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