This past weekend, I was in Salem, MA for the NECRWA Imagination in Flight Conference. This is my second year at this event, and I’m already looking forward to next year! Why, you ask? What makes this one so special?

There are lots of reasons to love this particular conference. First is the location. Salem, Massachusetts is a charming town with a magic touch. There are quaint homes, historical sites such as the House of Seven Gables and the Salem Witch Museum, a gorgeous waterfront, and shops that appeal to any interest.

The Hawthorne Hotel is beautiful with a top-notch staff that does everything to make your stay pleasant and comfortable. Kudos to my favorite waiter, Robert, who took extra special care of me: from getting me fresh salad when the one on the table contained strawberries to assuring me the sorbet was raspberry (not strawberry), to fetching honey from the kitchen for my tea. Trisha and I made sure to let the banquet manager know how much we appreciated his attention to details! And the cocktails! Whips and Kicks turned out to be my favorite of the special drinks created in honor of the many romance authors in attendance.

Then, of course, there are the ladies of the New England chapter. Warm, wonderful, witty women who are always willing to lend a hand, they have got this conference thing down! If there were glitches behind the scenes, I never noticed. Everything seemed to go so smoothly. (Though I admit, I missed the getting-to-know-you scavenger hunt from last year.) Editor/agent appointments went off without a hitch, a plus based in part on the fact that the pitchees received the first ten pages and a query letter from the pitchers in advance. Workshops were informative and fun.

Kristan Higgins was a delightful speaker on Saturday morning, and now I’m dying to try my hand at a PoFam romance. (You had to be there, I suppose.)
A special highlight for me came when a writer who had attended an online version of the workshop I presented, Basics Bootcamp, cornered me to share her big news: she’d sold her first manuscript! She thanked me for all she’d learned when attending my class, claiming my lesson plans had made a great difference in her writing. I’m proud to have played even a small part in her writing journey, and I know we’ll be seeing more from this very talented author in the future. 

Saturday night’s weather was mild and clear, perfect for some ghost hunting with Patrick Burns and Marley Gibson. What fun we had!

My sincere thanks to all of the hard workers at NECRWA, the employees of the Hawthorne Hotel, and the residents of Salem who made the weekend so enjoyable. I can’t wait until next year!

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