Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Best Time Ever

Is it gauche to crow about a conference I helped organize? Don't get your knickers in a twist just yet and start worrying about my ego, because I don't mean to wax poetic about my part in it. I mean the attendees, the professionals, the presenters, my co-chair June Sproat and the hotel staff in their entirety who were all in awesome squared mode the whole time. Other folks much more adept with the written word than yours truly have blogged about it here:

Some of those talented people blogged more than one post (Pamela C and Smart Bitch Sarah) so poke around their blogs to get the full shilling.

The conference gave me so many shiny, happy moments and our headliners were both as fabulous as I dreamed they would be. Cherry Adair, also known as my new BFF (her words, I swear) is as generous and funny as she was when I met her two years ago, and now lots of other folk know that about her, too. I Love spreading the word about great people and Cherry is great with a capital G. After her two hour morning workshop, she commandeered one of the planning offices and spent another THREE HOURS with anyone who wanted to continue working on their plans and storyboarding, which turned out to be fifty people. Was she exhausted by the time she was up for the Gala keynote speech? Of course she was. Did she kill? Oh yeah.

Julia Quinn, who writes those witty, side-splittingly hysterical historicals is no slouch in the funny department either. From that enormous well of talent springs the Bridgertons and Lady Whistledown so I'm just saying. And even though she's a NYT best seller, RITA-nominated and has written and sold a gajillion books, she played the assistant in the Avon spotlight, I kid you not. Who was that lady handing out books and prizes to those who asked questions? It was Julia Quinn, I swear. Talented, funny and a regular person. The most awesome takeaway for me from her lunch keynote address? Don't set your work space close enough to the refrigerator so that you don't have to get up to open it. That's got wisdom seeping from it's pores it's so spot on. How awesome would it be, if you didn't have to get up to open the refrigerator. Right? Her lists of things to do in order to stay grounded and with your eyes on the prize was serious and wondrous, too.

Now that my brain isn't sleep addled, I'm sure I'll share more of the conference from my bird's eye view over the next few posts, like when I met Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches Trashy Books and she whipped out her lovely and SHINY iPad and told me that she'd be blogging from the conference using that device. We all know how I covet everything sparkly and the iPad is the glitteriest of the glitterati. So, once the iPad was there within my grasp all the words from those around me sounded like this:

Not me: " ...blog from the conference, blah blah blah..."
Me: ZOMG! I wonder how fast I could get back up to my room and log onto the Apple website to order the new 3G version!!
Not me: " ...see how interactive this book's illustrations are (demonstrates by making the White Rabbit's pocket watch swing back and forth like a pendulum) blah blah blah
Me: WANTS! Wonder how mad my husband would be if I ordered one?
Not me: "...you can try it if you like. Here take it..."
Me: "Uhh...." Backs away and wonders if all that glorious silky black hair of Sarah's hides horns and pointy ears.

It was really nice to finally meet all the people I'd been corresponding with these many months leading up to the conference and they were all incredible. Every one of the editors and agents were so friendly and open that I wonder why I'm so terrified of industry professionals? Oh, because they can either help or hinder my dreams of publication. Now I remember. But I forgot to be nervous or scared because they were all fabulous. And the workshop presenters? Forget about it. I was in fangirl secretly screaming and squeeing heaven.

Oh sure, a few people had some suggestions for next time, like don't make the print on the name badges so small (not June's fault but mine since I couldn't get my mail merge to work at home, so she did them in my hotel room Friday morning at the last minute), or to suggest that the hotel hire a new chef (dude, I thought the food was awesome and so did Paige Wheeler so there!) or that we should announce the pitch appointments much earlier so they could prepare (all those interviews and links on the website meant nothing?) and so on and so forth. But I promise to pass along all the comments, good or bad, to the next chair and keep my fingers crossed that they can execute a mail merge better than I.


Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, darling~you and June did the BEST JOB EVER, and don't you forget it!!! Congrats, and thanks for hosting such a wonderful conference for us! xoxo

Pamela Cayne said...

Yes, what Marilyn said--Spring Fling was a stellar and incredible conference, and I'll have words with anybody who says otherwise! Your headliners were awesome, the seminars were fabulous, and the extracurricular events were top notch, including the food! Plus, I got to finally meet you, so it was the cherry on top of the hot fudge and whipped cream sundae!

Too bad we didn't have something fun and loose for people to gather around, you know, like one of those old campfire sing-alongs, but with more of a modern edge... *snicker*

Standing ovation for you and June and Chicago North!!!!!!!

Pamala Knight said...

Marilyn *BIG HUG* thank you for the sweet words and for all your help with the conference. xoxo

Pamela-Meeting you was one of the highlights of Spring Fling for me. Next time though, we're getting you in front of a microphone *wink* And don't even give me any ideas for your musical torture next time *grins* Thank you my dear. I hope to see you again soon.