PS: sorry there are no piccies to go with my recap today. I was pretty much swept along from one thing to the next and although I often got my camera out, I was far too enthralled to remember to use it.
By Thursday I noticed that there were people I hadn’t crossed paths with at all, as yet. Nalini commented on this too. Some people you see over and again in the lobby and elevators, and other people you never bump into at all. I particularly missed meeting up with Sylvia Day, and didn’t get enough time with those people I did meet up with. There are so many things going on at the same time though, and I soon became aware of the immense scale of the event. Also, by Friday I was so wiped out that I had to pare everything back to my absolutely essential meetings, and that meant I wasn’t out and about as much. Hopefully I’ll have better luck hooking up with everyone next time around.
Back to Thursday! We started the day off by visiting the goodie room, leaving books, bookmarks and cards. We had a look around before heading on. I parted ways with Portia and Madelynne and went for my 9.30 meeting with Theresa Stevens, the editor from Red Sage, and Alexandria Kendall, the publisher. I was very nervous, but also looking forward to this immensely. I’ve been working with Alex since she signed me in 2004, and I’ve been working with Theresa for about a year and a half now. She's a very talented editor and is part of the team behind: http://edittorrent.blogspot.com.
Before the event Theresa had emailed that they wanted to discuss what they could do to help me as an author. This made me smile. When I went in there I told them that they had done quite enough already, thank you. LOL! Seriously, I have learnt so much working with Red Sage and it’s been a hugely positive experience, both personally and professionally. It was great chatting with them about erotic romance, heroes and heroines, and the readers who had approached me because I am a Secrets author. We also bounced around an idea for a novella that I hope to squeeze into the schedule for next year. Theresa and Alex said such encouraging things about my writing, and that helped me feel a bit braver for the rest of my meetings.
Next up was a one-to-one with my agent, Roberta Brown. I met her in the lobby where she was just parting ways with fellow agency author Jina Bacarr. I exchange e-mail with Jina and loved her book NAUGHTY PARIS, so it was great finally meeting her. When we parted ways with Jina, Roberta said, “Right, Saskia, we’re going shopping!” LOL! It was the last thing I expected her to say, but we had such a good time and we got to know each other quickly as we launched ourselves on the local mall. We finished up with a more serious chat on the sofas back at the hotel, and a very productive session it was too. Roberta has been my agent for three years now and it felt as if everything fell into place when I met her in person. She is the warmest, most friendly and encouraging person, and I couldn’t wish to have a better agent.
It was near one pm by the time I got back to my room and my plan was to go out and buy some food, but I ended up getting room service as I prepared for the rest of my day. This turned out to be a great move, and I did the same thing on Friday. As an aside, I have no complaints whatsoever about the hotel, the food and service. I was sorry I couldn’t spend more time in the gorgeous room! I truly felt pampered and that made everything else so much easier. My only difficulty was negotiating the elevators. I kept getting into an elevator that didn’t have a button for my floor and ended up having to endure several stomach-churning rocket flights to the 39th floor for no reason other than my own stupidity. :o)
I met up with Portia and Madelynne at 3.30 and we went to the Red Sage mixer coffee event at 4. The room was full to overflowing, and there was a great atmosphere. I was able to chat with quite a few people, and then we nipped back to the room to pick up the raffle basket we had put together for the Passionate Ink chapter party. Madelynne's creative flair with the contents meant the basket looked great and we were proud of it.
The Passionate Ink party was a swish event with a glamorous bar and gorgeous food. The crowd were friendly and there was a lovely warm ambience in the room. A lot of work had gone into it and I only wish it could have lasted longer! Amongst many others, I got to meet Donna Storey, whose book AMOROUS WOMAN I posted about here on the blog.
So many of my friends from the net were there, and I wanted it to last and last. Roberta had asked me to sit on her table and as I looked around at the other authors I couldn’t believe I was in such prestigious company. The speakers were great and it occurred to me then that I hadn’t heard anything negative throughout the conference about erotic fiction, neither did I hear anything negative about sales. In fact throughout the conference there was an uplifting, positive vibe about the industry.
Straight after the Passionate Ink party I’d been invited to the Harlequin single title reception as a newly signed Spice author. I travelled by taxi with a couple of Spice authors, Jina Bacarr and Victoria Janssen. I loved these two ladies and look forward to chatting with them at future events. This party was held at Gordon Biersche, a venue which is close to the Golden Gate Bridge. It actually felt strange being out of the hotel! At the party I was able to chat with my new editor, Susan Swinwood, and she introduced me to many Harlequin personnel including other editors who had been part of the committee commissioning my title. There were also people there from the contracts division, marketing, and the board.
As a huge added bonus I also got to meet my short fiction editor, Alison Tyler, who I’ve been working with for several years. What an absolute treat this was! When I started submitting fiction to Alison, whose work I admire greatly, I never dreamed we would have the chance to meet in San Francisco at a party we’d both been invited to. It was the best treat. The time we had together was too short, but I appreciated the opportunity to meet with someone who has been such an important part of my life and career. Alison has given me opportunities and challenges that have contributed to my growth as a writer, and I have learned much from her. Alison is petite and vibrant in real life, just as I thought she would be. She has a unique, magnetic quality and we chatted easily. It felt as if we’d been friends forever and it was sad to say goodbye.
I was fading fast by 8.30 (yes, 8.30pm, but that was 4.30 am my time!) I wasn’t feeling good so I said my goodbyes and headed out to get a taxi. I got to share with a couple of other authors, and Mary Theresa Hussey, who edits the Luna line amongst others, and was on the committee who commissioned RAMPANT.
It’s only a few weeks since I was commissioned by Spice and I felt honoured to be included in this event, and to have the opportunity to meet so many Harlequin personnel and my new editor. Doing so at this time in our working relationship was the perfect start for me. I admire Susan Swinwood and Mary Theresa Hussey greatly and I have to say that when they both raved about my “sexy Warlock story” I kept looking over my shoulder to be sure they really meant me. :))
Back at the hotel I was happily about to collapse into bed when Madelynne and Portia arrived in fits of merriment and giggles, wonderfully high after their Romance Divas dinner party. They cajoled me into staying up just a wee tad longer and I joined them for a brief trip down to the Moonlite Madness Bazaar. I felt as I was floating through the venue, vaguely noticing the pretty things and not really feeling attached to the world at that point. Jet lag was really being mean to me. I was thoroughly exhausted, and had another busy day ahead, but the awesome meetings of the day had left me feeling so positive about writing and what I am trying to achieve, that it was well worth it. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Tomorrow I'll post about my Friday experience, more meetings, the Berkley signing, and back-to-back cocktail parties!