Since everyone else is writing a reflection on RWA10, I decided to jump into that boat and write my own reflection.
Firstly, I was a RWA conference virgin. I knew this was going to be overwhelming, but I think at times it was a little TOO overwhelming for me. When we (Stephanie Draven and I) got to the hotel late on Tuesday night, it wasn’t all too busy with RWA people. When we woke up in the morning? The hotel had transformed into a romance writers pet store, with all sorts of writers wandering around, looking to be loved. Well, not quite, but you get the picture: the hotel was packed.
Wednesday wasn’t too bad, but we started to figure out just how much this was going to cost us when we had to pay upwards of $20 for breakfast alone. I couldn’t justify the expenses on food, and it made me angry that there weren’t any other options. For dinner, twice we went to the italian restaurant there, and both times I was pleased with the food and the service. The prices here weren’t so bad. Overall, this was one hump that we had a hard time getting over. I am a teacher. It’s summer time. I am not getting paid right now, and never in my right mind would I pay $20 for eggs and toast.
When I registered, I was a little annoyed to find that they put my real name on the tag and not my pen name, when I know for a fact that I put my pen name on the registration form. I went back and asked for a new badge, and thankfully, they printed me one, even if it was apparently against their protocol. The badges were annoying, since they kept flipping around, and I think everyone had been conditioned that week to look at everyone’s boobs before you looked at their face to introduce yourself. Award. Especially AFTER the conference…when you realize you are still doing just that.
To sum up the weekend, it was a lot to swallow. I like being around people, but it is hard to be around a bizillion other authors and important people and not feel like a small fish in a gigantic sea. I met some wonderful writers, including lots of Divas, which was fun, since I felt like I already knew them, and this was just my time to see their pretty faces. I got to meet some of my favs too, like Victoria Janssen, who has posted lots of pictures up in her blog, even ones with me in my footie pajamas at the Harlequin PJ party.
I was also invited to the Harlequin cocktail party, which was amazing, with its natural fruit sorbets, its crazy Harlequin Heartbreaker margarita, and plenty of women dancing around to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. I was nervous to go to this without Stephanie Draven, but with her encouragement, and Victoria’s kindness to let me duckling after her for a little bit, I definitely didn’t regret it.
Overall, the RWA experience was great, but the hotel experience was not. I am grateful for the Swan and Dolphin for hosting us at the last minute, and as far as that goes, they were wonderful. Our stay there was not wonderful, though. From being woken up by construction in the room above us (which the front desk didn’t ask them to stop and just told me ‘hopefully, it shouldn’t continue over the weekend’), then being woken up early in the morning by maid service when we weren’t checking out until noon (since when did maid service come around at 8 anyway? They were coming around in the afternoon before this), and oh yeah…the maid service didn’t CLEAN. They left dirty glasses in our room ALL week, they left trash on the ground, they didn’t clean the bathroom, and one of the days, they left our breakfast room service cart in there all afternoon, which made the room smell like old omelet. And how about the wifi we paid for, but we didn’t get because their wifi is horrible?
When we checked out, Stephanie Draven and I very politely let the staff know that we weren’t happy with our stay and that for a working conference, they certainly weren’t considerate with all the noise, lack of reliable internet and maids who don’t know how to read the paper that says we check out at noon. I wish I could remember who we checked out with, but he was very kind and compensated us for some of the shortcomings of the S&D hotel.
I am excited that next year, it will be closer to home and in a city that I am comfortable and familiar with: New York. At least then, we won’t be stranded in a gigantic hotel in the middle of Disney with no cheap options for breakfast. Then, I can skip outside and get an egg, cheese and bacon sandwich from a lunch cart on the corner of the streets of New York City — and trust me, they are worth all of the two dollars you have to pay.
Well, that’s my update. On the writing front, I’ve been keeping up with my 2k a day pace, and while I started out with it being erotica, I am wondering how if it is more of a historical romance. I figured I’d keep writing and see where it goes!