Yay – first time EVER I didn’t have to get a hotel room for writer’s conference! Since it was right in my town this year – Rothschild/Wausau, WI. At the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Cedar Creek. Had amazing weather, which was kinda wasted b/c no one ever gets outside. People were telling me the rooms came w/hot tubs, so no one REALLY ever went outside! (Kinda wish I’d GOTTEN a room, LOL!)
Got off work early on Friday to make registration. Got to meet fellow author & Facebook friend Steven Mitchell in person finally. NICE guy. Reconnected w/old friends Mary Hughes, Joe Fraser and Helen Johannes. Friday night had a bumpy start b/c the editors and agents flying in encountered bad weather in Detroit and Chicago (bad enough to close down those airports) so the Agent/Editor Q&A Panel had to be cancelled. But everyone settled in for desserts/drinks and socializing. Nice, because with the different groups scattered throughout the state, a lot of us only SEE each other once a year. We’ve got mini-groups from Wausau, Madison, Chippewa Falls, Green Bay and Milwaukee. Facebook & Twitter are great, but NOT the same as being able to laugh & gab in person. Lots of screeching & hugs all around. Stayed up way to late talking to Stacey Joy Netzel & Donna Marie Rogers from Green Bay and Jamie Kersten from Wausau.
Saturday morning was breakfast at 7 AM – also YOGA at 7 AM. Again a chance to chat with new people. Always fun to park yourself in a chair where you DON’T know people – way to meet new friends. First official class of the day was discussing myRWA stuff – the local chapters are getting their own pages on the RWA site, so it was a how-to-make-the-transition. Kristin Bayer made it look SO easy, even to us technology-challenged writers. Then Elizabeth Hoyt did a session on “Stalking the Wild Agent” which was enlightening AND funny. I’m not really in a place to need an agent, but was good info for future.
The editors and agent made it in Saturday morning (YAY!) so were able to make the re-scheduled pitching sessions. We did our traditional WisRWA’s Got Talent where an agent and editor sit down to hear various miscellaneous (& anonymous) first pages, read by WisRWA President Anne Parent – who has a really nice reading voice, all Southern warmth. Steven Mitchell missed the reading of his b/c he was pitching. First time ever I didn’t have anything to pitch so I just got to hang out and have fun.
Lunch was when the awards ceremony takes place. I sat with Lyn Cote, Helen Johannes, Steven Mitchell, Joe Fraser and Anne Parent. My friends Stacey Joy Netzel and Mary Hughes each won a Write Touch Readers Award. LOTS of First Sales, new PRO and PAN members. Found out from Mary Hughes (PAN Liaison officer) that RWA now accepts/counts ebook royalties so I qualify for PAN w/Duality (& probably Hedda’s Sword). I emailed Samhain to send me the necessary proof. Helen, Joe and Steve were really pushing for me to come back to RWA, and with the new regs, I can do that. Can’t wait.
Afternoon sessions was Jade Lee speaking on The Core of Romance (with some…interesting…visual aids in the form of stuffed animals) and Elizabeth Hoyt speaking on Dialogue: Writing Between The Lines. Both VERY nice, approachable ladies and entertaining, dynamic speakers. I got both my Jade Lee books signed. Found out I won the Vampire basket, with Season 2 of Forever Knight and books by Linsay Sands, Kinley MacGregor and Teresa Medieros. I DIDN’T win the Kelly Moran critique in the silent auction (for literacy) – got caught up in the seminars & kinda forgot to go back and re-bid. Oops, my bad, my loss.
Went out to dinner with Mary & Greg Hughes. Took them to 2510 to celebrate Mary’s win w/champagne. I always go there to celebrate my own writer things (new contracts, new covers, new releases, awards) so the waitress was like, “What news now?” When she found out Mary was celebrating an award – we got the celebration cake free. We were all so full from big breakfast & big lunch we ALL needed to-go boxes. (Mine lasted all of 10 minutes when I got home b/c my daughter heard “2510” and STOLE my breadstick and pasta (veggie alfredo) for a late night snack.*sigh*) After dinner Greg and Mary retired but I went to the hospitality suite for a bit. There was MORE food… Chatted w/Helen, Jamie, Stacey and Donna but it was really packed and I got clausterphobic and decided to call it an early night. Got home to be met by Pirate-Wench-Tami-The-Pasta-Thief, checked my emails and CRASHED in bed.
Sunday morning, after another big breakfast where I got to sit with Melange Books, LLC publisher Nancy Schumacher, Jade Lee did a presentation on The Business Side: From Pre-Pubbed to the NYT List. Lyn Cote followed that with Self-Publishing: Is It The Right Fit For You? Almost ALL my friends at WisRWA Conference had at least one book self-pubbed (Stacey and Donna are doing it exclusively these days). Jade Lee interjected w/a comment about Nina Paules (ebookprep.com) and Kim Killion being good contacts for anyone wanting to go that route. Elizabeth Hoyt closed the Conference with We Don’t Need No Stinking Muse (which is to translate as, how to write anyway when life gets in the way and you really don’t FEEL like it!)
So I walked away with sensory overload, too much food, lots of warm fuzzies from my friends, and a lot of new books. I’m rejoining RWA and going to go for PAN. Nice way to recharge the batteries. Looking forward to Wausau WisRWA meeting next month at the library. With two new book contracts, will have someting to share and celebrate with friends!