Blythe’s Daily RWA Journal
July 17th, 2002

It’s early Thursday morning, and I’m just in from day 1 of the RWA conference. I live in the Denver metro area, so this year the conference is on my home turf and I am thrilled to be able to cover it. I did start off in a bit of a jet-lagged mode, as I was in California two days ago and Utah yesterday. Coming home and immediately meeting dozens of authors was something of a surreal experience.

Fellow reviewer Jen S and I arrived early and registered, than enjoyed people watching as we waited for the big event of the evening – the literacy book signing. We met up with AAR’s technical (and Pandora’s Box) editor Sandi Morris, who was attending the conference as a bookseller. It was quite a treat for me to finally meet her after working with her for several years. Sandi had spent the day attending workshops for booksellers and librarians. The highlights for her included talks by Nora Roberts, SEP, and JAK – all authors she enjoys. She also shared a moving story from Maggie Osborne’s luncheon speech that would have fit quite well into the recent ATBF discussions (see both issue #139 and issue #140) of libraries. Maggie told of being taken to the small town Kansas library by her grandmother, and how it opened the doors to new worlds for her. She also felt that her grandmother would have been impressed that she was an author – but more impressed that she was addressing a room full of librarians. Sandi reported that nearly everyone in attendance was moved to tears.

Before we went to the book signing, we hit the reception/goody room for librarians and booksellers. Authors were sharing treasures from bookmarks to lip gloss to rulers (I was disappointed to have missed the little soaps). We briefly caught up with Signet Regency author Allison Lane, who had fliers for upcoming books. Apparently Signet Regency covers are getting a complete make-over; the long standing logo will be disappearing, and is being replaced by one not unlike that of the current Zebra Regencies.

The book signing was huge – and loud. It was quite a treat to meet so many authors and mingle with fellow romance fans. I talked briefly with several authors as they signed AAR Bookbags for the recent winners of the Purple Prose Parody Contest. Most had covers and promo materials for books in the works. Mary Balogh had a pamphlet touting her new Bedwyn series with books to be published in April, May, and June 2003. Category author Leanne Banks has her first single title contemporary upcoming. And I was glad to see author Laura Lee Guhrke has a book coming out at the end of this year. It takes place in England (rather than America, the setting for her last two books) and will be published later this year by Pocket/Sonnet. She took a year off from writing, and has been the subject of numerous message board inquiries from concerned readers.

Jennifer Schendel, who also lives in the Denver area and is attending as a paid RWA conferee, indicated that MJP has contracted for two more historicals and is toying with paranormal elements in them. Jen, her friend Melissa, Sandi, and I tried to find the extra eight pounds Julia Quinn claims to be fighting. Meg/Patricia Cabot wore the tiara she wore when LLB met her at a Dallas signing, and Avon author (and former AAR Reviewer) Kathryn Smith (aka Kate Smith) was one of a couple of authors who thought I’d be taller.

— Blythe Barnhill

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