Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Road Diary

by Maggie Sefton

Off the road after 11 days travel which took me to New York City first for the ThrillerFest conference and then to Atlanta, GA, for several days for the very large RWA conference (Romance Writers of America).  Nearly 3000 attend that conference.   (Photos taken at the Awards Dessert)    
At ThrillerFest I was on a panel with seven other novelists discussing how to Keep the Suspense Going Until the End.  I spoke about DEADLY POLITICS.  With a panel that large, the sizable audience had a chance to hear several different opinions and author strategies.  Of course, I had the chance to re-connect with other mystery and suspense writers, which is always fun.  But what I enjoyed the most during my stay in New York City (thankfully before the horrid heat wave) was getting to spend two great evenings with daughter Melissa.  Good food, good wine, and great sharing conversations.  Moms always treasure times like that with our kids.

I arrived in Atlanta two days before the RWA conference began, so I stayed at a really nice Best Western Plus near the airport which had lots of amenities and restaurants attached, but it also offered peace and quiet.  That was perfect because I was working on a manuscript at the time.  Once Tuesday July 16th arrived, I switched over to the Downtown Atlanta Marriott Marquis (VERY nice indeed) and dove into the High Energy river that is RWA.  (Sail at the Marriott Marquis Pulse Bar which changes colors throughout the evening) 

Hundreds and hundreds (nearly 3000) Readers and writers from all over the country and the world.  RWA writers write ALL---and I do mean ALL---types of fiction:  romance in all forms (contemporary, historical, fantasy, paranormal, futuristic, romantic suspense, and erotica)  as well as mystery, suspense, steampunk, epic fantasy, vampires, werewolf's (or weres), shapeshifters of every description, Elvin fantasy for adults AND almost as many for Young Adults and New Adults.  With all these writers and readers RWA literally starts as early as 7:30 for breakfast then bam!  You're into the workshop sessions.  And there are seven to ten sessions offered each hour!  All day each day.  Whew!  (View into the upper atrium and floors above).

But the chance for brainstorming and exchanging ideas and learning new things and hearing first word on new trends bubbles everywhere.  It's exciting, actually.  Of course, evenings are best spent meeting totally new people and finding out what they're doing and discovering ALL kinds of connections!  That happens all the time at RWA.  It truly is a remarkable conference.  No other conference is like that.  Everytime I would sit down next to a stranger, I made a totally new acquaintance and connection.

There was a HUGE (over 450 authors) Literacy Booksigning on Wednesday evening before sessions began which was open to the public.  All proceeds go to local literacy organizations.  This last photo is of a devoted reader of the Kelly Flynn Mysteries who drove in from Tennessee with her two kids Gabrielle and Ben.   It was such fun to see them there!    Have any of you ever attended a writers or readers conference or convention?
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