Thursday, October 1, 2015

My Life

Pamela Tracy here.

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?
All I can say, if I've enjoyed this writing life immensely.  
See the lady in pink?  Not me.  See the arm belonging to the body she's blocking.
That's me.

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
in December.

So what meetings do you attend?  And some of your greatest memories?


  1. I remember going to the Desert Rose Conference with my good friend, Judy Christenberry. I had so much fun. RWA has been the vehicle which most of us have gone from having that unpublished work to publication.

  2. So happy I can bring a smile to your beautiful face. I shared on my fb page. Hopefully, you can pick up a few more readers (not that you don't already have plenty), but there is always room for more. Right? Hugs, V

  3. What fun, Pamela! I've never had the opportunity to attend local chapter meetings--too far away. But I did get to my first RWA in NYC this past summer. That was an experience!

  4. You make it so tempting to join, Pam. Not yet though.

  5. Loved your post Pamela! I think local chapter meetings are so beneficial. My local RWA chapter is an hour away from me, but I go almost every month. I love seeing their writing journey. I'm also very active in an on-line chapter that I love. We got together at NY this summer and it was amazing!

    And I don't think I could EVER get my hubby to attend any writing events. Good for your husband!

  6. Leann,
    Oh, my, I loved Judy. I remember way back in the 90s, sitting in a room full of wannabe authors (me! and others) as she laid out her career. At that time, she was putting out eight books a year. She talked money and everything. I felt like I'd been invited to a secret meeting or something.
    She was a gracious and funny (humor) lady.

  7. Virginia,
    Thanks for stopping by! I truly loved watching you get the reward. you rock!

  8. Sandra, tell me you'll in be in CA next year. I get to go. This summer was amazingly busy. I didn't get to go anywhere except for family events.

  9. Judy, you'd have a blast. But, you need to come to Valley of the Sun. It's closer. I'll let you know next meeting. You can come twice for free.

    Yes, per Jolene's post about small town, I live in the BIG city. I can drive easily to two different meetings, and if I really want, there are four RWA chapters within two hours.

  10. LeAnne, you're close enough to me. Some day I'll drag Don to a Tucson event and you can bring your husband. Sound good?

  11. I go to the Capital Region (NY) RWA chapter meetings. I co-founded the chapter in 2005. Before that I went to the Saratoga Romance Writers meetings. The first conference I went to was the NJ Romance Writers Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. It's also the one I've attended most. I'll be there later this month. Anyone else going?

  12. Jean, how cool that you co-founded. I helped co-found the local ACFW chapter here in Phoenix. It's a lot of work but very rewarding. My husband has family in New Jersey. I'd love to attend the conference someday.

  13. What a wonderful post, Pam. I've been a member of RWA since 1988 (I just went and checked.) In that time, I've mostly been a member of online chapters though I did belong to the NYC and Long Island chapters for a time. Like you, I've seen a lot of changes, but I'll always be grateful to RWA for helping me along my way.

    Funny thing - I learned about RWA from attending one of the very first RT conferences in the mid 1980s.

    Congrats on your service award.

  14. Cate,
    In our chapter, if you serve in any three ways, you get a pin and a certificate. Very nice.
    Virginia won our chapter's Award: the Desert Rose. The chapter members vote on who receives it.
    I've been to one RT conference and plan to go to Vegas this next year. Any chance you'll be there?

  15. Probably not. The RT conferences tend to be during the school year which make them hard to pull off. I love that RWA is in the summer.

  16. Mary,
    I'm a teacher, too. It's close so I can pull it off. ACFW is always during the school year so I rarely get to go. Plus, it never comes west.


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