Kristan Higgins "the Best Man" all over the Marriott's elevator door. That's Gail with the red bag

Kristan Higgins “The Best Man” all over the Marriott’s elevator door. That’s Gail with the red bag

Haven for writers. No, I think it was heaven for writers. This year, mid July, in the state of Georgia, in Gone With the Wind’s precious Atlanta. It’s not burning anymore, but it was HOT. It sizzled with humidity and hospitality. The national convention of Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) held their yearly in this magical place. Most of us holed up, for almost a week, at the Marriott Marquis, running hither and yon, friends, food, colleagues, and most of all, workshops, workshops, workshops. We mingled with the best of the best, writer’s who love romance and write it well. You have never seen 2500 of smiling faces all in one place at one time. I am sure you never have. It was a joy to behold. If you did not know how to write when you arrived, to be sure, you knew how to write when you left. Something happens in this conference where your synapses grow and mushroom, in fact, your new found confidence sparkles in your eyes, and you find new friends to share your joy of writing. How, when, where, why, all your questions get answered, you get notes to study and free fantastic books to either shlep or ship to your writing den at home.

CTRWA gang

CTRWA left to right standing Katy Lee, Thea Devine, Gail Ingis, Kristan Higgins, Jamie Schmidt, Marian Louette

My favorite was to be witness to my fantastic friend, who found me and showed me the way, author Kristan Higgins, who gave the most riveting speech to these 2500 writers. We all laughed, we all cried. The standing ovation, hugs, and praises continued all weekend. We are all still mesmerized.

Marriott's glass elevator to the 42nd floor. weeee!

Marriott’s glass elevator to the 42nd floor. Weeee!Fast too!

Did you hear about my lost cell phone? Red bags, each registrant got one. All 2500 of us. Sitting in a workshop at 8:30 a.m. with my cell phone a bother on my belt, I pulled it off and plopped into a red bag. Not mine of course, but I did not realize until after the workshop and we had all split. Found, but not for six agonizing hours. It was on vibrate, so Sandi never heard it. Oh, I didn’t know her name until she finally found it in her bag, found Tom’s number and called him. Tom, my hubby was in our room. How did she know it was the right number? I have his cell phone number marked as ICE. Known as an emergency number.

CokeCola from our room on the 42nd floor

CokeCola from our room on the 42nd floor

I had a miracle, well, sort of a miracle happen to me first day, right after registration. I did not know Maria Connor, but now I do. After going nuts, and asking what that was, over the smallest thing attached to earbuds, in her ears, and a tiny rectangular thing clipped on her blouse, she said, “I have two, here, you can have this one I don’t use, it was lost for two years, so I got a new one, and this one is extra. You can have this IPod shuffle.” She said, “I will send you the charger.” It arrived Monday. Can you imagine? This gift was like winning the lottery.

left to right: Kristan Higgins, Gail Ingis, Katy Lee, Paula Sharon, Susan Andrews. This picture is about shoes/no shoes. One of us brought ten (10) pair of shoes. Want to guess who? All these wonderful people in my life, just because I write. Great folk! Don’t you think? RWA Kristan, gail,katy,paula,susanP1070054



Mr. Wright strolling the campus with his cane but without his cape. Frank Lloyd Wright spent the last two decades of his life overseeing the largest single-site collection of his designs.

I remembered my architectural studies of Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW) and his unusual life, when I read colleague and author PJ Sharon’s post about the windy city, Chicago. The windy city, changed by the impact of FLW, and where Paula attended Romantic Times Booklovers convention, has a collection of FLW designs, the likes of which are unsurpassed.  (Look for Paula’s convention link at the end If you want to read about her experience.)

Paula’s post reminded me of FLW and his dedication to architecture. FLW,  King of architecture, influenced the architectural community with his daring, his technology, his attitude. There was an irresistible charm about him. Women adored him, men admired him, architects envied him. He spoke to women’s groups telling them how to live, how to decorate, how to get out of the rut of loving dead things, things with no form. He managed to open up a new way for these women to see form. What is form? In order for form to resonate, make you feel good, it needs to have soul. Houses of the times were rigid boxes with no soul, until FLW opened them up. Victoriana had no soul, just lots and lots and lots of collections. His openness was a fresh new way to live. In his gentle way of talking to the women who listened with a passion, he said “Ornament is not about prettying the outside of something, but rather it should have balance, proportion, harmony.” All of which creates  what FLW called the natural house. A house that blends with the land, a house that is designed with views to let the outside in.

Built in 1934 for Malcolm and Nancy WIlley, this Minneapolis home was restored in 2007 using cypress, plaster and regional brick.
Photo by Terrence Moore
It was abandoned for seven years, and totally disheveled, but here it is restored to its natural house form.
FLW never earned a degree. He left engineering school to apprentice in Chicago in the office of Adler and Sullivan. He learned on the job, then his opened his own practice. His belief in the natural, organic architecture, evolved from his exposure to Japanese architecture, his belief in simplicity, the nature of materials and influence of England’s Arts and Crafts Movement. He integrated these ideas of his time as he would the parts of a house, composing a symphonic whole that transcended the parts.
FLW not only did lots of buildings, but also did many wives. Frank at 69 with one of his many wives.

FLW home and studio with great gift shop

Here’s a FLW gift shop link: http://www.shopwright.org/



Do you have a FLW house or wish you had one?

Paula’s convention link:    http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/rt-recap.

“Inspiration is fifty percent dedication and fifty percent discipline. Together they equal progress.”

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