So conference was amazing!! Sun, Sizzle and Surf was the theme and it was a hoot. First there was the Friday workshop with Deb Dixon. Last year I gave you the exact time of my first lightbulb moment. This year it came in the first ten minutes and the rest that followed were just as great! I'm surprised between us all, we didn't blow up the hotel! So many heads bobbed with nods and the expressions in a lot of lady's eyes (and one man's) were along the lines of 'oh my god, you're so right'.
I'm going to apologise for the very brief rundown. If you want to know more about anything, leave a question in the comments section and I'll get back to you. I'm feeling sick enough to swear I can hear the ocean in my ears but I want to get this all down.
Friday night brought about the cocktail party which in itself was amazing. So many people went to so much trouble and dressed them selves up in some weird and whacky costumes. I went as Lara Croft and got some really great comments on my outfit. My biggest achievement for the Friday was not really what I learned or did in the session. It came in who I talked too. Let's start with Harper Collins Editor, Anna Valdinger. Of course I was going to orchestrate an accidental bump in where I would quite literally bump into her and then spend some time saying sorry to which we would then have somewhere to start a conversation. Well, seems I'm not that shy or violent as to actually smash into a stranger so I just went up to her, commented on her friend's shoes (I can't remember her name but she was a Harper marketer) and then we were off and racing! Here's a lesson to learn for those who aren't very confident, outgoing or it's your first time chatting with a person who could change your life. DON"T PITCH YOUR BOOK! I didn't and I'm so glad. We talked about the direction of the market, Avon's line up, what she was looking for, shoes and the weather, but not once did I say 'I'm writing this book'. She knows I'm a writer. Hell, she knows I was itching to blast her with my awesome elevator pitch but I bet she was really glad I didn't. When another lady came up and cut right into the conversation with some totally uniformed opinions and her pitch, you could feel Anna wanting to roll her eyes. Mean for me to put it like that but whoever you are, you killed the great convo I was having with her! (Excuse me, I'm a little bitchy this morning)
Later that night at the cocktail party, I had the pleasure of talking once again about shoes with the Sydney Harlequin team which then opened the door to have a chat with Dianne Moggy. She is the nicest chick!! I think I spent about 45 minutes talking about everything from the weather to what we all wear to bed in our various countries of origin. It was hilarious! We (my two roomies and I) sprinkled in some questions to which she was really happy to answer. Once again, no pitching. I knew I was meeting with her on the Saturday for a one on one pitch anyway so I didn't have to upset her and ruin her night. And it paid off! At breakfast on Saturday, we had a smile and wave. Later I ended up at her table for a session. When it came time to pitch to her, we already had a rapport going which didn't make me any less nervous but I felt more like I sat in front of my friend rather than the International Office Liaison (or something like that, she is very high up in HQN). She told me who to send my book too and then chatted to me about not trying to take every piece of the sub-genre action and just choose one area and focus on that. Thanks Dianne!!
Enough kissing ass now. I also pitched to Ally Watts with Penguin and she told me to send something to her but also send my historical to her offsider, Belinda Byrne. yay!! Three requests from two pitches! My work there was done. Yes the conference is all about what you learn but it's also about the people you meet and the opportunities you can only get at a conference. There is no way, without an agent, that I would be submitting to Penguin or the New York office of HQN without that face time.
On the Sunday there was a charity fundraiser to raise money for Ovarian cancer. I spent heaps of money and got lot's of raffle tickets and ended up winning a mentor for Harlequin's upcoming New Voices contest. Nikki Logan was kind enough to donate her time and expertise and is now helping me out with my entry. It's all very exciting but unfortunately, on the flip side, I'm spending so much time on submissions and contest entries and re working the opera singer that I'm not getting much writing time in. Oh well. That will come soon enough when the conference sickness goes away (yep, most people get sick right after) and the kids are more settled and I'm more settled. Until then, I have my notes so I don't forget too much and I have more amazing opportunities to forward my career than I did this time last month. All in all, a very good result!
Now on a serious note, did you know Ovarian Cancer kills women? It is a silent killer and by the time a woman has symptoms, it's often too late. We, as woman, really get a bit of a raw deal sometimes, especially me! I suffer from a condition known as Endometriosis. I won't go in to the gory details for those who don't want to know but I have added a tab and will work on getting a page up and running to talk about my experiences as I stare down the barrel of a full hysterectomy at only 28. This won't be about pity, sympathy or any of that crap. I don't need it. What I do need is to sound off sometimes and let other women out there know they aren't crazy and they don't have to put up with heavy periods and debilitating pain. It's about awareness and getting help so if you're interested and want to see where my journey as a woman goes or you want to know more about endo, you can come by and check it out. If you don't want to know that much information about me or you're a guy, then don't even go there, it's going to get personal and a bit gross!
Have a great weekend and I'll see you next time!