Ronda Thompson/RWA

    Ronda Thompson, a friend and the celebrated author of the Wild Wulfs series (St. Martin's) is gone, killed quickly by cancer.

    I got the news late last night via email and immediately called my friend Bonnie Vanak, who was asleep in her hotel room. I felt terrible about waking her up, but finding out that Ronda had died was like a kick in the stomach. I thought at first it had to be a joke, but it's not.

    Ronda was one of the first published authors to reach out to me when I was a newbie. She was here in this very hotel with me during my first RWA convention, and she and I made time to have lunch together because we'd had so much fun emailing each other.

    Over the years, we'd spoken numerous times on the phone, and I was so happy for her when she made the USA Today list and then the New York Times. Friendly, funny, and a talented writer, she was always there to support newer authors and to gab.

    Ronda, I was looking for you at this convention. I was watching for a tall woman with a smile as big as Texas on her face. I was expecting to see you, to give you a hug, to talk with you. And you're gone. I am so, so sorry for your kids and your family, but I am grateful that your career reached such a high point while you were here to see it. I miss you!

    Other news:

    The flight here was a drag. I think everyone had a rough time reaching Dallas because of weather. Some people are still stuck in New York. When I arrived, I enjoyed the added bonus of lost luggage. The concierge at the hotel was very helpful in chasing it down through the airlines. I was too busy with the conference to do that myself, so I'm very grateful. And I have my clothes! YAY!

    I had breakfast with my editor from Berkley, Cindy Hwang, and I learned that Unlawful Contact has a publication date — June 2008.

    The Daphne du Maurier Awards are tonight late — 9 p.m. local time — so I'll try to get back tonight with an update. I'm going to be enjoying lunch with Kris Alice Hohls and Sandy Schwab, who traveled all the way from Germany to participate in the conference.

    The book signing last night was great. I got a big lump in my throat when I saw the RITA flag on my table. We are allowed to keep them, so it's here in my hotel room now.

    I spent the evening with Emma Holly, who is a very sweet and warm person, as well as my good friend Gennita Low, who had me giggling about everything, DebbieH from the RBL board and her friend Amie. I so enjoyed getting to meet Emma and Debbie and Amie and being able to put faces with the names. Debbie is an absolute sweetheart — that's all there is to it. She's a wonderful, fun and funny person. She and Amie helped me stay organized (not a small job) and Amie carried my box of books from the literacy signing all night, insisting that she wanted to help somehow.

    That's the best thing about these conventions — connection with people you've come to care about either through their writing (Emma, Gennita) or through email exchanges and message boards (DebbieH).

    Two members of the RBL Party Crew arrive tonight, so it's time to nap rest up for the mayhem to come.

    Su and Leiha, BRING IT ON!

Total Pageviews