I’ve been getting in a daily word count, participating on social media, keeping in touch with family and friends, reading new releases and managing to keep a reasonably clean house (I *have* to do the latter, our home is on the market).

For the first time in a very long time, I feel hopeful, focused and excited about what will come next. AND part of what-will-come-next is Romance Novel Writers of America’s National Conference in Atlanta!

As I start to pack and prepare, my thoughts are on last year’s experience. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my father passed away a few weeks after RWA12. Caught up in the aftermath of his shockingly rapid decline, I never truly celebrated the amazing experience that was being a Golden Heart Finalist.

And my RWA 2012 experience deserves to be celebrated. For an aspiring romance writer, RWA’s national conference is the most crazy, the most validating, and the wildest experience of a dream come true–for a GH finalist, the experience is rock-star fun. So, in celebration of last year’s wild ride, I give you my photos of RWA 2012:

I began by volunteering at the Registration Desk.

Without knowing, I chose the same time slot as fellow La La Virginia Boylan

AND fellow La La/Agent Sister/Amazing Woman Abigail Sharpe

And then it was off to the GH 2012 finalists (aka Firebirds) informal meet & greet Dinner,

where I joined fellow LaLa’s and finalists Jan Nash an Kathleen Bittner Roth

Finalists, finalists everywhere!

The next Day had me running between two events: the Golden Network’s Retreat and The Annual Beau Monde mini conference. At the Beau Monde Breakfast my roomie and I shared a table with Suzie Kue, Anna Randol, Jinhee Jun.

To our surprise, Suzie and I were jointly awarded the Lady of the Realm award for outstanding service to The Beau Monde.
Reunited with both my breakfast mates at the literacy signing and the talented Mary Behre (who saved me more than once during the week)

Then off to a night of Dancing at the Beau Monde Soiree

And after all that dancing, sometimes you need a break!

The next few days were packed with great workshops…

…fabulous lunches…

….celebrations with wonderful writers like Colette AuClair (now a contracted author!) & Oberon Wonch (a finalist again this year)

With Rita finalist Caridad Pineiro, who is also the *most* generous author I know, always giving tirelessly of her time and talent.

With SEP, who I don’t know, but who was gracious enough to let me take this picture!

With Addison Fox, author of some Alaskan Romances that will keep you warm on any winter’s night!

Finally Awards night started with Inara Scott, who is multi-genre talented and simply wonderful

and with super-multi-tasker Nikki McIntosh.

I also caught up with with two of my favorite authors, Jo Bourne (I think I scared her with my effusiveness) and

Vicky Dreiling.

My ‘date’ for the night was the ever-wonderful Kiersten Krum
and after the ceremony, I got hugs from Jaye Garland, whose amazing time-travel is coming out this fall and Jan Nash, whose inspirational blew me away!

Then, I went onto the post-awards Samhain Party with Jan and the soon-to-be pubbed with Harlequin Alison Delaine.

Where I ran into talented Firebirds Talia Quinn Daniels (GH Winner and 2013 finalist!)…

….Laurie Sanchez & Cathrine Rull….

…and Joanne Lockyer. And conference had come to an end. BUT…

…it ain’t over til somebody starts to DANCE.

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