For the second time in our lives, Mr. Ashbury and I are preparing to get on board a plane and fly to California.
A few years ago, we visited San Francisco, so that I could attend the Romance Writers of America National Conference being held in that city.
This occasion is for the same conference, but a different city: we’ll be landing at LAX and then taking the Super Shuttle to Anaheim.
I’m a member of not only my own local RWA chapter, Toronto Romance Writers, but also of two “online” chapters—Passionate Ink, and Kiss of Death.
The first is devoted to what we’ll call the writing of steamier romance, and the second to mystery/suspense authors.
Most of my novels have suspense sub-plots, and I strive to hone my skills in this sub-genre with each new story written.
One major reason I’m excited about going to the RWA National Conference is that I will finally get to meet, face to face, with a member of my online writing group: D. B. Reynolds, author of the excellent paranormal series, Vampires In America.
D. B. and I have “known” each other online for a number of years. She and I share moderator duties of the Online Writers Group that is hosted by the website of New York Times bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong.
If you are a fan of a well crafted plot and compelling characters, then I recommend the series. Published by Imajinn Books, they’re available in e-book and print, at Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.
Whenever we travel for a conference or convention, I always make an effort to do some sightseeing and research in the area. As an author, having a variety of places you’ve visited is golden. It is, of course, possible to set a story in a city you’ve never visited—especially today with all of the research available on the Internet. There are virtual tours and local newspapers, Google Earth, and all manner of photographs and videos available so that a person can get a pretty good sense of a place without even leaving their chair.
But there is something to be said for knowing the scent of a city, the sight and the sound and the rhythm of it. And of course, nothing beats meeting and chatting with the people who live there.
As I have done for the last few conferences, I have arranged to have a scooter available at the hotel when I arrive. Despite wearing a step counter daily, and often managing to take between 5000 and 8000 steps each day, I simply cannot walk long distances without ending up in complete agony. Having a scooter means I’m not confined to the conference site, but can sample some of the neighborhood, too.
I’ve been told there is a wealth of eateries and shops, a virtual treasure-trove of tourist spots—within a five minute scooter ride of the hotel.
I’ll be signing books at the Literacy Autographing event—where all of the proceeds from the books sold go to fund literacy programs both locally and nationally. If you’re there, come by and say hi.
You doubtless recall all the teasing I’ve received from practically every member of my family—as well as several friends—about my proclivity for making lists before I travel. Well, I am pleased to report that my beloved has adopted this habit. Of course, he makes his list on a tiny note pad, from which he also crosses items off once they are in the suitcase. He says he uses the note pad for convenience but I believe he uses it because it is so easy to conceal. I think I’m the only one in the family—or anywhere else, for that matter—who knows that my beloved has adopted my ‘anal’ habit.
Or rather, I suppose I should say, I was.