Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Home at Last!

In a way, it's hard to believe it's been almost a week since I posted. Then again, I feel like I was away for a month. I've now been to Dallas twice and have seen nothing except the airport and the Marriott Quorum. It's hard to find time to breathe, let alone leave the hotel.

For me, the highlight of this conference was meeting several people I had known only through emails or phone calls. I finally met my agent, Janet Benrey, face to face. She was so gracious and gave me a great big hug and a lot of encouragement, as well as some advice on what direction my writing should take next. Here we are at the awards dinner Saturday night.

I briefly met several people who have visited the blog--like Christa Allan, Tiffany Colter, Michelle Hutchinson, and Cathy West. Rose, if you're reading this, I glimpsed your name tag as it was walking out the door of the bookstore and tried to yell, but I was trapped working behind the cashier's table and couldn't manage it. I never managed to connect with you again. I didn't manage to find Sherrie, either. Drat!

The Saturday night awards banquet was one of the last official functions, and as I arrived I was thinking that I still hadn't spotted Sally Bradley. It was harder to identify anyone Saturday night, because most folks refused to wear the big tacky name tags when they were all dolled up for the dinner. But I saw someone across the hallway that looked like Sally's picture, so I followed her and introduced myself. I ended up sitting with her during the ceremony so we got to talk a bit. As I commented on her blog today, I was very disappointed that she didn't win the Genesis award for her category (romantic suspense), but I still felt like I was sitting with a celebrity when they flashed her picture up on that huge screen.

As for the workshops and classes, my favorite was the late-night chat hosted by the Thomas Nelson folks. They moderated a discussion about what exactly Christian fiction is--and what it should be. I was happy to hear the new direction that Thomas Nelson is taking. There might even be hope for some of my strange stuff to slip into that door one of these days, who knows? Randy Ingermanson's workshop on marketing was also excellent. For anyone interested in fresh ideas for marketing their writing on the Internet (even if you're not published; Randy holds it's never too early to start marketing yourself), I'd recommend getting the conference CD's.

And last, you'll be pleased to know that I did get up the courage to wear the Queen pin. I actually stuck it to my name tag. On the one hand, it worked as I planned fairly often, so I got to discuss the blog and give out some bookmarks. On the other, so many other folks were sporting bizarre attachments to their nametags that I didn't get as much notice as I'd hoped--or feared. In fact, the bookstore was selling all sorts of ribbons for the name tags, and would you believe one of them said "Queen"? They were sold out by the time I got to the bookstore, but I saw a couple of people wearing them.

I was indignant, of course. Clearly, there can only be one Queen.