Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Monday, May 5, 2008

I found out something about the world while mingling with other adults at the conference, and here it is: Nine o'clock is not "late" for most people.

I also learned that I'm pretty good company, especially after a glass of wine. And that underneath my shyness is a craving for face-to-face conversation. Also that people forgive most faux pas, probably because they remember their own. Who hasn't flipped a crouton across the room?

Now that's hail

Thursday night we had a storm with up to baseball-sized hail. The biggest hail I'd ever seen, which punched holes in my mom's rain gutter and ruined the roof on the house across the street. I saw many cars with shattered rear windshields over the weekend, the first being in the hotel parking lot. I got video of a tight little pre-tornadic cloud rotation right over my mom's house in Midwest City, but for some reason I can't get it uploaded here. Maybe later.

My brother kindly gave up his bed to me to save hotel fees, and my mom gave up her SUV for the weekend so I could drive back for meals. I appreciate it so much, because staying in the hotel was out of the question this year. The gas factor was negligible, since the hotel was literally five minutes away.

James MinzMy pitch session was first thing Friday morning with James Minz, senior editor at Baen. He made me feel right at home during my session, as well as the couple of times I spoke to him over the weekend. A very easygoing and knowledgeable guy, an interesting speaker, eager to help the newbies.

Minz has edited some really big-name authors, including some of my faves: Lawrence Watt-Evans, Elizabeth Haydon, and especially Catherine Asaro. We actually talked about the Skolian books a little, and he told me a funny story about the cover of Skyfall, which I may relate later. Somebody remind me.

I guess I'm skirting the real news about my pitch session, which is that he asked to see Ea's Gift. I'd gone in pitching BVA, the newest project, but when he asked about other projects and I told him about EG, he said, "Well, I'd actually be more interested in that," and to tell my agent to send it to him. Is that as exciting as I think it is? I'm really trying to be cool about the whole thing, but I did have a dream in which he bought EG. Of course, then he morphed into James Carvill and we got married, so I'm dubious about the prophetic nature of the dream.

Here I am right after the pitch, before the adrenaline crashed and left me limp and headachey:

Before my pitch

So the pitch was the big event on Friday. I was wiped out but managed to go to a few more sessions (including the Minz session pictured above) before I called it a day. I skipped the evening's activities, a cash bar reception and the J.A. Jance speech at the banquet, and my bro and I went to Borders instead and picked up some novels. I bought a Lois McMaster Bujold (how did I go so long without reading her?) and a Laurell K. Hamilton.

Saturday was actually the better day, the productive pitch session on Friday notwithstanding. I came out of my shell on Saturday, though it took a few hours. I finally figured out that most of the sessions were geared toward writers with less experience than I have, so I didn't worry about getting to every one. I hit the high points, hung out in the central meeting area, and went home to rest when I felt like it. Met a lot of interesting people, including William (a WWII vet and electronic engineer) and Rachel (the prettiest girl in the world and an artist I could see doing my future book covers), and Wayne Wyrick (Director of the Kirkpatrick Planetarium), who made me feel right at home when I was shy and nervous. Writers are such a great group of people.

As a result of my go-with-the-flow attitude, I had plenty of energy to dress up for the reception and banquet. I ordered my first glass of wine in probably ten years with help from the lovely bartender. I chose the red Zinfandel. I felt like a real grown up rubbing elbows with editors and authors in my silver high-heels with a glass of wine in my hand. So cool.

At the banquet I hooked up with some ladies I know on the internet. Although a Jenny McCarthy look- and act-alike at the next table eclipsed us with her group's contest wins, Jen Nipps (left) managed to pull some eyes our way with her two wins. The rest of us were wishing we'd entered something so we could be included in the excitement.

I'm in the purple, paranormal romance author Gloria Harchar and her daughter, Audrey, are to my immediate right, and Harlequin author Tessa McDermid there on the right.

Believe it or not, it was my first girl's night out in probably ten years, perhaps the last time I had wine, and I was so jazzed to be talking to these ladies about agent issues and editor changes in such a matter-of-fact way.

So that was my weekend in a nutshell. A very large nut's shell, to be sure, but there was much more I wanted to say. The rest will come out in bits and pieces over the week, probably, along with links and possibly more pictures, though a lot of them are blurry for some reason. I'll have to see.


{ 16 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Oh, gurl. You've given me Con fever. Looks like you had a great time, and congratz on earning a look from an editor.

    You make conventions look like the most fun you can have that's tax deductable and doesn't result in stretch marks.

    And damn! You are a cutie, Sherri Cornelius. You look like a million bucks.

  2. Thanks, D, I FELT like a million bucks.

    Glad you're out of the pressure cooker. I missed you.

  3. You know I was wondering about you with that weather as I watched Rick Mitchell! Now that's HAIL!

    Glad you got some interest too

  4. Hey Girl,
    I'm so glad you made it to the Con. Wish I'd been there with you. I wouldn't let you be shy because I tell ya, I'm a talker. I'd talk your ears off. You'd probably be wishing I'd go somewhere and leave you alone. It's nice that some of our group from WWW won money and trophies and first place. Whoo Hoo! I hope to make it next year. Good luck with EG, hope to be able to buy a copy of it soon....Tabs

  5. Woohoo! Writers' Conferences are the bestest thing ever ever ever. I'm so glad you went and had such a great time! Now we just need to get to the same one at the same time so I can buy you a drink and you can buy me one and we can reminisce about what it was like "before we were published authors." WOO!


  6. Heck yeah that's a big deal! Especially from a house like Baen! :)

    I got a couple invites to send queries to agents with reminders that I talked to them. I have yet to do my conference wrap-up blog. I may do that today instead of the Monday Poetry Train I usually try to do.

    Congrats on the editor request, Sherry. That's a really BIG deal. :D


  7. I shouldn't be doing this on time and 'Net that's not mine, but I have to say congrats on the Editor Session. You looked amazing, and I can tell just from your face in the photos you had a great time.

    I'm happy for you, Sher.

    God bless.

  8. Sherri,

    Wow - looks like you had a great time and congratulations on a successful pitch! You da bomb!

  9. Too, TOO excellent, Sherri. It's much! And so perfect for you. By the way, Dwight's right -- you are so pretty? What gives?


  10. Thanks, everybody. Your support means a lot to me. *sniff*

  11. Woooo! Wow what a fun post! That conference sounds like it was awesome. Thanks for the pictures, too! You certainly do look grown up and like you BELONG in that lovely purple.

  12. Thank you kindly, sir. Good to see you around here. :)

  13. This is wonderful to read. Wow. You give me hope.

  14. I'm so happy for you! I KNEW things would go great for you!!

  15. Yay! I'm so glad it went well! I look forward to hearing the follow-up. I am very shy too, and I can't afford conferences, but in the past I've volunteered at a local writer's conference. (Harriette Austin Writer's Conference) I'm going to try to do it again this year. I met some wonderful people/writers that way, and since I had a job to do, I was much less shy. I am not so concerned about going to the workshops because after going to several in the past, I haven't heard a lot I don't already know. But I hope they will let me submit a manuscript critique again.


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