Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Conference Daze

You know that look you see in someone’s eyes? The one that says, lights are on but nobody is home and they may not be back for a long, long time? The look that when you say something to someone they don’t just stare at you as if they don’t speak English, they stare right through you, as if you aren’t even real. Well, I got that look. Seriously people, stick a fork in me, I’m done. Well, done until tomorrow.

Ahh, but I had a blast! We’re talking rooming with two writing buddies, laughing and chatting into the wee hours of the morning. Do you know everything seems funny at one in the morning? One of those roommates was a Golden Heart Finalist. Even though she didn’t win the GH, I just know she’s gonna sell that book.

Conferences are the best place to meet and mingle. I’m talking lunch with old friends, lunch with new friends and fans. Thank you, Kara, a teacher from Arkansas, who came to see several writers at the book signing. Also in the picture is Faye Hughes, the woman who stole my pillow!

The conference was filled with good times, as in ice cream with writing buddies—Caramel cappuccino with hot fudge—buddies who talked with funny accents and who had close relationship with their cheese fries. (Meaning, don’t try and steal one off the plate if you want to keep your fingers.) But hey, they did share their onion rings. However, I’m not going to say much about their accents, or love of cheese fries, because they are my witnesses that I did NOT pull the fire alarm. I know, you’ve all heard that Faye thinks I do this just to get her to exercise by walking down the stairs, but even if our floor was the only floor that got evacuated, I swear I was innocent and Stacy and Donna should be able to vouch for me—in funny accents, of course.

Oh, I also went to parties. We’re talking sushi and karaoke with my agent and her other clients. No raw fish for me, thank you, I made sure my appetizers were cooked. You see, I’m from Alabama and my people invented fire for a reason. And I’m told on the same day we invented Crisco. I mean, we’ll eat anything deep fried. Why, back home I was schooled on how to make any living thing--snake, squirrel, and pigeon taste like chicken. However, I enjoyed the BookEnds party and most of the appetizers. I enjoyed the edamame, but I would have enjoyed them more if someone had told me I wasn’t supposed to eat the pod. Let’s just say I got plenty of fiber and leave it at that. Ahh, but I wasn’t the only one. The writer sitting across from me did the same thing. You should have seen the looks we were trying not to give each other as we managed to swallow those pods.

Now, I didn’t sing. After you swallow an edamame pod, the throat is a little scratchy. Ahh, but seriously, I love to sing, unfortunately not very many people love to hear me sing. Have you ever been thrown out of a church choir? I have.

Nevertheless, my agent, Kim Lionetti, and Jessica Faust were two brave souls and they had their turn at the microphone. I’m sure they will be receiving voice contracts soon. Even if they don’t roll in, I didn’t see my ol’ choir director having a chat with them.

Faye and I with the help of agent Kim Lionetti and editor Rose Hilliard, did a workshop. I think we did okay. I told everyone the mattress story, I got a few giggles, and at the end I gave everyone a peek at my thousands of rejections. Well, all of them except the ones that my cat tiddled on. I keep them in a separate envelope. Funny thing was, I left Houston and forgot to bring those rejections with me, even though our workshop was about surviving rejections. I had to pay to get those suckers overnighted to Disney. Seriously people, I didn’t like receiving those rejections the first go round, and paying to receive them a second time just felt wrong. Ahh, but I did it because I really think other writers need to know that we’re all rejected and we should never give up. Even when it seems tough, when you think you’ll never accomplish it. That’s sort of how I felt when I was trying to chew up that edamame pod.

Then there’s the roll thief. At one of the luncheons my writing partner was having lunch at a table with other writers. She was feeling rather ravenous, and had just buttered her roll up, the last roll in the basket, and had only eaten a few bites, when the woman sitting beside her reached over and took the roll off Faye’s bread plate and proceeded to eat it. I’m so proud of Faye for not calling the woman on the roll thievery. She’s a better person than I am, because I didn’t let her get by with stealing my pillow. However, you should have seen her at all the rest of the dinners, she kept as close an eye on her roll as some people did their cheese fries. I’m joking about the cheese fries, I’ll bet Donna would have shared if I’d asked, but the way she was holding her fork sort of scared me. I think it was the same look I gave Faye when she stole my pillow!

I woke up every morning at the conference in a state of wonder. I wondered what pair of shoes I was going to allow the pleasure of torturing my feet that day. Can you say Band-Aids? Personally, I think they should sell knee-highs make out of Band-Aids. Hey…don’t anyone steal that idea, I invented it first.

Ahh, but guys, the conference was so wonderful. I got to thank Susan Andersen in person for her wonderful book quote that Dorchester put on the cover of Shut Up and Kiss Me. I got to shake hands with Christie Ridgway and Susan Elisabeth Phillips. Do you think some of their talent will rub off on me? Linda Howard and Beverly Barton, Alabama gals who I’m sure can also deep fry anything and make it taste like Chicken too, actually gave me a hug. I’m sure I became a better writer instantly.

I partied it up with Ruth Kenjura at my chapter’s annual Friday night wine and cheese get-together. Met a lot of great gals, too. Overall, the conference was a big success. Had a lot of laughs, got a lot of hugs, and shook a lot of great writers’ hands. So here’s to the writing buddies, and to friendships.

So what did you do this week? Any news to share? Books that can’t be missed? Come on share a little.



krisgils33 said...

Sounds like you had a great time. I could make gazillions of dollars from people paying me NOT to sing. Guess I'll stick with the day job though.

One book I read last week was a completely unexpected pleasure-- Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl. IMHO, this book was funny with quirky characters and was just what I needed at the time. For a light, fast read, I highly recommend it!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Krisgils33,

Hey. . . maybe you and I should get together and start a band. We could tons of money not to sing. LOL.

And I'll check out that Victoria Dahl's book. I've heard some great things about it.


Colleen Thompson said...

Sounds as if you had a great time! So did I - even if I felt brain dead by the end of it!

Glad to hear your workshop and parties all went well. I'm sorry I missed Ruth's. Didn't remember 'til 1 AM. I'm blaming those deadly litte fruit drinks at the HQN party.

See you soon, I hope!

Kate Douglas said...

Christie, it was so good to see both you and Faye, and I have to agree: the chance to meet new friends, finally put real-life faces to online friends, and just hang out with people who understand we all have voices in our heads is an amazing experience.

Btw, I got video of Kim and Jessica singing but couldn't upload it. Gave my thumb drive to Jessica, and haven't heard a word since. I have a feeling she may have destroyed the evidence.

Christie Craig said...


I was upset that I didn't see you more. I think we only crossed paths twice the entire conference. I know you were super busy.

And boy howdy do I know about being brain dead.

Thanks for stopping by.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Kate,

I sent the photos to my agent and asked which one is the best blackmail material. LOL. It was so much fun to see you and catch up. Kim and Jessica were so great to sing. I love their fun gutsy souls.

Thanks for stopping by.


TerriOsburn said...

I have no idea how I never saw you again after that first night. LOL! And I was DETERMINED not to miss your workshop like I have the last two years. But then my pitch was right before your workshop started and I was so stressed and tired and relieved (full request!) that I plopped down on a couch in the hall and my body refused to get back up for at least an hour. No lie, there is a couch outside the So Hemisphere ballroom with my butt print for all eternity.

The week felt like a month and yet flew by in a blink. How does that happen? Can't wait to see you again in NYC where the people will really have those funny accents. :)

SarannaDeWylde said...

It sounds like you had a blast.

I don't do karaoke or dance in public without at least one shot of...something. It better be strong enough to burn all the way down. :)

I do love to sing, but I only subject my children to it in the car. But they sing along too.

I've never been to a conference, but I'm hoping to change that next year.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Christie, it was so great to meet you! About those cheese fries--you weren't missing much, they were just ok.

I do have to take exception to the funny accent comment though. Donna and I enjoy yours. *grin*

Had a great time in Orlando, but was just as glad to get home, especially after a flight cancellation in Minneapolis and 6hr delay that got us home at 10:30p instead of 4:30p. Got some reading done. :)

Kara C said...

It was great to finally meet you, and lunch was a blast. So glad sushi wasn't an option. Later that day, it was thrown out as an idea for dinner. We laughed as it became clear who the Southern girls were in the group by the faces we made at the mention of raw fish. As my husband is fond of saying,"I don't generally eat bait."
Thanks, again. :)

Christie Craig said...

Hi Terri,

It's always crazy at nationals, with that many people it's easy to miss everyone. But it was so good to see you when I did.

I'm thrilled about the full request. You can do this, just keep taking baby steps. Get off the sofa, smooth out the butt print, and keep on going. You will and can make it happen. I'm so proud of you!

And I love NY and all those funny accents.


And we will see you again soon.

Christie Craig said...


It takes more than a shot of anything, burn or no burn, to get me to sing in public. Now, I love to dance and have been known to shake and move in public even without any shots. Conference is a blast. So many talented and nutty people in one place that it feels almost like a family reunion. I find myself thinking, "These are my people."

Christie Craig said...

Hi Stacey,

Well, I feel better about the fries now that I know they weren't totally yummy. LOL. My accent? What accent? Sorry about your delay, but sometimes a good six hour to read is a good thing.

I was wiped out on Sunday. However, because I never got to go out and eat at the famous steak restaurant, I made my hubby take me out to dinner Sunday for a good steak dinner.

It was a pleasure meeting you.


Christie Craig said...

Kara C.

I love your hubby's saying. I'm stealing it. Look for that to appear in a book. LOL.

Thanks so much for joining us for lunch and for forwarding the picture. It was so neat to sit around and chat. Oh, I told my hubby about your student's essay about his blue bike. Love that one, too!

Have a great day.


Donna Marie Rogers said...

Ah, Christie, I would have happily shared my cheese fries with you...well, you could have had a couple anyway. Maybe three. LOL I thought they were YUMMY, btw, so it's really just a matter of taste. Oh, and Stacey & I tried the caramel cappuccino with hot fudge the following night...OMG, pure fricken heaven...LOL

It was a joy finally meeting you in person, truly a joy. :-) Faye as well; I have a feeling her and I could get to know each other quite well while watching you and Stacey power walk all over the place.

And I just happen to have a little good news. MEANT TO BE placed second in the FCRW Beacon contest. I didn't even know I'd finaled, so it was a very nice surprise. :-)

Christie Craig said...


A huge congrats, girl!! You so deserve the award. And it was a pleasure to meet you. A true pleasure. We had a blast and yes, Stacey and I could power walk and you and Faye could stay behind and talk about us. LOL.

Have a great week and enjoy the win.


krisgils33 said...

You don't have to be Southern to hate sushi. Just sayin'.
(I'm a Massachusetts girl who can't live without sweet tea and BBQ....okay, so I did live in Alabama for 2 yrs.)

Jane said...

Glad you had a great time, Christie. I'm a huge fan of Susan Andersen and Linda Howard. I wish I could have met them.

Sandy said...

LOL I loved your blog CC.

Darn! I wish I could have been at conference to meet you. I'm so jealous of Donna and Stacey.

I can join your band of non-singers though. lol

Christie Craig said...


I think it was the two years of Alabama that got into your blood. LOL. I think there are lots of people who don't care for bait. LOL.

Thanks for stopping in.


Christie Craig said...


There were both such wonderful women. I had a blast chatting with them.


Christie Craig said...


We had a blast and next time try to join us. We'll find some restaurant and you can refuse to share your cheese fries. LOL. Seriously, conference is like a big spend-the-night party. I was tempted to freeze Faye's bra, but since I'm a "Don't Mess With My Bra" gal, I didn't do it.

Thanks for stopping by.


A.Y. Stratton said...

Hi, Christie, Loved your account of the RWA conference in Orlando. I was hoping to meet you there, but it's pretty hard to do with that big of a crowd. I especially enjoyed your singing photos. I went to 2 very helpful workshops featuring Jessica Faust. Based on your photos, she was having more fun singing with you!

Christie Craig said...

Hi A.Y. Stratton,

It was crazy at RWA with the crowds. And I heard that Jessica did a fabulous job on her workshops. She's always does. And she did have fun singing.

Thanks so much for stopping by.