Diary of a Conference Coordinator: Almost Done

By Saturday morning, I was breathing a lot easier. The agents and editors had all arrived. Lisa Scottoline was the talk of the conference. All good. I was basking in the glow. To quote Hannibal Smith from the A-Team (yes, I watch way too much Retro TV Network) “I love it when a plan comes together.”

The Pennwriters general meeting was held during breakfast and thankfully I had very little to do during it, except load up on caffeine. During one of the votes when everyone else voted AYE, Tim Esaias voted NAY and our president, Lisa Kastner, promptly removed him from the membership. All in good fun, of course.

I had hopes of maybe sitting in on a couple of workshops. My friend John Lamb did his Homicide 101 presentation first thing in the morning and I did pop in to listen for about two minutes. But there were a few more requests for additional meals that had to be dealt with along with one agent appointment “crisis” which Vickie Fisher handled with her usual aplomb and grace.

Someone had mentioned this job was like a duck. Calm and peaceful above the water. Under the water? Feet peddling like mad. That pretty much covers it.

Saturday’s lunch was my big opportunity at the microphone. I knew I wanted to thank my team and support staff and I did. Hopefully, I added enough laughs to keep it from being boring.

Then I had the honor of introducing Tim Esaias as the keynote speaker. Tim was wonderful, as I knew he would be. He referred to our conference theme of the writer’s tool chest and offered suggestions on some of his magic words. He also quietly mentioned several times that all this was in spite of him being thrown out of the membership at breakfast! And I do think at future conferences, when we have spouses and non-writing guests attending, their name tags should refer to them as “Writing Enablers.”

Immediately after lunch, Lisa Kastner took over for me so I could sit in on the crime fiction panel, a favorite baby of mine which featured John Lamb, Nancy Martin, Kathleen George, and C.J. Lyons with Joyce Tremel moderating. It was the ONLY workshop/panel all weekend that I got to sit down and enjoy the WHOLE THING. And it was well worth it. I can only hope the other workshops went as well.

Next, I supervised the setting up for the Authors’ Tea and Book signing, a notoriously low attendance event. It comes on the heels of two long days, after all those workshops and generally folks bug out and head to their rooms for a nap. My ace-in-the-hole was my friend Mike Crawmer who came in to host the thing and did a fantastic job of interviewing each author during the signing. It was nice to see a crowd and lines waiting to get their books signed.

I took advantage of a two hour window to escape to my room, check email, grab a shower and put my feet up for a few minutes. The Beach Party began at 7PM, but I went down at 6:30 to set out some beach toys and beach balls. The hotel had created a lovely set-up for the food to reflect the beach theme. My Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet CDs were piped in. Unfortunately, as the guests poured in and began mingling, conversation drowned out the music.

The idea was to dress casual and we had some terrific beach-worthy outfits in attendance. The food was good and the company was even better. I was finally able to completely relax and play hostess, schmoozing and visiting each table for a bit. Nancy Schiller’s stories of our rooming together had me, Carol Silvis, Sandi Hahn, and Sharon Benedetti in tears of laughter.

Sunday was the first morning I awoke without a headache. Somewhere during the night, my stress had packed its bag and checked out of the hotel. Nancy and I packed our bags, too, before heading down to breakfast where I sat with some of my Sisters in Crime including Lois Lamanna who was claiming to be contagious. Or maybe she was just trying to create a little personal space the only way she knew how. Agent Lucienne Diver sat down with us and I had a chance to visit with her a bit before heading off for one last morning as conference coordinator.

To be continued…


Joyce said…
I'm glad you liked the crime fiction panel. It was nice to learn that I won't die from speaking in front of a group.

It was a great conference!

Magnum, PI, 9pm Retro TV Network. Not that I watch it every night or anything...
Ayleen said…
Thank was me talking about the duck, but I think it originally came from Jack Hillman at the 08 con when he was trying to convince me that speaking in front of a crowd was no big thing. I'm still... uncomfortable behind the podium, but I like that imagery.

Saturday's line-up was fantastic. And Tim's presentation at lunch provided just the right touch. Great job planning out the schedule!
Ayleen said…
Yeah, that first word should have been "That."
Annette said…
Joyce, you're getting to be an old pro at it. First that How to Get an Agent Panel with me a couple of years ago and now this!

As for Magnum on at 9PM, yes, I'm quite aware of that. Where do you think I got the bright idea for having a Beach Party theme for Saturday night???

Ayleen, thanks for clearing up where the duck thing came from. So true.

For me talking in front of people is no big deal. All those years of teaching yoga was perfect preparation. Doesn't mean I don't get nervous, but it's tolerable.

Popular posts from this blog

2018: Looking Ahead

Road Trip!

New Mexico, June 2016