Historical Authors Terri Brisbin, Jenna Kernan and Diane Gaston
Have you ever tried to get through airport security without your license? I did. The cause was the multiple purse changes at the conference. The big bag for traveling, the small purse that fits in the conference tote, the small beaded purse for the RITA Awards® and then back to the larger bag. In all that movement my license ended up amid a sample of hand lotion in my suitcase (which I did tear apart at the airport to no avail). They let me through thanks to my scuba card that has a photo plus three credit cards with my name.
But let me tell you about the conference. I went in with two main goals:
1. Stay away from those who shout “The sky is falling.”
2. Have fun.
Pretty straight forward.
STAYING AWAY FROM ALARMISTS:
Regarding the first goal, I did nod my head and move away from authors, publishers, agents or editors who presented a doomsday outlook for publishing and the publishing industry. I have to believe that good stories will always find a market even if I don’t know if that market will be in print, electronic or some other medium to be determined. This didn’t happen as frequently as I feared. Most folks are seeing an upswing in sales and so forth, even though print sales are generally down everywhere.
Regarding the second goal, I did have fun. Some I anticipated, some came by way of serendipity.
GEORGIA AQUARIUM: I try to do one touristy thing in every city I visit for conferences. This year it was the fabulous aquarium. Their dolphin show is not to be believed!
BOOK SIGNING: Wednesday night I signed Beauty’s Beast in a ballroom with 450 authors as thunder crashed and lights flickered. Lucky I’d been to the Atlanta Coke gift shop and had my coke penlight!
HARLEQUIN DIGITAL PJ PARTY: On Thursday night included lots of fun and silly costumes. Loved the Cracker Jack and cookies plus the opportunity to have some laughs with the fabulous Harlequin Digital team.
THE FIVE MINUTE MEETING: Sometimes you bump into someone you know or want to meet or haven’t ever met. I love this about conferences, the serendipity that connects you with just who you wanted to speak to or has you miss that meeting by ten seconds.
HARLEQUIN HOTEL SUITE: There were more than a few minglers in the Harlequin suite. I attended one for series authors, another for historical authors, and still another Nocturne authors, plus various workshops and informational presentations. On Thursday I had coffee with friends, coffee with my agent, coffee with my editor followed by coffee with the Nocturne series authors! I wonder why I had trouble sleeping that night?
HARLEQUIN HISTORICAL’S TEA: The UK team of editors usually plans a special outing for the historical authors. This year it was Dr. Bombay’s in a lovely neighborhood of Atlanta. We had tea, scones, finger sandwiches and conversation with UK editors Linda Fildew and Joanne Carr. Such a wonderful afternoon that just thinking on it makes me smile.
HARLEQUIN V.I.P LOUNGE: Now I did not have a milestone book or a Rita nomination this year, but was happy to ride on the coattails of author Susan Meier and be her plus one. She had BOTH a nomination and a milestone (her 50th Book!). Prior to the big Friday night bash we had an invite the V.I.P Lounge that included make-up artists and hair stylists to make authors really shine before the party. Editors, Execs and authors mingled and snacked after a toast by Donna Hayes, C.E.O of Harlequin, Int. Really, I wish I could have stayed there all night but it was off to the party for dancing, open bar and treats.
HARLEQUIN AUTHOR PARTY: I made it to midnight and had such fun. A highlight was dancing on the floor with author greats Brenda Jackson and Nora Roberts. Now that is a party!
RITA AWARDS: I got to sit at a reserved table with Susan Meier and Jessica Hart who were both nominees. Prior to the ceremony the Harlequin UK editors offered a Champaign toast and good wishes to their nominees. The coveted statues were awarded and I especially appreciated the speech by Eloisa James, who showed off a handful of silver Rita® pins marking her numerous nominations prior to her win. I have two silver pins representing my two nominations and am considering making earrings.