Another Year, Another Nationals. . .

And I loved it! People who know me will be surprised, I’m sure. (Ha!) The quick rundown is it’s quick. Never a dull moment.

Some (most) of my highlights include standing in line at Starbucks:

So standing in line at Starbucks, I noticed Carolyn Jewel. I hadn’t met her before, but she is a good friend of my good friend, Amanda McCabe, whom I guest blogged for on As we are standing there talking, she realized she was not going to have time to get her “5 shot espresso with whipcream”, so I offered my services, to stand in line, then bring it to her.

Another time in line at Starbucks, I interrupted Marie Force talking to Julie Anne Long. (I had a card tucked behind my badge with a note from someone telling me to contact Marie Force). Mission accomplished.

Rushing through the registration area, Kristin Higgins had on a really cute skirt that looked decidedly familiar. I stopped and said, “Ann Taylor Loft?” To which she replied, “of course! I love Loft.” As do I. As do I.

In meeting my friend, Kim from Portland for breakfast (at Starbucks – where else?), I was introduced to Deanne Winstead, President of the Portland Chapter and a sister Soul Mate author.

Other highlights include meeting Jayne Ann Krentz who introduced me to Kate Douglas; Miranda Neville introduced me to Isobelle Carr and Maya Rodale. I hung out with HQN American Romance author Dominique Burton and Ellora’s Cave’s Minx Malone.

The Ritas!!! A fabulous Red Carpet event every romance writer, agent, editor, publisher should endeavor to attend in their careers. This year my volunteer service was Usher at the event. My very good, sweet friend Jodi Thomas was up for a Novella. (Alas, she didn’t win. Don’t feel too bad for her, however, she was inducted into the Romance Hall of Fame back in Orlando, 2010). She invited me to sit at her table. She was table no. 6 in the VIP section. The closest to the stage.

Brenda Jackson was this years’ Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement recipient. In her speech, she promised Sharon Sala the annual picture they always take. (It just so happens that Sharon is also my very good friend and OKRWA Chapter mate/mentor). I dragged her back to Brenda for that picture.

I know it looks like I’m name-dropping—bigtime. But I do have a point. This was my sixth national conference, and every year I meet more and more people. Every single one of these very successful women offer their experiences, advice, and support to unknowns like me. Going to Nationals is huge. It can be overwhelming and intimidating. But just like writing, the more you do it, the more comfortable you become.

I even attended a few workshops! Who could ask for more? It is a writer’s dream.

About Kathy L Wheeler

I love the NFL, the NBA, Jazzercise, reading, writing, and singing karaoke. At one time, I was a computer programmer by trade, but now write full-time with over 15 published books and a small businesses consult for employee solutions. I love, meeting new, and hanging with friends. Life is good.
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10 Responses to Another Year, Another Nationals. . .

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    Kathy, I felt enthusiastic just reading about your RWA conference experience. I only have one question — can I follow you to Starbucks? Wow — I wish I had your fearless ability to mingle. 🙂

  2. Hi Kathy, Good post. You’ve told me before about how beneficial it is going to Nationals. I hope to join y’all next year. See you in a couple weeks.

  3. Not to mention fun, Callie. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Alicia Dean says:

    Dang…I hate that I missed it. I’m so envious. Thank you for sharing the exciting tidbits, and for reminding us it pays to be pushy…er…I mean, confident and bold. 🙂

  5. nice, Ms. Cleary. I’m happy to be helpful…heehee

  6. Karen Lopp says:

    Sigh, I so wish I could have gone, everyone I’m met that has gone comes back sounding just as excited as you. Glad you had such a wonderful time.

  7. jannashay says:

    I wasn’t able to attend this year, but have already made plans for next year in Atlanta. Sounds like you had a blast.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. It’s so exciting to hear about your trip! I’ve been to one Nationals and was blown away with the experience. I plan to go next year. Maybe I’ll see you there! Great post.

  9. AM Bishop says:

    Okay, it’s beginning to look like many SMP authors will be in Atlanta next year. This is going to be SO much fun and I’m tagging alone with Kathy for coffee runs next time. 😀

  10. I’ll hold a place in line.

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