Romance Writers of America (RWA) 2012: Final Thoughts

I had attended my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) book signing in 2003 when the conference was in New York. A colleague from a sister publication knew of my recently acquired love of the genre, and as the signing is open to the public, what better way to sate my passion than with hundreds of authors and books. Being a generous soul, my colleague also introduced me to her industry associates, whom I now consider good friends, and let me accompany her to a highly sought-after event, the Harlequin black-and-white ball at the Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center. I was a romance junkie.

Not long after that RWA, I took over the role of editor of LJ’s Romance column. Now that it was official, I could attend RWA with purpose—and a bit of abandon. I enjoy meeting librarians at American Library Association conferences, but chatting with them in this setting, where we focus on romance and reading, is a unique pleasure. And all those writers. Kid in a candy store doesn’t come close. This is much richer, much sweeter, much more satisfying.

Luncheon speaker Robyn Carr

Mira: Harlequin author Robyn Carr was the luncheon speaker on July 27, offering up advice from a 34-year career. Her multivolume “Virgin River” series (Sunrise Point, 2012) has netted her legions of fans and praise and a 2008 New York Times best seller. “It was always about the writing,” she says. “The journey was more important than the destination.” She had herself “given up” several times when “she couldn’t get arrested,” and, surprisingly, that’s when she created her best work. She was “fearless and wrote books she most wanted to read.”

At the RITA Awards on Saturday, July 28, closing out this year’s meeting, the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to author Brenda Jackson, whose 90-book career began in 1994. She is also the winner of a 2012 NAACP Image Award.

Whether conversation addressed ebooks, self-publishing, or Grey matters, this RWA hit all the right notes. See you at the 2013 conference in Atlanta.

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox ( is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"