RWA Photos & Overheard at RWA

So now that the 4th of July is nearly over, and we’ve celebrated the independence of the US (and, if you’re me, bemoaned our lack of universal healthcare and the ridiculous shortness of maternity leave), it’s time to do something sexy LIKE OFFLOAD MY CAMERA. Ready for RWA pictures? Here we go!


I arrived home from ALA (Motto: 25,000 librarians can’t be wrong!) late Sunday, unpacked and repacked. And while I was packing, I got me a FedEx with.. book marks! Holy smoke, I have to make like an author and remember I had them in my purse. Did I remember? Ha. Sometimes. Maybe.


Tuesday morning, my first appointment was with Jill Shalvis and HelenKay Dimon. We got coffee and donuts from a cart and ate in the middle of Times Square. Perfect New York breakfast. And my donut was HUGE (that’s not a euphemism).

Piano man in TSQ

While we were having breakfast, someone started playing piano. Times Square was a strange place at 9am, and pretty much any other time RWA attendees were outside. Seriously. There were some stories.

Get a load of this freaking guy.

For example, get a load of this freaking guy. He climbed a lamppost and wouldn’t come down, bringing Times Square to a standstill during morning rush hour. Not quite sure that’s romance hero material, y’all.


But you know, if you’re stuck in traffic, you might want to play foosball. And fortunately, that morning, foosball was delivered to Times Square. (No, I have NO idea why.) (But that might be romance novel hero material, the Times Square foosball delivery guy, right?)


Later, there were people doing aerobics in Times Square, with pushups and jumping jacks. We hadn’t even started drinking yet, really. Sheesh.


And then, it was Literacy Signing time. The room was very full, and very crowded, and very hot. I also had a lot of trouble with the alphabetical order and finding people in the room. I think I forgot the alphabet, to be honest.


Jane was collecting Romance Novel Trading Cards, which was an ongoing project from RT. She had a slew of them by the end of the week.


Some of the attendees had a truly gorgeous view. This is Diana Holquist and Ellen Hartman’s room, looking west toward New Jersey. Isn’t Jersey pretty? I SAID ISN’T JERSEY PRETTY?! Fuggedabahdit. I was there to film a few segments of their video, which was inspired by actual events – at the CT Fiction Fest, I was locked out of my room, and Ellen took pity on me and allowed me to use her bathroom—much to Diana’s surprise.


Then we were waiting for our Special Guest – me, Ellen Hartman, Diana Holquist, and Kristan Higgins.


Here’s the Special Guest – my mother in law, Charlene Wendell. (Charlene is job hunting right now, and watch, her top Google result will be this site. Hi, prospective job people! Charlene is awesome, and you should totally hire her!)


Then I went to Robyn Carr’s Jack’s Bar party. Jack’s Bar is a location in her Virgin River series. Last year I stumbled upon the party while out to lunch in Orlando. This year I was invited—it’s an annual party Carr throws for her friends and her readers. There were a bunch of local Carr fans at the party – which was held at an actual Jack’s Bar in New York.


And here’s Robyn Carr with the Jack’s Bar employees. Notice Robyn’s FREAKY SILVER EYES. The source of her superpowers, I’m told.


Then, after two more cocktail parties where there were carb-o-licious hors d’oeuvres, I ended up at the Avon party at the Central Park boathouse. I am not ashamed to say that I went up to those responsible for the party and thanked them profusely for the HUGE PIECES OF MEAT at the party. Seriously. HUGE MEAT. This is just what you want to thank the romance publisher for: big slabs of meat. I didn’t take a picture of it, though. I was too busy eating the protein.


This is the view of the 8th floor bar atrium where there was a lot of drinking of expensive drinks (and bad wine) served by somewhat surly waitstaff in the evenings. This is also the view from the glass elevators that took 20 minutes to arrive in high-traffic hours and made your ears pop. Whee!


I was behind this awesome bag while waiting for Starbucks. I almost mugged the person who had it, except that I wouldn’t have been able to juggle that and my coffee. Mugging takes dexterity that I do not have.

And if you were on Twitter you heard this story, but bear with me. My credit card says, alas, “Smart Bitches Trashy.” NO ROOM FOR BOOKS APPARENTLY. And this is right under my NAME so you imagine I get some questions about that. The woman at the register at the Starbucks said, “I’m sorry, I have to ask – what’s this?” So I explain the site and the subject matter, and you know what I get? GOOD BOOK NOISE. And I quote, “OH MY GOSH, I LOVE ROMANCE NOVELS.”

“Do you know who’s here at the hotel, and here in this line?”

“No, ma’am.”

“About 3000 romance writers.”

“OH MY GOSH.” Then her coworkers started giggling—and so I told folks via Twitter that if they had books, Glenny in the 8th Starbucks would be more than giddy to have them. I love running into giddy romance fans.

Then, later, I went to the Penguin signing, where I jump in the room and take pictures and swear to all the people in the line that I am not taking books away from them.


This is Kate Noble at the Penguin signing – sneak attack photography!


Here’s Eileen Rendahl at the signing, too! Not so sneaky this time – I asked if I could take her picture.


Here’s Jill Shalvis – with ONE BOOK LEFT. Dude! The signing hadn’t been going on that long, either.


And here is Susan Sey, signing and talking to many readers.


Nalini Singh, also out of books by the time I got to her corner of the room. I’ve seen her every other week since early June. At this point, I’m going to be disoriented if I don’t see her at the grocery store next week, though I think by now she’s back in New Zealand.


Much to my not-surprise, MelJean Brook had a line of people waiting to meet her. WOO!


Jaci Burton was signing copies of “The Perfect Play,” which of course were going quickly. Why that cover isn’t embossed is beyond me.


Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty, signing together.


Author Kira Sinclair checked badges at the door of the RITA ceremony, and then escorted people up the stairs to the stage when they won. Rockin’ dress, right?


Beth Kery and Julie James at the RITA ceremony, waiting for the drumrolls to begin.


Last year, Toni Blake wore an “Oh, my God, did you see her dress?” dress. This year, she wore an “Oh, my God, did you see her dress?” dress. It’s like a thing with her, the looking hot with the dress thing. Sheesh.


And here’s the funny story to cap off my RITA evening: this is Harlequin editor Mary-Therese Hussey, whose mailing address was abbreviated in college to… as displayed here, Mary-The Hussey. I laughed so hard at that.

Then I went home. I was spoiled by how local I was this year – next year it’s a 7 hour plane ride to Anaheim. But I hope I see many of you there next year.

And now – the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Overheard at RWA.

“I don’t read any books that spell “magical” with a K.”

“When I heard that agency was going to start their own publishing imprint, I lost interest in [agent name]—and she asked to see my work. In my day job, that’s a conflict of interest that’ll get you fired.”

While discussing habits of romantic suspense characters who have wild crazy adrenaline sex in a stairwell while the bad guys are still after them:
“Please. I can’t even have sex if there’s dishes in the sink.”

“Excuse me – I have to go write a sex scene now. I need caffeine.”

“Ohmigod, I can’t believe I meeting you! I just told people your books are like crack!”
“I prefer to think of them as meth.”

“I have ‘Bathroom shooting’ on my calendar.”

“YOU DID NOT name your son after a Nora Roberts character… did you?!”

“I only have time for a quickie!”

“Oh, your cleavage looks great! Look at you!”

I’m going to the Waldorf in Walmart.”

“Your crazy is showing.”

“You should always have a critique partner who wears cardigan sweater sets.”

“Are you from Avon cosmetics?”

“I started writing medical romances because there were so many asshole MDs. I wanted to write better ones. Now, there are doctors who critique my medical romances and argue whether I got the details wrong.”

“I really want them to shag in the lift. Can we have a lift?” 

So – what was your favorite RWA moment this year? And are you coming next year? What about RT in Chicago? I’m planning to be at both, and I hope I see you there!

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Lisa Hendrix says:

    Sigh. Your Overheards are terrific this year. Wish i’d been there to hear them for myself.

    Thanks for thinking of those left behind.

  2. 2
    jayhjay says:

    While discussing habits of romantic suspense characters who have wild crazy adrenaline sex in a stairwell while the bad guys are still after them:
    “Please. I can’t even have sex if there’s dishes in the sink.”

    HA!!!! This cracked me up!  Thanks for the report Sarah! Nice to live vicariously!

  3. 3
    Kiersten says:

    I had a room with a Jersey view and was glad I wouldn’t have to deal with the Times Square lights still going strong at 3AM. Course, I was up at 3 AM anyways, but that’s another story. Being close to home for my first national was great as it left me with zero travel worries since friends drove me in and out. Next year will be much different, I expect.

    Also, I gotta get to more parties next year! These look like they were a blast! Makes me glad I was able to catch you on the fly at all.

  4. 4
    LG says:

    My favorite part of this post is Glenny in the 8th Starbucks. You realize that, if people actually went to go see her after you tweeted about her, you probably made her month, right? And, if a lot of people went, maybe even her year. Oh, that makes me smile.

    And also, I’m so jealous about that pile of trading cards. I want, lol!

  5. 5
    Susan says:

    “Smart Bitches Trashy” – huh.  Actually, I’m surprised that the person at Starbucks asked.  I thought people in NY were jaded & cynical & couldn’t be surprised.

  6. 6
    Laura Thomson says:

    You might be pleased to know this.  I was waiting to pick up my coffee from Starbucks when a woman came over and said, “Okay, which one of you is the one who likes romance novels?” …and then handed her a large bag full of books.

  7. 7
    peggy h says:

    Thanks, Sarah.  Love getting a little glimpse of RWA through your updates!

  8. 8
    SB Sarah says:

    @Laura Thomson – that is so awesome!!!! YAY! I hope Glenny was happy!

  9. 9
    Mary Stella says:

    Yes, dammit, Jersey IS pretty.  (Says the proud Jersey Girl who now lives in the Florida Keys.)

    Beth Ciotta and I got the Avon Cosmetics question, too.  Actually, someone saw Avon on our badgeholders and said, “I told my husband that it had to be either Avon or Mary Kay.”  We explained the straight scoop.

    Conference highlights for me, other than seeing friends and stuff—Michael Hauge’s workshops and Jenny Crusie’s presentation, “All I Need to Know About Publishing I Learned from Wonder Woman”. 


  10. 10
    MarieC says:

    Thanks for the great overview, Sarah!  I’m hoping to make it to next year’s!

  11. 11
    Gennita Low says:

    My most memorable moment was when I set a big box of books by the elevator and after waiting for 15 minutes, I started pacing. The flaps on the box was closed so one couldn’t see what was inside. As I was making my fourth back-and-forth pacing, a foreign couple came to stand by the elevator; they looked at the box and the man cautiously poked at the box with his foot. I went to rescue my treasure and they looked really relieved when I assured them the box was mine. The man said, “In my country, that could have been a bomb and we’d have security taking care of it.”


    I didn’t say that. Instead, I said, “There are about 1000 women walking around with boxes at this moment, so be careful!”

  12. 12
    Andrea says:

    “I don’t read any books that spell “magical” with a K.”

    Oh man, I TOTALLY agree with whoever said that. And a double no for anyone who spells it with a -ck. Life is just too short.

  13. 13

    Hmm…SO many wonderful moments, it’s hard to choose one, but I did have to smile at the Sourcebooks signing when a Certain Blogger We All Know and Love had to scribble down her question and have someone else ask it for her because she’d lost her voice… 🙂

    Great story about Glenny in Starbucks. Patricia in the Business Center on 8th was also a fan of romance, so I gathered a bunch from the various lunches etc. and gave them to her. Wish I’d thought about tweeting.

    I’ll definitely be at RT next year, and am hoping to make it to Anaheim, too, if I can.

  14. 14

    Ack. Not the Sourcebooks signing—the Sourcebooks spotlight.

    You know, the one where Sales Manager Sean Murray stood up and introduced himself with, “Hi, my name is Sean, and I read romance novels,” whereupon the woman behind me called out, “Welcome, Sean!”.

    Loved that part, too.

  15. 15
    Laura (in PA) says:

    This is awesome. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing the stories. I’m beyond thrilled that the authors came through for Glenny. Well of course they did!

  16. 16

    I’m so sorry I wasn’t there, but your “overheards” are awesome.  The one about “dishes in the sink” made me laugh out loud.  Thanks for sharing!

  17. 17
    Cialina says:

    Oh this sounds like SO MUCH FUN! I wish I could have gone!

  18. 18
    Jill Shalvis says:

    The donut you bought me for breakfast is #1 on my list.

  19. 19
    Silver James says:

    Sarah, remind me next year to invite you to the National Readers Choice Awards reception. Favorite parts of RWA? Getting to sing “All you need is love” even though I didn’t make the final cut in the video and getting to see the lovely lady behind the video. 😉 Handing out an NRCA tombstone to Leslie Kelly w/a Leslie Parrish after conspiring with her family so they’d all be there. Breakfast with Toni McGee Causey and Allison Brennan. A long and productive meeting with Secret Agent Lady (complete with a massive to-do list!), and lunch with a Harlequin editor, food from Chelsea Market, picnic on the High Line, and then WALKING the dang thing. After that hike, I got to eat everything I wanted, and I DID! Diet? What diet? Oh! And one other moment—Monday night when NYPD and FDNY shut down Times Square due to a suspicious package. I visited with several FDNY guys. (Helps to be a retired fire chief. 😀 ) and met a reporter from the Wall Street Journal who covered Egypt during the overthrow of Mubarak. He was cute! (Yeah, I foresee a WSJ reporter in an upcoming books….just sayin’!)

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! My spam word: age48. I wish to hell I was still that young!

  20. 20
    Maire Shelley says:

    The whole thing was a blast. I didn’t want to leave. Favorite moments???
    Sherilyn Kenyon reminding me that no matter how bad it gets “Never Give Up. Never Surrender.”

    Sherry Thomas being uber cool

    Chatting e-pub in an impromptu celebration after the Rita with Courtney Milan and Delilah Marvelle.

    Um. . . And the Golden Heart Ceremony/Rita was pretty cool b/c I was involved this year!

  21. 21
    Laura (in PA) says:

    Was the suspicious package in Times Square a box of books, by any chance?  😉

  22. 22

    Most of my favorite moments involved meeting friends I only get to see once a year.

    As for surprises, I enjoyed chatting with a woman in the Pocket spotlight who turned out to be an agent—and all-around cool chick—who was there for the same basic reason I was: to hear what the editors are looking for. Not only did I enjoy meeting an agent on neutral ground and having a normal, totally human conversation with no pitch looming between us, but I also liked the notion that we’re all getting more or less the same information.

    There still might be a secret handshake and I’m sure she knows more about the industry than I do, but she wasn’t the only agent I saw in a spotlight or workshop hosted by a few big-name authors.

  23. 23
    Chelsea says:

    YOU DID NOT name your son after a Nora Roberts character… did you?!

    I am not ashamed to say that Ethan is our “if we have a boy” name, because Rising Tides by Nora Roberts was one of my earliest and most beloved romance novels.

  24. 24
    cleo says:

    I am not ashamed to say that Ethan is our “if we have a boy” name, because Rising Tides by Nora Roberts was one of my earliest and most beloved romance novels.

    Huh.  So can we credit Nora Roberts with the meteoric rise in popularity of the name Ethan starting in the late 90s?  Rising Tides makes more sense than Ethan Hawke.  lol (I loved RT too and the whole Chesapeake Bay series – it’s the first series I remember waiting for and buying as they came out, one by one – wish I’d kept them)

  25. 25
    Ann G says:

    That was great about Glenny in Starbucks getting all those books!  It must have made her year.

  26. 26
    Jen B. says:

    Great photos!  Thanks for sharing.  I love the trading cards.  I am hoping to go to two conferences this year.  I am already setting up a notebook to store my collection.  FANGIRL alert!  And, of course, collect many, many signed books!!!!

  27. 27
    Kate Noble says:

    you sneaky photographer you!  It was great to see you at RWA, and I am now going to delete any document wherein I *might* have *accidentally* spelled magical with a K.

  28. 28
    Lilian Darcy says:

    Loved the “overheards.”  I’m plotting to get to Anaheim, since from here it’s “close” – just one ocean away.

  29. 29
    ev says:

    The kidlet lives in Van Nuys so it’s not that far from Anaheim. It would be a good excuse to visit. 🙂 Although bringing books home from NYC would have been cheaper than CA.

  30. 30
    dee says:

    I loved reading about your experiences in NY – thank you for sharing.

    Was there any talk about e-books and their (sometimes ridiculous) pricing vs. their DTB counterparts?

    It’s so frustrating to see a Kindle book cost more than a paperback or hardback version.  I don’t care what reasons the publisher conjures up to explain it – it’s B.S.

    As a result, my e-book (and all book) buying has plummeted.  I’m several books behind in quite a few series (Lora Leigh, Shayla Black, etc) because I just won’t pay for for the e-book version.

    Did anyone talk about this kind of thing?  If so – what was the result?

    Whose Kindle & Nook are gathering dust…

  31. 31
    Diana says:

    That is a neat story about the Starbucks barista.  I hope she enjoyed the books.

  32. 32

    Thanks for sharing all of your RWA experiences!  I was a conference virgin – yes,  a first-timer and I had a blast. Meeting all of the friends I only know online, meeting all of the authors I love, the workshops so chock full of information that my head almost exploded!

    But, my favorite memory?  Hanging at the eHarlequin PJ party with Keri Stevens and spotting the hawt star of “The Lion King” in nothing but a g-string thong. Oooh mama!

    Dude, it’s a successful show – get some blinds! (uh, only after I’ve left though .. . . )


  33. 33
    Mina C. Lobo says:

    LOL at the “dishes in the sink” Overheard – loved that Glenny got some good reading materials too. 🙂

  34. 34
    Kelly S. says:

    Why isn’t RWA just after ALA again next year?  Both are going to be in Anaheim and I was hoping to stay for RWA after ALA, but noooo. Next year they’re a month apart. Foo.

    Loved the write up and photos and OH bits! 

    Great to meet you at ALA too!!

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