~ By Celia Lucente
(This aerial photo of the wonderful San Antonio was shared by my friend and fellow writer with Soul Mate Publishing, Jaye Garland.)
The 2014 RWA conference took place in two buildings: on the left is Marriott Rivercenter, the building with the twin spires and to the right slightly forward the upward flat rectangular building is the Marriott Riverwalk. In between the two is the Riverwalk Canal, which begins at the point of the Riverwalk hotel and continues for fifteen miles of total coolness.
From the moment, I down loaded my RWA Mobil App I madly filled every hour with craft courses, guest speakers, author book signings, and even cocktail breaks. The hardest part was figuring out how I could maximize my time to squeeze in as much as possible and make it between the Riverwalk and Rivercenter properties to get to the class on time. And get a seat.
This was my second conference. I didn’t get in as many pitches as last year but I got a few and received requests, but mostly I gained important pearls of wisdoms from the agents and editors I met with.
I was so happy to see my friend Laura Drake get the RITA award for her book entitled Sweet Spot. Yeah for Laura!!
There just isn’t enough time to catch all the classes you want so you have to order the conference recordings. However, with your registration you get a flash drive of workshop handouts, which you can use along with the conference recordings and attend at your leisure, virtually.
Between running from classes, attending the WF mini conference, and touring I missed many workshops. But, no worries, just today I got my conference recording MP3 flash drive. So now, I can catch up.
And the books. Oh, the tons of books you get. Instead of shipping them, I took someone’s suggestion and brought empty suitcases. The planned worked perfectly as I packed, repacked and balanced them to weigh exactly fifty pounds. They made it back without an extra charge.
I brought my fiancé along for the trip. At night, we climbed down the stairs to the wonderful, “cool” Riverwalk, which boasts many great eating and drinking spots. Plus, it’s a great escape from the hundred-degree Texas heat. Filled with ducks and throngs of people milling about. And plenty of shopping too.
We toured the Alamo, rode a double-decker recorded “voice” guided tour bus, floated up seventy-two floors to the Towers of Americas to enjoy happy hours, snacks and listen to the brawny Texas basketball coaches in town for a convention of their own. We journeyed on a “live” guided river canal cruise boat and spent a day with a cousin who lived nearby tubing the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels about a half-hour ride from downtown San Antonio.
Next year the conference will be held in the city of all cities, New York. And I’ll have my first book signing about singles girls in guess what city? Taitinis’ anyone? Until next year, I’ll reflect often on the people I’ve met, the lessons I’ve learned, and swag possibilities I’ll need to tag along as a debut author. Until then, fellow contempories, write often, keep building your craft and most importantly have a fun while you’re at it!
Celia Lucente is a full-time writer of contemporary romance and women’s fiction and is seeking either an agent or acquiring editor for her finished works. She is a PRO member of RWA, and a member of the RWA Contemporary Romance, RWA-WF, RWA Romance Critique Group and her local chapter of Space Coast Authors. She is a participant with several critique groups and CP’s and enjoys working on her craft by helping fellow writers.