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


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. 

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