*Reprinted from a guest blog I wrote for Unabridged Andra*
No, not that kind of virgin. That would be pretty remarkable since I have two kids…I’m spiritual and all, but two virgin births would be a bit much to digest. So just what kind of virgin am I? I’m an RWA virgin. Yes, I’ve been writing romantic suspense novels for nearly ten years (published for three) and I’ve never been to an RWA conference.
But that’s changing now and by the time you read this, I will no longer hold that status. As I write, I’m on a train into New York City to attend a few events….well, I guess I’m really just getting to first base, maybe second, as I’m not attending the entire conference, but I’m well on my way to being a fallen (and fulfilled) romance writer. So why now? Was New York City just too attractive to resist? Or maybe it was the city’s unique personality that drew me?
I’ll admit, it was something a bit more selfish than that. One of my books, “What Echoes Render” (the book released just prior to “The Frailty of Things”) is a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier Excellence in Mystery and Suspense contest. What other reason to take the jump than having someone tell you they like you? (Did that sound needy?) Anyway, I’ll be enjoying the Death by Chocolate reception and awards ceremony, hosted by the Kiss of Death Chapter, as well as meeting a few readers and fellow authors.
Like a good date, I’m preparing (and you know what they say, preparation is 90% of the battle, not that I view this as war or anything). I’ve had my nails done, picked out a cute dress, and am bringing a close friend from college as a wingman, or woman, as the case may be. But also like a date, I have to admit, I’m nervous. I’m sure you’ve all heard how introverted many writers are and I’m no different. I’m pretty good at talking with people one on one (my preference) and in small groups. In fact I ADORE hosting and attending small dinner parties and get togethers. But put me in a room with hundreds of people and well, does the term wallflower ring a bell? Which doesn’t necessarily make a good first date. And so I’m nervous.
Will there be those awkward silences and pauses where, instead of sitting across the table from someone wondering what to say, I will just be wandering aimlessly around the conference? Will I find (and keep) the balance between just enough liquid courage to have fun and the kind of overindulgence that happens at conferences (and on dates) that might leave me taking the mental walk of shame the next day, wondering why I said some of the things I said or if I offended anyone? Or maybe I can just be the one to ask all the questions of others—I’m good at that—and never reveal anything of who I am. Does anyone know what the balance is between learning and sharing in order to create a good foundation for a relationship?
I’ve been married almost seventeen years, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to think about these early-relationship kinds of things.
But truth be told, a good relationship is what I’m looking for. Whether you read or write erotica to Christian romance (or like me, write mysteries with a bit of romance in them), the romance writers community is one of the most supportive, fun, and engaged group of writers I’ve floated around the periphery of. Like eyeing that person across the room for an entire party and then finally getting the nerve to go talk to them….yep, that’s me for the next few days.
So I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m sure I’ll have posted pictures and updates on my Facebook feed if you want to see for yourself how it went (or if you just want to see the cute dress I wore ). But this date is looking good and despite my nerves, I have my hopes up—after all, I already know we have a lot in common.
So I had a great time during my short intro to the RWA National Conference – maybe it was like that dating agency “It’s just Lunch.” But I had dinner…with my publisher and some wonderful Booktrope authors and ladies of the Long Island RWA chapter.
Here’s me and my wing-woman at the reception. I didn’t win, but was so glad I went.
And I even got to meet one of my favorite readers!
So there it is, the date worked out well. Well enough to make a second date for San Diego next year!