When we last left off, Friday night at the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling had ended with my agent using the word 'anomaly' five times in five separate sentences to describe me, Marta Bliese had to budget for buying my agent a Diet Coke during her pitch session, and Cherry Adair had promised not to abuse anyone until Saturday.
8:00: Pick up Hannah and head down for breakfast. Sit with Carrie Lofty, Christine Segina, and Christy Longmire. Fail to realize I'm already facebook friends with Christine. Later feel like a dolt.
9:00: "Rejection Bootcamp" with Joelle Charbonneau. I try to take a picture of Joelle during her presentation. I fail. But she gives me a solid pep talk about on a rejection I got and doesn't even seem to hold it against me when I have to leave early to go to . . .
10:00: Moderating Pitch Sessions. I'm the timekeeper for Amanda Bergeron from Avon. Moderating Pitch Sessions is a nice way to make friends with an Editor. Unfortunately, I do not write historicals, so I decide not to pester the woman, above and beyond interrupting each and every one of her sessions to tell her she's got two minutes left.
10:30: Several women show up about forty minutes early for their pitches. I scare the snot out of Heather Snow by enthusiastically introducing myself to her. After she's good and terrified that I'm a crazy lady, I tell her I judged her entry in the Fire and Ice contest, in which she is a finalist. She immediately (and I mean milliseconds) apologizes profusely for not writing me a thank you note--several times, in fact. I decide this makes us friends.
11:00: Sneak into Allie Pleiter's "Wrangling Your Muse" late. Crib Hannah's notes to figure out what's going on. Discover that I write 'big chunks' (see 'anomaly' from earlier). This comes as a surprise to no one.
12:00: LUNCH! Hannah and Andrea Dickinson have to be told to keep it down (by me) because the lunch room is just a tad loud. It gets quiet when Julia Quinn gives her speech. She reminds us that romance writers make people happy, and that is important--and never to let a single person tell you it isn't. Decide Julia Quinn is my new favorite person.
1:30: "Author's Brand Image" with Blythe Gifford. She asks me to stand and model while the rest of the attendees try to guess what I write based on my appearance. Ever thankful I'm in cowboy boots--and everyone guesses correctly. Voila! I'm an Author Brand!
2:30: My agent waves vigorously at me from the doorway, so I sneak out. She's got an earlier flight on standby, so is heading out. Tells me I really, really don't have to finish the current book in a hurry--after all, she just finished reading the LAST book a week and a half ago. (I am afraid to tell her I only have about 4,000 words left on it. EEK!)
3:00: Take Hannah to "Editing for Voice" with Courtney Milan. I'm thrilled to be at a presentation aimed at a higher level. Plus, she gives me her novella This Wicked Gift for talking!
4:30: Interrupt The Husband's nap. We go down to the bar for a glass of wine on an empty stomach. I wind up babbling to Mary Trimmer and eating two bowls of bar snacks. I immediately regret this course of action.
5:00: Book signing!
5:30: Find Marta Bliese again. Ask how her pitch went. She said that my agent asked for three chapters, but she's not sure if that's good or bad. I assure her that is AWESOME, because my agent normally asks for the first ten pages. Marta starts to get really excited, and revealed she'd actually brought my agent TWO Diet Cokes. High fives all the way around.
6:00: Really regretting wine and bar snacks on an empty stomach.
6:10: Go put on my pretty dress for dinner. Meet back up with Hannah, and we are stopped by Nancy Plummer of Fine Threads, who tells us that we are doing everything right. We decide we like Nancy a whole bunch.
7:00: Dinner, finally. Sit with a librarian who turns out to be a sparkling personality. I learn LOTS, and my stomach finally settles down.
8:00: Cherry Adair takes our pictures clapping. Her husband immediately texts to ask what the dessert in the tiny cups was.
8:15: Heather Snow wins first in her category! I scare the librarian by whooping. Later, Heather apologizes for the thank-you note issue again.
9:00: Begin to assist with the Silent Auction, benefiting Literature for All of Us. Mostly I assist by using my foghorn-like voice to announce how much time is left in the Auction to everyone in the lobby, hotel, and surrounding square mile. Silent, my fanny!
10:00: Silent Auction ends. I didn't win any baskets, darn it.
11:00: Finish helping with the Silent Auction. Realize I have been in heels, not cowboy boots, for almost four hours. Hope a glass of wine remedies the situation.
11:30: It doesn't, so I go to bed. Spring Fling is officially over for me!
All in all, I had a great time, and I'm so glad I dragged Hannah along with me. My agent thought it was a great conference, and I hope to hear positive things from Heather, Andrea, Marta, and more in the near future!