Archive for July, 2008

Glorious Day 2

July 31, 2008

Today my guys and I headed for the Pacific. The picture is taken from the walk along the cliffs in Sutro Park or maybe it was called Sutro Walk. It was a stupendous place to hike and the only reason we went up there was a man at the bus stop recommended it. We saw the ocean side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Fog had rolled in and shrouded the top of the bridge and the opposite shore.
After walking up to the memorial for the USS San Francisco which was lost at the battle for Guadalcanal, we headed down the lower coastal path. It was posted.

So of course my boys went as close as possible without stepping over the safety wires. See the opening in the cliff? That’s a tunnel under it. When you walk through you hear the waves booming against the wall to your side. It’s amazing.

We walked from the top of the cliff in the picture above to the bottom and back up the other side. Then we had lunch in the Bistro at Cliff House where from our table we could watch wetsuit clad surfers waiting for the perfect wave, a pod of dolphins swimming by and sea birds on the rocks. The food was fantastic too.
Then we went to the Zoo. Lots of walking but a great day. I enjoyed going places with my boys when they were little. Today showed me how wonderful it is doing things with them when we can relate as people instead of parent and children. They are amazing.
Another time I’ll tell you about our bus ride with the boys from the ‘hood and share the shots I took of the flamings which made me think of the Cherry Bombs but I promised to say something about the conversations I had last night. Topics of discussion included how great it is to be with people who nod and completely understand when you talk about the characters in your head digging in their heels and refusing to go where you think they should go and waking up in the night to write down an idea and not stopping ’til the alarm goes off the next morning.

People are so nice. Two women fell into step with me while I was going back to registration yesterday and we were chatting. When I realized one of them was Linda Howard, I gathered my courage, told her how much I enjoyed her books and what great things I was hearing about her latest book. She said she’d been very nervous because it was different from her other books. Wow. She gets nervous too. Once her friend had registered and put on her name tag I realized she was Beverly Barton. Nice people.
After returning to the hotel, the guys relaxed in the room while I went down to the Literacy Signing. For those who haven’t ever been, at every RWA National Convention publishers donate books and authors sign them and all the proceeds of the sales go to the local literacy fund. Walking into the expansive ballroom you are hit by a wall of noise and dazed by the masses of people–mostly women–and the tables of books. It can be overwhelming. I know it was for me my first year. I walked around with my hands behind my back and didn’t buy a thing.
Not so last year or today. I searched out some of the authors whose books I’d bought for the first time at the conference last year and whose work I had enjoyed: Melissa Mayhue has two more books in her Daughters of the Glen series; Linnea Sinclair who writes science fiction romance. I bought the new books of some favorite authors: Hope Tarr, Elaine Fox and Kristan Higgins and Saskia Walker. And I continued the tradition I started last year of picking up some books by authors that were new to me. Enjoyed talking with the authors and the people in line waiting to pay for the books.
To round out a perfect day, I got a call from my friend Dee who asked me if I wanted to go to dinner with her. We had a delicous meal of Coastal Mexican food in a restaurant in a mall a few blocks from the hotel and I loved getting a chance to catch up with her and just talk.
The workshops start tomorrow. Haven’t caught up with some other friends who are coming to the meeting. Hope to see them tomorrow. Well I have too. We’ve planned to sit together at lunch.
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I Am Here In San Francisco

July 30, 2008

Yes, I am in San Francisco for the Romance Writers of America National Conference. And I am wired. On line but also excited, excited, excited. Less than 12 hours here and already I’m motivated and inspired.

We got up at 4am Eastern Standard and have been going strong–at least I have–ever since. And of course I had trouble getting to sleep last night because of pre-conference anxiety. Did I pack everything I’ll need, is everything set at home for the pet sitter? Did the kids pack everything they will need? I maybe got 4 hours of sleep. I barely remember getting up and dressed. In fact in the Charlotte Airport between connections, I went in the restroom, looked in the mirror and thought “Wow, I’m wearing a necklace. When did I put that on?”

I spent the first flight (not long enough to pull out the computer and start writing) and the time between flights doing the in-flight magazine crosswords. Then I had to try the Sudukos. Besides there was the movie (Nim’s Island–enjoyed it) and the meal. Then I had no excuse. I needed to at least try and work on my revisions. And I wrote more than 1000 words. I had insight into the scene. I knew where I was going next. It felt so good since I’ve spent the last week cleaning house, getting errands done, packing and NOT WRITING.

Then we get to SF. BTW my DH and 3 boys came with me this year. An experiment. DH’s brother lives out here and it’s been 7 or 8 years since we were last out so I talked them into it. Wasn’t sure how it would work. I’m here to learn, see old friends, make new ones, network. But my family is here too and I want to spend some time sightseeing with them. I’ve balanced it. I had DH schedule us in early in case I went to the Leadership conference on Wed. but I decided not to do that. I’m a poor leader and not going to run for any other offices in my chapter in the foreseeable future. And to be honest, though it was interesting and stimulating last year I did not have much to bring back. Our chapter pres. attended last year too and I think she got more out of it. It’s just not my strength.

So today and tomorrow were for my DH and boys then the conference and then Sun we have time to do some more sightseeing together before we take the redeye home.

We get in, get the luggage, DH calls the car service and we go out to wait. He’s all concerned because they said they were sending a Lincoln Town Car and he thought the 5 of us and our (mostly my) luggage wouldn’t fit. I’m in conference mode. We’re here. It’s all good. So maybe we’ll be squished but we’ll get to the hotel and so what we’ll survive.

What drives up? A black stretch limo. I think that made DH19’s trip right there. Mr. Laid Back is taking photo’s with his cell phone. And I felt like a published author with a readership. It felt–good. And it helped send my self doubts right out the window. It was my first trip in a limo too. DS13 was blase. He rode in a limo after meeting a selling goal for magazines in middle school.

At the hotel, the rooms weren’t ready but I was watching the people come through the lobby and check-in and I RECOGNIZED PEOPLE. Some had done workshops I had attended. Some were familiar faces from the other conferences I attended. It felt good.

Another thing that felt good was being the one who was here on business. All our other trips have been tied to business DH was on. I was the one who took the kids around to see the sights while he was in meetings. And I loved it and am so happy we have had the opportunities. But to have the kids see me as a professional means a lot more than I ever expected. I don’t know if it makes a difference to them but it does to me. And I see it as a start. This may be the first time but it won’t be the last. My confidence is rising with every minute and I haven’t even attended the first workshop.

It was a bit off putting because all my guys were wiped out and couldn’t drum up interest in going out and about today. I was wired. It surprised them. When I told them I spent all of every conference I went to like this, DH told the boys he might have to room with them to get some sleep.

So we went to eat then got into our rooms, DS17 fell asleep. DS19 vegged out on the bed, texted his girlfriend and went on-line and DH begged for a little time to recharge his batteries. So I took DS13 swimming. Note: If you go to a conference with a bunch of women and you think no I won’t take my swimming suit because I don’t look the way I want–forget it. Everyone else is thinking the same thing and the pool is empty. So is the spa and the one here is almost big enough to swim laps. After spending almost 12 hours either on a plane or in an airport, stretching my muscles by swimming and then soothing them in the spa felt glorious. Take your suit and go to the pool.

After our swim and a shower, I took DS13 to the consierge lounge to check out the horrie doevers. I saw a friend from Australia that I’d met in the CL at my first conference in Atlanta. When DS13 went back to the room, she invited me into her group and I spent the next hour and a half talking with writers. Not big name published writers but writers of differing levels of experience, some in their 10th conference, some in their first and it was great as it always is. What I have found is that romance writers are welcoming, supportive and a whole lot of fun.

Check in tomorrow to hear what we talked about and more about the City on the Bay and the Nationals. And the wonderful and wise words of a reader friend that express exactly what it feels like to put your heart on the page and send it out into the world.

Okay, I’ve been awake for more than 21 hours. If I’m going to be functional tomorrow I better try and get some sleep.