July 2, 2008 at 10:10 am (Events, Writing)

Ah, July… June, you tried, I’ll give you points for that, but you never really had a chance. I love July. Not because of the sweltering heat here (which some sick people actually love), not because of any patriotism or dates that have special meaning, but for one little reason.

It’s time for RWA Nationals.

Yes, I’m a Nationals slut. I love staying at the hotel, I love the different (though possibly crappy if you were at Dallas last year) food, the conferences are divine, the literacy signing is a treat and the free books are almost as good as chai tea. What I adore, live for, soak in and take with me when I go for, is the vibe. After 51 weeks of the year when you flinch every time you tell somebody you write romance, here is a convention that is made for you, celebrates you, what you write, what you read, and wants to see more of these Happily Ever After books in the world. It doesn’t matter who you talk to there–from a top agent or editor, to a New York Times bestseller, to the person who first wrote “Once upon a time…” the day before, they all want you to succeed. They are pushing for you to get published as much as you yearn for it. It is the most supportive, positive, active group I have ever been witness to. And this one little hit, one week per year, is enough to get me through until the next year. That’s how amazing it is.

So for the month of July, I’m going to be blogging about Nationals. My enormous experience of 3 previous conventions, combined with my innate knowledge of what’s best for people, is going to lead this month’s posts. (That’s my cheeky way of saying these posts will be based from my experiences and take what you will from them. Many roads to Oz.) I’d love to hear from those of you who have been there, have been to other conferences, or have any other thoughts about this Mecca I’m swooning over. It’s going to be great.

It’s 750 miles to San Francisco, I’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and I’m wearing sunglasses.  Hit it.




  1. Robin said,

    Bring it on! Just reading this post, you’ve got me more excited about going, so I can’t wait to read what further knowledge you shall bestow upon me! 😉

  2. L.A. Mitchell said,

    I couldn’t swing National this year, so this post made me a bit nostalgic for all I’ll miss. I’ve only been to two, but was a finalist last year and felt like a princess at the ball until the thought of getting up in front of all those people made me queasy.

    I’ve been to other writing conferences outside of RWA and National is BY FAR the warmest, most sincere group I’ve ever run across. I hope you have an amazing time 🙂

    Oh, and good luck with your upcoming surgery. And I’m SO with you! The whistle…ah… I was a goner and cried long AFTER the movie was over.

    Take care!

  3. Pam said,

    Robin–you’re not a newbie to Nationals, babe, so I want to hear what you have to say! And part of why I’m so excited is you’re going to be there! 😀

    L.A.–We’ll miss you, but maybe next year? And I don’t think it’s possible to go to Nationals and not have an amazing time! 😉 (For those of you wondering, the whistle refers to a cyber-discussion about the movie Titanic. Check out L.A.’s blog for the story.)

  4. Caryn said,

    Sounds like a fun series! I had to laugh at the innate knowledge of what’s best for other people part. It’s always easier to know what others should do than it is to know what we ourselves should do, isn’t it? 😉

  5. Sandra said,

    Oh, I wish I was going this year. Unfortunately, the family thought they needed a vacation. Don’t these people get enough of my attention?

    Not really. Family vacations are fun and as my kids are getting older — no, I’ll not tell you exactly how old, suffice it to say no one asks for ID when I buy wine now — we may not have many of these moments of family fun (i.e. insanity) left.

    We’re to San Antonio and fun on Lake Texoma — not exactly in the same part of the state, and yes I realize gas is outrageous, but it should all be fun.

    Drink a drink for me at conference, and avoid the hotel food. I so wish I’d met you last year in Dallas. My crew and I could have definitely fed you some find Texas cuisine. Stop laughing. There really is such a thing as Texas cuisine (pronounced ‘qui-iiii-zine’) Do make sure to drawl it out.

    Have a wonderful time. I’ll be back to check in on your fun time.

  6. Robin said,

    Last year was my first conference and I have to agree with everything you said, Pam! Romance writers are the warmest, most generous people I’ve ever met. The vibe IS amazing and I was really overwhelmed by it all. This year I hope to have a little better handle on things now that I know what to expect. And I absolutely can’t wait to meet you!! I mean, I’ve never hung out with a Nationals slut before. You’re not going to be a bad influence on me, are you? 😉

  7. Lainey Bancroft said,

    I so wanna scream “road trip!” but considering it is more like 3000 miles between me and San Francisco, I’ll have to get ‘the vibe’ vicariously. 😦

    I’ve never been to nationals, but I’ll console myself with a baby conference in Ottawa ON in the fall.

    I want all the details!!! (especially if you’re going to be a bad influence on Robin) 😉

  8. Pam said,

    Caryn–the burden of knowing what’s best for the rest of the world is heavy to bear, but again, I have the curse of strong shoulders. It’s not easy being this paragon of knowledge! 😀

    Sandra–we’ll meet one of these days, especially considering you’re practically a neighbor to Arizona. (In the west, anything under 1000 miles is a neighbor!) And I promise to have a drink for you if you have fun in San Antonio for me, especially the Riverwalk! 🙂

    Robin–Of course I’m going to be a bad influence on you! What fun is it if I’m not? 😉

    Lainey–we’ll be sure and send you some of the vibe. (And I’ll send you pictures of Robin being bad!) Maybe next year in D.C.? 🙂

  9. Caryn said,

    Oh, but you paragon so well! 😉

  10. Melissa Blue said,

    What can I say about National’s? Well, it’s the best place to be on Earth. The vibe is not to be denied, because of it I wrote 40 pages DURING National’s. There is something about being around people who love what you write and read what you love to read.

    Thanks for this post, Pam. I forgot how exciting just waiting to get to National’s can be. It’s almost here. Squee! And dang it, I have to post about it eventually, too.

  11. Alyson Noel said,

    This will be my first National conference and I can’t wait!
    Any tips??

  12. Pam said,

    Caryn–of course I do. It’s what paragoning is all about. (I actually said that with a straight face–points for me!)

    Melissa–Yup, less that 4 weeks! I think we’re going to drop-kick your lack of interest with your characters out into the ocean. It’s Nationals, baby!!! Woot!!!

    Alyson–oh yes, this whole month is going to be simply full of tips, because I cannot resist sharing. I love Nationals and will tell everybody everything I know about it, regardless if they’ve been there before! 🙂 (However, if you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to email me! As you can tell, I lurve to share me knowledge! ) 😀

  13. Marilyn Brant said,

    I’ll be there!!! National Conference #6 for me, and I can feel the excitement (and the chaotic scheduling) in the air already. Can’t wait to meet you in person, Pam :).

    As for tips…Alyson, I’ll tell you my big mistake from my first conference: I tried to do everything (note: this is impossible, so I failed miserably and hit information overload by Fri. night :). And everyone will say this (because it’s true), bring comfortable shoes!

    To L.A., Sandra and anyone else not coming this year, you’ll be missed.

  14. Ilana said,

    Can’t go this year – its just too far and too much money.

    But hey, isn’t it in Washington D.C. next year?

    I’ll be looking for those photos!

  15. Pam said,

    Marilyn–back ‘atcha! I want to touch your pink ribbon for luck! (That’s not as bad as it sounds–remind me to do a post on ribbons and what they mean.)

    And did anybody else fall a little bit in love with Marilyn with her “You’ll be missed” comment? I told you this is the most supportive group in the world.

    Ilana–yup, D.C is next year, much closer to your neck of the woods. And as soon as Caryn tells me how, I’ll be posting photos from San Fran! 😉

  16. sandi shelton said,

    Oh, I hope you have a wonderful time! I went to one regional RWA conference and was also just blown away by how wonderful and generous everyone was! Got into the most amazing conversations!! I’ve been friends with lots of writers…but the ones who write romances are the best people on earth! Someone should get a grant and figure out why. Oh, wait. Let’s just write our novels instead and forget wasting time on grants.

  17. Mel (MelissaDK) said,

    I’m so excited about Nationals but I must admit that I’m also terrified. It’ll be my very first time.

    So, I’m thrilled that you’ll be blogging all about it so that I can get a preview of what’s to come!

  18. Pam said,

    Sandi–we’ll have a great time, but you will be missed. I’m glad you got to go to a regional conference. (Those are fabulous, too.) 🙂

    Mel–you’ll be in very good hands with all of us going and our experience levels. And I mean it–you’ll be amazed how warm and friendly people are. It is A-Ma-Zing. Can’t wait to see you there! 😀

  19. Kyle said,

    I’d love to hear what a Romance conference is like… I’ve been to the Maui Writers Conference (HOPEFULLY, I’ll be there in Honolulu this year!!!), and I’m going to ThrillerFest on Thursday (I’ll let you know how it goes!).

    These places really are amazing. The Maui Writers Retreat had much of the feelings you mentioned about RWA, where everyone is really behind you. It’s a great feeling to have so much support.

    Hope you have fun when it comes, and I look forward to hearing about your past experiences!

  20. Pam said,

    Kyle–have no fear, I’ll be blogging about it! I’ve heard great things about Maui from Jenny Crusie, and you’d better blog about Thrillerfest!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s