Writing conferences are always filled with informative panels, interviews, and speeches from accomplished authors. Naturally, I appreciate all those things, but what I've found to be the most helpful is the time I spend sitting around with other authors just swapping stories. In a couple off-hand comments, you learn that you're not the only one who hates edits, dreads reviews, and is fearful of getting a bad cover. But more than that, people also mention what has worked for them when it comes to marketing. I've got some good ideas of some nifty things to have printed up -- can't wait!
Not surprisingly, I've caught a cold. I've been to 4 writing conferences during the past few years and I've gotten sick 3 times. I think it's a mix of the cold hotel air and being surrounded by so many people for almost a week. So, since I'm under the weather, I'll keep it light and tell a couple tales from the conference.
The Case of the Stolen Pizza
I wasn't around for this tale, but I heard it from a couple of people I know. It was late one night and several writers and one agent were up chatting and wandering around the hotel. After finally settling in the what had proven to be the perfect meeting spot (the coffee/bar in the lobby), this small group decided to have a pizza delivered. An order was placed and time passed. Lots of time passed. In frustration, more phone calls were placed. The group of writers and one agent soon discovered that not only had the pizza been delivered but also paid for. Someone had stolen their pizza! (Warning to the thief: we have the video from the security cameras and we know who you are. We are coming for our pizza!)
Five Floors with Fabio
Late Saturday night, I was sitting in the Lobby lounge/bar area with Rachel, Keri, Jenna, and Miriam just swapping stories and enjoying a few drinks. Time passed and I soon had to find a restroom. Unfortunately, there were none particularly convenient to our location so I shuffled off to the elevator so I could go to my hotel room. The elevator arrived quickly and I was alone. Around the 4th floor, the elevator was boarded by a slim man with a strange accent who commented that the hotel was filled with writers of some sort. I politely smiled and nodded. At the sixth floor, an older woman boarded the elevator in an sequined evening dress. I smiled at her and continued to lean against the wall, worrying that one of my friends was not properly protecting my drink down in the lobby. The doors opened at the fifteenth floor and Fabio stepped onto the elevator.
I'm absolutely dumbfounded. I knew he was in the hotel. The conference had held a special dinner for him and Adrian Paul -- the actor who played the Highlander on the TV series -- but come on, what are the odds of Fabio stepping on my elevator at just that moment? So what did I do? Nothing and I'm very proud of it! That's not to say that I wasn't fully aware that my digital camera was in the back pocket of my jeans. It had crossed my mind to say something, anything to the man. It's not like I would get another chance to speak to the man known for dozens of romance novel covers and the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" commercials. But common sense won out (even over a slightly intoxicated haze and somewhat lowered inhibitions) and I decided I would let the man ride the elevator in peace.
At the twentieth floor, he stepped off the elevator and forever out of my life. The second the doors slid shut, the older woman turned to me, her eyes wide and asked "Was that Fabio?" I nodded and we both proceeded to giggle like schoolgirls for the next two floors. The man with us just looked a little confused. At the twenty-second floor, I stepped off the elevator and rushed to my room.
I'll admit that now I wonder: was it more rude of me not to say anything at all than to have at least said "hello"? I'm a big believer in privacy and respecting the privacy of others. However, I've learned that it can also make me seem very cold, indifferent, and reserved (which I'm generally not). In my attempt to give Fabio some space and respect, could I have inadvertently hurt his feelings? Sigh... I fear that is a question I will never know that answer to.