One Day at Nationals (NYC Trip Recap)

Okay before anything else distracts me, I need to get this written.

RWA (Romance Writers of America) held their annual conference, called Nationals, in NYC this past 28 June – 01 July 2011 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Since I am still a “starving artist,” I couldn’t afford to do the conference. I still wanted to see all of my friends, so I decided to go up for one day and hang out in the hotel. I chose 29 June to head up. That was the day the Oklahoma Romance Writers planned the National Readers’ Choice Award Ceremony, as well Samhain Publishing was having a meet-and-greet breakfast for their authors… at the same time. 😛

I got my butt up in the early AM, which wasn’t hard since I couldn’t sleep, and hopped the train up to NYC. This was my very first trip to NY, let alone NYC. I had never been, and after this, I have no inclination to go back. Nothing bad happened. It’s just not on my list of places to visit.

From the train station, I caught a cab to the hotel, which is the biggest flippin’ hotel I have ever seen in my life and I’ve been in a lot of hotels. Just to give you a hint of the size of this hotel, the lobby (front desk, concierge, et al) is on the 8th floor. That was a little confusing in and of itself. Luckily the awards ceremony was also on the 8th floor. I parked myself outside the room where the award ceremony was to be held and didn’t move for one hour.

While waiting for the ceremony to start, I gave Kate Douglas a call to let her know I had arrived. She was still groggy from the night before. I had told her ahead of time that I would be crashing Nationals and we made tentative plans to hang out. We got to talk a little bit but she had to go meet with her editor and then got busy the rest of the day.

The NRCA award ceremony was so much fun. More so because I bumped into Joy of Joyfully Reviewed and Limecello. I knew they would be at Nationals but I hadn’t known they would be at the awards ceremony.

The Oklahoma RWA is a fun bunch. I got a certificate for myself and my editor proclaiming my finalist status. After seeing the whole thing, I am determined to actually win a tombstone one year. “Tombstone” is what the OKRWA calls the award they give to the winners because it looks like a tombstone.

After the award ceremony, I hurried up to the 16th floor to catch the tail end of the Samhain breakfast and hang out with the authors there. It was good to catch up with my Samhain family since I missed hanging out with them at Lori Fosters Get Together in early June.

Free time (for me) commenced at the end of the breakfast. I ran into a few people and chatted a bit, but ultimately ended up wandering around trying to find a place to sit. The 8th floor lounge/bar area filled up quickly and stayed full.

I did locate the B&N-hosted bookstore and bought some books from there. I figured, if nothing else, I could find a quiet spot and read. Except that I didn’t. Since I had no pressing business, I decided to brave the streets of NYC. I had originally wanted to visit Kinokuniya (a Japanese bookstore), since NYC is the location of one of its branch stores. I bypassed taking a taxi in the middle of rush hour and walked. On the way, I found Mid-Town Comics, a HUGE comic store with a very impressive manga section. Of course, I bought stuff. 😛

I found Kinokuniya without getting too turned around and wandered in there for a while. I ate lunch there as well. They have a Japanese cafe on the upper levels with some great food at even greater prices. I grabbed stuff for lunch then and dinner later.

I returned to the hotel and recommenced my search for a place to sit and had the same amount of luck as before. I ran into Joy and Limecello multiple times in the day and hung out with them and the group of authors around them. I spent the majority of the time simply sitting around (when I could find a place to sit) and watching for the pink RTC button so I could add more cards to my collection. I managed to get cards from Susanna Kearsley, Mima, Thea Harrison, Kimberly Lang, Cassandra Carr (who recently appeared on my First Chapters blog), Emma Lang, Miranda Baker, Elaine Golden, and Roz Lee.

While I would have liked to have headed home after all the exciting stuff ended, I had planned my train trip back at 3AM the following morning (just in case, so I didn’t miss anything fun trying to rush off to meet the train). I ended up hanging out in the train station for nearly three hours. The train ride back was uneventful. The hubby was waiting for me when I arrived with bloodshot eyes and sluggish with fatigue.

That was my NYC trip. My plan for 2012 Nationals is to attend as a legitimate registrant. We’ll see how the coming months treat me and my new titles.

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