Sandra Marton and another new Presents author Janette Kenny.

Here's a pic of Presents authors Kate Hewitt and Jennie Lucas.

By this time I was hungry – and when I say hungry, I mean hun-gry! I decided to order buffalo wings. We don’t have them in the UK, but I knew they were chicken wings (ever seen a buffalo fly?) and the sound of them has always appealed to me. ‘They’re spicy,’ Donna warned. ‘Yeah, yeah,’ I said. 'I love spicy. I eat spicy all the time.' Which I do - I'm certainly no wuss when it comes to a little heat in my food. No, siree.

Well it seems fated for me to have at least one food-related mishap each time I come to RWA (see here for the story of the pancakes in Dallas 07) and this was it. Spicy was not the word. They BLEW MY HEAD OFF! I mean, they tasted as if they’d been smothered in neat Tabasco sauce. If buffalo wings went up against a respectable Chicken Madras in a contest, they would whoop its ass! I will be remembering this if I ever get brave enough to order them again.


liz fenwick said...

Looks like you were having a fabulous time but gotta say I missed you!

Fiona Harper said...

I loved my time in DC, but I missed you and Penrith! And guess what? I sat next to C.S. Graham at the Literacy Signing (500 authors!) and she asked if I knew you!

liz fenwick said...

It is a really small world with the internet. I would to meet her in person. I have learned so much from her blog and I love her Sebastian books!


Melissa McClone said...

Looks like so much fun, Fiona.

Donna Alward said...

HAHAHA on the buffalo wings! Thank goodness there was wine and some fries to temper the blaze!

Great pics you! You were far more snappy than me. :-)

Natasha said...

The DC conference looked awsome. That book signing is such a great idea! I wish they'd have it at the Oz conference.

Fiona Harper said...

I wish I could come to the RWAus conf full-stop, Natasha. Maybe one day...

But the husband and kids would insist on coming too, so it could get a wee bit expensive!

last angry man said...

You are a very beautiful woman