By Friday morning we were well into the conference and things were starting to blur together. I went to a couple of workshops, a get-together for the Mills & Boon Authors and then it was on to the Awards Luncheon. The speaker was best-selling historical romance author Eloisa James, whose talk was both moving and inspirational. Summing it up the best I can, she spoke about how real-life trauma and emotional moments are the fuel for great books – if you have the courage to pour it all into your writing.
And, just so you can see what it looks like when a couple of thousand authors sit down to lunch together, I snuck up the staircase at the back of the room and took a picture.
The afternoon was another blur of workshops and time for a quick dinner (gorgeous coconut milk soup and spring rolls) with Harlequin Romance authors Shirley Jump and Donna Alward, and then it was time to scoot back to the hotel and get ready for the Harlequin party, which was being held downtown at the Ritz Carlton.
There are parties and then there are parties. The Harlequin Party each year at the RWA conference is one of the latter. It rocks. This year it was Harelquin’s 60th birthday and this was reflected in the vintage covers being projected onto the walls and six different bars around the room, all offering cocktails from different decades.
I think what made it really great fun for me was that I had two great dancing buddies in Donna Alward and Jennie Lucas. I have only one word to describe the lovely Jennie on the dance floor and that is “shameless”. I quickly got sucked into an equal state of shamelessness. So much so, that while the DJ was doing an 80s bit, he asked Jennie and I if we’d go up on the stage and dance. Eek! I decided to grab Julie Cohen – cos she was equally shameless and in situations like that, the more the merrier, right? – but somehow they ended up on the stage and a third body wasn’t needed, so I stayed down on the floor. Just as well, I discovered, as the DJ got them to do “Maniac” from Flashdance, complete with running on the spot. Sorry, Julie!
The DJ certainly got the party jumping (and a few hearts a-fluttering). I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun. There is something to be said for a man who can get an entire room full of romantic novelists (including the big name authors) to all do Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance in unison, complete with zombie arms and everything. Other popular songs of the party: "I Will Survive", "It's Raining Men" and "I Need A Hero". All very apt, considering the profession of the most of the guests. I’m going to let my photos tell the rest of the story:
The DJ receiving some adulation and singing "Livin' On A Prayer", I think...
The party rocks on...
Midnight always comes too early after a party like that, and I wasn’t tired a bit, so I hung on with Shirley and we joined in with some after hours singing as the DJ hopped onto the piano in the lounge outside and started belting out songs. Eventually, around 1.30 a.m. we made it back to the hotel and I fell into bed.