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Going To National
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By the time you read this I’ll have returned from my business trip but as I’m writing ahead of schedule, I haven’t left yet. It’s kind of like writing about the future! 
So, each year, I go to the Romance Writers of America national conference and each year I run around like a chicken with its head cut off because I’m not prepared.
You’d think that with a year to prepare I’d be ready to go but you see, that’s not in my personality. I’m the kind of girl who likes to meet her deadline with very little to spare. The adrenalin rush is addictive but the stress ties my stomach in knots. And I have no one to blame but myself.
Still, I’m so excited about National. It’s the one time a year that writers of all levels come together to learn about their craft, enjoy a face-to-face with their agent and editor, and perhaps catch a glimpse of their favorite mega-star authors, such as Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krantz, etc.
This year the conference is in Washington D.C. and I’ve never been there so it should be loads of fun, although I won’t have all that much time to sight-see, which is a total shame because of all the places to be, Washington has so much to see and do. I think a group of us are trying to get together to visit the Spy Museum but we won’t have time to see the Smithsonian.
We’re staying at the Marriott in a concierge room, which sounds like a ton of fun. I like the idea of a roomy room and access to the privileges that come with that type of room. Of course, it’s not the penthouse (perhaps another time!) but it’s a nice upgrade and that feels really decadent.
Now for the sucky part. You know, life is a journey full of discovery and this time around I’ve learned that when you “name your price” at Priceline or Obitz or any of those discount travel places, you get what you get and there’s no complaining. So, I named my price and they put me on the worst flight imaginable. I board in San Francisco at 12:50 p.m. and I land in D.C. at 11:30 p.m. I have an hour layover in Atlanta, which if I’m lucky will remain ONLY an hour (I’ve been told that terminal is notorious for delayed flights) and when it’s all said and done I’ll have been on a plane for more hours than I deem worth the $50 I saved by “naming” my price. Lesson learned.
Next year the conference is in Nashville. I’m thinking of buying my airfare six months in advance in the hopes of getting a good deal without having to resort to such desperate measures to save a buck.
But in spite of the headache my flight details have become, I’m so ready for this trip. Going to National is like a fuel-injection of brain power that can carry you into the year with plenty to read, think about, and create when it’s over. And then there’s the friendships. I’ve created awesome friendships with other Superromance authors that I wouldn’t have otherwise if I hadn’t hooked up with them at National. In fact, that same group of cool chicks and I are meeting for drinks Thursday night to discuss an author-initiated continuity that we’ve been tossing around. What amazes me…this is considered work. I love it.
Anyway, I will be brimming with great stories by the time I return, but you’ll have to wait for the details for the next column.
Bon Voyage!

Kim Van Meter is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.