RT was in Daytona Beach this year, at the hilton hotel. Which was right on the beach--half a dozen steps and you're on the sand close. There were six Aussies who made the trip, and Margaret, Wendy and I shared a room.
The Aussie Gals--minus Cherie, who always seemed to be missing when the camera came out. From left to right--Margaret, me, Rosemary, Wendy and Rebecca
(all photos thanks to Kate Douglas
We were all up on the 15th floor, so the view was all ocean and sand for us. We tended to leave the sliding door open at night in our room, and go to sleep listening to the sound of the waves roll in. So nice. Rosemary, Rebecca and Cherie, the other (noiser) Aussies had a room a few doors down, so we were in and out each other's rooms a lot (pity the poor people in the rooms between us!)
My body clock was totally stuffed because of the time zone differences, so I was getting up around six and going for a stroll along the sand, watching the sun rise and yakking to all the fisherman. Which was a very refreshing way to start the day. And it was just about the only way you could walk on the beach for any length of time--man, it was hot during the day! Of course, this is coming from a Melbournian who'd stepped from the midst of winter, so maybe the heat is a relative thing :)
But onto the important stuff...and I have to say, there were authors, editors, agents, and booksellers thick on the ground (though a lot of the editors and agents weren't there in any official capacity--they were just there for the fun. My agent--the marvelous Miriam--for example, just went there to meet all her authors and have a good time, and she said there were a few other agents and editors doing the same thing). Authors I talked to included Kelley Armstrong (I actually had dinner with her and Linnea Sinclair, as we share the same wonderful editor), Charlaine Harris, Angela Knight, LA Banks (who, as I've said before, is very tall and very funny), Mary Janice Davidson (also very funny and a great speaker), Lori Foster, Kim Harrison & LK Hamilton (briefly, admittedly). Other authors there included Christine Feehan, Tori Carrington, Emma Holly Cheryl Holt, Tina Wainscott, Carol Nelson Douglas, Susan McBride, Maggie Shayne and many more. There were editors from just about every major house, including Harlequin, Kensington, St Martins, Bantam/Bantam Dell, Dorchestor, and Warner. (I took notes from the Kensington, St Martins and Bantam talks, and hope to get those up in the stuff for writers section of my site soon). There was also many major booksellers there (handy for authors wanting to make contacts).
They had dress-up parties every night and they were a scream. Some of the costumes were hysterical. I took pics from the fairy ball, as that's the only one I really got a chance to attend (too busy having dinner elsewhere )
there were tons of workshops--some aimed at writers (published and unpublished), some aimed at readers, some aimed at booksellers.
Workshops I attended included:
--digging up bones: history, mystery and the paranormal
--A power hour--editor and agent panel fielding questions about getting published
--What makes fantasy work/Characterisation when your hero isn't human
--Witches, werewolves and the wicked
Workshops I wanted to attend but just couldn't get to because they clashed with the publisher talks included:
--Authors on publicity--what works and what doesn't
--romantic comedies--what's comic to the goose might not be to the gander
--how to create realistic fight scenes
--what really goes on in the publishing office and how to make an editor fall in love with your work
--hooks, books, and great beginnings
There was also workshops on Chicklit, writing murder-mysteries, writing thrillers, practicing your pitch, writing erotica, debut authors 'telling it as it is', creating bombshell heroines, lots of stuff on vampires, and writing series romances. Tons of stuff for everyone.
The Tim Tam Morning Tea
For me personally, there were two main highlights--the first would have to be helping to host the 'Tim Tam Morning Tea', which is where we met so many great authors (pic above) and introduced them to the delights of the Tim Tam. The second highlight would have to be doing the hospitality suite and booklover signings and having people come up and tell me how much they loved my books. That's such a buzz.
RT was a hell of a lot of fun--more so than I can ever remember the one RWAmerica conference I attended being. Maybe because it's aimed at readers, writers and booksellers, while RWA is aimed primarily at writers. Whatever the reason, I'm defintely going to Houston next year.