Home Where You can find me on the webs The Threshold DesignWrite

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Moonlight & Magnolias...

   This is a post that could be aptly titled all sorts of things:

  •  How to Make Friends at a Writers' Con (aka WriterGirl Camp) 
  • What Not To Wear/Say/Eat/be Photographed doing at a Con
  • Etiquette at Writers' Conferences
  • How to Take Care of Yourself over 4 Days in 1 [Stuffy] Hotel
  • The Real Secret To Fulfilling Your WriterGirl Dreams
It makes sense to me to divide all this worthiness into chapters. So-- complete with name dropping and unsolicited advice and telling on myself with my tongue firmly in cheek, I present to you --

Chapter 1:
How To Make Friends at a Writers' Con (aka WriterGirl Camp) 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE people! I like to listen and hear their stories, share a meal and drinks,but most of all
I love to say "Hey Drusilla! Hi Hortense!" out loud when I walk into a roomful of conference goers. 
Yes, I admit  it -- it makes me feel important. Actually, it makes me feel less alone. 

Because let's face it --going to a writers' con with your best buddies and sticking with them doesn't give you the opportunity to get to know anybody else. You don't make new friends like Kellie Kamryn who travel from Canada to Georgia and are already on best seller status with Secret Cravings Publishing with their debut novel.  

Staying with the tried and true pals and moving from workshop to lunch table to booksigning event in a biomorpheous clump does strengthen your friendships, yes, But--
 it weakens your ability to let others in. 
And you really want to let others in. 

They won't be there for long - everybody goes home on Sunday after all. But if you're lucky your new friends will appear on Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus, and there you are with a whole bunch of fresh content to read and new people to get to know and new audiences to reach with your own writing.
Cliques are so two weeks ago. 

Make new friends. Seek out someone who looks nervous and alone. Help out the newbie who looks lost and confused. Be kind and patient with everyone, everywhere. 
Everybody's feet hurt, everybody gets grumpy and tired, and everybody could use a nap.
Commiserate with each other, and you'll all be good friends before you know it.

On the flip side of the coin, don't hog the conversation or verbally spam your book or bring negative energy into the space with complaints.
 Bad karma.

Chapter 2: 
What Not To Wear/Say/Eat/be Photographed doing at a Con

I read the Nicki Salcedo-isms before I packed, really I did.... 

But did I take it to heart? Did I listen?    Hell to the No. 
Did I pay the price with still sore calf muscles, cramped toes, and blisters?  Yes
You see, they were killer red shoes. 
Red patent leather peeptoe platform stilettos. I ask you, would you have passed those babies up? 

And, well, I needed the confidence booster. Not to mention the height. 
Besides-- black shoes with black opaque tights and solid black dress...? 
 I'd have looked like a novice for the Sacred Heart Convent. 
The black habit is so not a good look for moi....

Lesson learned - - hotels and convention centers are public places with concrete floors. 
Even if they're covered with carpet, there's concrete underneath, with little to no padding. 
I underestimated the walking and standing and waiting on those hard floors. 
Next con, I'll save the shoes for the big dinner party on the last night. 
As for what not to say...? 
I managed to make an erotica author blush beet red at the booksigning.
Okay, I have to admit I'm proud of myself for that one.
 I made two more authors drop their jaws to the floor when I told them what I said to make the erotica author blush. <g> 
Forgive me Elizabeth Amber? 

Then I managed to tell another romance author that she reminded me of cranky Maxine. 
I won't say who. 
I'm glad these two both had a great sense of humor....

What not to eat: 
Anything that will make you gassy on the elevator. 
There. I said it. 

What not to be photographed doing...? 
Well, it's always good to remember there's a real life you'll be returning to. So, if you happen to be near a pitcher of frozen margaritas and there's a straw nearby....

And the answer's still NO! Noelle Perkins.  

Chapter 3: 
Etiquette at Writers' Conferences 

It was an early Saturday morning, after a late Friday night....
There was plenty of coffee, thank goodness.
  only two creamers were left. 
And somebody else was faster than me. 

I fixed my bloodshot eyes on that lady with my creamers in her hand and snarled. "I'm taking you down, lady!"
The woman gripped the creamers tight to her chest in a locked fist.
 "I'd like to see you try," she hissed. 

It was on.
Well, not really. Because the angelic Missy Tippens stood between us, halo intact under her sunny blonde bonnet of curls. 
"Good morning," she murmured, a little unsure of whether or not these two crazy women were really that serious about the add ins for their morning brew. 
Salvation in the form of the waitstaff with a bowlful of creamers in hand appeared, ...
 ...and the Showdown at Cafe au Lait was mercifully averted. 
Until next time, Elizabeth Sinclair. 

Chapter 4:
                                            How to Take Care of Yourself over 4Days in 1 [Stuffy] Hotel

All those people... 
All those handshakes... 
All those sneezes, wheezes, coughing fits, and --
Howie Mandel deserves an award. The fist bump? ... Genius. 
But since we superstar writergirls don't like to bruise our fingers with our massive diamond rings - 
Hand Sanitizer is our Friend. 

As for the recycled, recirculated air.... 
All you can do is go outside for walks in the fresh air and sunshine --  all those windowless rooms full of fluorescent lights suck out  your energy and your Vit.D -- you need to replenish your supply. 
Drink as much water as you can manage your bio breaks. Toilet paper was in short supply in the public ladies' room by Saturday afternoon. I know one writer was packing her own in her evening bag the night of the Maggie Awards. Smart lady. 
I am a believer in vitamins, but if you're not, at least eat your fruits and vegetables. The sodium bloat and carbo overload will kick in on that long drive home if you're not careful. 
And pay no attention to that woman making off with the chocolate cake at the end of the party.... 

Chapter 5: 
                             The Real Secret to Fulfilling Your WriterGirl (WriterMason) Dreams

Some of us want the real estate at B&N. To see your name, your words, your imagination made tangible in paper and ink, carried in a stranger's hands to the cash register, and the blood, sweat, and tears you shed are exchanged for money--

That's a heady, powerful dream to have. 

Others want the prize:  RWA's Rita-- heavy, gold, elegant. 
Or the GRW Maggie Medallion -- a shiny silver badge that shows to all the world you've got what it takes.
We all rubbed Kate Brady's Rita trophy like a talisman that promises fame and fortune.
But most of all, we all seek validation in the eyes of our peers who toil equally as hard, shed as much blood, cry the same tears of frustration. 

The ranks of those who simply want to see their stories read and accepted by the readers of the digital world is growing larger and faster every day. Their work adds the business end of the dream - the formatting and uploading, the cover art and editing, the promotion and marketing.
 More work. More blood. More tears. 

But... no matter which journey you're on, no matter which goal you strive to achieve...
 nobody does it alone. 

Nobody Does It  Alone. 

Every Maggie winner who accepted their award with gracious humility thanked their critique partner, their editor, their support group, their blogging team, their agent, their spouse. 
They thanked those people who believed in them. 
Those who had their back. 
The ones who hurt their feelings and still remained friends in spite of it. 
They were a team of writers, readers, and friends who all laughed, cried, cringed at appropriate points, and saved them from themselves. 

                                                Nobody     Does     It      Alone. 

And that, my friends who have stuck with me down to the very last line of this very long post, is the Real Secret of Fulfilling Your  Dreams, be they writing, designing, or simply making it to the end of this semester.

You CAN Do It   

A bientot! 


  1. Yeah, I wore ugly shoes, but my feet were happy. :) #schoolmarmshoesrule

  2. 1. The red shoes rocked! And at least you didn't walk a mile to Kinkos--in the wrong direction--in them. I still have blisters from mine, and mine were comfy before!
    2. I should at least email you that picture. It's so cheeky! I love it. (and I'm never going to delete/destroy it, so don't ask).

  3. Aw come on, you can't tease like that and walk away. What did you say to make the author of erotica blush???

    Great post! Makes me wish I had been there, or at least gone shoe-shopping with you!

  4. @Nicki, Yes you have happy feet. Mine are still sore & sad.But damn I looked good!

    @Noelle, There is this very cute graphic on your camera that looks like a storage bin. Go ahead & store that pic there. Go ahead, it'll keep. Really.

    @Michele, She blushed because the amazing & wonderful & multi-talented Mark All (Mystic Witch) was sitting next to her. And all I said was how much I enjoyed the excerpt I read on her *NSFW* site http://www.elizabethamber.com/ which highlights a special superpower her hero possesses.

    Start saving for next year! I'd love to see you here!

  5. I am posting this on my fridge for next year so I will be ready! Thanks! Rhinestone crock flip-flops--hmmmm---happy and dazzling. Just a thought from a girl who can't go without....

  6. I'm going to say those red shoes were worth it, girlfriend! And I have a feeling Noelle has that photo tucked away somewhere, in case she ever needs it - you KNOW the one I'm talking about! ;-)

    So glad you didn't mention my VIP suite again. I was expecting that.


Thank you for following!