This summer, I will be attending the RWA Conference in New York City where I'll have the rare opportunity to sport my shiny "First Sale" ribbon.
Several years ago my romantic suspense novel, WIDOW'S TALE was nominated for a Golden Heart Award. That was my first foray into the famous Romance Writers of America Conference. I had no idea what to expect and quite honestly, I was nervous as all heck. But I packed up my bags, along with my conviction and I boarded that plane. As the cab pulled up in front of the Adam's Mark Hotel, I walked through the sliding front doors into the lobby and witnessed a throng of nearly 300,000 women (or so it appeared to me at the time). I turned around to leave, but the cab had pulled away.

I had no choice but to 'man up' as they say. I took a deep breath and walked directly into that throng (with my head ducked down). For nearly half a day I meandered through the conference without actually speaking to anyone. Then a woman walked up to me wearing her fancy "First Sale" ribbon, and she gave me a big smile and said, "You look as lost as me." And that was it! I had made my first friend. When they announced my name the night of the awards, that lovely lady let out the biggest shout for me that I could hear clear across the auditorium.

That lovely lady with the "First Sale" ribbon is the RITA award-winning, Brenda Coulter. She broke the ice for me and I went on to meet so many wonderful authors, editors and readers during that conference.
When I attend the conference this year with my little "First sale" ribbon, I will be looking for that person that looks lost, and I will smile at them. And I will take them under my wing.

Maureen A. Miller


  1. How nice that you're repeating Brenda's gesture. Enjoy the conference. Wish I could be there, but I went last year and that will have to hold me for a while.

  2. Thanks, Wynter. It's all so intimidating at first, and then I end up having a great time. I think this year my biggest fear is going to be figuring out how to get from Newark airport to downtown Manhattan.

  3. That's a wonderful story, Miss Maureen. I think you will do someone a great favor with your company. Wish I could be there... did you say 300,000 women? No men? I must change my genre immediately! LOL

  4. I exaggerate only slightly. It's about 200,000 to 3 as a ratio. Those are three VERY popular guys.

  5. Maureen, I remember our meeting in Denver very well, and I am DELIGHTED to hear that you've earned a pink ribbon of your own. Congratulations on your first sale! (I must correct something, however--I was a RITA finalist, not a winner.) I haven't yet decided whether to attend the conference this year, but if I go, I will certainly look for you. Have a great time!

  6. You're a winner in my book, Miss Brenda. :) And we all know that being nominated is most of the battle.
    I hope I see you!


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