By Donna Alward On Jul 16 2011, 6:00 am
The net is all abuzz with reports from RWA Nationals, held a few weeks ago in New York. And with good reason. It was a fab time. It was only my second Nationals conference, and my first ever trip to New York. Lots of exciting things were going on for me too. I was up for a Bookseller’s Best Award (and ended up winning!), I gave a workshop, and I took part in three separate signings. It was wonderful and at times a bit surreal and always very, very rushed.
One of the best things about it was meeting the Samhain team. I couldn’t make the breakfast…the worst part of conference I’ve discovered is that you can’t be in two places at once. But I met the gang at the Literacy signing on the first night. When I got to my table, a lovely stack of SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER was on the table as well as gift cards for free downloads – woo hoo! Samhain had also provided every conference goer with pens and I made a point of signing with mine that night. And then one by one the Samhain peeps stopped by to make sure things were groovy. I finally got to meet Crissy – who bought my first ever book back in 2006. And Marty who is made of awesome. Tera and Lindsey – well, by the time everyone had stopped by the table I was feelin’ the love.
On the Friday (Canada Day!) I took part in the Samhain signing – cutting things very close as I gave a workshop two floors away and had to rush to make it in time. It was also the last day of conference and I expect my composure was probably slipping a little at that point. I squeaked in just before the doors opened. Vivian Arend was celebrating Canada Day in a big way and had the best Maple Leaf packing tape – she had given me a bit to put on my tote bag that morning and then another piece to put on my author sign! And the biggest surprise was finding ARCs of BREATHE on the table. I had no idea that was the book I was signing! It isn’t out in print until December, but Samhain had arcs done up and they are GORGEOUS! I know my mouth fell open when I saw that beautiful cover!
I met so many great readers and had the BEST time. Most fun I’ve ever had at a signing. I got to chat with Heather Osborn for a while and talk to so many readers! I also had a lot of people asking me why I loved writing for Samhain.
The answer was easy. I love working with the Samhain staff because they make it fun. I get to write in my own unique voice but maybe do something slightly different than I usually do. I can write something longer or a novella (I have a novella series coming up that I’m super excited about. First one’s coming in October.). My editor always makes me laugh. I learn so much by doing her edits, and she’ll sneak in little comments that make me giggle. I have great cover art and I get a chance to give the artists input if there’s something that I’d like twigged. My latest back cover blurb (for OFF THE CLOCK) is so brilliant that I was jealous I hadn’t written it.
The truth is, this writing gig is great but it’s not always easy. Working with a group of people so dedicated, so focused on great stories, and who make it FUN is a big plus. And that’s why I keep thinking about stories to write and submit. That’s why I’m elated when my editor says she’s buying. Because I know that there are some fun times ahead, getting it ready for publication, and then watching as it hits the cyber shelves.
So thanks to Crissy, Heather, Marty, Tera, Lindsey, Heidi (my editor) and all the great staff who have created this fun, successful workplace. Samhain rocks, and I’m so proud to be included in that!
I have a great contest going on right now! You can win a summer prize pack valued at nearly $100, including one of those beautiful ARCs of BREATHE and a Samhain gift card for a free download! Deets are on my homepage at www.donnaalward.com.