Now that I am no longer a bear of little brain thanks to about 11 hours sleep (why are conferences so tired making?).
Firstly some pics:
The lulus at the costume party (we should've got best dressed crit group)...left to right The Dark Fairy (aka Keri), The Scarlet Pimpernel (aka Robyn), The Mysterious Fortune Teller (aka Chris), The Bright Fairy (aka Carolyn), Captain Jack Sparrow (aka moi who people didn't recognise thanks to much bronzer on this pale gal..or maybe the beard and moustache!) and The Punk Fairy (aka Freya).
The lulus at the awards dinner looking gorgeous. Left to right (Robyn (who did a brilliant job MC-ing, Carolyn, Freya, Me, Keri, Chris)
Carolyn with her Emerald (somehow I don't seem to have a Chris with her Clendon though I'm sure I took one...will have to steal one off another lulu).
It was a good weekend for the Lulus with Carolyn taking out the Emerald, Robyn being a great MC at dinner, Keri rocking the panels and chats, and I think about five editor requests being garnered between us (not bad when only two of us actually pitched!). Let's hope some of those requests bring sales...
Apart from that, the conference generally was fabulous. The Langham is a beautiful hotel with very seductive fluffy pillows (though I resisted buying one in the hotel shop). The Friday workshop with the always brilliant Barbara Samuel was great. Something about the way she talks about writing seems to always connect in the right way which is important. You not only have to find your own process in writing but find the teachers that work for you too. Not everyone will. For instance, Stephen King says something along the lines of final draft should be first draft less 10%. If I did that, I'd have a very short book with nothing but dialogue. Obviously his first drafts are long. Mine are short so I have to add in later drafts (I cut and tighten too but generally need to replace what I cut). So if you ever hear writing advice that makes you instinctively go "NO", then just ignore it.
The cocktail party on Friday night. I don't usually like dressing up but being a pirate was cool. I want pirate boots like I had for my Captain Jack costume though I have no idea where I'd wear them. Sadly the real Johnny did not turn up to tell me he admired my imitation. There were many fabulous costumes, many people apparently have the hots for Captain Jack, and as always, it broke the ice nicely.
Saturday I did Deep POV with Anna Campbell and Deep Editing with Margie Lawson (there must've been a deep theme going on). I pitched and Cindy is interested so yay. Sadly my pitch meant I missed half of Barbara's plenary but the bits I heard were great. Stephanie Laurens gave a thought provoking speech on romance and the survival of the species and Jo Beverley's rakish and romantic voles illustrated why you need your characters to be madly, crazily in love.
Then dinner which was fun and followed by more wine and chocolate to celebrate Carolyn and Chris's brilliance. Sadly much wine and a late night made Sunday a bit of a slow start but it was also a great day once the caffeine kicked in. Jenny Hutton from M&B gave a brilliant short speech about cliched openings and Fiona McCarthur's Shrek Side of Writing and Anne Gracie's Reading the Rejection Letter wrapped up the workshops with more wisdom and inspiration. Hopefully I'll have more time to put it all to use now that I've stepped down from the RWA committee. It's been a great three years helping run such a wonderful organisation and I hope the new committee just keeps taking it from strength to strength.