Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Fling 2014: Part One

The Chicago-North Spring Fling Writers Conference took place this weekend. This was my fourth trip to the SF (and BFF Diana's third), and I have a lot of love for this conference. The SF was the first conference I attended, the 2008 Fire and Ice was my first contest win, and the 2012 SF was my first local book signing. I had a fun time, and as always the organizers did a great job of putting everything together.

So here's the round-up of this year's adventures. :) (An abbreviated round-up, apologies to anyone/anything I left out.)

Thursday, or "You Know You're in Illinois When..."

BFF Diana and I had a plan. A brilliant plan. A plan that revolved around Diana not needing to drive alone from Central Illinois to Hoffman Estates by taking the train up Thursday night. My parents and I were prepared to pick her up from the train station, and she and I would drive to the hotel Friday morning for the conference. Simple, right? Except that before Diana could get on the train there was a terrible collision between the train and a man driving farm equipment on the way to the station. :(

This may have been the most inauspicious beginning to a conference yet. Diana spent 4 hours at the train station trying to figure out what was going on, and after exchanging a series of texts and phone calls we decided that she would give up on the train idea and drive instead, and we would meet at the hotel Friday morning.

Friday, during which we are on Our Best Behavior

Because we were cloned from the same alien pod, Diana and I share many of the same anxiety issues. We have a history of being really excited at conferences.
Like that.

We're also used to being attached at the hip at conferences, so when I arrived alone at the SF Friday morning, I was a little...
And of course, I went straight to the Bookseller, Blogger and Librarian Appreciation Tea. Because apparently my inner social anxiety demons needed a challenge.

I chatted a little with Sarah M. Anderson and Courtney Milan. Thankfully I spotted fellow Samhain author Cora Cade, who I'd hung out with a bit at the 2013 Lori Foster RAGT. Our conversation pretty much started out with, "Hi. I'm terrified. Are you terrified too? We can be terrified together!" Despite our terror, we managed to chat with many nice librarians and other book-related people.

After the event I found Romance Diva and awesome author Sasha Devlin in the hotel lobby, and I hung out with her until Diana arrived. (I told Sasha that I'd read her book In the Light of Day, and her flustered reaction was super adorable.) When Diana arrived, I tackle hugged her. I am also super proud of her for surviving the drive (it's a long, not fun drive, especially by yourself).

We went to the "Honing a Voice that Sells" workshop (very good), and then to Sarah Wendell's "Romance Reviews: How to Get Reviewed, and How to Put a Review in Your Rearview Mirror."

Now, as you may know, Diana and I love Sarah Wendell. A lot. Serious fangirl squee. Like this,

On the way to the first workshop we passed her in the hallway and were super proud of ourselves for flailing quietly after she passed us, instead of pouncing on her (as we have done in the past).

Her workshop was super informative and filled with pictures of owls, so of course we loved it, and we said hi to her afterward in a mostly controlled way. Enough so that I feel that Diana and I succeeded at our goal of being less hyper and more professional at this conference. Win!

Next was the Welcome Keynote Address by Lauren Dane, which was fabulous and inspiring (and now I want to read all her books)(and I have two free ones to start with!). The headliner panel was also very inspiring (and moderated by Sarah Wendell, who, again, we heart forever). One of the things that I love about the SF is that you always end up inspired and ready to conquer your next book. :)

And then there was dinner. We sat with several members of the Indiana RWA chapter, including self-proclaimed Token Dude Jim Cangany, and a few ladies from the Greater Detroit RWA chapter. Then came the agent panel, the editor panel, and then Diana and I went upstairs to collapse. Normally we would've gone to the bar, but the book signing on Saturday was scheduled for 9:30, so it was early to bed for us.

And the Hawks won! So that was good too. ;) Tomorrow I will continue the tale in part two, in which there is drama! :-o


Melonie said...

Yikes! After that w/the train you ladies are certainly an intrepid duo! So glad you made it to the conference, even if plans changed. Sounds like you had oodles of fun and I am so glad you will be presenting at C-N later this year!

Jim Cangany said...

Token Dude reporting in, Robin. What a fantastic conference. I agree whole-heartedly that Friday was an incredible day. Of course, the entire conference was as well. Can't wait for 2016!

Robyn Bachar said...

It was a great conference. And I loved your bow tie, Jim! :)

Cora Cade said...

Um, well you nailed my emotions at the Bookseller, Blogger and Librarian Appreciation Tea! And I'm so grateful for the mutual terror conversation and the subsequent introductions you were so gracious to give me.

I'm going to miss you at the RAGT in June!