Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Upstater in New York City by Diana's client Jean C. Gordon

I’m a native Upstate New Yorker. Upstate is quite different from the Downstate NYC area. Upstate we have dairy farms, mountains, lakes, and lots of villages and hamlets with fewer than 5,000 people that aren’t near any major cities. My family lives on a small farm near the Albany/Greene County line, where my son-in-law raises organic hogs and vegetables.

As an Upstater, I have a personal mission to introduce others to my part of New York State. All my books, including my upcoming Love Inspired books (January and November 2012) are set in Upstate New York. But last week, I ventured down to the City for the Romance Writers of America National Conference.

I left from the Albany Amtrak station, which is actually in adjacent Rensselaer. I had a pleasant ride down the east side of the Hudson River and arrived at Penn Station in New York City about two and a half hours later. From Penn Station, I set out towing my suitcases behind me for the Marriott Marquis, which MapQuest said was a 0.6 mile walk, half the distance I usually walk at lunch break. It seemed much longer. MapQuest didn’t account for the extra mileage dodging people.

I stayed in a suite with five writer friends. Here’s the view of Times Square from our window. My first event at the conference was the annual meeting of the Faith, Hope, and Love online chapter of RWA and the music service following it. Can some of those ladies sing! Next was the annual book signing with more than 500 authors. I went around and tried to find all of the Love Inspired authors to introduce myself and say hello. Afterwards, I went out for pizza with about 30 of the Love Inspired authors. It was lots of fun meeting and getting to know everyone.
The remaining three days of the conference, I attended some great workshops, including “Can You Do That in an Inspirational?” presented by fellow Love Inspired authors Margaret Daley (moderator), Winnie Griggs, and Lenora Worth and editor Emily Rodmell as well as PAN (Published Authors Network) workshops on the state of publishing, digital publishing, and estate planning for authors. I found the last one particularly because it ties into my day job as financial writer.

I was also invited to attend the Avalon Books party on Wednesday evening and the infamous Harlequin Party on Thursday. The Avalon Party was at the Avalon office, which I’d never visited before and have wanted to do. Here are fellow Avalon author Roni Denholtz and I standing in front of our books on display at the office.

I went to the Harlequin Party, which was on the Starlight Roof at the Waldorf Astoria, with a friend Melissa McClone, who writes for Harlequin romance. We met upwith another good friend historical author Michelle Willingham. And I saw my Love Inspired editor Melissa Endlich, and her assistant Rachel Burkot, who I had lunch with earlier in the day. Everyon e danced nearly nonstop. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk the next day.

I didn’t sleep in too late Friday morning because I had another adventure planned: a trip on the New York Ci ty subway. My copy edits for my January book, Small Town Sweethearts, were due Friday, and I thought I’d deliver then personally. It went smooth as can be. Here’s the subway station, Harlequin building and the lobby of the Harlequin suite.

Friday n
ight was the big RITA awards. My friend Melissa was a finalist in the short contemporary romance category. Unfortunately, she didn’t win, but she didn’t seem to mind. Saturday morning, I took the 10:15 train back home. I was ready to get back Upstate.


Marleen Gagnon said...

It was so nice that the National RWA Conference was in NYC this year. You give us a look of a busy conference. Thanks.

Taryn Elliott said...

Glad you had a good time, Jean. NYC and upstate are worlds apart, aren't they? LOL Nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.