Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First Timers . . . Bless Your Heart!




This year was Andrea’s and Buffie’s first time attending an RWA conference. Overwhelming is the only word that comes close to describing it. As is always the case when you are the newbie, we learned a few valuable dos and don’ts and want to share them with you.


First, the dos . . . .


Room with fantastic friends. As you may have already guessed, we roomed with fellow Dishes PJ and Gannon. It was wonderful being in a room together and listening to all the advice PJ and Gannon had on the conference social scene. The added bonus was coming back to a room, getting in comfy pajamas and laughing hysterically until the wee hours of the morning.

Where ever you are, wear a smile. The only accessory you absolutely need to complete any outfit is a genuine smile. We smiled so much that our cheeks were hurting every night!! And every one smiled back. It was so nice to be around such friendly people.

Make a list. Before attending the Literary Signing, but be sure to make a list of the authors you want to see AND a list of the books you want to purchase. You sure don’t want to forget that special book for any family members or friends.

Drink lots of water. This may seem pretty basic, but it is so true. We even brought a case of bottled water with us. There were many times we went to the room and grabbed a cold bottle of water. You need to stay hydrated and your skin will love it!

Wear comfortable shoes. Thank goodness we were in the land of sunshine where sandals were an acceptable form of footwear. By Day 2 your footsies will start to protest all those cute shoes. And believe us, there is A LOT of walking at the conference.

Take pictures. Be sure to take your camera everywhere you go. You really never know just who you may run into. In our case, we hit the jackpot. It helps to room with PJ, an avid photographer. Thanks for all the pictures, PJ!

Party like a rock star. When you get invited to a party (like we were for the Harlequin one), loosen up and enjoy it. Take those shoes off and shake your booty on the dance floor. You may just dance the Electric Slide with the President of Harlequin.

Bring tissues. Be sure to tuck a few tissues in your clutch when you attend the Rita Awards. The acceptance speeches WILL touch your heart and bring you to tears. You sure don’t want to use your napkin that has chicken sauce on it.

Midnight Meals. After enjoying a day of authors, books and parties, take the time (even when it’s midnight) to grab a plate of hot, salty French fries with some friends. It is a wonderful way to decompress and relax.

Drive. If the conference is within driving distant, definitely drive. We were so glad we did because it gave us more room for all the books we received. And in a van, there’s always more room for books!!


Now for a few don’ts, or as we call them . . . Bless Your Hearts!


Be careful what you say in the elevator. You may not discover that you begged for a bite of ice cream from a multiple New York Times bestselling author until . . . wait for it . . . AFTER said fabulous author exits the elevator, the doors close and your roomie tells you!!!!!!

Don’t copy an author’s trademark attire. If you choose to do so, please don’t be shocked if someone mistakes you for said author. Maybe you should pick a different color.

Try not to stalk an author you adore. It is wonderful to “run into” one of your favorite authors every now and again, but after a few times that favorite author just might begin to suspect you are stalking her if she sees you every time she turns around and you are grinning from ear to ear and waving madly. Not that Buffie was stalking Nalini Singh. Nope! Not what so ever!

Be prepared for anything. When we checked into our room and had just started unpacking and changing, the fire alarm sounded in our hotel. We had to quickly leave our room and walk (or limp, poor Gannon!) down eight flights of stairs and then around the entire hotel in the scorching heat. Thank goodness we were not in a state of complete undress!

Go vegetarian. Seriously! When you register for the conference, be sure to put on your registration that you are a vegetarian. Believe us, after three days of “conference chicken” you will not want to even hear the word chicken!!

Drink lots of water. Above we talked about drinking a lot of water. Well, if you do that you need to be sure you know where the restrooms are at all times. You never know when you will be walking doing the hallway, bladder full, when your roommate says something to make you laugh so hard you snort.

Don’t cry in front of an author. While having lunch with one of the most well known romance authors in the world, try not to break down sobbing over an emotional scene in one of her books. Being the gracious and warm woman she is, said author gently wrapped her arm around Buffie and shed a sparkling tear or two also.


Check the safe. As you leave your room for a round of parties or author sightseeing (NOT stalking!), be sure to close the room safe. Seems we went to the Rita Awards ceremony without doing so. Thank goodness everything was still there when we returned to the room!


Caution: Late night laugh-a-thons. Whether it is laughing hysterically over hot Russian men and their accents, voluptuous shaped chocolate molds or anatomically correct pasta, be sure to have a bottle of Visine ready in the morning. Your eyes will thank you for it.


Hopefully our little “bless your heart moments” will help you at a future conference.


~ Andrea and Buffie


Disclaimer: This blog was inspired by and is dedicated to our dear friend Teresa Medeiros. God love her!! :-)

42 comments:

  1. Great tips! It was wonderful meeting Andrea and PJ at the Berkley signing. You ladies sure know how to suck the marrow out of conference!

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  2. I am taking note of all your suggestions. Hopefully,
    I am so glad you had such a great time. since I didn't make it this year, I'll be able to use the advice some time in the future.

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  3. I just want to go with you guys then I won't mess up if and when I ever get to go.

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  4. LMAO!!! Buffie and Andrea, I'm re-living every fabulous - and not so fabulous (chicken) - moment of the conference while reading your blog. Great recap!

    Can't wait to do it all over again!

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  5. Maria, it was lovely meeting you!

    Librarypat, I hope you'll have the opportunity to use Buffie and Andrea's advice one of these days!

    Dianna, you can hang with us anytime!

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  6. OMG, Maria, did I miss seeing you? Sheesh! Yes, we all did get everything we possibly could out of our experience

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  7. Hey Pat! As you can tell, we had a wonderful time! Maybe we will see YOU at a future conference.

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  8. Hello Dianna! Come along with us, but that doesn't guarantee you won't have a few "bless your heart" moments too. LOL!

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  9. LOL PJ!! Andrea and I laughed the entire time we wrote this blog. We have so many wonderful memories from the conference, many thanks to you and Gannon.

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  11. Don't worry, Buffie (name spelled correctly this time!) There's always next year ;)

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  12. Andrea and Buffie, I feel like I'm reliving the conference through your hilarious blog! Please, dear God, no more chicken for me for at least a month! LOL

    I'm still giggling about our late night laughfest!

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  13. Maria, I'm so sorry I missed seeing you again at the Berkley signing. That was my "day from hell"---stay tuned for my blog tomorrow for more on that. ;-)

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  14. Librarypat, one of these days you'll make it to conference. It's a blast!

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  15. Dianna, wouldn't it be great to finally meet each other? Some day!

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  16. Ya'll are so funny! And fun! I loved running into ya'll and wish we'd had more time to hang together. Guess that would have been hard with Buffie stalking people.

    Never fear about breaking into tears. I personally know two people who did just that when meeting their favs for the first time.

    Your shoes may have been uncomfortable but they were CUTE! I now covet your shoes from the RITA, ALL of Nancy's tops and jewelry and Andrea's sparkly dress...though she's probably safe as it will be a LONG while before I could fit in it.

    And hey, chicken is good for you!!!

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  17. LOL!! I was having my own laugh-a-thon as I was reading this! Can't wait to hopefully experience this for myself. :)

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  18. Maria, it was great to meet you!! And thanks so much for the books! :-)

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  19. Librarypat, I hope we'll get to meet you one day!! It's certainly an unforgettable experience!

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  20. Dianna, we would have a blast with you!!

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  21. PJ, I can't wait to do it again, too!!! And I promise to save you some creamer! I so owe you a coffee. ;-)

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  22. I hear you, Gannon! My hubby is teasing me with the word chicken. LOL!!!

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  23. Joanie, it was SO good to see you!! And I can't wait to do it again soon!!

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  24. Trisha, there's always Atlanta in 2013!! You better start saving now.... LOL!

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  25. Thanks for all the conference tips for newbies! Unfortunately, the conference has not been anywhere near me the past few years, but next year it'll be in NYC, and I definitely plan to attend! (even if it's only the literacy signing.)

    But at least I know to stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, and not go stalker fangirl on my favorite authors! lol

    And of course, I will hopefully have the chance to meet you 4 lovely ladies!

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  26. What a fun blog, Andrea and Buffie. It sounds as if your first conference was a memorable one in a number od ways. LOL!

    I'm planning on M & M 2011. I hope I get to meet all of you then.

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  27. Okay, are you going to tell us who the author was you cried in front of and what the scene was that inspired the sob fest? Now I'm curious!

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  28. Lisa, you will have a blast next year!! Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to attend. I owe my family a vacation and next year's conference is right before a holiday.

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  29. Thanks, Janga. I plan to go to M & M 2011, so I can't wait to meet you!!

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  30. LOL, Ms. Hellion!! I'll let Buffie fill you in since it's her story to tell. :-)

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  31. Gannon, just thinking about our laugh-a-thon makes me giggle. I'll never think of Russia the same way :-)

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  32. You know Joanie, stalking takes up quite a bit of precious time.

    I do wish we had more time to just sit and chat with each other.

    I wasn't too upset about crying in front of Lisa Kleypas, but I was mortified that I had her crying too!

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  33. Trisha -- you just HAVE to be there with us in 2013!!!!

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  34. Hey Lisa! If you can't attend the entire conference next year, do plan on going to the Lit Signing. It was my first one and I was just in awe of all those authors in one place.

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  35. Janga, it was memorable!! YAY!! You will love M&M. It is such a fun conference and we always party with the Banditas there.

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  36. MsHellion -- sure, I'll tell ya. The four of us had lunch with Christina Dodd and Lisa Kleypas. We got on the subject of Lisa's BLUE-EYED DEVIL, which has some scenes of domestic abuse. Someone I love dearly has been a victim of that (years ago), and when I told Lisa how well I thought she wrote those scenes, I cried. And then she cried. It was a very sweet moment.

    I have to say that she even cries pretty!

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  37. If I get to attend a conference, I will definitely follow these great tips.

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  38. Oh, my...remembering moments from San Francisco when J Perry and Manda Coll read scenes from a rather notorious book. My sides ached for days.

    Your advice is spot-on. But what do you do when you just keep running into an author--not even intentionally? That happened with me and NR here in Atlanta. I'd turn a corner and there she'd be. I'd get on an elevator and the next floor she'd get on. Wait--maybe SHE was stalking ME!

    Nah...

    Anway, can't wait until you ladies join us for M&M!

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  39. Hi Jane, glad you think are tips will be useful :-)

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  40. Cinthia, I was told that there is always one person that you will see all the time during the conference. Guess that particular author was yours. Mine was Nalini (and NO I wasn't stalking her!!!) ;-)

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  41. Love these! I laughed over all of them. Really love the ice cream one....grin....

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tami

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  42. Hey Tami! Glad you got a kick out of my embarrassing ice cream/elevator moment. I'm sure I'll do something like that again ;-)

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