Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Unexpected

In the last couple of weeks, many folks have blogged  about the RWA national conference in New York,  but it's my turn.  There were several things that happened during the week that were unexpected,  yet turned out to be good surprises.  Pretty much anyone who has known me for ten minutes knows how I hate a surprise so I realize what a big shock it must that I have coupled  good and surprise in the same sentence

Pantster and I roomed with the always fun Katherine Bone.  The first surprise was that she got us some really cool "roomie" presents.  She often gets us a little something to celebrate conference, but this year she out did herself, with  matching flashlights!  You might not think that is a great gift but if you had ever roomed with me, you'd know just how precious that can be.  Before I can rest easy in a hotel, I need for everyone in the room  to have a pair of closed-toed, hard-soled shoes beside the bed with a flash light in one of them.  Why? It's obvious.  In the event of an emergency, like a fire, I need to know that the people in my room can make a quick and orderly evacuation, using the route I have preselected for us during my recon of the facility. I scope out the recommended evacuation route and alternate ones in case there is a crowd or an obstacle that must be avoided.  The closed-toe, hard-sole shoes are for protection against broken things, sparks or other bad things on the floor. We cannot be slowed down by burning or cut feet.  Of course, the flash light is so that we can see to find each other if it is dark or smoky.  Getting a good gift from Kathy wasn't a surprise, but that she played to my special quirk was an unexpected joy!  (On a different note, if you don't make a plan to get out of a hotel in the case of an emergency, I strongly encourage you to do so the next time you have a trip.  As a friend of mine often points out, the people who are most likely to survive any crisis are the people who have a planned ahead of time.)

A room like ours!
A second great surprise was how fantastic the Marriott Marquis staff was.  Everyone was so helpful and did everything that they could to make our stay the best possible--from Terrell at the security desk, who made my stay in New York City less stressful, to the lovely people who provided coffee and water for the conference attendees in the mornings.  You always hear how rude people are in other parts of the country, especially New York, but it was a very nice unexpected treat to find that to be totally untrue.

The absolute best unexpected event happened when Pantster and I pitched to Deborah Smith of Belle Books. If you have never been to the pitch room at the RWA national conference, you have truly missed a spectacle of epic proportions.  I pray every year that God will bless the volunteers who work there because it has got to be the one of the craziest volunteer slots at the conference.  These poor volunteers have to get a new group of about twenty-five people lined up and into the pitch room every ten minutes for hour after hour.  Then in the pitch room,  the noise and nervous energy are just over the top!  So there Pantster and I were pitching to another Southern writer who is also an editor. We made a little small talk as we handed her our cards.  Then she asked us to tell her about our book so we launched into our pitch.  She nodded and laughed out loud.  We took that as good signs.  Then she asked some questions and said our story sounded great. Here is where I expected to get the fairly standard request for a partial submission, but, instead, the wonderfully unexpected happened . . . . She asked us if this was our first book  and right out of my mouth popped, "We have some elves living under our beds." Now to give credit where credit is due, this is how our friend, the fabulous Lynn Raye Harris, refers to her early medieval romances that will never see the light of day but it made Ms. Smith laugh. Then she asked us to tell her about them.  Of course, by this point our ten short minutes were almost up but she gave us her card and said the most wonderful thing someone pitching can here.  "That all sounds great. Send me everything you've got."   Needless to say, Pantster and I were over the moon with excitement!

Has there ever been a time in your life twhen you thought you knew what would happen, but it turned out much better than you anticipated?


  1. I just have to say Congrats!!!! to you both for the fabulous request! How AWESOME! I'm so happy for you both!

  2. It was a great time. Chinatown was certainly a surprise. Thanks for the indulgence. Now we know.

  3. Crystal, thank you. We are pretty excited too!

    Jean, yes, now we know!

  4. Stephanie and Jean, you know how excited I am about your conference success! Major congrats! And to think that Jean wanted to back out of pitching that day... ;)

    I have to admit that at first I thought this business about needing a flashlight and shoes by the bed was a bit strange. But Stephanie has won me over. After traveling with her for a few years now, I am more prepared than ever and ready to implement a plan. :D

    Crystal, the energy Jean and Stephanie had after their pitch appointments couldn't be matched anywhere, any time or place. It was great to be there and see it in person!

    I have to say, Miss Jean, that China Town in San Francisco spoiled our view of what China Town in New York City would be. But as always, it was great to be on one of our adventures!

    Stephanie, thank you for liking my gifts so much. It makes me happy to brighten your day! ;)

  5. Hey Stephanie! So glad you all had a good time and that conference ended up so well for you and Jean!! Congrats!

  6. I'm so happy for you both!! And for the elves! They deserve a shot in the light and an escape from under the bed.