Thursday, July 30, 2015

RWA 2015 and NYC trip!

Hello everyone!

Yep, I'm alive! I survived RWA 2015 and my NYC trip! We drove back home on Monday and I've been settling back slowly into a routine :P I'm not going to do a day-by-day recap because that'd be too long for you and me... but I wanted to share some thoughts and pictures of the whole experience :P

RWA 2011 was such a great experience for me, that I knew I'd do it again. I chose this year, because it was once again held in NYC. Being able to drive to the conference is a definite plus because I get to save on airfare and can also bring back all the books I want :) Plus, I get to visit fellow bloggers Hilcia, Christine and Mariana :) Accompanying me this time around was my sister Emilie, my friend V and Ames. My sister and V have visited NYC many times, but always like to come back. As for Ames, NYC has always been a place she wanted to see... Plus, being there at the same time as some favorite authors and fellow bloggers, it was perfect timing.

As usual, we managed to squeeze in some outlet shopping... but the real focus of the trip was NYC and RWA 2015. One of the most memorable moments of the trip was the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show taping. My sister is a big fan of Jimmy Fallon and we've been trying to go for years... but it never worked out. This time though, the stars aligned and not only was Jimmy Fallon taping while we were in town, but I managed to snag some tickets!! Wooohooo!!! There's a whole process to get tickets and even then, it's hard ^_^; We went to the taping with Ames and Rosie. I was a bit disappointed that we were in the last row, although we still had a good view. However, in the end, we were able to high-five Jimmy Fallon, so I guess those were actually good seats LOL. And bonus, not only we got to see the taping with guest stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Gad and James Bay, but at the end, they also taped scenes for a movie - Conner4Real - with Andy Samberg! So we got to see that as well :P If we're lucky, we will be in it!!

Last time I was attending RWA in NYC, I didn't really get to sightsee ^_^; The days during the conference start really early, even more so now that the keynote speakers are scheduled at breakfast instead of lunch. If you go to every publisher signings, it leaves you very little time to actually attend to workshops and panels... and then, you want to hang out with your friends. This time, I was hoping to do a bit more... So I managed to go to the High Line Park with my crew as well as Rosie and L.B. Gregg. Also managed to go to the Empire State building and do a night tour bus. Not bad, no?

 We also managed to go to a Broadway show: Finding Neverland. I'm not a fan of Peter Pan, but I actually really enjoyed this one. The stage was awesome and some of the scenes were just breathtaking. My only complaint though was the volume... I had difficulty catching every word during a song because the music seems to be too loud. Still, great show in my opinion.

So this was NYC for me. Ames, V and Emilie actually saw a lot more :P It's funny because Emilie and I are used to being on the go during trips. I guess we're also fast walkers. Ames and V were troopers!! But after a couple of intense sightseeing days, I think Emilie has broken Ames' feet :P


What about RWA? Overall, my experience was positive :) However, I do have some mixed feelings about it. I'll try to expand on those later...

For now, let's start with the Literacy Signing. It was crazy! LOL, but super well organized! There were close to 500 authors present for the Literacy signing, so you can imagine... I love how they did the queue this year. The Literacy Signing was on the 5th floor ballroom and we were directed to the 6th floor ballroom for the line-up. There were actual chairs so instead of standing, we could sit! That was really brilliant! We were also divided into section: A, B, C, etc. And when the signing started, they called one section at a time to make their way down the 5th floor ballroom. Everything was smooth and prompt. So, really big kudos to the organizers for thinking this up. I think each section was made up of approximately 100 persons and I know they started to fill section F. So 600+ people going to the signing to meet authors... Wowzer! I think this year, the Literacy Signing raised about 48000$ for charity, so that was awesome :)

Lining up for Literacy Signing

The Literacy Signing!

I managed to make it to all three breakfasts :) This year, the keynote speakers were Barbara Freethy, Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh. All three speeches were interesting... although I think Ms Freethy was the most enlightening. She talked about how she had to re-invent herself many times because of romance trends and why she decided to self-publish. Really interesting. Ms Quinn talked about how authors cannot please every reader and Ms Singh, about her first RWA experience and friendships in the industry.

The most disappointing thing for me this time around is I wasn't able to make it to many workshops/panels... mainly because I chose to go to the publishers signings. They were 12 publisher signings and for most of them, two were held at the same time... so technically, 7 seances. I was able to make it to a few, but I wished I could have gone to more.

Laura Griffin & Brenda Novak on RS

Robyn Carr chat and Sharon Sala chat

Alas, I missed the RITAs. It was a tough decision, but I elected to spend time with Ames and V and did the night bus tour. I was seriously tired anyway and so many of the books nominated, I haven't read.

So, RWA... Honestly, I feel I didn't enjoy RWA this time around as much as I did in 2011. However, I don't think it's the conference itself, but more me. RWA 2011 was a new experience and so it was awesome. This time not being my first rodeo, well, it changed things. Also, the circumstances are different. I'm still reading a lot of romance books, but am not as involved in my blog, am less plugged in the blogosphere. I went to RT and RWA and I prefer the atmosphere at RWA better because it's quieter, less chaotic because it is a professional conference. It's meant to be for people in the industry, but at the end of the day, I'm not part of the industry. I don't feel comfortable to run up to one of my favorite authors and gush to them in the lobby, elevator or hall. I think it'd be easier to do so if I was at RT where there's a lot of fans, but at RWA? Also, I'm a small blog and I like to stay away from all the drama and kerfuffles. I like having a little distance between me and authors... I write on my blog how much I love them and their books, but I seldom send mail... Most of them, I don't follow on FB or Twitter. As a result, I don't have much of a relationship or connection with authors and I think it makes it hard when I'm at RWA because nobody knows who I am. Don't get me wrong, everyone is very nice... but you can't help but wonder if you belong.

For now, I'm thinking I'd like to attend one more RWA that is not held in NYC... because the attendance is just sooo high in NYC. I'd like to see if it's different when it's being held elsewhere :P I'd also like to do another RT... and then, I think I'd be good :) Because there are just so many times you can meet your favorite authors before these meetings are no longer special... Speaking of meeting authors, I was so happy to get to see  Nora Roberts and Laura Florand!! Definitively one of my highlights of RWA 2015.

And of course, it's always nice to reconnect with friends :)