Squawk Radio

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

And now back to Eloisa's time-delayed blog...

All this talk about the RWA organization made me wonder if everyone would like to know what we actually do when we go to the RWA conference. Four Squawkers are due to fly to Reno in a couple of weeks to go to the biggest romance conference of the year, the national meeting of the Romance Writers of America. There are almost 9,000 members of the RWA, and if you add in hundreds of editors, agents, publishers, and PR people, you can imagine that the conference can be absolutely over-whelming -- and tons of fun. We thought you might find it interesting to know what we'll be up to at the conference, so I'm starting, and then Connie, Teresa, and Liz will follow. (Christina and Lisa are skipping this year).

My RWA is starting with a bang, because I'm flying from Florence to Chicago, where I'll give a talk to the Levy reps. Levy is one of the biggest book distributors in the US. They're responsible for putting books into Target, for example. Avon is throwing the reps a lunch, and I'm the entertainment du jour. I think my role is to give a reasonably funny speech, not bore everyone silly, and show up with great presents from Italy. I'm thinking of gorgeous glass frames, made in Venice, with the cover of my next book in them (obviously, the reps can just rip out the cover and put in the smiling face of their three-year-old). What do you guys think? Anyone have a better idea? Something I can bring from Italy?

By this time in the year, I find that my RWA dance card, to use Regency speak, is pretty booked. I'm giving talks (two), booksignings (two), and going to cocktail parties (two), as well as the Avon dinner. One of the most exciting things I'm doing is being interviewed by a Canadian documentary company doing a program on romance for the Canadian version of BBC. They're hoping to broadcast it in the US as well. It sounds like an intelligent, interesting program that will take a respectful approach. The only thing that worries me is what to wear (naturally). I haven't quite decided whether to go in business attire (great jacket and pants) or something softer and, well, more romantic. Should I look like a businesswoman or a writer?

In all honesty, the most fun of the conference is dressing up -- and wow, do we dress up! Every year there's some new kind of makeup that everyone is talking about. Last year it was a kind of spray on stockings; I sprayed the bathroom floor in my hotel room and then wrecked a couple of towels trying to clean it up. I ended up looking streaked, like a zebra on a tanning regime.

Each publisher throws a fabulous dinner on Friday night for their authors, and we dress to the nines. Saturday night is the RITA award ceremony (more on this from Connie), and for that we actually dress in long gowns. We'll definitely take a picture! I have to stop eating my mother-in-law's pasta here in Italy or I won't fit into my dress: it's a tight, glamorous black-and-white number.
Connie Brockway, 10:36 PM