Kira Brady

Jun 15
Getting geared up for RWA11

All across the country romance authors are gearing up for the 2011 Romance Writers of America National Conference in New York. When I say gearing up, I don’t just mean getting ready. I mean BUYING AN ARSELOAD OF RIDICULOUS SHOES AND DRESSES. I’m no exception. I bought one pair of shoes, four dresses, and a skirt. :)

This will be my second RWA conference. The first was 2008 in San Francisco, when I was a very young, very naive, aspiring romance author. Now I’ll return with my pink first sale ribbon and my PAN membership card. WOOT!

At that first conference one experience stood out, a premonition of Good Things to come, and I’ll share what I wrote then.


…and doesn’t see anyone she knows. Well, she sees an author, but Authors are intimidating, so she sits down next to an unknown woman eating alone at the bar and strikes up a conversation. The award ceremony starts in an hour, so no one is wearing name tags and everyone is dressed to the nines. The girl asks what the woman is eating, and orders a cheese plate, rambling on about being a vegetarian and how this is her first conference and how exciting it all is. Strangers, dontcha know, being so much less intimidating than Authors. The woman is very nice and asks who the girl was most excited to meet at the conference. Joanna Bourne being the answer, the two share a glowing moment gushing about Ms. Bourne and how they would give their left foot to read the next book, now. Then the woman asks where the girl is from, and they chat about the Emerald City and how nice the romance writers are there.

“So where are you from?” says our not-so-intrepid and rather clueless heroine.

The woman pauses, “Well, I’m an editor…” – Alarm bells start ringing in the girl’s head – “so I live in Manhattan.”

An Editor, dontcha know, is ever so much more intimidating than an Author.

“What is your name?” asks the girl in a very small voice, feeling like she’s nearing a very large cliff.

“Kate Duffy.”

“Oohhhh.” Not just An Editor: The Editor who, in Brenda Novak’s recent auction, fetched a whopping $3,500 to peek at a manuscript by some lucky (and now very poor) aspiring author. The girl gulps her drink, feeling rather faint. “So very pleased to meet you.”

Kate Duffy was an editor for Kensington Publishing, the house that bought my trilogy. Hearts of Darkness was still just a glimmer of an idea at that time. Ms. Duffy passed away in 2009. Now I think back on that chance meeting, and I wonder if the universe was somehow conspiring even then to set me on this path. If it were a book, I’d say definitely. There are no coincidences in fiction.

Have you ever been to a writer or reader conference? What Fabulous outfit would you wear?

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