I’m sitting in Union Station, Washington, DC right now, a little tired, but very much blessed. The last two days was full of making even more connections, including a possible editing job for a colleague and some more inquiries about self publishing. I also finally met one of my aces after years of meeting everyone but her (including working with her sister, meeting her mother, her brother-in-law’s family from round my way, other mutual friends—it was beyond time). And she’s good. Y’all, if you ever want to know why some (re: the majority) of these stories happen, is because chick sends me photos or keeps nudging formerly quiet secondary characters into screaming, especially in the Reconstructing Jada Channing universe (i.e.—the whole Inoue brothers arc? Her fault.). I side-eye her, but it is with love.
And we share a brain. It’s ridiculously creepy.
So, she was there with me during the RSJ Mega Book Signing (I'd sold half the books I’d brought, which a significant success rate in my opinion) and got to meet several authors, and we were both very boring hanging out in my room while I bemoaned not wanting to go to the Emma Awards (my fault, I’d been up all night on the phone with BJ (we do not know how to have short conversations), who is another awesome-sauce woman whose book y’all need to buy when it comes out in June) and I’d needed to pack because my first train (the one forces tried to conspire against me to miss this morning) left at 6:23 this morning, and the Awards ended at 11pm last night. But I was good egg, got photographic evidence me and my friend really, truly did meet, and went to the Emma Awards banquet.
The food was great, although I wasn’t hungry and left most of it on the plate, sadly. It was a bit chilly in the hotel, but that had been consistent from jump, so I was glad I’d at least had the foresight to wear an outfit with sleeves. The awards were blessedly efficient with little hiccups and everyone was gracious and a cheerleader for the winners.
And speaking of…I placed in the Aspiring Authors Contest, which means my manuscript will be read by an editor at a major traditional house. I didn’t blog about how much angsting I’d done with the submissions earlier this year; nor did I mention part of my trepidation was because the last time I’d participated in the contest my manuscripts had all but been ripped by the judges. But I was a green one then, naïve, and I have four years of professionally writing under my belt. I came in fourth out of the fourth slots, but I don’t even care. There really is no such thing as “last place” if you placed at all, and I’m so grateful. My “acceptance speech” was a hot mess because I 1.) didn’t think I’d win anything and 2.) wasn’t aware the winners would even have to say something. But everyone was so kind to me and wished me congratulations.
And as for editors, I had another pitch earlier that day; this time with the editor of the Harlequin Kimani line. Although I didn’t have anything that was the right fit for what she was looking, she was so gracious with her advice and just a warm spirit. I’ll say, this core of agents and editors at this 2011 Romance Slam Jam were all phenomenal, so open, so gracious, so encouraging. Pitching is one of the most nerve-wracking things an author could do, and I left both of mine so at ease and comfortable.
I’ll be glad when I finally get on my train back home; I’ll be able to relax a bit and really being to unpack all that went down during this conference, but it was a great experience.