Sunday, May 1, 2011

Conference Wrap-Up



What a great weekend! I am feeling refreshed, invigorated, inspired and grateful beyond belief for such excellent friends and colleagues. The New England Chapter Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference was a resounding success in every way. The location (Salem) was adorable, the company was exquisite (old friends and new friends), and the raspberry cosmos were quite tasty. Here are some high points....

1.) I sheepishly admit I did not attend too many workshops. I volunteered a lot, schmoozed a lot, and hung out with Matt the Bartender (he was a cutie pie). Anyhoo, I did attend one lecture that was a super epic winner. Sherri Browning Erwin discussed her mash-up book Jane Slayre, and a group of about 6 women had a fun convo about horror, romance and the "zombification" of literary classics. I am giving myself a new spring reading assignment: I'm going to read Jane Eyre (the original), then Erwin's mash-up (Jane Slayre), then Charles Dicken's Great Expectations (or maybe the cliff notes...hee hee!), and then Erwin's werewolf-y adaptation, Grave Expectations. Since I am grading myself on this assignment, I already know I'm getting an A+! Can't wait to read Erwin's book!

2.) Carolyn Sullivan, a member of the Rhode Island Romance Writers, gave gorgeous animal tarot cards to everyone. Mine is a rocking wolf with this enigmatic directive for the upcoming year...."Listen to your inner wisdom and enjoy the gift of freedom." I have no clue what that means, and I don't feel particularly wise, but perhaps this will prove to be prophetic somehow. I'm game!

3.) I may have slightly over-imbibed on Saturday night (ahem). I started out with heart healthy red wine, but things quickly progressed downhill from there (at one point I was making up new cocktail names with the bartender Matt....his coconut rum fruit punch drink was renamed "A Little Touch Of Florida"). This culminated in a surreal trolley ride at 11:15 PM, careening through the streets of Salem with a tour guide pointing out interesting sites and giving us historical tidbits about the city. At least I think that happened. It was all pretty much a blur.  :^)

4.) Best part of the conference....my awesome buds! So great to hang out with the Quirks, and see Heather, who did her most excellent impression of Nora Roberts, Natascha from New York (we chatted about paranormal romance and the kidlets!), and some new girls who we cruelly called "newbs" and hopefully didn't permanently traumatize. Good times!

5.) Funniest Moment: My sorry attempt to say "chick lit"....and I wasn't even drunk that time. Haa haaa! (Chit lit, chit lick, chick lick???? oops! heee heee).

6.) I had a great time volunteering at the Editor/Agent Appointment area. You know, the place where everyone looks like they're going to puke at any moment, waiting for their lifetime hopes and dreams to be crushed by a bitchy agent from hell. I tried to lighten the moment by doing jazz hands and fist pumps. Hopefully that helped to distract everyone.

7.) I got a book with a talking weenie dog in it. Hmmmm.......

8.) Final profound observation...

I found a $20 on the floor. One of those moments in life when you have two paths to take, and you must make a choice. The angel on one shoulder whispers "Hand the money to the bartender, do the right thing, don't pocket that cash....." And then the devil on the other side says "Keep the cash, bitch! Do you know how many martinis you can buy with that thing?" Well, I handed the cash to Matt. I wasn't sure if whoever lost the money would come back to retrieve it, or if Matt would be getting a really big tip that night. An hour later, at dinner, our conference chair announced that one lucky person at our table would be winning the most magnificent vase-of-candy centerpiece, that looked like Willy Wonka-on-crack had designed. (I had been coveting that sucker since I first spied it). And guess what! I won! (I may have been a bit too exuberant with my excitement, but I blame it all on the "Little Touch Of Florida" cocktails).

My philosophy about life, which has been sorely tested of late, was reinforced by this event. If you do something good, it will come back to you. Lesson learned: Don't keep the twenty. Get the candy instead.




All My Best,
Penelope

16 comments:

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

My sweet love, it sounds like you had the best time. I wish I could have enjoyed the fun with you! Sounds like your lucky weekend!

RRRJessica said...

Thanks for the report. So fun to read!

Dalton Diaz said...

Best part of conference?
Getting to be at your table when you won the candy. My ears still hurt.

Amber Skyze said...

Look at that candy! I'm so jealous I didn't get to go this year. I WILL be there next year!

Penelope said...

Julia....I wish you were going to Nationals...maybe if there is a conference on the west coast we can finally hook up?

Penelope said...

Jessica...it was a ton of fun! I still have Nationals coming up in June, and then the NJRWA meeting in Oct. I'm overindulging in conferences this year!

Penelope said...

Sorry about that, Dalton! You're a good sport, Missy!

Penelope said...

Amber....sooooo sorry you couldn't make it. I was really looking forward to seeing you. Hope you feel better!

Sherri Browning Erwin said...

So great to meet you in person, and Heather and Natascha and all my lovely Mashup workshop attendees. Such a fun conference. And you won my ARC (I was going to send you one anyway) so I'll be looking up your address (or emailing you for it) so you can get started on Grave Expectations as soon as you want. :) Thanks!

Nina Pierce said...

This is the first NEC I haven't gone to in years. Sounds like I missed a really fun time (but that went without saying actually)!

Victoria Morgan said...

What a great recap. It was a really fun conference -- ghosts in the rooms and all. I have to agree with Dalton, seeing Penny win the candy centerpiece and declare her renewed faith in the universe was one of the highlights of the weekend! Fun times with great speakers, fun workshops and of course, schmoozing with fun friends!

Jordan K Rose said...

Hey Penny! Thanks for the fun conference wrap up. I'm sorry I missed Saturday night at the bar. Next time I'll catch up with you. You were a fantastic volunteer pumping up the writers waiting for their agent/editor appointments. Thanks so much. Jordan

Penelope said...

Sherri....I won! Woo hoo! This is turning into a big winning weekend for moi! I will send you my snail mail address. I LOVED your workshop, and I adore the whole premise of taking a literary classic and toying with it to make it fresh, fun and modern. (And maybe freaky!). Can't wait to read your books!

Penelope said...

Nina....I am really sad you weren't there. I want to pick your brain about self-pubbing. I will contact you this week about your new release, etc. I hope you can make it next year....Salem is a fabulous location!

Penelope said...

Vicki....I'm sort of glad we got stuck in the "unhaunted" hotel...I would have freaked out if Casper the Ghost paid me a visit. Creep-y!!!!!!!

Penelope said...

Jordan....the conference committee did a great job this year....everything was wonderful! Thanks for a terrific conference!