Sunday, August 13, 2006

Awesome Atlanta...

Okay, now that everyone has expounded on the Atlanta Experience...and some are even planning Dallas next year already, I figure I'll chime in with my thoughts. Not a day late, a dollar short, or anything like that. Just want to re-live the fun; rekindle the experience a wee bit more.

Bottom line: I had an absolutely wonderful conference experience. I'd have to say: Atlanta was my best national conference to date. While I've heard a lot of attendees say the same thing, maybe Atlanta was just a stand-out event (kudos to the planners!), I think a lot also had to do with my attitude.

This is the first national conference I've attended with no planned agenda, no expectations, nothing I simply "had" to do. I know my way around the conference circuit now, so I decided to just go and absorb the experience. Go to workshops that looked "enjoyable" as opposed to "educational", and I would not take diligent notes. I'd listen and absorb instead. I did not sign up for any editor/agent appointments. I refused to pitch my work at every twist and turn. I would not, not, not buy ANY tapes.

As a result, I attended more workshops than I have in a long time...and they were all awesome! I liked the fact that this year they had more than one on each subject matter. This made it possible to do two things: first: go to both and compare the info, or second: be able to miss one and yet still go to a live one. (Remember that declaration about NO tapes???)

I went to a couple of book signings that were not mad frenzies cuz I got there late...and they actually still had books with authors to sign them. Had a lovely conversation with Ed Gaffey while waiting for his wife to sign books for those in front of me. He was incredibly interesting...he is now on my "to buy his book" list just because he was so nice (see below...he fit right in with the theme of the conference...). Then I finally reached the front of the line, and even though there were still at least ten people now behind me, his wife, Suzanne Brockmann, spent a good two minutes chatting with me. A very enjoyable morning...and I was so controlled, I only came away with three books...three books I really wanted.

Did some wonderful sightseeing events. First to CNN Headquarters...they put on an AMAZING tour. Then the following day we went to the Georgia billed as the largest aquarium in the world. It was quite impressive, way too crowded, the beluga whales were gorgeous, and I purchased two CD's of oceany-aquariumy-new agey-relaxation type music that are just as nice at home as they were there. And... did you know there are HILLS in Atlanta? Not exactly like the hills in San Francisco or Seattle (at least the part we were in...) but some damned steep inclines. Geez...who knew!

Had a fun lunch with the ACME Crit Group I'm a member of, and received a new pin for my badge. Went to a really fun party thrown by the Chick-Lit Chapter and won a book (that looks great!) and received another new, very cute pin for my badge. Ventured to the Ritz-Carlton for the Ballantine-Bantam-Dell cocktail party and spent the evening by the huge floor fan. That very strategic move (oh, okay...totally unplanned...a lucky break! geez...) had all kinds of wonderful, entertaining people coming by for a few minutes of chatting. It was definitely a success. One memorable moment of the party actually took place outside where my friend, Randy, and I went for a cigarette break. There we talked with a very nice bellboy who'd recently moved to Atlanta after escaping and losing most everything to Hurricane Katrina. His upbeat attitude was truly an inspiration to us all. Also went to the top of the Hyatt Hotel to their revolving restaurant 72 floors up. What a spectacular view of the city...all 360 degrees of it! And...on our last night...we got our thunderstorm!

The general message of this year's conference was to be professional in all writing be nice. That really resonated with me. And it must have resonated with others, too, as it just felt like a "happy" conference. Atlanta is a beautiful city and everyone was so friendly and helpful. was a definitely a wonderful conference experience. are wondering about those tapes I was not, not, not...under any circumstances.. gonna buy? Well, the entire conference set should be arriving in my mailbox in another three or four weeks. Hey! I'm not perfect!


So, you smoke, too. I used to hassle Randy about it, but gave up. California is supposed to be the pure state, no smoking anywhere, extra car stuff. Hardly any smog ever. (ha) Oh well.

Nice to see you blogging, even if I am a critic. Glad you enjoyed the conference. Have you written anything?

LOL...No, I don't smoke. Never have...not really...a few when I was in school. Both my parents smoked, and they told us if we wanted to, to ask for cigarettes...don't swipe 'em. Sorta takes all the fun out of being a rebel, ya know!?!!

But all the noise of big crowds (like conferences) tends to really get to me, so joining Randy, or whomever I'm with that smokes, for a smoking break is perfect.

Well, wash my fingers out with soap for slandering your good health. Glad you proved me wrong. I have yet to smoke, but I'm a bit prejudiced. My father had cancer from second hand smoke from where he worked.

I am glad you had a good time at Nationals. I am still jealous. I am dying to go to one. aahhh maybe next year. blog once in a blue moon and already have four comments; I blog every day and hardly ever get any at all. (whine, whine)Had to laugh as I read that...knew I'd be clicking through to a comment from John about your smoking--geesh, you're a writer. You coulda written that so as not to implicate yourself!

Anyway...I say next year in Dallas we make editor/agent appointments, AND present a workshop. Oh, and volunteer to moderate one. Huh? What say you? KIDDING.

LOL! I went for a cigarette break...technically. Just 'cause I did not partake exactly... Besides, it gave John something to get excited about there for a second!

I say we do all that jazz at RT! How about that!

And!!! since I'm on a roll here... I blog more than once in a blue moon! I do it twice in a blue there!!!!

Keep those comments comin'!!!!

Oh Kim!!!!! You should come to Dallas!!!!! It'd be such fun!!!

Randy!!! We could show Kim the ropes cuz she's one of the "newbies" we'll be holding our workshop for... you know! The workshop we are SO not gonna do!!!!!

Seriously, Kim...if you are interested in going to a conference, you might try the NJ one coming in either September or October--pretty sure it's October. It's an AWESOME regional conference and would help you get your feet wet, so to speak... If you want more info, give me a holler...

Hmm Maybe I will check out the one in NJ. I will have to see how my schedule runs then. The kids are all back in school next week! Whoohoo. I love having them home for the summer but I have to tell you the calls I get at work are starting to tiring. They fight over the silly playstation

P.S. It was the Westin, not the Hyatt. Geesh. Must I remember EVERYTHING??

That's right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the Hyatt in Dallas!!!!!!!!!!! I kept thinking that the Hyatt didn't sound right...but for the life of me, I never would have remembered it was the Westin...
See! This is why I need you to remember everything!!!

I'm glad you had such a good time at the conference - it sounds like it was a lot of fun.

Hm, seems to me if you're going to do this weekly blog thing, it's almost time for another entry now... *evil grin*