What a difference a year makes. Last year I attended the conference and didn't find much I liked. I honestly thought it would be my last time. Now if I'm being perfectly honest, it could have been my emotional state that cast a pall on the occasion. I'd had recent knee surgery and was still in pain and I topped that discomfort by getting food poisoning. NOT a good time.
This year was the complete opposite. I had a fabulous time. Washington D.C. was lovely. I even pitched for the first time in two years. I've been writing steadily, two manuscripts in twelve months, but I've also been exploring new ideas. In addition, with the recent changes in the industry I had decided that if I never got published again it was okay. That understanding helped me to relax, to look closely at my work, to define it better, to be less needy, to pitch the concept to an agent or editor in a confident manner. I've finally accepted that I have no control over their decision anyway so why worry, right?
I had the pleasure of hooking up with an old friend from LARA, plus one of my chapter mates. We three buddied around and all had the same idea. This year we planned to attend as many workshops as possible. Honestly, I haven't done that since my first conference in 2002. Were my feet sore! It was lovely to see Gina again. After four years we picked up right where we left off, a true sign of a good friend. She's just as delightful and sweet as ever, only thinner and prettier. Darn her. But then again, she's only in her early thirties, so I have to remember that. : )
There were many great workshops, meetings in the bar, the Jenny Crusie Cherries dinner at an Italian restaurant. A lot of fun. Got to sit near Virginia Kantra and her husband. Lots of heated discussion on paranormals, shapeshifters, animals of all kinds, sex, and romance. It was like a mini workshop.
Had a roam through Georgetown with Trish and a lovely dinner by the water. Seafood. Yum! Our conversation was deep, emotional, and touched on the reasons for the dissolving of my marriage many moons ago. I have to admit she made me cry, but in a good way. Had another light dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant near the hotel and can still taste the Baba Ganouche. Now I'm hungry thinking about it.
The Awards ceremony was a ton of fun. Krissie, Anne Stuart, was a scream. She did a half dozen costume changes, my fave of course was when she wore the Nun's habit and rode around the stage in her motorized wheel chair. The movie clips were great and the background music had me dancing in my chair. She's a funny duck, that Krissie.
One of our past LARA members, Chi, won the Golden Heart in the Historical category. I was so thrilled for her. Plus, she sold a novella to Harlequin Mills and Boon on the Wednesday. All around a perfect conference for her. I did get two agent requests and one editor request. I'm excited about all three. Today I put a final polish on the first three chapters and got one submission out by email attachment. The other two go snail mail, so tomorrow I'll take care of that. Then I wait. Well, not really. I'll continue through the manuscript putting the polish on the rest of it and hope that someone will ask to see the entire thing. Wouldn't that be nice?