The hour drive to Illinois (on my way to the Spring Fling RWA) shouldn’t have been a big deal, but the final 38 miles of construction were a killer. Then, one of the tolls was a dollar, but only took coins, so I yelled to a construction worker that I only had a dollar bill and he told me I could drive through and pay it online. So now I’m afraid the toll police are looking for me because I haven’t paid it yet. Finally at my exit and I can see the hotel, but because of the construction, I can’t get there. I need to drive about a mile down the road before I can turn around and come back to enter the makeshift driveway. What a nightmare!!
|While this isn’t the scene in the hotel, this is what it felt like after driving through the construction mess.|
Entering this beautiful hotel was like being transported to an alternate universe. There’s a babbling fountain, lots of seating, wide spaces and a Starbucks in the lobby. All is now well in my world. I saw a woman reading a book and immediately knew she was part of the conference. It turns out that Connie Cox and I have been trading emails since February and I discovered she is a computer genius. I learned more from her in 10 minutes than I have in the last year.
Aside from the usual seminars was a Q&A session with guests Debbie Macomber (sporting a snazzy new haircut), Eloisa James and Christie Ridgway. My camera batteries went dead, so no pics of this, but more tomorrow. One thing they spoke about was the fact that they definitely listen to their readers and other authors should too.
DM: Readers will guide you if you listen.
EJ: After readers finish my book, I let them vote on an additional chapter they would have liked in the book. Then I write it and post it on my website.
CR: The 3rd book in a series I wrote never got published and readers are still asking for closure. I’ll be writing a novella and just post it on my site for them.
|Dinner Buds: top-Blythe Gifford, Allie Pleiter, Debbie Macomber, Sara Daniel, Victoria Curran. bottom-Myrna Mackenzie, Lindsay Longford, Margaret Watson|
There was an unusual dinner served family style with a huge lazy susan in the middle of the table that was fun to just spin around and I got the place of honor next to Debbie Macomber who told me her dream is to throw out the first pitch at an Atlanta Braves game. I love my Milwaukee Brewers, but I would have to stand about a foot away from the catcher to throw it. My hat’s off to you Debbie, if anyone can do it, it would be you.
|Joliet Librarians: top-Pam Kloser, Nancy Martinez, Judy Bonheim. bottom-Marcia Crook, Darlene Ball|
Next up was the librarian/bookseller event. I love talking to these people because they are so knowledgable and passionate about books (definitely my kind of people).
From there we headed to the lobby and a huge display of chocolate….covered strawberries, dipped pretzels, chocolate mousse and brownies. Since it was so hard to choose, many solved the problem by trying one of everything.
Bottom Line: Even on your worst day, surrounding yourself with authors, readers, librarians, books and chocolate is the best medicine.