A trip to New York (or a quick recap of the RWA 2015 national conference)

I’ve lost track of how many RWA national conferences I’ve been to now (6 maybe? 7?), but this was my second one in New York. The first trip was a rollercoaster adventure of me and my anxiety battling it out in order to see all the sights: Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Museum of Natural History, Rockefeller Plaza, Times Square, everything I could cram into a few days including a trip to yarn and quilt stores. This time, I only had a day and a half so the list was shorter: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Wicked, and the New York Public Library (BOOK NERD ALERT! Also, it was close and free.)

So on Tuesday, I started with a  taxi ride to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the way, I decided to never do that again until all my affairs were in order and I was ready to pass on to the other side. I spent five hours and still feel like a barely saw the museum. I listened to the posh museum director tell stories about selected pieces and got the most amazing plot bunny for a story I could never write. Masterpieces literally close enough to touch. I can’t really even describe it. These enormous beautiful tapestries and paintings I’d seen in textbooks. I stood in front of Rodin’s Burghers of Calais for a very long time because I couldn’t even believe I was there. Here are some pictures:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

I knew it would take me a while to make it back to the hotel, so I left in the early afternoon and started walking the two miles back through Central Park. It was almost everything I imagined it would be. There were street performers dancing and singers. There was some sort of film crew filming something. The trees. The Mall. People walking dogs. And it was about a thousand degrees so there Cheryl was, just hoofing through and sweating like it’s my job. But every fourth bench, I’d sit down and think “I’m in Central Park.” I only took one picture because the heat was killing brain cells. Here it is:

Central Park

Central Park

So I make it out of the park and I’m walking. I’m walking and sweating. I’m walking and sweating and thinking of air conditioning and ice cubes and water. A tall drink of water.

Until I made it to 52nd Street. Which was barricaded as far as the eye could see. And there were police cars and police and crowds lining the street.

Because the president was in town.

Between me and the air conditioning.

And it would have been so cool to see, but I was melting. Not that it mattered! Here’s a picture I managed to get of the police that raced up and down the street.

52nd streetEventually the president in a limo with flags flying and an entourage of media in SUVs behind came through. This was exciting, but I really got excited when I got across the street because the hotel was near. After I solidified into a person-shaped mass again, I got my nice clothes on and went to see Wicked. I love Broadway. I really do. The show was amazing and so much fun.

Wicked

The next day, I walked to the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and took the tour. Also, I bought some things. If you’d like a chance to win a “What are you reading now?” tote (photo in the top right corner) and books, make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter by August 15! CLICK THIS LINK

 

Here’s a few photos from the library:

NYPL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS (this is coming to a close. Really. I promise!)
The literacy signing raised almost $50,000 dollars. Me? I had nice conversations with Brenda Harlen and Kathleen Harrington and my Avon editor Chelsey Emmelhainz and Harlequin Senior Editor Victoria Curran…and I looked like a total pro doing it.

Literacy signing

Meeting up with all the Heartwarming authors and editors there over dinner.

Pitching to new agents and editors is always an education.

Having a chance to chat with friends I’ve never met before like Avon author Jennifer Seasons (who shares my love for the show Psych and has the best bad luck in the world).

And the Harlequin party was at the Waldorf Astoria. Yes, that Waldorf Astoria. I had a dress I liked and there were full-on paparazzi moments (with Kate James and a piano, no less. It was total Fabulous Baker Boys and she was Michelle Pfeiffer. and I was all “Please let’s not get kicked out of this joint.” Debbie Downer. I own it.)

Sitting down with Dana Grimaldi who is so smart and makes my Heartwarming books so much better. Here’s a photo of me with Dana and Jennifer Snow.

PartyIf you like books and giveaways (of course, you do!), you should 1. Sign up for the newsletter. 2. Get over to http://www.facebook.com/CherylHarperRomance because I have another book/tote giveaway going and I have a few more planned so stay tuned!

 

WINNER TAKES ALL Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter One:

and some Buy Links

HQN: http://bit.ly/1SOTXJY

Amz: http://amzn.to/1PXulvJ

BN: http://bit.ly/1Qjv8St

iBooks: http://apple.co/1LVH3Vj

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1csf7we

Travel“Give me the blindfold. I’m ready to hop on a plane to anywhere, you wait and see.” She tied the dish towel over her eyes and held out her hand. Jen pressed the dart into her palm and said, “See the map. Be the map.” They all chuckled, remembering countless slumber parties where Daniel had tried to show them how to hit the dartboard instead of the innocent closet door.
Rebecca put her hands on Stephanie’s shoulders and spun her around once. “Do your best!”
“Come on, Paris!” Her heart racing with excitement and fear, Stephanie tossed the dart and hoped to hit land. She could see herself stepping off a plane. Floating on a boat, not so much.
She tried to yank off the dish towel but Jen shoved her glass of wine in her hand. “Before you see where you’re landing, let’s make another toast. To new beginnings and lottery winnings.”
Thinking they were spending a whole lot of time making plans for something that would never happen, Stephanie held out her glass, waited for the clink and took a sip. Then Jen yanked off her makeshift blindfold and said in her best game show host voice, “Let’s see where you’re headed.”
The three of them lined up in front of the map. Somehow she’d completely missed France, not to mention the tiny dot of Paris. In fact, she’d overshot Europe as well. The dart was planted squarely in the middle of nowhere Peru.
“That’s impossible. There’s no way I missed the entire continent of Europe.” The images of Peru that came to mind were of llamas and Machu Picchu, which she might enjoy seeing, but that was not where the dart had landed. No, apparently she was going to…Alto, a place she’d heard of once in her life thanks to a posting on Daniel Lincoln’s Facebook page. She narrowed her eyes at Rebecca. “What did you do?”
“Have another cookie,” Rebecca said and blinked her eyelashes as she held out the plate. Of the three of them, Rebecca had always been able to put on the best innocent face.
“I have no clue what you mean.” Jen yanked down the map, folded it and handed the dart to Rebecca. “It seems your first destination is the Andes. When we win.”
Stephanie wagged her finger at Rebecca. “You moved the dart. You had to. There’s no way that I, the dart queen of 2001, would have missed by that much.”
“Now why would I do that?” Rebecca asked.
Thanks to years of experience, Stephanie was skeptical of her perfectly angelic expression.
Rebecca narrowed her eyes at Jen. “Did you see me move the dart?”
“I did not.” Jen shook her head firmly. Her boots shifted on the hardwood. “And for what reason would Rebecca send you to the area where her brother is working? I mean, what could she hope to gain from it? Have another cookie. You’ll feel better.”

A Minute on the Lips’ UK version and me

 

A MInute on the LipsOn Saturday, the postman slogged through the mud to bring me copies of the UK version of A Minute on the Lips. Yes. Let’s let that marinate for a moment. The UK version. Here’s the link: A Minute on the Lips, Mills and Boon UK. This is different than the Australian version, which I have not seen yet and which will send into full-on meltdown most likely. Here’s a link just so you’ll believe me: Australian 2-in-1 Version. Don’t worry…there will be new pictures of this one too.

This, combined with the Goodreads group’s discussions on dream travel destinations, the unending snow…it’s all turned the flame up under my desire to go to London. I yearn. Like the way I yearn for whatever chocolate dessert’s on the menu that I never order but bigger. Over the past year, I’ve had a trip planned at least 3 different times but never pushed the “BOOK IT!” button. This is probably because I remember my panic on landing in the Newark airport and facing navigating New York by myself. Also, I might never want to come back. I managed New York. London could be tackled too. Right?