So yesterday I received the following email from the Romance Writers of America:
Dear Marni Bates,
Due to the failure to obtain the minimum number of entries (5 percent of total contest entries) required by the contest entry deadline, the Young Adult Romance category of the 2014 RITA® Contest has been canceled.
I’m not going to lie, I’m really disappointed.
Awards are important. And I’ve spent the past hour staring at my screen trying to figure out how to discuss them without coming across as narcissistic. Here’s a sad truth: It requires bravery for a female author to say that she believes her work to be worthy of consideration. It’s a whole new level of scary. It’s the kind of statement that you instantly want to take back before somebody says, “You aren’t a real writer! Your stories are light fluffy things of absolutely no consequence!” because that would make you want to crawl up into a very tight ball in the back of your closet.
Which is why I still feel obligated to preface this post with something self-depreciating.
Not that I expected to be nominated…
Not that I had a shot at reaching the finals…
I’m mostly disappointed that so many of my peers won’t get the recognition they deserve…
And yes, I absolutely believe that gender plays a large role in this. If you want to read an amazing article on what it’s like to be a female YA author, I highly recommend this piece by Sarah Rees Brennan. It’s spot on.
Here’s a small excerpt from her article:
Common Responses To Female Authors Promoting Themselves I Have Seen, Over and Over Again.
“Why do you think you are so great? You are not so great.” (By promoting yourself/talking about yourself or your work, you indicate that you do think you, and/or your work, has some value, and there is so much pushback, conscious and unconscious, to that.)
“Don’t reblog fan graphics/talk about your characters/talk about your MALE characters (what do you think you are, some sort of harlot?)/be so smug about your books as if you think they might be any good. It makes it seem like you think you’re so great!”
“Do you expect PRAISE?” (I don’t! I never do. Most ladies I know don’t, being accustomed to expecting constant negativity. But it would be nice if people didn’t talk about praise as if it is some incredible, celestial prize that a women should never even dare to dream of getting, and the very idea of them getting it is to be scorned.)
“She’s writing romance and that’s girly and it sucks./She’s writing YA and that’s girly and it sucks./She’s writing literature and men write it better and she sucks./She’s writing about a girl and girls are annoying/shallow/not literature.”
So I repeat: Awards are important. Why? It’s a source of validation. And for a whole bunch of us, it means that we will feel valued instead of dismissed. Especiallyif you write books that end with a happily ever after.
Now I will always love the Romance Writers of America. I’ve met so many unbelievably talented people through that organization. My life is a hundred thousand times more awesome because of the friendships that have formed, too!
But they have made a huge mistake.
The Young Adult community within the RWA first began to feel alienated last year when the organization decided that all books in that category must “focus primarily on the romantic relationship between two adolescents.”
Here’s the problem: YA is all about coming of age. It’s about figuring out your own identity at a time in life where everyone has an opinion about your future. And yes, YA protagonists often navigate complicated romantic relationships, but the happily ever after is usually built on the character’s ability to know what they believe in. Young Adult fiction can also mean just about anything. Historical. Suspense. Horror. Sci-fi. Contemporary. Humor. Drama. There are YA books that include all of those elements…and have a romance too!
So here is the position that most YA writers found themselves in. Do I really want to spend fifty bucks when I’m pretty sure my book is going to be instantly disqualified? Do I want to feel guilty about focusing more on the growth of a primary character instead of an overarching romance?
And for a bunch of people the answer to that was a resounding, “Oh, hell no!” Some of my friends are going to leave the organization because they feel so frustrated/alienated by these policy changes.
Now that whole category has been eliminated.
I know you might be sick of hearing this, but…AWARDS ARE IMPORTANT!
This community is important! This is our refuge when the rest of the world tells us that we are girly and that we suck. So I hope the RWA will remove the problematic language and consider opening the category to late submissions.
That’s not a joke or an exaggeration. It stuns me nearly every single day that I get to live out my wildest fantasy–one I was too afraid to even name for most of high school. And every day brings something ridiculously wonderful into my life. A message on my Facebook author page from someone who enjoyed reading Awkward and can’t wait to buy Invisible. A tweet from an author whose work I admire. An email from my fantastic Hungarian publisher. Maybe it will be as simple as reading a line in my new work in progress which cracks me up.
I still find myself trying to understand how I could have gotten here.
My older brother recently reminded me that when I was in elementary school he predicted that I’d be a trash collector. He told me that waste disposal was the logical occupation for someone with dog-poop brown eyes and a lack of common sense. “Hey someone has to do it,” he reasoned. “And that someone is definitely going to be you.”
I remember being terrified that he’d be right.
And now here I am proudly holding this!
My Hungarian publisher renamed Awkward: Help, I’ve become a YouTube Star!
I love it so much!
My best imitation of the Mackenzie yell.
Signed and everything! It doesn’t get any more official!
If you’re curious about my experience with my Hungarian publisher, you should definitely check out the video I made about it!
It doesn’t feel real to me.
My third novel (Invisible) will be released in just under two weeks.
There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to capture how I feel about that.
And I know that there is someone very important I need to thank for all of this: you!
You are the reason I’m not hauling trash off to landfills right now. You are the reason I will be leading a panel at the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta. You are the reason I will be celebrating my 24th birthday in Las Vegas with a whole bunch of sensational YA authors!
Maybe that’s the hardest part for me to believe. Somehow I found a group of people–intelligent, passionate, unashamedly geeky people–who have supported me throughout this process. Who believe in me even when I don’t.
Remember that scene in The Sound of Music where Maria turns to Captain von Trapp and sings, “For here you are, standing there, loving me–whether or not you should. So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good”?
You guys make me feel like Julie Freaking Andrews.
I think vlog Marni might say it best, so I’ll let her take it from here!
Okay, it’s been awhile since my last post. I have some very exciting news that I’m not allowed to share right now though. So I thought if I put myself on blogging lockdown that would make my secret keeping easier.
It totally didn’t.
And now I have all of these things to tell you!
Where to start? Perhaps with the Romance Writers of America who recognized the absolute brilliance of my friend Erica O’Rourke’s book, Bound?
Erica is one of those authors that makes you curl up into a little ball and say, “I cannot handle the awesome. I. Cannot. Handle. The. Awesome.”
At least that was my reaction while I read her books.
So I could not be more thrilled for her (or more excited to meet her in real life at the RWA conference in Atlanta! We will be speaking on a panel with the spectacular Jennifer Estep, the incomparable Nina Berry, and our editor-of-awesome Alicia Condon!) and all the other nominees!
I look forward to meeting you all in Atlanta!
I received this COMPLETELY AWESOME package from KTeen!
Advanced Reader Copies of INVISIBLE (Jane’s book)!!!
I’m going to set up giveaways and post some sneak peeks soon! So keep checking in!
I got another package from KTeen with the coverflats of NOTABLE (Chelsea’s book)!!!
But if I posted those right now that might be too much awesome. I don’t want to send you into awesome overload all at once.
Except now I feel guilty for leading you on so….
HERE IS THE HUNGARIAN BOOK TRAILER FOR AWKWARD!!!
That’s right. The Hungarians made a book trailer! Which means that if you don’t actually speak Hungarian, you’re not going to be able to understand, y’know, what she’s saying…
But I happen to think the CPR scene speaks for itself! I am beyond thrilled with it!
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…
I am starting a vlog!
This is a brand new venture for me so you should definitely expect there to be a learning curve. But I decided that this would be an exciting way for me to interact with all of you in a way that goes beyond words. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be speaking in my YouTube videos. I won’t just like, stare creepily at the screen or anything.
Not often, at any rate.
So I hope you enjoy my vlog! I also really hope you leave me a question or a comment. Remember: I’m doing this for YOU! Questions about writing, editing, college, high school, life…all of it is totally fair game!
So right now it sort of feels like my life is in limbo.
See, while my fabulous editor is reading Notable I have been doing . . . approximately nothing. Okay, that’s not quite true. I have read a whole bunch of romance novels recently. I sort of went on a Susan Elizabeth Phillips binge. For those of you unfamiliar with her books, she specializes in contemporary romances that have you laughing one moment and crying the next.
And yes, I cried over each and every one of her books I read. Again.
She even got me all teary-eyed over a football-playing hero named Bobby Tom Denton. Seriously. Good ol’ Bobby Tom had me bawling.
And before you suggest that maybe I have a hormone imbalance or something, you should know that my friend Lisa Lin from over at Teatime Romance had the exact same reaction!
Bobby Tom’s book. Although my favorite one is still This Heart of Mine.
Now if you’re thinking, “Okay, Marni, so you read a bunch of books. What else have you accomplished?” the answer is . . . not a whole lot.
Mostly I’ve been obsessing about the Romance Writer’s of America award (knowns as the RITAs) which will be announced on March 26th.
13 days from now.
Roughly 312 hours from now.
Not that I’m anxiously awaiting the announcement or anything. I have hardly given it a thought! I mean, it’s only the award I’ve been dreaming about since I was fifteen. So…whatever! No big deal.
Okay, the scary lady is right. I’m totally lying.
It’s a really big deal. And even though I honestly don’t think I’m going to be nominated (I know some of the authors who submitted their work. This isn’t false modesty here. Some fricking amazing books have been entered!) the wait is still totally getting to me.
I know it’s not cool to admit. I probably should be playing off the whole thing or keeping my big mouth shut. But I can’t seem to manage it this time.
Maybe that’s because I also have some book news that I’m not allowed to announce yet. And the combined stress of the waiting and the silence is driving me up the freaking wall.
Although in my case that just means my sleep cycle is all out of whack and I have been hitting the girl scout cookies harder than I should be right now. I also had a dream that I was Jennifer Lawrence and I went ice skating. Not sure if that has anything to do with it, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
So if any of you are also stressing out over the RITAs or anything else you’ve got going on, I would love to hear about it! If any of you have any waiting-related advice, I’m totally game for that too!
So here’s a fun author fact: a book’s official release date is often referred to as “pub day.”
This is not because authors tend to go straight to the nearest bar and order way too many cocktails while they brace themselves for reviews. Although I admit that idea has some merit. But most of us wake up on pub day and sprint to the nearest Barnes & Noble so we can find our books on the shelf.
(My pub day for DECKED WITH HOLLY. No drinking was involved in the making of these photos.)
But to the best of my knowledge there isn’t an industry term for the one year anniversary of a book.
Because tomorrow marks my AWKWARD pubversary!!!
That’s right: exactly one year ago I was a college student freaking out over her debut novel. One year ago maybe five people (excluding my relatives) had read AWKWARD.
One year ago I feared my debut would look a lot like this:
Honestly, I think if you’re not afraid of getting this response there might be something wrong with you.
(Nervous author in the Serengeti. My resolution was to avoid being eaten by a lion.)
And now that I look back over everything that has happened this year…I’m kind of speechless.
Here are just some of the highlights:
AWKWARD was published!
I laughed really hard when I saw this in my own hometown.
I met Ellen DeGeneres!
My mom opened a fabulous quilt store in Ashland, Oregon called Sew Creative. And she drafted asked me to be a bobbin in the 4th of July parade for her.
I created some pretty awesome art projects at Southern Oregon University.
“Now who could have done that, I wonder?”
I was going for a Statue of Liberty meets Starbucks meets heavily-caffeinated Marni look. I think it worked…
I failed to get my driver’s license…
“I swear, I wasn’t driving over the speed limit!”
I graduated from Lewis & Clark college!
Certified college graduate and everything!
I went to the Romance Writers of America conference!
I also got to hang out with all of these incredibly talented authors!
My short story EPIC REVENGE was published in the Magical Mayhem anthology!
I found out that Disney wants to option AWKWARD as a made-for-TV movie!
DECKED WITH HOLLY was published and I seriously improved at making book trailers!
AWKWARD is going to be translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Hungarian!
(I don’t have a picture for this, but I am super excited)
And I finished writing my first draft of Chelsea’s book, NOTABLE! I’m almost finished with my first round of editing too. So that feels pretty darn great.
Honestly, this has been the most amazing year for me. And the best part has definitely been you! The love and support I have received is just…incredible.
So thank you for the best pubversary a writer could ever wish to receive!
As a sort of pubversary present you can win a copy of DECKED WITH HOLLY from the lovely Kathy at her blog I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.
As many of you may have heard, I’ve been working away recently on finishing up my edits for Invisible (aka the non-spinoff sequel to Awkward).
Now editing is not my favorite part of the editing process. Usually I stare at my laptop and say:
And of course that inevitably turns into this…
Why must paragraphs be so sneaky?
Luckily, I have a fantastic editor, Alicia Condon, who gives brilliant suggestions. And with her help, I think I successfully pulled off some book-related karate.
This is the extent of my actual karate skills.
But it’s over now. For real, folks. I’M DONE EDITING INVISIBLE!
This is an accurate depiction of my Starbucks victory dance.
How did I celebrate? By meeting up for more coffee with romance authors extraordinaire, Maisey Yates and Lisa Hendrix!
Which is kind of incredible considering that Maisey was the very first person I met at the RWA.
Maisey Yates: Made of Awesome.
At the time, I wasn’t exactly acting cool though. In fact, I’m still not entirely certain I was coherent. Probably because every fiber of my being was doing this:
So I was pretty thrilled to see her again, under slightly less intense conditions. And I’m so glad Lisa was able to join us!
Lisa Hendrix: Supernaturally Awesome.
It felt like a mini-RWA conference! Especially when we roped our Applebee’s waitress into a discussion of Fifty Shades of Grey.
It was a night of great hilarity that nearly didn’t end because I can’t give directions to save my life. Seriously. Maisey threatened to shank me and I still couldn’t produce a single street name. I just kept gesturing vaguely to my left and saying, “I think it’s that direction. Maybe.”
So if a young female character ends up abandoned by the side of the road in Maisey’s next book, we will know what inspired that particular scene.
And now I’m feeling all inspired to get back to writing. Well, maybe after I watch a few episodes of Veronica Mars…
P.S. If you haven’t already seen it, you should totally check out my book trailer for Decked with Holly!
Then I headed over to the amazing Bookalicious Pam’s blog where she got me to spill all my embarrassing Decked with Holly secrets, including pictures of my Secret Journal of Shame.
The best part?
You can win a free copy of Decked with Holly here!
After happy dancing around my apartment, I decided to celebrate the release like, y’know, a classy writer.
Which meant that I put on mascara, lip gloss, heels, and I rode the bus for about an hour to get to the nearest Barnes & Noble.
Marni Life Lesson #31: Do not wear heels unless absolutely necessary. Especially when you know they will just give you blisters.
But I totally forgot about the shoes when I saw my books on the shelf.
So many people helped me make this dream come true. I can’t express how grateful I am for all the support and encouragement!
There are definitely some perks that come with being an author on pub day. The biggest is that you can act like a crazy person and nobody kicks you out for it.
My friend Gwyn and I kind of took advantage of this.
It started out innocently enough…
THIS BOOK HAS BEEN MARKED UP IN PEN…by the author.
Then I may have done a little light reading.
“And then Santa says…”
That’s when it descended into something else entirely.
“Hi! I’m Marni and I’ll be your author for the evening. Can I interest you in some humorous YA books with a very wry undertone?”
And then I thought: this would be a perfect time to bust out some of my rollerblading moves.
In a bookstore.
Now is a good time to mention that I haven’t used any of these rollerblading moves in a pretty long time. So while I was thrilled that we were positioning the books within the triangle of blank space created by my body…I couldn’t hold the position for all that long.
“I’m doing it! Take the picture! TAKE THE PICTURE!”
And when I failed…well, let’s just say I managed to trip all over myself.
“Author down in the YA section! I repeat: AUTHOR DOWN!”
Gwyn and I doubled over laughing, which might explain why nobody went anywhere near us.
Note the complete lack of strangers in the background. That’s because of us.
Then I decked Gwyn with awkwardness! And puns. Lots of puns.
It was an absolutely wonderful day but in a lot of ways the fun is only just starting.
Because now I get to hear what YOU think of the book!
Speaking of which, one super cool way to tell an author what you think of their work is to write a review.
But I know that can be time consuming/intimidating so if you want a super easy way to encourage an author…
I’m not even kidding.
We notice things like how many “likes” our books have on Amazon and Goodreads.
It may seem silly but even doing something that small can have a big impact for an author.
So…if you want to “like” me and/or my books (I’m guessing you probably like me a little already or you wouldn’t still be reading this blog post) it would be awesome if you took a few seconds to let others know!
It’s a little embarrassing to admit but every time someone says something nice, this happens inside me:
The spin-off sequel to Awkward comes out on Tuesday, September 25th.
Also known as this Tuesday! Also known as tomorrow!
*flails arms in excitement*
It doesn’t feel real yet.
In fact, it feels decidedly unreal. And I know I should be more familiar with the concept by this point. I wrote a book, sent it to my editor, banged my head against a wall a few thousand times and voila! It hits the shelves!
(Not an accurate depiction of the writing/publishing process. Obviously. Since I left out roasting marshmallows over candles at 2am when I get stuck. Oh, and my unbelievably awesome support group. Y’all know how much I depend on you!)
But it still amazes me to think of my book, sitting on bookshelves, waiting for super awesome people to read it!
Especially because this book holds a very special place in my heart. Which is not to say that I love my other books less (Oh wow, I have a whole lot more sympathy for my mom now. Having her children demand to know which one of us she would save from a burning house first must have been obnoxious. Hint: it would be me) but this one is extra special.
So I’m giving a behind-the-scenes sneak peek:
I was packing for my flight back to Oregon after spending the past three weeks in my cousin’s little apartment near Rice University in Houston, Texas–when I got The Call.
Marni doesn’t quite know how to blend in Texas.
Honestly, if I was in the middle of a mugging and my super agent Laurie McLean rang me up, I’d probably give the muggers the can you hold this for a moment finger and answer the phone.
Um, I think it’s pretty obvious from the photo why I believe she has super powers…
As it was, this particular situation was a lot less dramatic. Even if I did suspect that the humidity in Houston was trying to smother me.
“Hi Marni, I just got a call from KTeen” SuperAgent Laurie said and I instantly brace myself for the news that every copy of Awkward has been destroyed in a freak natural disaster.
“They want to know if you would be willing to write a spin-off holiday novella.”
At this point in the conversation, I distinctly remember happy dancing like a demented chicken and squawking, “YES! Yes! I’ve never written a novella before but I am in!”
“Great. I will email you everything they just sent me and then . . . oh hang on. They want a spin-off novel.”
The demented chicken dance stopped. Probably because it felt like my heart was no longer functioning properly and all that blood was going straight to my head.
“Uh . . . wow! Okay. I mean . . . wow. I can do that. I’ll just set it after Invisible and then–”
“Actually, they want it released between Awkward and Invisible.”
This is when I started pressing buttons on my phone, convinced that I had misheard her and that my crappy cell phone was to blame.
“But I’ve already written Invisible,” I blurted out.
I could practically feel Laurie smiling patiently on the other side of the phone. “I know. That’s why they want this to be a spin-off.”
“Right. Spin-off.” I mumbled. “Um . . . who do you think I should . . . spin . . . off?”
“It could be anyone.” Laurie pointed out. “Maybe one of the rockstars?”
“But they’re guys!”
Laurie waited patiently for me to make my point.
“I’ve never written from a male point of view before! I definitely can’t write a whole novel that way!”
“It’s just an idea, Marni. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”
One of my SuperAgent’s most impressive powers is the ability to make me believe that I can do anything. I don’t know how she pulls it off, but when I’m on the phone with her I am willing to agree to just about anything.
And four minutes later I was calling my mom and freaking out.
“I don’t know what I just agreed to do!” I confessed sheepishly. “They asked the Jewish girl to write a holiday novel?! Do you think I should tell them this? Because I refuse to write a Christmas miracle. And no way is Hanukkah Harry coming down a chimney to save the day! Do you hear me, Mom? THERE WILL BE NO HANUKKAH HARRY!“
I made this point–rather loudly, I admit–in the airport and found myself on the receiving end of a more than a few funny looks.
Looking back, I’m just lucky that airport security didn’t consider this un-American sentiment and try to interrogate me about it.
Okay, I’m lucky for a whole host of reasons. I’m eternally grateful to KTeen for allowing me to write Decked with Holly the way I felt the story needed to be told: with two alternating point of views and no Hanukkah Harrys.
And to my SuperAgent, friends and family members who tolerated my Christmas in July tactic.
A special shout-out to my mom who must have stumbled upon me listening to the Pomplamoose version of Always in the Season three hundred times.
This book may have scared me at first but it was an absolute pleasure to write.
I fell completely in love with a certain rockstar drummer and enjoyed every second I spent in his head. I don’t want to spoil the ending but he does something that made me go all melty inside.
I want to discuss it with people soo badly!
So if you want to buy a copy of Decked with Holly you can do so quite easily here:
And if you also want to click the “like” button, I know for a fact that the author will do a demented chicken dance.
You also might want to read Awkward (if you haven’t already) because it will make Decked with Holly even more exciting for you. That said, I promise you don’t have to read Awkward to completely understand what is happening to Holly and Nick.
Then again, with the awesome discount price of $2.99 for Awkward now is a really good time to get it.
Anyhow, once you read the books I sincerely hope you will tweet me with your thoughts. I absolutely love hearing from people! Oh, and whenever I get fan art I call up every single member of my family and I brag about it to them.
One time someone messaged me that I was tied as her favorite with Justin Bieber and I geeked out.
Watch out, Biebs. I’m stealing your fan base!
My point is that I really do love to hear from you so I hope you’ll consider tweeting me at:
I don’t think I can put into words how much my time at the RWA meant to me. I’m half-laughing and full on crying as I write this.
And we’re not talking pretty crying here, guys.
See, I’ve spent a long time feeling really insecure about my place in the writing world. I didn’t tell anyone in high school that I dreamed of being an author because I was worried that they would discourage me from pursuing it.
In hindsight, I’m glad I kept my mouth shut too. Because plenty of people discouraged me later on and that was tough enough to handle when I knew I was capable of even finishing a story.
I never saw myself as fitting in with the writer-y kids in high school, most of whom were double-dipping in drama club and had no trouble dropping philosophical quotes into every day conversation.
I felt intimidated.
Partly because I wanted to be reading Meg Cabot instead of Mark Twain and Julia Quinn instead of Hemingway.
Only I knew it wasn’t cool to admit it.
And when I reached college, my inadequacy only became more glaringly obvious. I thought it would be a good idea to move into the artsy dorm my freshman year. Not so much.
People hated me.
I mean, not everyone in my hall hated me. But most of them weren’t exactly part of the Marni Bates fan club, if you catch my drift. And when I let it slip that I had just been hired to write my autobiography…it only became worse.
Some people thought I was a pathological liar. Not even kidding.
Even the kids who did believe me, perceived me as a dork. And every time I went to an Open Mic Night it was obvious that the kids writing the classy short stories about street gangs were the ones who deserved the book deal.
Now some of this may have just been in my head.
But a lot of it wasn’t.
Leaving that dorm helped, but by that time I had declared myself an English major and once again I was the only person who read romance. Or at least the only one who admitted to reading it.
In my three and a half years at Lewis & Clark I never met anyone who wanted to write novels that ended in happily ever after.
And trust me, I couldn’t ignore it.
Every time someone saw me reading a “trashy” romance novel, I had to bite my tongue. I had to restrain myself from point out that FABIO IS NOT ON THE FREAKING COVERS ANYMORE! If you are going to judge a genre at least have the decency to KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Yeah. That was hard to keep bottled inside.
So I felt like the unsophisticated rube of the English department. And landing a four book deal with KensingtonTeen didn’t change that. Not really.
I honestly think the hardest time for me may have been in Australia. I was writing/editing/obsessing over Invisible because I was trying desperately to meet my deadlines.
I remember quite vividly when one of the trip leaders turned to me and snapped, “Is there anything to you besides your writing?”
But what’s wrong with being passionate about my job? What’s wrong with loving something that empowers me to try to make a difference in the world?
Which reminds me, if you are hoping to be mocked, just tell people that you try to create social change by writing (insert genre here). Works like a charm.
If I recounted every time someone told me to start looking for a day job or to get a back-up plan or insinuated that I, personally, was unqualified to be a writer, this blog entry would be excruciatingly long.
But I did my best to ignore the nay-sayers. I squinched my eyes shut and dreamed of going to the Romance Writers of America conference. I imagined not being perceived as weird for geeking out over my favorite authors. I pictured shaking Nora Roberts’ hand, getting Julia Quinn’s signature, and chatting enthusiastically with thousands of other writers and readers alike.
That dream kept my going.
And it came true.
I was finally surrounded by other people who shared my love of a happy ending. Who understood that sweet doesn’t mean sappy. That romance doesn’t mean trashy. That a good book can change or save a life.
And they liked me.
They supported me. They made me feel like what I did was of value.
Which is why I’m still bawling my eyes out right now.
So this is my heartfelt thank you to everyone at the RWA conference. To everyone who greeted me, who tweeted me, and who treated me as a friend and an equal.
Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. I am having the best time of my life at the Romance Writers of America conference. I mean, I was a little worried that I had built it up too much in my head. Seven years is a long time to fantasize about what it might be like, and I was bracing myself for disappointment.
It has exceeded all of my expectations.
Yesterday, I enjoyed a talk by Simone Elkeles (author of Perfect Chemistry) before I headed off for the Literacy signing.
Now that was insane.
(Picture is from the signing last year. I was too busy geeking out to take any photos)
It was essentially an enormous convention hall full of my all time favorite authors.
And I was free to romp among them!
I geeked out.
It was quite possibly one of the best moments of my life. I started wandering the rows of authors, grinning like a loon, as I stalked located my all-time favorites.
It was actually quite challenging because I kept getting distracted by all the amazing authors around me.
For all you romance fans: I was able to chat with…
Victoria Dahl (known for her kickass Regency and Contemporary books. Also for her hilariously awesome tweets).
Tessa Dare (known for her hilarious historical romances. I mean, the sheep bombing! Inspired.)
Julia Quinn (Her romance novels are what hooked me on the genre. Absolutely amazing!)
Julie James (one of her characters is known as the Twitter Terrorist. Need I say more?)
Jennifer Estep (a wonderful writer in my KTeen family!)
…and Susan Andersen (Awesome author. Nicest person you will ever meet!)
All of them were absolutely wonderful.
AND THERE WERE SO MANY AWESOME PEOPLE!
I’ve got to say that I still think meeting Tessa Dare was the highlight of my RWA trip so far. I was waiting in line at her booth and she glanced at me and yelled, “Marni Bates!”
Then she ran around her booth so that she could give me a big hug.
I’m not even kidding.
If anyone starts talking smack to me about wasting time on Twitter, I’m going to point out that it allowed me to become friends with Tessa Dare.
She’s totally going to win the RITA for A Night to Surrender. I know she doesn’t think she’s going to get it, but she is wrong. Her novel completely deserves to win.
I’d also like to mention that all of my Twitter friends have been awesome in real life. I met my fellow KTeen author, Brigid Kemmerer, last night and I can’t wait to spend more time with her at our signing at Vroman’s on Saturday!
I know it only just started, but I never want to leave.
If spending the rest of my life in the Marriot with super-agents Laurie McLean and Pam Van Hylckama-Vlieg was an option, I would totally sign up for it. I can’t express how amazing it feels to be in such a supportive atmosphere.
And now I need to find New York Times Bestselling author Stephanie Laurens so that I can give her an ARC of Decked with Holly. Because she asked to read it.