by Carlene, Dana, Diana, Robin and Susan Mermaid
Carlene: Holy abalone fishy sisters and friends! The Waterworld Mermaids are two years old which means it’s been two years since what was easily one of the best experiences of our lives—The 2011 Washington Romance Writers Spring Retreat. Which in turn means it’s been just as long since we made these precious memories at that retreat. Keep in mind…we were all FIRST-TIMERS! The Contemporary Genre Mermaids hope you enjoy our trip down memory lane:
Played Romance Jeopardy for the first time…with Roxanne Rustand as my teammate! I jotted down something beautiful she said at the Unpublished Author Roundtable: “God doesn’t give the desire if he doesn’t give the talent.”
Pitched for the very first time…to Jenny Bent, who was awesome and let me know it was totally okay that my book was driven by the characters rather than the plot. Seriously important because as a newbie, you’re not sure if these sorts of things are okay or not! They are!
While attending fellow WRW member Michelle Butler’s “Healthy Writer” session where she referenced Bridget Jones’s Diary, I totally thought she was the real Bridget Jones who the movie was based on! She looks remarkably like the gorgeous Renee Zelwegger so of course my newbie self jumped to that conclusion!
Cried. A lot. Cried even more when I saw that Kristan Higgins was also crying while Sherrilyn Kenyon gave the most beautiful and inspiring keynote speech I will ever hear.
WRW Retreat was a much more intimate conference than anything I had attended before. I loved having the opportunity to sit down and chitchat with other writers, editors and agents. It was so great finding a group of people who didn’t think I was crazy for having conversations with fictional characters.
I kicked off that retreat by assisting my friend and critique partner, Anita Clenney, at her very first book signing ever at Turn The Page bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland. I’ll never forget it, because she sold out. I also met Alethea at that book signing. I was awestruck with her glitter princess awesomeness.
I am a huge Sherrilyn Kenyon fan and had a huge fan girl moment when I accidently wound up sitting by her in the bar one night and talking about her car collection. She is apparently as much an autophile as I am. Then, the next night, Sherrilyn was our keynote speaker. She was so incredibly poignant as she spoke candidly about the obstacles she faced before getting published, and then the long road she traveled and hard work it took to be where she is today. I remember looking around and realizing there weren’t many dry eyes in the place. So now, every time writing gets hard, the words won’t come or some obstacle lands in my path that makes me question what I’m doing, I mentally go back to that night and remind myself of all the reasons to keep writing.
Romance Jeopardy is NOT FAIR! But so much fun!
And the best thing I have taken away from that first WRW Retreat is all the great friends!
Diana: I remember feeling totally overwhelmed that I was among such incredible writers and people. The women at WRW were smart — I mean Ph.D smart, funny, talented and beautiful. It was like being thrown on stage at the Miss Universe contest (times 10!) — at the last minute and totally knowing you couldn’t compare. But, they made me feel so very welcome and I am thrilled to be part of this chapter and this group. I’ve learned so very much and am very grateful to everyone at WRW.
-Everyone at the retreat was so supportive and took the fear out of pitching and submitting your work to American Author.
The speakers were awesome and they taught me that the definition of success is different for each person and you need to find your own definition and make your own goals.
Susan: I’m incredibly grateful to be a Mermaid. How can I be anything else? This was a pack of newbies, all coming in on their very first conference, many of them new to writing, who bonded over two days and decided it just wasn’t right to let that go. They even accepted a past-published Mermaid who’d clipped her own fins years back and was finally dipping a fin back into the waters.
They kept writing, not just their own stories, but excellent blog posts and emails to one another and here we are, two years later! My hat’s off to all the lovely Mermaids who swim in this pond. Happy Anniversary!
Thank you so much for swimming at our party today! Do you have a favorite contemporary romance book or author? Let us know, we’re always on the lookout to make new memories. What better way to do that than with a good, tried and true love story?
The Prize Pack! Books, A Nightie, $25 Amazon Gift Card and a WWM Bottle!