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Thursday, July 23, 2009

My First Conference, Blog 4 of 5

WARNING! Deer in the headlights crossing ahead!

By this time in my life, I should be way more observant than I am. I wish I had a dime for each time my roomie poked me and said, “Don’t you know who that is?”
I’d give her a blank look, and again she’d patiently tell me it was some famous agent or author or editor. I have a confession to make, though. The names usually went over my head. I’m pretty sheltered, I guess. My own doing, I imagine. I’ve been too lazy for too long and have rarely bothered to learn the names and faces of all the people with whom I should be schmoozing.
I did meet a very nice, good-looking man from He used to be an editor and I innocently asked him why the switch. Apparently, it’s practically a promotion. I don’t know. He must own or something, because I didn’t figure it would be moving up in the world. Regardless, he was uber nice, so my early foray into schmoozing must have been a success.
In fact, my schmoozing went pretty well throughout the conference. I met agents and authors, chatted with veterans and new recruits. I ate rich food, drank good wine, and recharged my batteries each morning with sharp and strong coffee.
Then came the day of my meeting with the editor. Okay, I’d been too busy with my life beforehand to bother with the pitch. As expected, my roomie insisted I write something legible down. She practised her marvelous pitch on me, and I scribbled down a few words in a notebook with an old pen. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t anything but wide-eyed with extra caffeine, fighting cronic heartburn from all the chocolate, and right after lunch, at a workshop, I sat down in a warm room, filled with other romance writers, a panel of editors and veterans, all soft spoken, discussing the pros and cons of inspirational writing, and bang, it came.
The noise. At soft snore, followed by my forehead hitting the back of the chair in front of me.
I had fallen asleep.
I threw up my head, meeting the eyes of the editor. She could probably hear the crack and see the growing welt on my forehead. I did manage to stay awake the rest of the workshop, thankful that they were all being recorded and I could purchase them in the front foyer for a nominal fee. They take all major credit cards.
One great thing about the conference, like I mentioned before, was meeting some pretty cool people. I met a gentile Hungarian woman, ZsuZsa Simandy, whose life was so interesting she’d written her memoirs, so delightfully entitled, Gathering Roses, Thorns and All. And she was also impressed with me. She was to have an interview with my old editor, and I wished her the best. It turned out that she dropped some names at her interview, mine, of all people, and received an invitation to submit. Whoa, she dropped my name, as if I was someone special. How cool is that? Now, I’m really rooting for her. To the right is me with my roomie, and Zsu Zsa. Roomie Lina Gardiner is in the centre. Oops, cat's out of the bag, my roomie's been disclosed!
Back to the conference. But I still had to print out my pitch for the editor. I headed up to the business office, only to discover the printer was broken. It turned out to be a good thing, as the cost of using the computer was a mere $25 an hour. In fact, the quality hotel was getting infamous for charging for every small convenience. Thank goodness those of us on the sixth floor could pick up the McDonald’s wifi for free.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of my blog series.

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