Last week I hit the Romance Writers of America conference in New York. It was beyond cool.
But first I stopped in Virginia to visit a college friend, Robyn, and her son and daughter, ages 5 and 6. Robyn is the only person with whom I regularly exchange good old fashioned snail mail. She and her family live in Staunton (pronounced Stanton, or they'll know you're not a local).
Saturday: I arrived at 10 pm in Washington. The Dulles Airport was empty, and eerily beautiful at night:
Sunday: both of Robyn's kids had organized dueling tea parties (the regular kind; as far as I know, they're not politically active kindergartners). I divided my time equally between both soirees, but this did not prevent violence from breaking out. The calm before the storm:
While Robyn's husband watched the kids, Robyn and I strolled around outside and headed to downtown Staunton for lunch.
The town was beautiful! No chain stores, just rows and rows of gorgeous brick buildings and Mom & Pop establishments, including a heavenly gelato parlor and a stunning toy and bookstore for children, Pufferbellies.
Monday: we explored more of the town, including the railroad station.
Tuesday: I left for New York City via Charlottesville, VA. The Amtrak was really comfortable and the 6-hour train ride flew by. I read A.S. King's "Please Ignore Vera Dietz", which made me cry in public.
Tuesday Night: my lit agency, Nelson Literary, threw a cocktail party at the rooftop of 230 5th Avenue.
I met my wonderful agent Sara Megibow for the first time, as well as agency president Kristin Nelson, marketing director Lindsay Mergens and literary assistant Anita Mumm, not to mention writer Miranda Kenneally and several other Nelson Agency authors. It was like my Twitter feed had come to life and surrounded me, drinks in hand.
I'm afraid of heights, so I kept to the center at all times, but the view from the top was amazing! There's the Empire State Building:
Below, from left to right: Kristen Callihan, Lindsay Mergens, me, Tiffany Reisz (and guest Alyssa Palmer), Roni Loren, and Kristin Nelson.
Next week, Part Two of my trip continues with a Team Megibow coffee chat, a tour of Brooklyn with the lovely and generous Sarvenaz Tash, a musical, a play, lunch with my editor Maggie Lehrman, and -- GASP -- an actual conference event (or two!?)
Perhaps most importantly, I figure out how to use the flash on my camera so photos like the one above stop happening.