Thursday, 19 July 2007

My Week In Dallas - Day 4: Thursday part1

On Thursday the conference got properly underway. I had managed to secure a room at the conference hotel for the rest of the week and so by eight o'clock I had checked out of the Adams Mark and was heading towards the Hyatt in taxi.

Trish and Jenna let me store my case in their room until I could check in. Then I ran downstairs and attended my first workshop: "Yes, You Can Quit Your Day Job." Now, I quite like my day job, but I am definitely struggling to keep all the different pieces of my life afloat at the moment – work, writing, family, housework (yuck). I've been getting so stressed and I think something, somewhere has got to give. I haven't made any decisions yet. I just know I want to stop feeling like a little hamster on a wheel 24 hours a day. This workshop was food for thought.

At the literary signing I had bought the remainder of the books not sold and I put them in the goody room on the way to the workshop. I returned not long afterwards to discover that almost all of them had gone. Hooray! And my pens were going down too. I hurriedly pulled another 50 pens from my bag and put them on the table. I was determined not to take any of the 250 pens I had brought with me home.

For the next two hours I joined in a focus group for Mills and Booth and authors, chatting about various subjects from non-fiction to marketing. And once again, food was on offer. I'd had a huge breakfast at the Adams Mark (including some of that lovely Applewood smoked bacon – mmmm) but I couldn't resist having a muffin and some coffee.

Unfortunately, I missed the luncheon that day because I had been invited to a Harlequin Romance authors' tea party. I was really looking forward to putting faces to the names I'd read on so many (hundreds) of Harlequin Romances/Tender Romances in the run-up to getting published and I wasn't disappointed. I met: Melissa McClone, Marion Lennox, Teresa Southwick, Susan Meier, Shirley Jump, Linda Goodnight, Judy Christenbury and probably a few more that are evading my memory (sorry, ladies!). above left - editor Maddie Rowe with Linda Goodnight and Judy Christenbury. right - Shirley Jump and senior editor Tessa Shapcott.

Finally, around four o'clock, I managed to check into the Hyatt. My room was lovely with the biggest bed I have ever seen in it. It was high enough to reach my hips and wide enough for me to lie down on sideways and not overshoot the ends.

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