I refer to it as my "vacation," but there's no sleeping in, no lounging around a pool, no beach, and very little sightseeing - other than the people-watching I indulge in at the airport, on the shuttle, in the hotel, etc.
This year, the conference was more of a blur than anything else. I attended fewer workshops this year, but feel as though I got more information out of the ones I did attend than ever before.
Though I hadn't made any editor/agent appointments, Stephanie did, and I horned in on those. The agent appointment was a group one, so it was an "everybody submit" appointment. The editor one was with an editor we'd had previous communication with and it sounds very promising. Also for the first time this year, I wasn't sweating the appointments. I don't know if that's brass on my part or the fact that since I hadn't made the appointment, I didn't feel as though I needed to be nervous about it.
There were plenty of people who were nervous, though, and I commend them for doing what they needed to to get through their appointments.
"Star" sightings? You betcha...the very first night we saw Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer having dinner and probably plotting out something spectacular for Agnes & the Hitman, their next book. Then there was Janelle Dennison & Carly Phillips - I ran into them walking down the hallway. Connie Brockway, Eloisa James and their good-natured rivalry, Theresa Medieros carrying a plastic bin full of chickens...don't ask (just visit Squawk Radio
Then there were my new favorite authors: Kim Harrison who I cracked up when she was signing in one of the publisher-sponsored book-giveaways by giving her the "bunny" sign; JR Ward who I never really got near, but got close enough to see that the third Brotherhood book WASN'T on her table; Caridad Ferrar, Gena Showalter, and many, many more...
And, of course, La Nora...for those who are reading this blog for fun and have no clue who that is, think the leading lady of romance fiction...think 8 MILLION copies of her books in print worldwide...think a woman rather small in stature and massive in popularity...think a woman who is gracious, generous, humorous and who every romance writer wants to be when they grow up...yes, Nora Roberts. We actually shared a few minutes of conversation outside the PRO retreat - one of the highlights of my conference experience though probably not even a blip on her radar.
And then there was the bar...the gathering place of aspiring and published authors. Those hoping to rub elbows with an editor or agent. Stephanie & I were lucky in that respect. We actually sat and talked for some time with Anna Genoese from Tor, one of the first editors to reject one of our manuscripts. Anna is a true original and a very humorous person. Sure, she has strong opinions, but name me one single editor who doesn't! Anna is a lovely person - even though she did say our heroine was TSTL...just kidding, Anna. Actually what she said, and she was DEAD ON RIGHT, was that the heroine needed more spine, that she was entirely too passive. We're working on that. In fact, it's the second MS containing some of the same characters from the manuscript Anna read that did so well in contests and garnered us other requests from other editors. I have massive amounts of respect for Anna - she does her job and does it well, without pulling any unnecessary punches.
Now, back to the rest of the conference. The luncheon speakers were FABULOUS - Meg Cabot kept everyone in laughter throughout her speech on Thursday and Christina Dodd inspired and galvinized with her speech on Saturday. The Gala on Saturday evening was WONDERFUL. Short, sweet, tasteful, humorous, and NO POLITICS. It was great.
I always find Conference inspiring and exhausting and this year was no exception. I look forward to next year's Conference in Dallas, and NEXT YEAR, I AM taking some vacation time - both before and after conference...at least that's the plan!