Thursday, February 28, 2013

San Francisco Writers Conference 2013

My top ten moments from the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conference - the good and the
U G L Y, in random order.

1. Good: My husband came along to pre-celebrate our twenty year wedding anniversary, which is in July.

That's Alcatraz in the background.
2. Good: The SFWC was held at the stunning Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. Everything about it was lovely - our room, the lobby, the Top of the Mark restaurant (the 360 degree views of San Francisco were perfection up there).

The entrance. 
3. Good: I was able to spend some quality time with my brilliant editor, Annette Pollert from Simon Pulse, and my Apocalypsie bud, the talented and wonderful Corrine Jackson (IF I LIE & TOUCHED).

From the left, Corrine, Annette, and me

4. U G L Y: On day two in San Francisco I ended up in the Emergency Room, at 4 AM, because I was wickedly nauseous and unable to keep anything in my stomach. I hadn't felt that hideous in years. The nausea was evil. Turns out I was having a reaction to the antibiotic I had been prescribed before I left for San Francisco. A little more  U G L Y to add: six days before this trip I was so  damn  sick. Fever, sinus infection, and upper respiratory infection, and I was put on the antibiotic.

5. Good: I somehow made it through my panel discussion with Corrine, Annette, literary agent Mandy Hubbard (with literary agent Andrea Brown moderating). My body cooperated, and I was able to keep it together and not vomit all over the people in the front row. Yay, body.

6. U G L Y: Day three had me back in the ER. The medicine prescribed from the first ER doctor wasn't touching the nausea, because she insisted I finish my antibiotic, saying the anti-nausea med would stop the nausea. It. So. Didn't. My angel of a husband got me in another cab and schlepped me to the ER, this time on a Friday night - in a major city - with lots and lots of  *ahem* interesting people. That experience took us six hours. After I was re-hydrated via IV and given a new anti-nausea drug, and told to STOP taking the stupid antibiotic, they let me go. I woke up the next morning and cried. Tears of happiness. The nausea was gone.

7. Good: We presenters had the luxury of heading up to the Hospitality Suite any time during our stay at the hotel (the food! the drinks! the views!). Because of numbers 4 and 6 above, I didn't go until my last night. But the experience was quite memorable. I introduced myself to Michael Larson--one of the founders of the conference--and thanked him for everything. He was a delightful man - so personable and genuine. And after much prompting and many "You have to's" from my husband, I also introduced myself to R. L. Stine and his lovely wife. We shook hands and I gave him his rightful praise, and then he asked me about my books. I swear. He congratulated me. I swear.

That's me nervously talking to R. L. Stine.
8. Good: The day after my panel discussion, I was in a packed hotel elevator, heading down to listen in on a YA talk, when a woman squeezed on, did a double take when she saw me, and said, "Oh my God, I saw you speak yesterday. I wrote down all of those query websites you shared. You were so helpful! I can't wait to read your books!" I thanked her. Everyone on the elevator turned to stare at me. Then the doors opened again, and another woman got on. A near repeat comment. I thanked her too. I'm sure my face was purple, but it felt so good to know that I was helpful to the audience and I shared useful information.

9. Good: Meeting and hanging out with literary agents, Mandy Hubbard and Taylor Martindale in the Hospitality Suite and sharing how much we all adore my agent, Sarah LaPolla. It was a lovefest. It made me feel so proud that these successful agents had such respect and admiration for my agent. I am a lucky author.

10. Good: Having THE Bookaliscious Pam, literary agent and blogger extraordinaire, come up to my signing table while I was explaining CRACKED to a conference goer, and tell the woman how much she liked CRACKED. And then I got to meet her. She was wonderful and complimentary and, yeah, it was a great moment.

Despite my sickness, I had an amazing time in San Francisco. The conference was stellar. My husband and I visited Alcatraz, Haight-Ashbury, Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, Muir Woods, and the most crooked street. We rode a cable car, ate at The Crab House, and extended our trip into Sonoma. All good.

We had the most ginormous Dungeness crabs here.

Fisherman's Wharf

Haight-Ashbury 

The most crooked street.

Inside Alcatraz. The audio tour was incredible - so well done.

Muir Woods. The walk was breathtaking.

A winery we visited in Sonoma.