Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How I Survived Pitching . . . And Other Sordid Conference Tales

Well, Hey-Howdy-Hey, TLN'ers!

I simply can't believe it's been a month since Nationals and I've yet to post about my fantastic voyage!! How very rude of me and now all my fun is past-news-worthy, but here it is anyways . . .

The five hour drive down to Anaheim was a blast. There is nothing like traveling with your writerly peeps and chatting about every aspect of writerly life. While The Dashing Mr. Simas is ever the engaging conversationalist, his eyes do tend to glass-over a bit, especially when I wax on and on about the latest writing on-dits. Thanks, June Rodriguez and Sheri Humphreys for the chatter!!

We practiced and honed our pitches, which paid off in spades. I was completely prepared for The Big Day! Of course, once we hit LA traffic, this country mouse clammed up and white-knuckled it clear to the hotel. I could've have kissed the parking valet I was so happy to be off the freeway! To make matters worse, everyone was saying the traffic was great. Potato, Po-ta-to, I guess. ;)

A patio full of finalists, well, except for those us who were 'arm candy'. lol
One of my travel companions, Sheri Humphrey's, was a GH finalist and she was sweet enough to let my roommate, June, and I tag along to dinner with several of the other finalists. What fun! I swear the excitement level jumped by 95% upon walking into PF Chang's quaint little patio dining area.

I left completely enchanted by Wendi La Capra and Nicki Salcedo. They were such fun to sit with and kept me laughing all through dinner! I even got to meet Kieran Kramer. Definitely a memorable night.

The next morning was my foray into the Beau Monde's mini-conference. I stapled myself to Sharon Lathan's side and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our time together. She's also a chaptermate and I just love her wit and zest for writing. The BM conference was a hoot, especially Isobel Carr's two hour talk on Regency Era unmentionables. Quite scandalous--and let me just say I'm so glad we don't have wear busks. No thank you! I met Delilah Marvelle and fell instantly in love. She's such a sweet lady and a fabulous speaker.

Anne Barton and some crazy lady ;)
I really enjoyed all the workshops I attended-both BM and RWA. The presenters were so knowledgeable and generous with their time. My "old-school" tablet--a.k.a trusty spiral bound notebook--is full of awesome tips and tricks for honing my craft. I met Anne Barton and had a devil of time restraining my giddy need to hop up and down! I adore her (and her debut WHEN SHE WAS WICKED is deeee-vine!! I scored an ARC--be jealous, be very jealous!) I also met Katharine Bone and Crystal Eliot. At the soiree, I got to meet Valerie Bowman and hang out some more with Sharon Lathan. Fun times!

Finally, the Pitch Day arrived and I spent two hours practicing in front of my mirror (thank you, John Conway for the tip), which made walking into my first-ever pitch session a lot less stressful. I didn't puke on any one or end up gasping into a paper bag. lol The first agent I pitched to gave me a high-five and requested 100 pages! Talk about being blown away!!

After the first pitch, I sailed through my other appointments and managed to navigate the Chum Bucket (or rather the pitch room waiting section) and "shark" a few extra appointments. I met some lovely ladies: Vivian Mere, Roxanne Price, and Deborah Grace Staley. They all kept me cool as a frappachino during the wait. Thanks, ladies!!

All in all, I got FIVE appointments: three agents and two editors, which led to four requests for either material or queries. It was an experience I'll never forget. I can safely say I'M A SURVIVOR! *wink wink*

Another highlight was getting to meet one of my former Mama Writer blogging buddies, Jeannie Ruesch. She walked me through the Literacy Signing, which was a blessing because I felt over-whelmed! We ate lunch together and I truly enjoyed her company. Thanks, Jeannie!

My YRW Peeps and I lunch
I also had the chance to get to know my fellow Yosemite Romance Writers better. It was a blast hanging out with Sheri Humphreys, June Rodriguez, John Conway, Elsa Bayley, Sharon Lathan, and Kris Lynn. Thanks guys!!

Fan-Girl moments: Alas, I had several. ;)

*Vicki Dreiling in the elevator:
Me: *gasp* "You're Vickie Dreiling!" (I'm sure Ms. Dreiling already knew that. lol)

*Fan-girl waved at Valerie Bowman (one of my favorite Tweeters) in the hallway like she should totally know who I am! (Can't wait to read her debut and totally loved her swag--she mailed it to me! What a gal!)

Shana Galen and one giddy me!
*Couldn't hardly talk when I met Shana Galen. Good thing she's so sweet! ;)

*Sounded like a complete stalker to Erin Knightley (another fabulous debut author!) when I raved about her website and all the fun things she's loaded the site with--namely the how to pack for nationals video.

*Saw Julia Quinn at the Avon signing and gushed on about her backlist and how a current radio song "Brighter Than The Sun" reminds me of my favorite book of hers with the same title. DOH!

Monica McCarty and Me
There were countless more, but suffice it to say, I've shared with you classic a la Sarah moments. lol I did score hugs from Monica McCarty and Tawny Webber, which totally made my day!

Experiencing the awards show was like watching the Oscars LIVE! Such beautiful gowns and shoes. OMG--the shoes. I'd break my neck, for sure! RWA 2012 was definitely a memorable moment in my life! I'm thankful I had the chance to go. I owe my mom, mother-n-law, and hubby big time for watching the kiddos.

It's gonna be hard to miss a year here and there. I'm definitely addicted!

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