Wow! What a great weekend...the NECRWA 2009 Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference was super spectacular. I attended some excellent workshops, did lots and lots of schmoozing, and gabbed with some amazing authors. Two things occurred to me while sipping my appletini...one is that the NECRWA (New England Chapter of the Romance Writers of America) is a very warm, welcoming and sincere group of women (and a couple of men, too!). Whether you are a world-renowned bestseller or a "newbie" just starting your first manuscript, you are treated with kindness, respect and an infectious camaraderie borne from a love of romantic fiction. The second thing I marvelled at was how open and welcoming many of the well-known authors are. (I must admit the first time I met Loretta Chase at a book-signing, I stammered and blushed and practically required CPR to recover). Instead of being pumped up on their own self-importance, they are perfectly willing to hobnob with mere mortals, and actually chat, joke and encourage our own burgeoning careers. Jessica Andersen is one of the most down to earth people you could imagine. Annette Blair is a pocket rocket of enthusiasm. And Jennifer Greene and I discussed how much we enjoy adverbs. (I really, really love adverbs). This conference was especially exciting for me since I SOLD MY FIRST BOOK THIS WEEK!!!!! I am not sure if there are words to describe this euphoria, but I will try....HOLY MACARENA...I FINALLY DID IT! (Penelope is not feeling particularly modest at the moment).
I was feeling the love this weekend. Thanks to everyone who offered congratulations and well wishes and let me dirty dance with them on Friday night. (Honestly, it was the appletinis). I think I'm going to have a bumper sticker made that says "I Dirty Danced With Judith Arnold." After following that sacred journey of all new writers (you know, writing half a werewolf book before I knew what central conflict meant, accumulating enough rejection letters to wallpaper my entire house, and wondering why the hell I wrote a 55,000-word story about Santa in love), I am thrilled to be entering the next stage of my writing career. I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this writing community. And I am already fantasizing about throwing a kick-ass book launch party involving Chippendale dancers dressed in Santa hats, peppermint martinis and plenty of Christmas cookies. Maybe I'll even get a holly tattoo. Hmmm. I would also like to extend a special thanks to my friends The Quirky Ladies who believed in me even when I felt like a small bug crushed by a mountain of rejections.
Happy romance reading to all, and to all a good night!
Feeling profoundly proud, Penelope