Posted by: Genene Valleau
Currently working on: Book One of a Nine-Book Series
Mood: Productive

Ready for an adventure? Put on your newbie writer hat and shoes and step into the time machine. We’re going to flashback to circa 1992 in Eugene, Oregon. The Romance Writers of America chapter was about 100 members strong and hosting a three-day conference leaning toward the paranormal.

Take a deep breath to calm the butterflies of excitement and trepidation fluttering in your introvert heart and step across the threshold into your first romance writers’ conference. You pause and look around. The sound of laughter welcomes you. Someone smiles and directs you to the registration table.

Soon you are wearing a name tag, clutching a workshop schedule and have a bag of goodies slung over your shoulder.

You have officially declared your status as a writer!

The days of the conference pass in a blur of wonder, crammed with workshops, fantasy creatures and telling your future by numerology. However, the biggest thrill is meeting other writers–real ones who actually have their stories published! They share their experiences, their wisdom, their horror stories of what to avoid. You feel like you have known these sisters (and a few brothers) for years, bound by the bond of writing.

When the conference ends, you linger in the nearly empty conference center, not wanting to leave this magical place, but yearning to get home to write! Finally, you wave goodbye to one more new friend and walk out the doors.

On the steps outside, you take a deep breath. You are not the same person you were three days before. You have begun an exciting new journey.

This was my first conference experience. I was a new member of RWA and had taken a first serious attempt at a manuscript. Wow, did I have a lot to learn! Sixteen years later, I’m still learning and still meeting wonderful fellow writers who willingly share their experiences. I eventually sold my first manuscript — after it was rewritten at least a half dozen times — and have sold two other manuscripts as well. I’ve also been doing promotion — another interesting journey — and will get back to the keyboard on September 1 to work on the first book of a nine-book series.

You can linger in the early ’90s for a while longer if you’d like, or take another ride in the time machine. Perhaps we’ll go to the future. Do you think we can find our names on the bestseller lists?

Enter my Sept. 4 contest drawing at my Web site:!


THE FIRST TIME — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for stopping by, Jessa!

    I definitely had stars in my eyes at that first conference. I still experience some of that at each conference. I always leave so jazzed and can’t wait to get home and write!

  2. I loved this dreamy piece. It certainly reflected my first conference in Reno–which was even more surreal being in a giant casino for several days.

    It’s always nice to hear of the struggle to publish as well. Just so I know I’m not the only one. Thanks Genene!

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