"Romance has been elegantly defined as the offspring of fiction and love." ~Benjamin Disraeli
For anyone who isn't familiar, RWA stands for Romance Writers of America. It's THE national writers' group to belong to, for published and aspiring romance authors. Depending on who you talk to, of course, there are pros and cons. I joined years ago, honestly, so I could write "...am a RWA member" in query letters to agents. That aside, RWA local chapters do put on some good conferences and sponsor some good contests, depending on the chapter. I joined my local one, Hudson Valley RWA, a couple of years ago and have met some terrific fellow writers.
The Big Dance is RWA's National Conference: big, splashy, and expensive as all get-out. But supposedly everyone who's anyone goes (I have not ever attended...I wanted to, this year, but, well, the economy made that decision for me a few months back). Days of workshops, mingling, NY Times best-selling guest speakers, parties, chances to meet agents and editors...you get the idea.
This year, it was held in San Francisco, CA, and my dear writing friend Cynthia Borris crashed the party. She's so good at that: hangs out in the hotel lobby and chats up those coming and going, so without paying a dime she's hanging out on the fringes and getting into the whole conference groove.
She emailed to tell me about it, and lo and behold she was talking to someone (from NY who was giving a workshop on making book videos...according to the schedule it looks like it may have been Diana Holquist, but who knows?)...the woman said, "Oh, I've heard of Allie Boniface. I hear she's a great writer."
How cool is that? I wasn't even there and my name got dropped! Major thanks to Cynthia for working me into the conversation :) She even blogged about the conference, and she's a new blogger, so drop by if you want to read about her experience.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the two awards given out at the Conference. The Golden Heart goes to unpublished authors (in a variety of sub-genres) and the RITA goes to published authors. My fellow Hudson Valley RWA chapter member (and hilarious writer-friend, who also throws one heck of an authors' tea) Jenna Kernan was nominated for a RITA in the Historical category this year - and even though she didn't win, the nomination is huge. If you haven't read one of her books, check out her website. You might find something you like :)
(Oh, and you can see the list of this year's winners here.)
Next year, the Conference is in Washington, D.C., and I'm making every effort to attend...