I returned from San Francisco with relics from China Town, Fisherman's Wharf and, yes, Ghiradelli Square (!!!) late Sunday night...my body exhausted from getting less sleep than the mother of a newborn, my arms achy from lugging around boxes of books, my head spinning from the malicious rearrangement of plot elements in my next novel (thanks to a few excellent workshops I attended and to the insights of my friend Eliza on the flight home :) and my eyes still unfocused from so much visual stimulation in so few days.
While it's great to be home again wearing shorts and drinking cheap sodas, I had--as usual--a truly wonderful trip. My roomie and RITA finalist, Simone Elkeles, looked beautiful in her bright pink gown (stop by Books, Boys, Buzz for some photos) and it was pure delight to finally meet Pam from Pam Writes Romance and Caryn The Book Lady (who are both as kind and funny in person as they are in their blogs--and they're always in my blog roll, so you can see for yourself!), friends of friends (Hi to Sherry, Mary and Terri!!), a bunch of fun Kensington authors from our Z-loop (including Kris Kennedy--at last!) and my amazing editor John--all for the first time at this conference.
Plus, I got to see again some of my Cherry friends, my Knight Agency "sistahs," several fellow finalists from last year's Golden Heart (soon to be part of a new group blog: "007 Nobody Writes It Better"), other pals from The Golden Network, a few RT staff buddies, friends Heather Davis, Dona Sarkar-Mishra and Nadine Dajani (who all need to visit Chicago because seeing them once a year just isn't enough), my sweet agent Nephele and her lovely colleague Elaine (with thanks to the bartender who created those delicious Raspberry Lemon Drop Martinis at one memorable event...) and, of course, good friends from my local RWA chapter.
Now it's back to work. Revising, revising one project. Drafting, drafting, drafting another. And making plans for next year's Nationals in D.C., where I intend to drag friends old and new with me to the zoo to see the giant pandas, drink Icee coolers and daydream about the near future when we're all on the NYT bestseller lists...