A Brand New Novel
Josephine Baker, the early-20th-century African-American dancer, comic, and singer–hugely famous in Paris. Did you know that she was also a spy for the French Resistance during WWII?
I had a blast at the 2013 Romance Writers of America Conference in Atlanta last week, hobnobbing with romance authors, signing my FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS, dining with one of my favorite book bloggers, moderating and participating on a panel with my literary agent, Natasha Kern, and volunteering at the Rita Awards ceremony. But my favorite part by far was the authors’ party that my publisher, Simon & Schuster’s Gallery/Pocket Books, threw for us in a tony little steakhouse called Rathbun’s.
We gathered on the black bus parked outside our hotel, about 30 dressed-up authors, all women, and Gallery/Pocket bigwigs including Jean Anne Rose, the director of publicity; senior editors Abby Zidle and Micki Nuding, and the executive editor, Louise Burke, who knows how to pick a fantastic wine. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The bus filled up with laughing, chattering women including my seatmate, Colette Auclair, a perky, quirky redhead whose first romance, THROWN, debuts in the fall. She and I laughed and joked throughout the ride while Abby Zidle handed out plastic cups and bottles of sweet bubbly. When author Cherry Adair stepped on the bus, all flamboyant gestures and, again, red hair, the laughter really began as she treated us all to a glimpse of her strategically-placed cherry tattoo.
At Rathbun’s, which appears to be in some sort of warehouse district, we filled the lower floor dining room, our seats reserved for us with name plates and our necks adorned with miniature books bearing the covers of our own latest creations. I sat, coincidentally and happily, beside Ms. Auclair, and across from Alison Atlee, author of the terrific historical novel THE TYPEWRITER GIRL (more on this book in a later post) and Anna Michaels, a Southern literary author (THE TENDER MERCY OF ROSES) from Tupelo, Mississippi who loves Eudora Welty as much as I.
The food was excellent, the wine remarkable, the company stimulating. Gallery/Pocket really knows how to throw a party. So I said, I think, to Ms. Rose as I staggered off the bus and walked, gently swaying, into the hotel, thinking that I must be the luckiest person on the planet.
Ah, the writer’s life. Sometimes, it really is as glamorous as everyone imagines it to be.
Coming next: Our RWA ’13 panel: “My Agent Saved My Life: What a Good Literary Agent Can Do For You.”
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