I've belonged to the greater Phoenix chapter of the Desert Rose Romance Writers of America for 20 years now.
As a romance writer, there's no stronger organization.
I found out about the chapter thanks to a creative writing class I was taking at the community college when I was 12 (that, by the way, is a lie. I was much older).
It wasn't even me who found the article in the newspaper hawking an upcoming conference.
Four ladies from the creative writing class attended the conference. By the way, one of them found the article on Tuesday. We late registered on Wednesday. Showed up to attend on Friday. The conference was that last minute, and my three friends and I knew nothing.
I carried my manuscript with me (pre-laptop days) from workshop to workshop. I'm not sure how I knew NOT to scoot it under the bathroom stall, but I managed to not make that mistake.
I was sold. I joined RWA the next time they had a monthly meeting. I remember the president's name was Pat. I remember I was most impressed by a Harlequin author named Pat Warren. She was worlds ahead of me both in ability and savvy and self-esteem.
For the first five or six years, only funerals and sickness kept me from the meetings. I was that hungry.
I made wonderful friends thanks to RWA and Desert Rose. They were in my wedding some years later (see before lie about being 12).
|Cathy McDavid, Harlequin American; Stacy Connelly, Harlequin Special Edition; Alison Hentges, Kensington; Patti Osback, finishing book now; my sister Roxanne who could be the next Erma Bombeck|
This past Tuesday, they had a membership appreciation banquet, and I attended. In some ways, I'm sad. See, in 20 years, you do see a revolving door of membership. The people I sat with, laughed with, danced with (it was an Hawaiian theme) were not the same people as five, ten, fifteen years earlier. Some of those writers I long to see again.
On the other hand, there was a Desert Rose Award winner, and up-and-coming writer who always makes me laugh. And tons of new friends.
|This is our Desert Rose Winner, Virginia Nelson.|
My husband came along. When we were first dating, he was amazed by the writing world and often found himself amidst gaggles of female writers.
|Now this is entertainment and I'm already thinking about using it in my next story. Will Love Inspired let me?|
|See the lady in pink? Not me. See the arm belonging to the body she's blocking.|
|This year's service award. My fifteenth. When I join an organization, I raise my hand and volunteer.|
|I won the RITA entry drawing! yeah. I have three books to enter this year.|
|Here's one of them.|
Second Chance Christmas is available
So what meetings do you attend? And some of your greatest memories?