What a weekend!

May 19 2010

For a good time, visit a fantabulous review of Buried Heart at http://www.theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/buriedheartstratton.htm

What a weekend! I had a lot planned, and I did it all, but now I’m paying for it.

On Friday afternoon I packed up my notebook, pens and a few copies of Buried Heart and drove to the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Conference (WisRWA for short).

For about than ten years, I’ve been a member of that wonderful organization and am always impressed with their camaraderie. It’s an amazingly supportive group of woman (plus a couple of men).

Lately the annual conference has been held in Green Bay (not far from Lambeau field…insert a choral response here), but this year we met at a hotel in Brookfield, Wisconsin, not far from the site of the Blue Mound Drive-in Theater, a site that’s featured in many stories (both invented and actual) from my high school years.

The Digression

On Buck night a bunch of my Brookfield High girl pals would pile into some mom’s car, pop a few more buddies in the trunk, and get into the double feature for one dollar. Since we couldn’t all sit comfortably in the car, we spent some of the time scrambling from car to car in the dark, hunting for friends who were there with a date, and then heckle them.

Ah, such innocent times!

My sophomore year I was flattered when a senior invited me to go with him to the drive-in. Expecting to double with another couple, I agreed.

But it was just us. I was nervous. What could I think of to say to this mature guy? Turned out he wasn’t all that interested in me saying anything. Before the previews were over, however, he’d already put his arm around me. Once the first movie began, he started chatting a bit. That was fine with me, but we were sitting so close together, every time I turned to answer his questions, bam, he’d make his move and plant a kiss.

As a confirmed goody-goody, I hadn’t anticipated this maneuver; nor had I developed counter moves of any sort. I am proud to remember that I learned on the job, so to speak. When I spoke to him, I kept my face pointed at the screen, hoping, I suppose, some of my friends would come heckle us. Ahhh, that date seemed really long!

Back to the Conference

The speakers at the conference were terrific, including writers Mary Jo Putney, J.A. Konrath, Cathy Maxwell and Lori Handeland. Like most writers’ conferences, a highlight was the opportunity to meet with editors and agents. Tessa Woodward represented HarperCollins and Victoria Curran was there from Harlequin. Agents Natalie Fischer (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency) and Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency discussed what kind of stories they each were looking for. All four of them spent a whole day listening to authors pitch their stories. Each was full of helpful information, as well as interesting, charming and approachable.

By the time I departed Sunday morning, my head was jammed with good advice, my stomach was plumped with chocolate and my throat was tight and hoarse—from talking, I thought. But I wasn’t going home to bed. No, that day had just begun.

Next I attended our youngest granddaughter’s first birthday party. Her big brother (age 3) was so wound up over the decorations and the arrival of his big cousins, he was ricocheting around like a pogo stick. The birthday girl was most enchanted by the balloons tied to her high chair.

Still chugging along, my husband I left that gathering and headed to our nephew’s high school graduation. The speaker’s presentation was so moving, I didn’t even fall asleep! From there we headed to the family gathering for the nephew. AND from there to Miller Park, where we watched my beloved Brewers get pummeled by the Phillies.

I did it all. And now my cold has blossomed into my forehead, my ears, my nose, my throat and my neck. I am waiting to find out where else it has decided to migrate. I am not sure I can keep writing, which is good because this is a very long blog.

Oh!!! Did I forget to mention that my book, Buried Heart, was voted one of the top three best books in the single title category of the Write Touch Contest? I’m proud my book came in third behind two wonderful, well-written love stories.