Seismic Evil is Under Contract
August 12, 2010
Saturday Smackdown: The Action Hero
August 15, 2010
(from l-r) Beverly Jenkins, Carole Mortimer, Me, Carla Cassidy and Elizabeth Sinclair

It’s been almost two weeks since RWA2010 ended at The Swan and The Dolphin resorts in Orlando, Florida. It was a hot and steamy week filled with great romance authors, great conversations and enough memories to inspire me for the year to come.  After reading Tracey Devlyn’s fabulous What I Learned at RWA  I wanted to share a few of my own.

Romance Writers of America 2010 National Conference

The RWA conference had to be moved in the spring from our original destination at the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville due to the Nashville floods.  It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue during the conference and everyone mentioned the sorrow we felt for the people and the businesses there.   Our hats were also off to the RWA committee that made the arrangements for a swift and smooth transition to The Swan and The Dolphin hotels.  (Thank you for all those who explained the dolphin fish, I really didn’t get it either when I was there because they looked like cartoon carp to me.)

The 30th RWA National Conference was a first for me. Although I have been a member of RWA for over a decade, I’ve never managed to head off to the Nationals conference (not even when it was in Dallas, what was I thinking?), but to everything there is a season and I have to say, this year must have been mine.  So without further ado, here is what I learned:

  • Drivers don’t know what the left hand lane is for on the Interstate
  • Florida humidity is sweaty stuff in the summer
  • The Rose Garden at the Yacht Club where I was married is still beautiful 
  • Green chicken is not my thing, even if it tastes good
  • Romance readers are a vibrant and loyal group who will stand in line for hours without complaint
  • Romance authors are an incredible mix of veteran authors, fresh voices and everyone in between
  • You can chat it up with your heroes without realizing who they are 
  • You can take a walk-in agent/editor appointment if you are willing to be patient
  • Pitching is no where near as hard when you are enthusiastic about your story
  • I can survive on short sleep and still be cheerful
    Heather Long & Kim Quinton
  • I am no where near as antisocial as I once thought I was
  • Romance writers had it easier thirty years ago – BULLSHIT 
  • Copy edits used to involve taping paper together and rolling it out so you can rework it (!!!!)
  • Beverly Jenkins is a heart stopper and her fans are fabulous
  • Elizabeth Sinclair is my hero and I want to be here when I grow up
  • Carla Cassidy is a riot and has the best shoes – ever
  • Carole Mortimer is an absolute doll 
  • Being a Conference virgin opens a lot of conversations
  • Yes, my first conference was FABULOUS (for all those who asked)
  • Romance writers come from all walks and regions of life
  • An Alabama accent is a terrific thing to listen to

  • Roomates and Road Trips are best with great friends
  • Story ideas can be born at the oddest times

  • Nora Roberts is a fun and entertaining speaker
  • Jayne Ann Krentz is not afraid of taking risks
  • Never give up on a dream, watching someone you care about win a Golden Heart is tear-worthy
  • The workshops are not to be missed – even if you can’t go to all of them
Congratulations to Angi Morgan Golden Heart Winner

The biggest lesson of all — no one is a stranger at an RWA conference. I met so many terrific women (and men). I met so many that I don’t remember all the names, but I know their faces, I know their smiles and I know their warm welcomes from the ladies I chatted with outside in the smoking area, to the ones I shared a table with at lunch to the ones I met in the elevators, the lobby and in the book signings.  No one is a stranger and if you go in with the right attitude, you come out with so much more than you could have dreamed.

How was your National’s experience?


  1. Sandy Wills says:

    It really does sound like a ton of fun. Can't wait until New York next year!

  2. Hi Heather,

    I had a great time chatting with you throughout the conference. Did anyone tell you that you look HOT in scrubs? 🙂


  3. Awesome post, Heather. I'm glad you had such a fabulous time at your first conference.

    Jen (from NT, if you don't recognize me 🙂

  4. Lisa Pietsch says:

    OMG your face says it all – YOU HAD A BLAST!

  5. Awww, you all look so happy in the photo! 😀

  6. Here's to losing our National conference virginity! lol It really was a great conference and I'm glad you had a good time. Those are terrific lessons to takeaway. And I agree, I loved that everyone was so friendly and welcoming–makes it a lot easier for an introvert like me. 🙂

  7. Tracey is right, you do look hot in scrubs! I had a great conference also and it was great fun seeing the MayMersion gang. We seem to laugh a lot when we are together. I don't know how Margie was able to stand us for three days!

  8. Thanks for posting. Looks like a mah-velous time was had by all.

  9. Angi Morgan says:

    Can't believe you cried, Heather! I think someone said you never cry!

    But I guarantee, when you win a RITA, I'll cry for you.

    Thanks for including me >>very big grin<<
    Great conference, Great roommates.

  10. Heather didn't mention she's my hero! I got to the conference and realized I had neglected to pack my toothbrush. I was whining about it and Heather calmly pulled a brand new toothbrush out of her purse! She's now become my official tooth fairy! Even without the toothbrush, Heather it was an absolute delight to hang out with you. And about those shoes – I came home with the biggest blister of my life and was nearly crippled for two days, but hey, I'll sacrifice feet for good shoes any day!
    Carla Cassidy

  11. Heather Long says:

    Sandy, it was so worth — even the longer working hours to get everything done beforehand. I wouldn't have missed it for the world and I truly am counting down the days to New York.

    Tracey, lol – no, no one told me I looked HOT in scrubs. But thank you. It was so awesome to see you and Adrienne and Pat and Tricia and Margie — I just wish Courtney could have made it. Ah well, something else to look forward to in New York!

    Jen – Thanks, it was a blast!

    Lisa – Yes ma'am! That expression cannot lie!

    Vegetarian Cannibal – Those ladies really had me in stitches every day I was there!

    Roni – Amen Roni! I was glad I got to know you a little better while we were there and that I actually made the connection to Fiction Groupie (who knew Heather could be so dense, I did! I did!)

    Adrienne – You know, I still can't wait to read more about those prissy poodles and that mystery, right? That opening still cracks me up.

    Angi – Nope, I don't cry. Not that easily and hardly at all. But yeah, the look on your face and Tim's — that was worth it.

    Carla Cassidy – My lady of the fabulous shoes! It was my pleasure to just have that toothbrush on me. Really, until you mentioned needing one, I'd forgotten it was there. But I will keep them in stock for Nationals — the toothbrush is my thing now!

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