I arrived a little early. Right out the gate, I dropped off my luggage, found Dennis and went through registration. Once I had my badge, I went to help with the book store/signing room set up. So many wonderful books and raffle baskets!
The people there were enthusiastic and inspiring. If a chance to stop and chat presented itself, I was there!
Chuck, a fellow NOLA Stars member, enlisted me to help him with the time keeping over for the pitch appointments for an hour or so, and I tell ya, he had the process down to an art by the time I got there. So, I played cheerleader instead. I sat with people waiting for their appointments and gave pep talks and/or chatted about anything and everything. It was fantastic!
Oh, I do have one reeeeally good conference story to tell! Oh, yesh. We should ALL have one of these, right? Hang on to your hats. Heh.
I was sitting with Ms. Janelle in the open area bar not long after the book store was set up. We were all getting ready for the welcoming presentation, and going over our schedules. A group of convention folk had pushed a couple of tables together, and after a few minutes, this man in a black suit waved me over. He said to pull up a chair, so I pulled my chair between him and Ms. Donna. He asked me about my books, and when I told him I wrote erotic paranormal romance, he said: "You mean, like Twilight?" I told him that I wrote about werewolves and vampires, but mine are definitely not like that. My work, in frank terms, are "delightfully filthy" with tons of romance.
We talked about that for a while, and he told me about his book idea he planned to pitch - which was a very interesting concept. Since I brought my book cards with me, I asked him if he'd care to see my covers. He was interested, so I fished them out of my bag, along with one of my contact cards. He read the back of the Moonlight and Shadows card, then commented to Ms. Donna about the scantily clad angel on the front of my contact card, and the devil heart on the back of it. He said the books looked and sounded interesting, and asked if he could keep the cards. I said, "Of course!" He told me he planned to buy them and check them out. Cool beans, right?
So we all went our separate ways, and I found a seat near Connie at the welcoming presentation. Once our chapter president got us through the basics, people got up to mingle while waiting for the agent panel to assemble.
I was sitting on the edge of the row I was on, and as I was digging in my book bag, Ms. Donna came by and touched my shoulder. She was laughing. "Oh, honey, I can't believe you said everything you did out there to a priest. I never could have done that!"
I swear my brain froze when she said that. She walked off to get some water and it all sank in. The man, the dark suit, my erotica books. I'd just pimped my erotica books to a priest! *forehead smack* Truly, a Cora Zane moment, and make no doubt. In my own defense, he wasn't wearing the white collar, so I had no idea.
He was such a delightful character, too. And I managed to talk to him several times over the course of the conference. He was a pleasure to meet, and someone I definitely won't forget.
Throughout the weekend, I managed to get in two pitches (both resulting in partial requests, YAY!), and I made it to four and a half workshops. What an awesome itinerary. There were usually three workshops going on at one time, and the ones I missed while volunteering, I managed to get the notes for.
When it was all did and done, I came away with new friends, closer friend connections with my NOLA chapter members, six pages of workshop notes, a 2009 Shooting Star award, and the Jennifer Blake/Barnes and Noble raffle basket. That's the basket shown in the picture above. It has a $40 gift card and (SQUEE!) an autographed copy of Jennifer Blake's Triumph in Arms. I can't wait to read it!
I had a fantastic time, and look forward to doing it all again in 2011!