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We’ve packed our suitcases, polished our nails, and scheduled more meals and drinks than one would think humanly possible, and now our Pocket editorial team is off to #RWA13! The annual Romance Writers of America conference is a 4-day whirlwind of meeting old friends and new, of hearing pitches from hopeful would-be authors and of learning about the latest news on the romance publishing front. (And of closing down the hotel bar every night, but that’s another story…)

If you’re going to be in Atlanta this year and plan to attend, here’s where you can find us and our authors. Come by the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and say hello!

Wednesday, 5:30-7:30: “Readers for Life” Literacy Signing (proceeds benefit literacy organizations, and the event is open to the public) — Gallery/Pocket authors in attendance include Cherry Adair, Alison Atlee, Jenna Black, Delilah S. Dawson, Thea Devine, Laura Griffin, Sabrina Jeffries, Lisa Renee Jones, Sophie Littlefield, Dianna Love, Lindsey Piper, Jennifer Probst, Erin Quinn, and Karen Robards…all told, over 400 romance writers will be seated in the massive ballroom to sign books and raise funds for charity.

Thursday and Friday are packed full of workshops for every interest, whether you’re thinking of writing YA, self-publishing your novel, or hoping for some tips on how to write a realistic murder scene in your romantic suspense book. Thursday’s keynote speaker at lunch is Cathy Maxwell, historical romance novelist.

Thursday evening is a chance for Pocket’s publishing team to spend a little quality time with our authors at our (very extended, very wacky) “family dinner.” It’s a great chance for authors to get to know their publishing-siblings, and for all of us to enjoy the camaraderie of the writing life, on both sides of the desk.

Friday morning (early morning, that is–8:30-9:30!) is the “Spotlight on Pocket” panel. This is a chance for our editors to show off some of the terrific books on our list, and answer questions for the audience. It’s also a chance for the audience to see how well editors can function powered entirely by coffee after way too little sleep…anything could happen!

Friday’s luncheon speaker is NYT bestselling writer of contemporary romances, Kristan Higgins. Her books are hilarious and warm, so I can only imagine that her speech will be excellent!

At a more reasonable hour that afternoon, RWA attendees can visit the Pocket Author Signing from 3:00-4:30. Our attending authors will have copies of their books to sign and give to fans, FREE. Understandably, this is a popular event, and book supplies are limited, so be sure to line up early and get your favorite authors’ sigs! (And hey, if you wanted an editor’s sig, we’d be happy to give you those, too. Although most people only want our signatures on contracts.)

Saturday offers lots more signings and workshops, but everyone’s really thinking about the main event that evening: the RITA Awards! The RITAs are the Oscars of romance, and every year RWA culminates in an awards banquet giving out trophies for best novel in a variety of categories–including the Golden Hearts for best unpublished novel in those categories. All the attendees get dressed up, and you should see some of the glamourpusses who attend! (I wonder if their fanciness is inversely proportional to the likelihood that they spend most days in sweats in front of the computer?)

Pocket’s very happy to have several books nominated for RITAs this year: in the Contemporary Single Title Romance category, Barbara Freethy’s The Way Back Home is nominated; in Historical Romance, Sabrina Jeffries’ A Lady Never Surrenders gets a nod; in Paranormal Romance, Kresley Cole gets a double shout-out with Lothaire and Shadow’s Claim; and we’ve got three nominees in the Romantic Suspense category–Cindy Gerard’s Last Man Standing and two Laura Griffin books, Scorched and Twisted!

It truly is an honor just to be nominated (though of course winning is nice!), and at the end of the evening, more than the prizes, everyone at RWA will most remember the great connections they made with their fellow romance readers and writers. And we’ll disperse again, to our far corners of the country–and the globe–until next summer…to read happily ever after.

And if you can’t make it this year, don’t worry: check out our WayIn page where we’re collecting impressions of #RWA13 throughout the weekend!