It is now 1:42 AM on Friday and I haven't even gone to bed yet. I still have a list of things to do before heading out tomorrow to attend the RWA New England Chapter's annual writing conference.
I'm always excited about going to this conference. It was the first conference I went to twelve years ago when I started writing. I was a new member of RWA then. I'd already completed my first novel, but didn't know what to do with it. After meeting a few other writers online in an AOL Writers Chat Room (Yes, Pam, that's you.) I learned of these fabulous conferences where writers can network with other writers and learn about the craft of writing and get industry news.
I was so excited to go to this conference, but I didn't know anyone. I was excited, but very nervous too. See, I'm prone to panic attacks and I thought for sure I'd fly into one of my stuttering fits that always assaults me as soon as I open my mouth when I'm nervous. Some people laugh like a hyena when they're nervous. I stutter.
Anyway, I convinced my husband he HAD to come with me for moral support. He liked the idea of hanging out in the hotel room and sleeping (I had very small children at the time and sleep was still a premium we didn't have back then.) and I liked the idea of having my husband there for support.
I can still remember walking into the conference center, determined to step out of my shell and meet other writers. Unfortunately, writing is such a solitary job that without tools like the Internet we'd never talk to anyone. So anyway, I registered and then walked into the main hall. Workshops were already in session (I got there a little late.) and saw some women in the hallway talking. Like I said, I was determined to meet people, so I marched right up to those women, stuck out my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Lisa Mondello and I'm a new writer and I don't know anyone." (Did you hear that gong go off?) Well, I did. But I don't think anyone else in the hall did because one of the women I walked up to gave me a sweet smile, stuck out her hand to shake mine and said, "It's wonderful to meet you, Lisa. I'm Maggie Shayne." Maggie proceeded to take me by the hand and introduce me to the woman she'd been talking to ( Lisa Gardner, who was still writing as Alicia Scott back then) and about 10 other women who were in the hall. Everyone was friendly and I didn't stutter. (I'll leave my humiliating stuttering story during an editor appointment for another blog.)
Ever since then, the RWA New England Chapter conference has been something I've looked forward to every year. I love talking with the other writers, both published and aspiring to be published. I always learn something new about writing that gets me charged up to come home and get to work. And I always come home with a bunch of books. Now that my daughter is older and has developed a deep love of reading, she waits for me to come home so she can raid the books I've purchased at the bookfair (proceeds from the bookfair are donated to charity) or got for free.
If you're in the Natick area Saturday April 12 why not stop by the bookfair, which is open to the public from 4:00-5:30 PM, and meet some wonderful authors. Make sure you stop by my table to say hello. I'll be signing copies of Cradle of Secrets, my November 2007 release from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense.
Until next time, many blessings to you, Lisa Mondello