I attended my first PNWA Writer's Conference at the Seattle Airport Hilton on July 30, 2009. My friend, Cheryl Sears, and I both submitted entries to the Literary Contest; she in Adult Short Topic (Article/Essay/Short Memoir) and I entered the Mainstream Category. We both were finalists.
We got to the hotel and checked in and were thrilled we got a room with two beds. What we didn't know is that our room rested over a quarter mile from the convention center. In fact, it is probably closer to a half mile. Luckily, Lilith Saintcrow warned me to wear walking shoes so I left my strappy little rhinestone sandals with the four inch heels at home and wore my black, lace-up, old-lady shoes instead.
Cheryl and I set sail across the parking lot in the 108 degree heat into the convention center and received our registration information in a lime-green shoulder bag. Surprisingly, they even included a nice, fat pen and a pad of yellow paper. We spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to tie the little lanyards onto our name badges and affixed the black "finalist" ribbons.
I hove to in the “How to Choose the Sessions That Are Right for You” class. Although all the speakers were excellent, Royce Buckingham had me completely enthralled. After thirteen years of rejections, he has now sold a book and the screenplay of the book.
Next came the “How to Pitch to Agents and Editors Without Being Pushy”. This whole concept of pitching to an agent or editor was so new to me that my sails started flapping in “information overload” within ten minutes. I think I’ll need one-on-one remedial tutoring on this subject.
In the “Writer’s Café” they had tables set up where you could chat with other writers. I met Ben Barrett, also a finalist in the mainstream category. His book sounded so interesting I felt a fair wind blowing with excitement. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that an agent will shake out the sails and run with it.
At the dessert reception that night we heard Terry Brooks, who has over twenty New York Times bestselling novels. I could barely claw my way across the harbor the three-quarters of a mile back to my room that night, and slithered into bunk, asleep before the leather of my shoes had a chance to cool.