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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My First Conference! Blog 3 of 5

CAUTION! Pictures of many romance-loving ladies ahead. All men should be prepared to be overwhelmed.

I’d registered, slipped the conference lanyard around my neck, and toured the Goodie Room, a place where promo items are given away. A gal can’t have too many bookmarks, right? My conference tote was designed by Harlequin, and featured an old Harlequin, back when men wrote the adventure stories of that time. The cover featured boasted a scintillating title. “You never know with women.”
How true. And this being my first conference, well, I didn’t know. Women of all shape and size were there, all styles, and all talent. And I learned you can fit 2500 romance writers in a basement loading area of the Marriott.

I did learn something else pretty quick. The more famous you are, the thinner you are. Nora Roberts is a size double zero, I figure. If she sells another book, she’ll disappear. Me? I’m a size fourteen, so I have a lot more books to sell, I see.
I wanted to go to the Newbie’s meeting, (or Newb’s meeting, as my teen son would have called it) but was told I wasn’t a newbie, that I knew the ropes, so I took their word for it. And, surprisingly, I did know more than I thought. Not being a shy person, I simply walked up, sat down beside and met many people just by shoving out my hand and introducing myself.
And I discovered that many people know me. Mostly editors, which begs the question on how they know me. Hmm. My brilliant, clear, concise prose?
Or my obsessive nervousness that pretty much seeps into my emails and phone calls? I guess I’ll never know.
My roomies were impressed, saying it was my writing. As I was up for a Daphne award, we went to the Death by Chocolate party. Okay, everyone. I like chocolate as much as the next person, but to be frank, am I supposed to eat that much? I am a little out of practice, here. But the stalwart soldier that I am, I gave it the old college try. I didn’t win a Daphne, but met an agent to whom I had spoke years ago. I joked about a bomb back then, and she remembered me. (Remember my roomie poking me when I shoved my foot into my mouth? She was at another table.)
Well, I didn’t win the award for which I had been nominated. But I eat a ton of fresh fruit, including black raspberries the size of large strawberries, and little cheesecakes drizzled in chocolate. I couldn’t leave without smothering my sorrows in sugar. Okay, there wasn’t any sorrow, but I gave it the old college try, remember?
The next day there was a breakfast, and I learned that you have to get to the food before all the other starving artists got there. Coffee is exceptionally valuable. I’d brought my own meal replacement bars, but with a complimentary continental breakfast, which included cheese and those giant raspberries again, those bars got shoved into my suitcase.
And I was discovering something else. My tummy isn’t used to rich food. It better adjust quickly, though. I’d paid for three more rich meals.
Well, it didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to…

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment!


Stella MacLean said...

Dear Barb,
I can identify with your Conference observations. I find the crowds of people truly overwhelming every year I attend, and except for this year, I've been there for ten different conferences! And please may I be a size 00 some day.

Barbara Phinney said...

Stella, I know! I'll never be a size 00 again! Not if I go to those conferences! What amazes me are the memories of some gals. It blows me away that they can recall faces and names after a year apart! I can't even remember what I had for supper last night.
Glad you stopped by!