I am a pack rat. This is a terrible thing to be whilst married to a military man, let me tell you. I know why I’m a pack rat; it has to do with childhood, moving, military, and loss issues. I have a hard time letting go of things, but I’ve gotten much, much better at it.

Today, however, while preparing for the inlaws and realizing to what monstrous proportions my book collection has grown, I ran across some old RWRs. Yes, they’ve moved to Germany and Hawaii with me. Why? Hell if I know, but I can’t quite bring myself to throw them out yet.

I can’t remember when I joined RWA, but it was either late in 93 or the beginning of 94. The RWR I found today is the Jan-Feb 1994 issue (Vol. 14, No. 1). It might be my first copy, or not. I just can’t recall.

Robin Lee Hatcher was president. Jo Ann Ferguson was VP. The issue is 72 pages long. What was RWA interested in then?

The lead article is “1994: The Year of Ethnic Romance.” Ethan Ellenberg wrote the Agent’s Corner article. Bantam was still publishing Loveswept and Ballantine was asking for 100 pages, a synopsis and SASE. Leisure was “especially looking for paranormal romance (ghosts, supernatural, etc.) of about 90,000 words.” NAL was buying for Topaz (whatever happened to that, btw?), especially ghost stories and time travels. Hmmm.

In 1994, the bylaws were amended to read that only authors who’d published at least five book length romances could run for president. “Persons seeking to run for other national offices need not have published.” And, LOL, the dues for 1994 were $45.

There used to be a Janet Dailey award. “This year ALL romantic novels entered in the RITA competition will be considered for the Janet Dailey award. […] [Each book] must deal with a specific social issue as a major, integral part of the story and/or conflict.” Does plagiarism count? (Okay, perhaps that’s an inappropriate comment, and yes I do feel sympathy for Ms. Dailey. But, like Nora, I’d be pretty pissed if someone did that to me.)

The conference was in New York that year. The member price was $260 cash, $275 credit (early registration).

In the ads, Connie Brockway’s first novel, Promise Me Heaven, was a February 94 release. Connie, of course, went on to win RITAs and write bestselling novels. My favorite Brockway of ALL TIME is As You Desire. Keeper. KEEPER. When the hero compares the heroine to Egypt–OMG! Beautiful writing.

And, yep, there was an article on Voice. Karen Harper tries to define voice and quotes JAK and Cathie Linz among others.

In Letters to the Editor, Diana Gabaldon takes issue with calling heroines feisty. Apparently, feisty is derived from a Scots word which refers to either a small yapping dog of questionable parentage or to “an (ahem) escape of flatulence from the lower bowel.” LOL. So please don’t call Claire feisty, okay? πŸ™‚

Okay, so now I’ve admitted I’ve been in RWA a loooong time. πŸ™‚ If only I’d been seriously pursuing my career all that time, I might be farther along. Or maybe not, ha! Many of the names I read in this issue seem to have disappeared from the landscape. In fact, I remember one gal who won the GH, sold the mss, and never published another book. I wonder what happened to her.