The hotel gift shop is out of Diet Coke and I can't bring myself to even approach the bottle in the room's mini bar. I think with taxes and the restocking fee it would come to about $585. Sigh.

Oh. Mah. Gawd. My brain has exploded about eleven times so far and I haven't even left the hotel to attend the Romance Divas dinner (thanks to Laurie for forcing me to sign up!).

The opening session this morning was musical, so you know that makes me happy -- especially when keynote speaker Theresa Behenna made us all sing "We Write the Books" to the tune of Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs." I think that's the closest I'm gonna get to a karaoke bar.

Don't tell anyone, but I totally skipped the AGM to get to the Blaze booksigning.

I'm starting to recognize people, which is very fortunate so I don't have to wander aimlessly alone. Now we wander in packs. There are so many people from TRW here that it kind of feels like a chapter meeting -- only with about 1950 more people and unsweetened iced tea.

Victoria Alexander won over the crowd at lunch over and over again. Somehow she made this whole experience seem normal. ;) The best part was when she spoke about the unfortunate possibility of being struck down by a trolley car immediately after her speech and how we'd all approach it. "The historical writers would have it happen in 1888, the contemporary writers would have the hero step in to rescue me, the paranormal authors would somehow bend space or time to get me out of there and the erotic romance writers...well that's best left between me and the erotic romance writers."

I'm paraphrasing, but hopefully it comes through in my translation.

Seeing that I'm a PRO member, I attended the PRO Retreat. Chocolate and cabana boys were not involved. But Linda Howard made up for it with a delightful speech about just going for it no matter what. Karin Tabke must also be mentioned, because when she spoke, she made such a connection with all of us that it brought tears to my eyes.

She's totally been here in PROdom, waiting for the call. She mentioned sending out a manuscript that no agent or editor should ever be allowed to see, and I knew she could feel our pain (desperation) and hope (gut-clenching desire) to finally get good news...someday.

Ooh, then we met the agents! Laurie McLean, Barbara Poelle, Laura Bradford, Nathan Branford and Jennifer Schober are now all close personal friends of mine so I can go hang out in the whirlpool with them for the rest of the week.

Okay, maybe not, but it was nice to hear what the agents had to say about submissions, sales, clients, do's and dont's, etc. I'll admit, there were some uncomfortable moments when some people asked questions that made the agents go "huh" or, to quote Laurie McLean, made them say, "next question." Ouch.

There were 12 prizes to be given away and I didn't win any of them. Can you believe it? Next time I'll throw in 200 business cards (gotta love Vista Print) to tip the odds in my favor. I don't think anyone will notice, do you?

Now I need to get ready for dinner. If I can swing it, I'll give you an update tomorrow. When they have Diet Coke.

I guess I could always walk over to Rite-Aid...sigh...

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