More than 2,000 romance writers and industry professionals have descended on the San Antonio Riverwalk for the Romance Writers of America National Conference. For the fifth year in a row, I’m one of them.
The conference workshops don’t start until tomorrow, but I’ve been here since Monday and I’ve been busy, busy, busy.
After a long morning of travel, I spent the afternoon and evening with three of my fabulous Kiss & Thrill blog sisters and a new friend. In addition to eating good food, chatting, and laughing, we brainstormed each other’s stories. I’m not usually comfortable getting feedback on my book or premise before the first draft is done, but after Monday’s session, I might be a convert. We came a ton of great ideas that I think will help get me back on track with Men of Steele book #2.
Yesterday kicked off with a sunrise bus ride to Lackland AFB where we visited the National Military Working Dog monument and spent the morning learning about how the Air Force security forces (military police) train, and their various missions. I had no idea that one in six new enlisted recruits enters the security forces.
During lunch I got a chance to chat with a real live Air Force combat controller! It was the first time I’ve met a member of the special operations forces and it was great to learn about what motivated him to choose the USAF and special ops, and learn more about what he does.
After lunch we drove to Fort Sam for an informative session on Army combat medics. They showed us their state-of-the-art training facility complete with the sounds, smells, and feel of a real combat scene with life-like “casualties” that breathe, have pulses (or not) and blood pressure, and have gruesomely realistic injuries. We also had a Q&A session with several decorated medics who are now instructors at the school. As usual the tour with my Kiss of Death chapter was worth the trip to conference all by itself.
We capped off the day with dinner and a fun speech by suspense author Wendy Corsi Staub.
Today I started with a sunrise run on the Riverwalk. Due to a lack of “you are here” stickers on many of the maps, I ended up running a couple more miles than I intended, but I can’t fault the view. From mid-morning on, the Riverwalk is packed with tourists, but before breakfast, the only people on this oasis below street level are the walkers, joggers, park police, merchants, and sidewalk cleaners. It was the break from chaos that I needed.
Despite getting back to my room later than planned, I made it to my Golden Network (for current and former Golden Heart finalists) retreat on time, and what a day. Robin Perini, Jennifer McGowan, Cathy Maxwell, and many others shared their words of wisdom, I made new friends, and I finally met several online friends in person.
After three nonstop days, this introvert-at-heart was ready for some downtime. I skipped the madness that is the literacy signing, ordered room service for dinner, took a short nap, and just decompressed.
Now I’m ready for the conference to begin bright and early tomorrow!