Ask anyone at RWA on Saturday and they're likely to tell you they're "ready to go home" or "I'm happy today is the last day." It's a lot of non-stop work, fun and socializing crammed into a few long days, which means everyone begins spinning fantasies of sleeping in their own beds again. I missed My Man, but damn skippy, I really missed our bed.
By Saturday I was beyond toast. Not only was my voice gone, but I woke up congested. Stuffy nose, headache - the works. Which means I wasn't up for much of anything. But I pulled up my big girl panties and hit the five (yes, five) publisher book signings...and I'm glad I did. Because if I had slept in I would have missed the 9AM Ballantine signing and I would have missed Tess Gerritsen. As sometimes happens at RWA, an author won't be "on the books" for the Literacy Signing or to give a workshop. However, they might turn out to socialize and maybe do a publisher signing. It's happened a couple times in the past with Lisa Kleypas, and it happened this year with Gerritsen. She was signing copies of her new hard cover (Ice Cold) and there was lots of promo for the new TV series - Rizzoli And Isles. I was a good girl and did not take a book (hey, I've read it already, loved it already, and I have a signed copy of Body Double at home) and instead went with a picture. I always forget how giant and lumbering I am until I'm taking pictures next to tiny petite people. That was my fangirl moment for the conference and hopefully I didn't make too much of an ass out of myself. Well, more so than usual anyway.
I had already shipped two boxes of books to work, and AztecLady graciously offered to ship another box for me so I wouldn't have to stand in the long shipping line on Saturday. That was exceedingly lovely of her, but I restrained myself and only picked up 7 books. Which means the last of my loot fit in my suitcase.
Saturday evening was the Golden Heart/RITA awards. Not much to say here, other than it was a nice ceremony and it was fun not only to get dressed up, but to people watch everyone else in their finery. I was exceedingly happy that Beth Andrews won a RITA for A Not-So-Perfect Past, a Harlequin SuperRomance that I simply adored. After the ceremony there was a reception, which I skipped out on and headed straight for my room. Rosie and I had an early morning flight, and RWA had warned us to get to the airport early to navigate security. Yeah, no joke there. People rant about LAX, but the Orlando airport reminded me a lot of Chicago O'Hare at Christmas time. Blergh.
It was while at the airport, waiting to get our boarding passes that I realized my cell phone was missing. ARGH! I figured it must have fallen out in the cab...and sure enough it did. But excellent news - it was recovered by Lisabea. Bless her soul, she's mailing it back to me this week. I have a pay-as-you-go phone, so it wouldn't have been the total end of the world had it been lost forever, but all the same, I'm glad it's not.
My Man got hung up in gnarly So. Cal. traffic on the way to pick me up, but he arrived maybe 10 minutes after Rosie's son arrived to whisk her home. Then it was a quick trip out to lunch (seriously, no food in the Bat Cave) and home to unpack. Uh, which basically entailed me opening my suitcase and dumping the entire contents into my laundry basket. I learned a long time ago to take Monday off work after conference, and this year is no exception. Even with a three-hour nap and a full night's sleep, I still feel half brain-dead. Today it's grocery shopping (done!), paying bills (done!), laundry (not even close to done) and catching up on my TV.
I had a fabulous time at RWA. One bestselling author mentioned to me that it seemed very relaxed and that people just seemed happy. I agreed with her. Certainly conference can be filled with travel headaches, worries, and general stress, but there's nothing quite like sharing a space with that many people (over 2000!) who love the romance genre as much as you do. KristieJ has said that it seemed like no time had passed at all since we last saw each other (a year ago!) - and I think that's because 1) we "see" each other online quite a bit and 2) we have that instant connection thanks to the romance genre. So while I'm glad it's now over, and that I'm back home, I would never trade my experiences at any RWA conference for the world.
Remember, I've got photos up on my Flickr account in a special RWA 2010 album. Including a priceless one featuring KristieJ and our waiter the night of the RITAs. How's that for a lead-in?