Me and the iconic LAX thingy.

At last, at last, I am at the Romance Writers of America National Conference, in Anaheim, California, home to Disneyland and every chain restaurant ever invented. (In that way it’s much like my charmless, soulless Denver suburb of Westminster so I feel right at home.) I can’t see much of Disney from my hotel room except for the parking lot. But mouse ears are everywhere.

And until Sunday, so are romance writers. I just found this out—with 10,000 members, the RWA is the second-largest group of writers after the Screen Actors Guild or one of those screenwriting trade groups. I’m going to assume this is accurate, because then it makes my finaling in the Golden Heart contest even more impressive. In fact, in my mind, I’m going to pretend RWA has two million members. Yes, that’s what I’m going to do.

Okay, I hate to do this to you, but I started this blog post on Wednesday and now it’s Friday. This conference never stops! I ducked out of the gathering of Firebirds (the nickname of the Golden Heart class of 2012) by the pool to, yes, watch the Olympics opening ceremonies because I am an Olympic fiend. I’ll post lots of pictures. How’s that?

The closest I'll ever get to a tat. Our custom-made Firebird temporary tattoos. I say the winners have to get real ones.

Bestselling author, champion of new writers and all-around hilarious gem Cherry Adair and me at the Golden Heart Network retreat.

At the literacy signing for charity, it's me and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who has graciously accepted me as her official stalker.

The fabulous bestselling author Kristan HIggins and yours truly.

Several of us Golden Heart finalists descended upon Susan Elizabeth Phillips after her workshop.

Fellow Single Title Contemporary Golden Heart finalist Nikki Salcedo and me. I'd knock her off if I didn't know the judges voted weeks ago.

Overall, this is quite the wild ride and I’m being treated like minor royalty. Strangers in the elevator see that I’m a Golden Heart finalist and say, “Congratulations!” Today I got my official certificate, which made it all the more real. By this time tomorrow, we’ll know who won. But you know, I’ll be thrilled—genuinely thrilled—no matter which of us Firebirds wins each category, because I feel so connected to this group of talented, determined writers. I’m not saying (writing) this to be all PC or anything. I cheer this gifted crew on with all my heart and hope this is the last year any of us will be eligible for the Golden Heart because by next year we’ll all be published. Fly, fly, little Firebirds!