Thursday, June 18, 2009

HNS conference linkfest

(me, Joyce Saricks, and Georgine Olson speaking at our "what to read and why" panel at 8:30am on Saturday)

I've been back in Charleston for three days, but my mind's still up north in Schaumburg. It was wrenching to come back home after having such an outstanding time meeting up with authors and readers, old friends and new, at the HNS conference last weekend.

I'd planned on doing a longer, more descriptive post, but so many bloggers have already done it for me. Below are other authors' and readers' summaries of the event, in no particular order, with occasional commentary from me.

Barbara Vey, contributing editor of Publishers Weekly, blogged from the event over the entire weekend, complete with photos, covering Margaret George's keynote, the late-night sex scene readings -- which has become a tradition -- and a nice wrap-up, complete with conference committee photo. If you haven't done so already, you must watch C.W. Gortner's hilarious drive-by interview with Barbara. Afterwards, responding to HNS authors' discussions on research, Barbara asked Beyond Her Book readers whether they require accurate details in their fiction.

I chatted with Barbara and Romance B(u)y the Book and B&N genre fiction columnist Michelle Buonfiglio in the hotel lobby on Saturday afternoon about book recommendations and the mission/history of the HNS. The organizing committee put a lot of effort into ensuring that many different types of historical novels (including historical romance) were well represented at the conference, so it pleased me to see this come out in her report. There's a photo of us three at Michelle's RBTB blog.

Julianne Douglas wrote an excellent summary of the event which covered many panels I didn't get to see. As I told her afterward on the Historical Fiction forum, the hotel used to be done up in Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style, though following last summer's renovation, it looks more like 2020 than 1920! Other bloggers include:

  • Nancy Blanton, who got a photo of some costume pageant participants;

  • Conference volunteer DL Larson, who writes about her book-signing experience;

  • Joyce Moore, who moderated the "query letter" panel and who wore a gorgeous green linen gown at the costume pageant. Scroll down to Joyce's gallery for more photos.

  • Sheramy Bundrick, on how she and Margaret George make connections with their characters;

  • I shared a book-signing table with Doug Jacobson and thoroughly enjoyed the "historical boys" panel on Sunday;

  • It was fun to catch up with Michelle Moran and get my copy of The Heretic Queen signed! Her blog has a few more photos.

  • HNS reviewer and Facebook pal Laurel Corona has a great picture of all the Jane Rotrosen Agency clients who attended (quite a few!);

  • Dawna Rand did an extensive writeup that covered some cool photos (of three-time conference attendees Vic and Jenny Brown, who bought me drinks and kept me up late in Salt Lake City in 2005), the "debut novels" panel, more great pics, and marketing tips from Karen Essex, C.W. Gortner, and Michelle Moran (which I couldn't attend because my panel ran concurrently, alas).

  • Costume pageant winner Joan Baril, from Thunder Bay, Ontario, talks about Margaret George's unique writing method;

  • And Gemi Sasson, whose summary made me proud to be part of the conference, and who created a clever logo!

Did I miss anyone's blog post? Let me know!

Coming soon - a review of Anna Elliott's Twilight of Avalon and a giveaway of Ann Weisgarber's The Personal History of Rachel DuPree.


  1. Many, many thanks again to you and the rest of the committee and volunteers for a fantastic conference, Sarah. My only complaint is that the weekend went far too fast!

  2. Oh my goodness for all the links! Too much fun! Glad you enjoyed yourself, definitely something that I wished I could have at least been a fly on the wall!
    And Gortner's video was funny and definitely not something I was expecting.
    OK off now to check out some of your links!
    (ps I DID get that Dunant book I was whining for!)

  3. Deep sigh - I really wish I could have been there. Will have to go through the links as I have time. Any idea where the 2011 conference might be? Somewhere closer to the West Coast? (Seattle??)

  4. You and all of HNS conference planners did a wonderful job. It was an outstanding conference in every possible way. Thanks for much. I appreciate the list of links, nice to get summaries of the workshops I didn't attend.

  5. Hi Sarah, Thanks for linking to my blog and for providing the other links I plan to check out asap. BIG BIG thanks to you and the other organizers for the fantastic weekend. I have found myself mulling over things said/heard all week, which is the sign of a very good conference!

  6. Susan, thanks again for participating - I really enjoyed your biographical fiction panel! And I agree, the time went by much too fast.

    Glad you received the Dunant, Marie. I really enjoyed the read and hope you do too!

    Teresa - no idea yet. There are a couple people scouting out various West Coast locations, but cost is a major factor. As a conference city, Schaumburg was quite expensive... less so than downtown Chicago, but still. I hope you can make it again. It's been a long time since SLC.

    It was nice to meet you in person, Margaret and Sheramy! Thanks for your comments! I've just found more links and will add them to a subsequent post.

  7. Is there any idea of when and where the English conference will be next year, Sarah? I'll have to start buying lottery tickets now if I want to have a chance of attending, but you never know...:)

  8. No firm plans yet, and actually there's been some discussion about possibilities on the HNS Yahoo group today. The UK events have been smaller attendance-wise (think 60 to 100 people) and program-wise (in the past they've been single-track, mostly author or agent talks, with one or two side-workshops for aspiring writers). As Richard Lee said this morning on the list, London is the most likely location. Past events in London have had the largest attendance. I expect after the enthusiasm following the US event, plans will be in process shortly.

  9. Thanks for compiling the HNS blog posts, Sarah. I've no doubt a great amount of planning when into the conference, but it all came off incredibly smoothly. I could've easily sat through another three days.

    And you're giving away Ann Weisgarber's book? (Turns out we're from the same neck of the woods and attended the same college). She was delightful. I'll be checking in here obsessively. I want one!

  10. Hi, Gemi, thanks for adding my site to your blogroll! I'll be doing the giveaway early next week - and there'll be three chances to win :)

  11. It was so great seeing you again, Sarah, even if I didn't accidentally sign your book to someone else :/

  12. I thought that was funny though - and it makes for a great story!!

  13. A much-belated thank you, Sarah, for all your hard work and the entire HNS committee's incredible efforts to make the conference so outstanding. I had a blast (exhibit one: my drive-by video) but most importantly it was great to see you, and so many others, in person. I echo Susan Holloway Scott's sentiment: It went by too fast.

  14. Oh, I forgot: I blogged about the conference here: