My guest today is a Karen Miller. She’s a Golden Heart Finalist and that’s a pretty big deal if you’re a romance writer. The Golden Heart is the biggest contest for unpublished romance writers. Every year about 500 manuscripts are entered. The competition is fierce. There are a lot of talented authors and super stories out there.
Karen’s book SAVING COLUMBINE RANCH was selected as one of the top ten Historical Romances.
Karen attended the 36th Annual Conference for Romance Writers of America and she graciously volunteered to share her experience with us.
I just got home from San Diego last night, and I’m still trying to organize my thoughts and impressions about it. I had a wonderful time, and there are many images flipping through my mind right now, as though I am fanning the pages of a picture book.
One thing I can tell you for sure – the level of friendship and support shown by everyone there is nothing short of amazing. I have known it for a while, but going to the conference reminded me again that the (mostly) women in the romance writing industry are the nicest, most helpful, non-diva group of people you will ever meet. All week, I saw authors (some of them names you would recognize) freely giving of their time and talents to help other writers. They were doing everything from volunteering for menial tasks during the conference to conducting workshops – and always with a smile.
Jaci Burton and Jill Shalvis giving a workshop
|Leslie Kelly (left) volunteering to introduce Dee Davis (right) at her workshop. (The four silver pins on Leslie’s name badge are all RITA finalist pins.)|
The camaraderie was never more obvious than during the awards gala on Saturday night. The entire room – hundreds of people – clapped and cheered for every single finalist as they were announced. The cheering and clapping for each winner as they walked across the stage was nothing short of astonishing. This was not polite golf clapping because it was required – it was a loud and enthusiastic outpouring of joy. I suspect the people watching via the live stream could not get a proper sense of the remarkable energy in the room.
|Sign announcing the gala.|
I was even a little surprised at my own enthusiasm for the winners, especially for the Golden Heart winners. This group of fantastic women bonded together in the weeks leading up to San Diego, and even more while we were there. I didn’t win the Golden Heart in my category, but I knew the woman who did, and I was super excited for her – almost as excited as I would have been for myself. It was the same for the winners of the other categories. These women weren’t competitors; they were my friends. And I was very happy to see my friends win.
I am glad I went to the RWA conference in San Diego, and not just because now I can cross it off my bucket list. It was an incredible experience, and one I will never forget. My biggest takeaway? The reminder that I am surrounded by an amazing group of giving, talented, supportive romance writers. I couldn’t be in better company.
Karen writes under the pen name Karen Marcam. To find out more about her, check out www.KarenMarcam.com, Twitter (@Karen_Marcam) or her Facebook page www.facebook.com/KarenMarcam