Sunday, August 2, 2009

Steampunk and More Workshopping at RWA

On Friday morning, (again at 8am) I present a workshop with Susan Gibberman and John Charles about selling your book and promoting it to libraries. This was really fun, because I learned as much about how other library systems work as the audience did. Because I work for one of the busiest, and best funded libraries in the US, I don't realize how many other libraries struggle with reduced staffing, minimal programming budgets and limited book $.

John is also the Romance Reviewer for Booklist magazine, so I was delighted to meet him and hear his take on the genre.

At the end of the 2 hour program, (whew - we did find things to talk for all that time) a small group of folks come up to ask us questions. A woman patiently waits, and I keep glancing at her name tag and thinking, I recognize that name....I wonder why?

When she introduces herself and hands me her newest book cover I realize she is Gail Dayton, and I morph into total fan-girl mode. I just finished reading her book, New Blood (a Steampunk Romance) and LOVED it. I'm so thrilled to meet her! And for those of you who don't know what Steampunk is - let me define it. It's a sub genre that is written in the Victorian age, that has elements of fantasy and the technology is based on steam. If you've seen the movies The Wild, Wild West or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen you've seen Steampunk.
Which brings up an interesting note: There are many editors and agents asking for this at the conference. I just finished reading a fall book coming out by Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan, and it is Steampunk, so maybe that's the reason. Anyway, I've been working on a YA book in this genre, so I'm excited to see how it turns out.
I'm now preparing for the Awards Luncheon, because this is the day I officially receive my Librarian of the Year award. The moment I've been waiting for, the fun, the excitement, the butterflies in my belly because I will be accepting this in front of 2500 people.

I get special seating at the front of the ballroom, and chat with my fellow honorees. Finally, the President of RWA begins to announce our names, and then it's my turn to go up on stage, and be on 5 giant screens!

After thanking RWA and my local chapter, Greater Seattle RWA, I tried to offer something in the way of words of wisdom, but short - very short, so this is what I said:

Words are important, stories are powerful and books can change lives. Please keep writing, because if you stop, we won't have anything to put on the shelves.

Maybe not brilliant, but certainly short. Then we listened to a wonderful speech by Eloisa James. She's funny, endearing and had great writing stories to share. I stayed behind to get a book signed and for a photo op.

Then it's Party Night! Friday evening is when the publishers have their parties and I'm off with my sweet little friend, Elizabeth, to the St. Martin's party. We walk up the street, and then I remember - I didn't bring the invitation with me and don't exactly remember the name of the restaurant. I assure Elizabeth I'll remember the name when I see it, and I do, sorta. I see a wine bar, we run across the street and thank goodness Cherry Adair is sitting in the window so I know it's the right place.

There is a crush of people, but I am delighted to discover there is a bartender in D.C. who can make a pomegranate martini -- and order one. Actually, several, and before long Diana Love and several others are drinking them too. (I advise them, because this drink gives you antioxidants and booze in one shot).

Then we grab a cab with Diana and head downtown to the Harlequin party. Now, I confess, I wasn't actually invited to this party, but I was assured by Dennis Graham, (Heather Graham's husband) that we'd be welcome. He was right!

This event rocks - with an open bar, food and a DJ. The dance floor is crowded, but we manage to hook up with Jesse Petersen (Jenna Petersen) and her agent, Miriam, and we rock and roll for a while.

Then I realize it's really late and I'm not as young as I used to be. Jenna and I grab a cab and head back to the hotel. Even though on the West Coast it's only 10pm, I'm exhausted and fall into bed.

Good NEWS - I won't have to present a program at 8am tomorrow morning.

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