It was a wonderful conference. The best out of the four I attended so far. And the icing on the cake was meeting so many friends. I also had the added bonus of being able to visit my former company’s headquarter. Imagine, the president sent me a limousine to pick me up at the airport and drive me to the Marriott.

On Wednesday, I attended the Heartbeat Medical Chapter luncheon. Three editors from HQ Mills& Boon were invited and many published medical romances authors from Us, Australia, England and New Zealand were present. A real feast, especially that I was sitting next to Lucy Gilmour, HQ editor. See picture of Julie Rowe (Heartbeat prez) Sally, Susan, Lucy Gilmour, (three editors at HQ Mills& Boon) and Mona Risk.

On Wednesday night, I toured the Literacy signing tables where more than 500 published authors signed their books. $58,000 collected for the Literacy. See picture of Stacey Kayne from the Writers at Play signing her latest western.

Later on my critique partners, Helen Scott-Taylor, he husband, Joan Leacott and I relaxed with a drink on the 39th floor lounge of the Marriott, enjoyed the view and chit-chatted.

On Thursday, it was registration, Pro and Pan general meeting. Helen, Joan and I walked through downtown and Chinatown. I came back for the RWA lunch and Victoria Alexander keynote speech. A hilarious speech from a lovely lady.

At 3:00 pm my former boss picked me up at the Marriott and too me straight to the company building. I had tears in my eyes when I entered the lobby of the four story wide building overlooking the Burlingame Bay, and saw a big frame on the wall with my picture receiving an award from government officials. The frame has been hanging for seven years already. Of course, I took a picture next to it. then toured the place and showed several people how to buy my ebooks from the Internet.

Back at the hotel, I hardly had enough time to change and rushed to the FRWA on line chapter gathering. I have met my CPs, my friends from the Writers at Play, and many fellow writers through this chapter, and feel I owe them a lot. Literary Agent Scott Eagan gave us a talk about his career and what he was looking for in new authors. At 9:00 pm I met with Carolyn Hughey, one of my first CP and other authors and we walked to the PASIC (a published authors loop) cocktail. There I met and chatted at length with a great lady, Mardi Balou, who is published by Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press. Mardi was a well of advice on how to make it in ebooks. Carolyn introduced me to some of her friends from Avalon and to the owners and editors of Source Books. They are actively looking for new authors with single title books of 90,000 words.

Friday was even busier with many workshops, the most important for me being Emotion, emotion, emotion presented by Barbara MacMahon, Barbara Haney, Jessica Hart, and Lucy Gilmour, about what HQ editors are looking for in new manuscripts. Just before lunch time, Beth Trissel recognized me and called my name. We walked to the lunchroom together. She was wearing at-shirt printed with her cover book. We sat together for lunch. See picture of Beth on the left and Mona on the right at the GH reception.

And then came the moment all writers wait for while biting their lips, chewing their nails or tapping the floor, the moment we gather in a room and wait to be called for the Pitch to the editor. Mine went smoothly as I pitched a medical romance. Now please cross your fingers and toes for my pitch and request for partial to bring something positive. After that I was able to relax. Friday night was the party nights for Harlequin authors, Avalon authors, Avon authors, Dorchester authors… Every editor invites his authors for drinks and food. My editor Cerridwen Press was not present at RWA National this year. I visited my boss for a delicious dinner with his family.

Elevators are great place to meet people. Seriously, and not only in Grey’s Anatomy. I saw Terry Odell, a Cerridwen Press fellow author and the famous Barbara Vey. I profusely thanked Barbara for posting a review of my book, TO LOVE A HERO and the bookcover on her column at Publishers Weekly for a whole week. She gave me her card and said to write to her. You bet I will. Helen met her in the lobby. A friend of Helen introduced her to Barbara Vey as the winner of the Romantic Time American Title. Barbara hugged Helen, took a picture with her and gave her her card. We are eagerly checking Publishers Weekly.

Too soon, it was already Saturday and the Golden Heart/Rita Award ceremony and reception. I clapped hands so hard for Helen Scott-Taylor, paranormal finalist, and for Beth Trissel, Historical finalist. Even if they didn’t win, they were winners just by being finalists. They wore a pretty corsage and lovely smile.

The icing on the cake happened when they announced the Best First Book winner, Terry Garey, a good friend from the Writers at Play loop. Teri was gorgeous in a golden silk dress that matched the golden Rita statuette she won. We took so many pictures and met so many authors. It was worth the long trip.

Finally here is a group picture of the Writers at Play. From left: Tawny Weber (HW Blaze), Leslie Dicken ( Samhain), Janice Lynn (Mills& Boon and EC), Kathleen Long ( HQ Intrigue), Marlene Urso (incredible quilt maker, second place win in the Hearts Through History contest), Stacey Kayne (HQ Historicals), Terri Garey(Rita Award winne Dead Girls Are Easy, published by Avon), Carla Capshaw (HQ Inspirational), Mona Risk, (Cerridwen Press), Lisa Paitz Splinder (Science fiction and Website expert).


  1. Anonymous // August 6, 2008 at 12:49 PM  

    pictures are delicious and it sounds like you had a ball. I am so jealous but next year, I'm so there.

  2. Mary Ricksen // August 6, 2008 at 2:26 PM  

    I'm jealous too Mona!
    But you look so lovely in your pictures, your big happy smile tells it all. Maybe we can hear about it at Saturday's meeting if you go?
    I hope your editors pitch gets you the sale of a lifetime.

  3. Beth // August 6, 2008 at 3:35 PM  

    Wow, Mona! This is a wonderful account of the National. I felt just as though I was 'there.' Oh wait, I was. :)
    Thanks for including me in your account of all the exciting events.
    It was fabulous to be there and to meet so many writers, especially you.

  4. Mary Marvella // August 6, 2008 at 5:42 PM  

    A great account! national is exciting, crazy, busy, and wonderful. How could I have missed you and Bath in the crowd of 2000?

  5. Mary Marvella // August 6, 2008 at 5:42 PM  
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  6. Mary Marvella // August 6, 2008 at 5:42 PM  
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  7. Mary Marvella // August 6, 2008 at 5:45 PM  
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  8. Nightingale // August 7, 2008 at 1:26 PM  

    Great photos and thanks for sharing your Nationals experiences with those less fortunate (who didn't go!)