Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stampeeeeede! and New York, Final Post

I'm over at the Harlequin Blog today, talking about the Calgary Stampede for their Western Week celebrations. There's a copy of my current release (A Family for the Rugged Rancher) to give away, and then at the end of the week all 5 books from the Western Week guests will be awarded. So mosey on over and leave a comment!

Back to NY - and the last 2 days. Thursday was another early morning - I had new headshots taken in the morning and I was pretty nervous. Being in front of the camera feels kind of awkward, but Marti Corn (of Corn Creative, who does the RWR and Romance Sells mags) was fab.

Then it was straight to Starbucks for a banana and yogurt for breakfast before needing to be at the Harlequin book signing at 9:30. It was fun! I was seated next to THE Carla Neggers - gah! And she was absolutely lovely. I met some new readers, some old readers, my Italian and Spanish editors, chatted for a moment with Donna Hayes. It was really cool. Here's a pic of me with Leah Braemel - always great to meet a fellow Canuck and tweep! (Thanks Leah for the pic!)

After the signing I had a few moments until the Awards lunch and Sherrilyn Kenyon's speech. It is amazing to see how some people have overcome huge hurdles to reach success. There was a lot of sniffing and eye-wiping going on. She beat the odds and deserves every bit of her success.

At this point I was pretty tired so I relaxed for an hour or so before going to the Harlequin Feature and Custom Publishing reception and then from there to my agency cocktail party (Spencerhill Associates). Then it was a quick change of clothes and hairstyle before meeting Jenna in the bar for a quick bite before the Harlequin Black and White Ball. At this point I think I was operating on auto pilot.

The Waldorf is stunning. I whispered to the girls if it would look stupid if we all whipped out our cameras. We did anyway. There is a magnificent chandelier that steals the show as you walk in. We snapped a few pics and then headed upstairs to the Starlight Roof. We were checked off on a list and it felt all very VIP as we made our way through to the ballroom. A photographer was on hand to take pics as we entered - and then those pics went up on the screen in the ballroom. Jenna snapped this one as it was on display - her, me, and Kelly Boyce.

Kir Royal was the drink of the night. Is there ever a bad time for champagne? Really? But once the music started, we laid it all out on the floor. After the first 3 hours I was really thanking Tony Horton for the hard workouts as I just kept going....and going... SO MUCH FUN. Thriller anyone? (Thanks to J for taking this pic!)

Friday. Oh, Friday. Fiona and I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I have a mental gap between then and 10 o'clock when we were supposed to meet Mills and Boon peeps for coffee. We ended up sitting in the hotel bar, which wasn't open, and not having coffee. Considered Starbucks but the line was sooooo long. At 11 was the PAN Harlequin Author panel where the brass gets to talk to the authors. There were some major topics to discuss and the meeting was really informative.

Fiona and I then grabbed a quick lunch in the bar as we needed to grab our things and be at our workshop room a few minutes early for set up. Our workshop was titled How To Write Sizzle Without Sex and Emotion Without Tragedy.  To our surprise - after all it was the Friday afternoon of conference, when everyone's energy is flagging - it was really well attended. I think the room was set for 100 and we had 90. Our editor, Bryony Green, did her bit first on what editors are looking for and then I launched into the Sexual Tension bit. Half way through Fiona's netbook spontaneously rebooted. After an "OMG!" moment we carried on as Fi (being brilliant) had made paper handouts and everyone could still follow along as she got us back online with slides. It did it again through her bit as well but it really just broke the ice and I think it went really well.

And then it was a big rush for me to get 2 floors away to the Samhain Signing within a five minute window. Honest to God, biggest fun I've ever had at a signing. Chatted to a lot of new people and signed a lot of books and to my surprise they had ARCs done of my December print book, BREATHE! I didn't know - I thought I was signing Sold to the Highest Bidder. It was the perfect ending to a hectic, bananas week.

I think finishing that signing was the big signal that I could relax, and about 5 p.m. I finally hit the conference wall. If you're going to hit it, the timing is pretty good if you can last until the very last day. We skipped across Times Square to the McDonalds and I got a salad. And fell asleep holding it in my hand as Fiona was getting ready for the RITA awards. I managed about half, worked on packing my bag as I had to leave in the morning. The RITAs were great and we sat with my CP Michelle Styles, her daughter, and Victoria Parker. I had a dress issue so was thankful I had packed a backup - this pic is of me with 2 of the RWAC exec members after the RITAs - Kelly Boyce and Annette Gallant.

As a final hurrah, we went up to The View for a last drinkie. I said goodbye to the editors and had a glass of prosecco with Fiona, Victoria, Michelle, Katharine and Jackie Braun. When Michelle and K left, I had a bit of a wibble. We didn't really get to see enough of each other, especially any quiet moments to just CHAT. But it was time to buck up, wipe my eyes and finally head back to the room as I'd had a brilliant flash of packing genius. At 1 a.m. I had everything out of my suitcase giving it another go.

Unfortunately, while everything FIT I discovered at the airport that it was over the weight restriction. I ended up redistributing right there at check in. I was early and there was no one behind me so it was okay.

And then I slept - at the gate, on the plane to Toronto, and most of the flight from Toronto to Halifax. It was so good to get home and see my girls and husband waiting at  the baggage claim.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post and photos. I'm making a goal to go next year.