Monday, October 28, 2013

GRL 2013 Recap, Day One: Atlanta Arrival, Workshop and My Crazy Ringtone

Time again for one of my favorite exercises of the year--writing my GRL recap. It was such a whirlwind of people and activity that I'm glad I took enough pics I can look back at to remember the timeline!

Rainbow nails all dolled up for GRL! With Leigh (r)

This year I flew in a couple of days early, on Tuesday, partially because it pretty much takes a full day to fly from Oregon to Atlanta (between the distance and the three hours lost), and partially so I could attend the first RRW Writers' Workshop on Wednesday. I was on the flight with Amelia Gormley, and we met up with my good friend Rick Reed at the airport to share a ride to the Melia Atlanta Hotel. Before we even left the airport, I was already getting texts asking if I was there yet!

Finally met Lorelei in person, and always great to see Rick.

When I walked into the lobby, I immediately recognized some very familiar faces and hugs abounded. Jared literally swept me off my feet, and I remember getting up close and personal with Amy, Cherie, Leigh and many others. Rick and I were invited along for dinner with a large posse that was forming, so after a quick hello to my awesome compadre and co-writer, TA Chase, who was working the registration desk, we headed out to walk to Metro Fuxon with a fun group of over a dozen peeps, all of whom I already knew either from online or one of the past two GRLs.
View from my end of the table!

Aaand, back down the other way towards me!
Da girlz.
Da guyz.
Loved meeting this lady!

Rick treated me to dinner. I'm such a cheap date, lol!

Cocktails with a kick. The food was great and really inexpensive.
Our al fresco "readings" outside Metro Fuxon.

In addition to my very inexpensive but yummy fish tacos and water (hydration time after flying all day!), we shared some of the best sweet potato fries I've ever had! After lingering and the requisite photo session (and an impromptu outdoor reading by Daniel and Jared, shown above), we headed back to the hotel, and I headed upstairs to unpack and reconnect with TA. We are each other's default roomies at events not only because we write together and are great friends, but also because we love to keep our room organized (*cough anal cough*), though I must say I slacked off a bit this year due to the after-parties...but that'll come later.

Wednesday morning came reallllllly early for me, because I'd got online and worked for a while, but forgot to set my computer time from Pacific to Eastern. Finally caught a glimpse of the room clock and about choked when I saw that it was actually 4:30am! TA had to be up and down at the registration desk early, and I (mostly) rolled out with her.

Love my Tata!
Would love to give her a quick shout-out as she was HEAD of the registration volunteers, so hats off--I think it all went great. :)

After a quick coffee and pastry at the breakfast, I headed to the first panel I was on, the Editor's Panel with Tere Michaels, Kris Jacen, Rachel Haimowitz, Sarah Franz and Heather Osborne, moderated by Kate McMurray. We had some great Q&A about what we do with our respective publishers, what we look for, where we saw the genre going and some of our personal fave tropes and worst pet peeves. All of us also took pitches later that day, and it was nice to see some of the attendees from the panel there.

I took a short break after that to continue to caffeinate, but TA and I managed to catch the last half of Kate McMurray's panel on Developing Setting. She had some great tips and reminders that I made note of, and loved her handout.

Yep, we're in the South. Sweet tea dominates!
The luncheon--omg, yay! food!--was a great gathering of those attending the Workshop, and we heard from the RRW board before the wonderful keynote speaker, KA Mitchell began. I loved listening to her talk, her anecdotes about growing up and riffs on how they affected how she got to where she in her life. I also had an extremely embarrassing moment when, though I could have sworn I had my phone on vibrate, it suddenly went off with my crazy ringtone for my British boss...a voice saying (in a loud, Brit accent), "Helloooo! This is the phone in your pocket! Please pick up the phone! You have a message... Helllooooo!" Thankfully it got a laugh, even from KA, and didn't interrupt her sweet and poignant closing. I'm also thankful that my head didn't explode when all the blood rushed to it!

With the very gracious and fun KA Mitchell.

I didn't get to any of the afternoon panels since I was alternately taking pitches and helping out in the bookseller's room. It's always great to talk to authors and prospective authors about their work. I also got to spend time with my Senior Editor and quasi-assistant, Rebecca, having met her that day for the first time in person after working together for quite some time! So wonderful to finally put a face to the wunderkind at the other end of the computer.

Bailey Bradford and Rebecca in the bookseller's room.

I wanted to make sure that Nicki and Rebecca, over from Great Britain, got to experience a bit of Atlanta and Southern cuisine, so I'd arranged for us, along with TA, to go to dinner that night at Mary Mac's, a landmark and just as great as I'd remembered. We had fun choosing our meals, and a nice breather before things really got rolling with GRL.

Me and TA with our awesome editor, Rebecca!
After we got back to the hotel, TA had to head to registration, Nicki and Rebecca headed for an early night (don't blame them!) and I popped in down at the outdoor pool-area cocktail hour closing the Workshop. Had a couple of great chats with Lori (Goodreads MM Group mod) and Eden Winters, then spent some time in the lobby chatting with the ever-increasing number of attendees before we called it a semi-early night--though the time spent up in our room was usually working on either story ideas or preparing swag, etc. :)

Roomies!! Devo and Tata forevah!

I'll be back later this week with officially kicking GRL off on Day Two: Thursday and Nights of Neon.

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