Blythe and Lynn have already done such a great job of summing up our RWA experience, that I’ll only add a few personal notes.

I always have a wonderful time at the conference, but I agree with Blythe’s assessment that everyone seemed less stressed and ready to enjoy themselves.  It was, in fact, all good.

I will add that Sherry Thomas’ Rita win was one that made me very, very happy.  I’ve been championing the author since her debut and I think it’s a safe bet that Sherry will very shortly be taking her place as one of romance’s greats.  I was also pleased, as were Blythe and Lynn, to see Julia Quinn inducted into the Hall of Fame for three Rita wins in the same category.

Everyone kept asking for gossip and most of it I had, I wasn’t free to share. (Conversation killer, right there.)  Still, it all goes back to Blythe’s observation: We were there to celebrate and share the happy and that’s mostly what we ended up doing.

As for trends, I think a lot of publishers are all about Trade right now.  I heard the buzz from several sources.  And, maybe just maybe, paranormal is beginning to run its course.

Word from Pocket is that Anne Stuart is going to be writing a new series for them and, as someone who is loving (make that loving, loving, loving) her new historicals, it was especially welcome news to me.

We had a lovely time at the parties on Friday night and I talked (I think) one author into coming back to AAR after a long absence.  (Yeah!) I lined up contests and interviews and scored an ARC of Deanna Raybourn’s Dark Road to Darjeeling.

I have to admit I was taken aback by a question posed to me by someone in the publishing industry.  She wanted to know, “why are you here?”  After pausing dumbstruck for a few moments, I told her that business was done at the conference and, since we cover the industry, we needed to be there.  I have no idea if she agreed or not.

Some of my favorite times at this year’s conference were spent at the poolside Cabana Bar, including the Blogger Bash orchestrated by the Super Librarian.  It was so much fun to meet Magdalen and to see Wendy and Kristie J again.   It is always fun to put faces to online friends and I had so much fun meeting everyone there. (Please forgive the lack of a listing, but I am so afraid of leaving anyone out!)

We, indeed, had a fabulous time at Epcot, despite the heat.  OMG, the heat!  I come from a very hot climate, but Florida in late July tops it all.  I got, however, a hat that is totally non-dorky (at least I think it’s totally non-dorky) and it seemed to help.

When I come back from the conference every year (and recover from the sleep deprivation) my head is a mélange of impressions.  I’m not quite ready to make sense of it all yet, but I thought I’d close with a jumble of one-word impressions of a few of the authors I met.

Deanana Raybourn:  Glamorous

Julia Quinn:  Smart

Sherry Thomas:  Winner

Lisa Kleypas:  Beautiful

Elizabeth Hoyt:  Nice

Anne Stuart:  Eccentric

Laura Lee Guhrke:  Athletic

Diana Peterfreund:  Pregnant

Lavinia Kent:  Friend

Meg Cabot:  Glowing

Nora Roberts:  Royal

Linda Howard :  Unassuming

Jayne Ann Krentz:  Funky

Susan Elizabeth Phillips:  Goddess

– Sandy AAR

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