Keli Gwyn
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Flashback Friday: RWA Nationals 2008

Keli at 2008 RWA Awards Ceremony

RWA@ Nationals is coming!

This will be my 3rd time at this amazing conference.

On March 25, 2008 I received a call informing me that two of my stories had finaled in the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest. Since Nationals that year was being held in San Francisco only three hours from where I live in California’s Sierra Foothills, I decided to attend the conference.

Little did I know what a big deal Nationals is. Florescent green newbie writer me was overwhelmed. Not only was it my first RWA conference, but I was there as a Golden Heart finalist, which added to the wow factor.

Although there were moments of sheer terror, such as walking into my first-ever pitch appointment, the highs far outnumbered them. I had a blast and met many wonderful people. Among them were my fellow Golden Heart finalists, which include my dear friend and talented critique partner Anne Barton.

Anne and Keli

The Awards Ceremony was incredible. Being in a room with 2,000+ romance writers decked out in their finest was thrilling. RWA really knows how to put on a gala event.

Nationals is coming again, and I’m getting excited. This will be my first time in New York City, and this West Coast gal is eager to see what The Big Apple is really like. I get to room with Anne, wear a First Sale ribbon, and get “booted out” of The Golden Network, which is the RWA chapter for Golden Heart finalists. It should be a fabulous week.

Note: Since I’ll be gone next week, I won’t be publishing blog posts.

• • •

If you’re a writer who’s attended a conference, what are some of your favorite memories?

If you’ve been to New York City, what were some of your favorite places?

If you’ll be at Nationals, please let me know. I’d love to link up.

Keli Gwyn


  • Char Chaffin says:

    Keli, I’ll be in NYC next week! I’m leaving on Monday and I’m beyond excited. It’s my first National, I’ve probably overloaded myself with workshops, I’ve already hyperventilated a few times over my pitch appointments and my cocktail dress probably isn’t fancy enough for Friday night. But none of that matters because IT’S MY FIRST NATIONAL!!

    NYC is so fab. I’ve been there five or six times in my life, and my favorite places include the Empire State Building, Radio City music Hall, FAO Schwartz, most of Manhattan, and anywhere I can get a black-and-white. 🙂

    I’d love to link up and finally meet you!


  • Keli, you look amazing in your black dress! (I don’t even own one…yet. 🙂 ) I hope you plan to tell us all about your adventures when you return.

  • Katy Lee says:

    You will love NYC, and you’ll be right in the heart of the craziness…what until you see Times Square all lit up at night! Just don’t gawk and dawdle too much on the street corners. New Yorkers will swear at you. Don’t take it personal. Just move back and let them pass.

    A great place to eat is on Broadway, at the Ellen Stardust Cafe…it’s a singing restaurant. The waitstaff are all singers and they sing to earn their tips. They will even get on the tables to belt the songs out. Great fun!

    Nationals is usually crazy busy, so I don’t know how far you’ll get in the sightseeing department, but there’s always the shops at the Rockefeller Plaza. (My kids favorite place…they have a Lego store, American Girl store and their fave…Nintendo store. I can’t get them out of there.)

    I hope to make it in on Tuesday for the FHL meeting. My thoughts are that I may go in and come back home on Tuesday, and then go back in on Wednesday. So if I do that, I will see you then. If not, maybe I’ll see all the FHL people throughout the rest of the week. Enjoy and safe travels!

  • Hi Keli! I’m so excited for you. Take lots of pics for us! And if you have the time, be sure to squeeze in a Broadway show. They’re so fun!

    Good Luck!!! 🙂

  • Loree Huebner says:

    Have a great time! Want to hear all about it when you return.

  • Alica says:

    Have a great time!!!

  • I’m happy for you, Keli! Enjoy! Blessings to you…

  • Best wishes on a fabulous trip and enjoy sporting your “First Sale” ribbon!

  • I hope you have a great time, Keli!

    I’ve been to NYC a few times…most of them for work. Times Square is mass insanity (That’s where my former company’s HQs was located), with lots of good shopping. The Toys R Us has a ferris wheel inside it!

    Since you’re a history lover, you’d love Ellis Island. It’s a short jaunt from the Statue of Liberty, so you can cover them both in one boat trip.

    I look forward to hearing all about your trip when you get back! 🙂

  • Have a wonderful time, Keli – – and I look forward to reading about your adventures after you return home! I’ve attended 2 ACFW Conferences (MN and Denver) and they were both amazing experiences for me. Besides learning a lot, I made some wonderful new friends who I keep in touch with on a regular basis. And the very best part for me was having my oldest daughter Amy flying with me (even though she didn’t attend the conferences). That special “mother-daughter” time was fabulous! 🙂

  • Brandi says:

    Hi, Keli! Hope you have a great time at the RWA conference. You’ll love New York City! The shopping, great food, constant things to do, the mix of cultures all in one place. I’ve found that most people there are very nice and aren’t afraid to talk to you. If you have time, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There’s something there for everybody. You won’t be disappointed. Also, try some authentic Italian pizza. Let us know how it goes 🙂

  • I’ve been away, so missed this when you first posted. I don’t doubt you’ll be having a fabulous time and I’ll look forward to your NY reactions and conference report when you return. I’ve been attending the Surrey Int’l Conference in a suburb of Vancouver since 2004. I love the whole writerly ambiance… being immersed in everything writing with hundreds of people who understand why that’s so invigorating. I wish I could be going this year, but it’s not financially possible. Next year for sure!!

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by and to those who wished me a good time at Nationals. I’ve had a blast.

    The Awards Ceremony ended a short time ago, and my long-time critique Anne Barton won the Golden Heart in the Regency category. I’m beyond thrilled for her. Her cousin won in another GH category. As you can imagine this was an incredible evening.

    I’d say more; but I’m typing on my phone. I’ll b blogging about the conference once I’m home.