Pennwriters Conference Report

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Nor have I been sucked into the vortex of post-conference brain overload, although that one is closer to the truth. The cold, hard fact is I have no good excuse for not posting here about the conference sooner, other than I've been busy doing things like following up with some of the contacts I made, processing and mailing photos to people who requested them, and...well...SLEEPING.

I don't think I've ever been as exhausted in my entire life as I was after this year's conference. I guess I'm too darned old for late night slumber parties followed by early morning wake-up calls. At this rate, I might be caught up by November.


My traveling and rooming partner for this trip was the brilliant and brilliantly funny Deborah Riley-Magnus. We arrived in Lancaster last Wednesday evening and promptly collapsed in our business suite, which was simply a mirror image of the one I stayed in two years ago.

Thursday, Deb had a morning seminar to teach, so she was up and out early. I lounged around a while and finally headed out to meet her and a few others for the lunch which had been prepared for the pre-con workshop students and instructors. Then I spent from 1PM to 5PM teaching my seminar. It went well. I wasn't sure until a couple of my students approached me later to tell me how much they got from it. YAY!

I had no time to rest once the workshop wrapped, because the Pennwriters Board of Directors dinner and meeting began at 5:30.
Author Advocate Ayeleen Stellhorn and Treasurer Jackie Shaffmaster

Area 3 Rep Madhu Wangu and Writing Contest Coordinator Colette Garmer

 Area 2 Rep Katie Yelenik and Area 5 Rep Walt Honsinger

Area 1 Rep Todd Main and Area 7 Rep Bobbi Carducci

Critique Coordinator Catherine McLean and Elections Chair Terry Friedman

Online Workshop Coordinator Deirdre Assenza and Newsletter Editor Heather Desuta

Conference Coordinator Danielle Ray and President Carol Silvis

Area 4 Rep Hilary Hauck and Vice President...ME!

These photos were taken early. The meeting didn't conclude until 10PM and we were all looking a little battle weary by then. Plus, we still had some setting up to do. In the midst of running between the Hospitality Suite and the parking lot, I encountered our keynote speaker, the lovely and poised, Hank Phillippi Ryan, checking in. I

Registration opened early Friday morning, and I had offered to moderate and sit in on the Introduction to Pennwriters presentation.

Katie Yelinek came well prepared and did not need my help in the least.

Next, Nancy Martin moderated the agent panel.

There is no better way to learn about the trends in the publishing industry than to go straight to the source.

One of my favorite parts of the conference is the Published Authors' Lunch...mainly because I'm so new to that status. Prior to last year, I didn't qualify to attend. This year, Shawn Nicholls, senior digital marketing director at HarperCollins Publishers gave an informative and entertaining talk on Why Facebook is the New Blog.

Then Hank stepped in to do her investigative journalist routine and interviewed him.

It was well worth the nearly six-hour trip to get there.

Friday evening was the keynote dinner. Hank really knocked the ball out of the park with her inspirational speech on following your dreams. 

She garnered rave reviews and a standing ovation.
Hank and me after the dinner.  

Saturday was another early morning with an 8AM breakfast and membership meeting. I was asked to stand up and talk about a committee I'd headed.

Yes, I was every bit as tired as I look. And thanks, Dave Freas for the picture... I think.

I would love to post photos from Saturday's lunch, but I must confess. I don't have any. My poor body hit the wall right about then and I took my screaming headache back to my room for some quiet and some rest.

However, I had to get back on my feet and down to the Hospitality Suite for the Authors' Tea and Book Signing. Last year, Ramona DeFelice Long and I were "unofficial" participants with Fish Tales. This year we were joined by fellow Guppy, KB Inglee and were actually listed in the program!
(Thanks to Peg Hauser for this picture) 

The best part, though, was sharing our table with Hank and getting to see the ARC of her new book. That's Advance Reader Copy for the uninitiated.

Saturday evening, I left my camera in the room. I'd organized a little get-together for about a dozen new and old friends at one of the restaurants in the hotel. It was THE hot ticket, exclusive event that evening, if I do say so myself. And I'm probably the ONLY one to say so. But with Hank and Ramona in attendance, you can't go wrong.

Sunday wrapped up with the basket raffle. As always, we had quite a selection.

I brought home several, including a basket of office supplies. I almost always win at least one of those, so I don't have to make as many trips to Staples.

Many thanks to conference coordinator Danielle Ray and the entire team who put this one together. If you missed it, you missed a really great time.

We're already working on next year's conference, which will be back here in Pittsburgh. Our keynote speaker will be literary agent Donald Maass. BE THERE!


Sandra Tyler said…
What a great experience, lucky you!

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