Fiorella learned four very important things at her first national RWA conference in 2008. First, she learned that she could navigate all by her lonesome within the conference, in a large hotel, and on the mean streets of San Francisco. Second, she learned that there is no stereotypical romance writer--they come in all sizes, shapes, ages, colors--and sexes. Third, she learned that established writers (read Colleen Thompson and Terry McLaughlin) can be very kind to a newbie. Fourth, as she learned, from the agent who stood in front of her in a Starbuck's line, a pattern of dieting for three days, then eating whatever one desires on the fourth, is an effective method of trimming down.
At the Orlando conference, she had a blinding Paul-on-the-way-to-Damascus revelation that, in order to get her work into print, she'd have to write not just as well as established authors, but strive for better. She also learned to ignore other people's negativity.
At the New York conference, she realized that her overriding goal for the next year should be to GET AN AGENT.
At the Atlanta conference, she met face-to-face with said agent, the divine Liza, and also learned who were her true friends (read Colleen Thompson and April Sartor).
Next summer is the San Antonio conference. More adventures to come.