Sunday, October 29, 2006

once upon a time in dinkytown

~~~history, mystery, magic, and music~~~

my short story, THE REPLACEMENT, is up at BookLoons' ThrillerChiller Theater. Please stop over and check it out. It's set in Dinkytown, a neighborhood of Minneapolis that borders the University of Minnesota. Neighborhoods in the Twin Cities have names like Tangletown and Frogtown. Dinkytown. Bob Dylan used to play music on the street corner seen in the first photo, and he lived in an apartment above the building -- Grey's Drugstore -- which is now the Loring Pasta Bar. (Dylan isn't in the photo.)

the second photo is of an herbal spell shop just a few doors down from the Loring, and the setting for most of my short story.

from the Dylan Written Word Data Base:

"Koerner and I were playing and singing a lot together as a duo, but we each did our own thing separately. As for myself, I played morning, noon and night. That's all I did, usually fell asleep with the guitar in my hands. I went through the entire summer this way. In the fall, I was sitting at the lunch counter at Gray's drugstore. Gray's drugstore was in the heart of Dinkytown. I had moved into a room right above it. School was back in session and university life was picking up again. My cousin Chucky and his buddies had all moved away from the fraternity house, and the fraternity members, or would-be fraternity members, soon reappeared. They asked me who I was and what I was doing there. Nothing, I wasn't doing anything there . . I was sleeping there. Of course I knew what was coming and quickly grabbed my bags and left. The room above Gray's drugstore cost thirty bucks a month. It was an okay place and I could easily afford it.

By this time, I was making three to five dollars every time I played at either one of the coffeehouses around or another place over in St. Paul called the Purple Onion pizza parlor. Above Gray's, the crash pad was no more than an empty storage room with a sink and a window looking into an alley. No closet or anything. Toilet down the hall. I put a mattress on the floor, bought a used dresser, plugged in a hot plate on top of that-used the outside window ledge as a refrigerator when it got cold."


Saturday, October 28, 2006

on the stereo


"Blue moon sinking
from the weight of the load
And the building scrape the sky,
Cold wind ripping
down the alley at dawn
And the morning paper flies,
Dead man lying
by the side of the road
With the daylight in his eyes.

Don't let it bring you down
It's only castles burning..."



"I wish I was a fisherman
tumblin' on the seas
far away from dry land
and its bitter memories
castin' out my sweet line
with abandonment and love
no ceiling bearin' down on me
save the starry sky above"


back by popular demand

i've decided to rerun some of my more popular posts. this one is BY FAR the most googled post. i get five to ten hits a day from people looking for information about breastfeeding a puppy. i'm going to rerun this with all the comments, which were too good to leave back in October.

recurring dreams and breastfeeding the puppy

They say recurring dreams are the ones you should really pay attention to. Your subconscious is trying to tell you something. So what's this one about my breastfeeding a puppy? About 30 years ago I read this hippy pregnancy book and there was a chapter on adoption and an interview with a woman who had adopted a baby. She claimed to have "nursed" the baby, and over a period of a couple of weeks she began lactating. IS THIS TRUE??? CAN THIS REALLY HAPPEN? DOES ANYBODY KNOW? Anyway, in my dream I recall this book, and when somebody gives me a scrawny little puppy I decide to try it. and pretty soon I'm lactating away.

What am I trying to work out with this breastfeeding gig? I'll bet I've had this dream at least a dozen times.

here is my analysis of this particular dream:

I'm a nurturer, and for quite a while I've been feeling dissatisfied with many aspects of my life. I've toyed with the idea of having a writers' retreat, and I've thought about not writing for a year in order to move and maybe during that time do some freelance editing. I like helping other writers, but my problem is that I don't think I have any milk. :D I'm not a teacher. I absolutely don't want to deconstruct books or analyze writing. No writing 101. But I do think I'm fairly good at looking at a ms and immediately seeing what's wrong or what is needed to give it a boost.

I was presented with the idea of renting the mansion in iowa that I was considering for a retreat, but that in itself is like an unformed plot -- but maybe an opportunity for growth and a way to bring something into my own life. But right now my income is 100% from my books. I don't know how to chase this other dream and also have income. i don't have the stamina or focus to do more than one thing at a time. Okay, so I don't know where I'm going with this. Just wanted to share my puppy dream. Please file under too much information.

Friday, October 27, 2006

mulligan stew, anyone?

i have to have this book wrapped up in about 4 weeks. it's going pretty well, but what's weird is that i thought i'd FINALLY written a first draft with chapters that sequenced the way they should. nope. i don't know how this keeps happening, but it's like somebody shuffled the book and i have to figure out how to sequence the chapters. it's a brain puzzle -- not the kind of thinking i'm good at. the chapters could go a lot of ways and still make sense, but only a couple of ways will make for a strong read. or unweak read. i also realize i have about 10 or 12 POV characters. WTF? some are just mini scenes. I've always written scenes through the eyes of most impact. always. (yes, some readers/reviewers don't like that, but POV is my strength so i tend to milk it.) plus there are times when 3 or 4 or 5 scenes take place simultaneously, which explains the numerous POVs and also has something to do with the sequence problem. then i have one first-person character. hmmm. mulligan stew.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

more statuary

a beautiful day in the cemetery

i'm supposed to be writing, but i goofed off today. sort of. a local paper is doing an article on me for halloween (!!) complete with cemetery photos. it was a beautiful day, so i took some photos of my own. i'll try to post more this week.

i love the way the soot has given her face more expression. She even has pupils that she didn't have to begin with, and they seem to be looking at us. the broken nose gives her a skeletal look.

Monday, October 23, 2006

BookLoons' Thrillerchiller Theater


ready for Act III of ThrillerChiller theater?

this week's feature is WEDDING NIGHT FEAST by MARIO ACEVEDO, author of

Saturday, October 21, 2006

i had to walk ten miles through six feet of snow to mail my first manuscript

i've been thinking about how much publishing has changed, especially when it comes to information and relationships.

i sold my first book -- a paperback original -- in late 1986 to Pocket Books for $7,500.00. my agent at the time told me that i didn't have an editor. I was to write the book, mail it to the publisher, and it would be given to someone to edit. i had zero contact with anyone at the publishing house. i wrote the book and mailed it in. Never heard anything. Months later I received a revision letter from the editor who'd been assigned my book. I couldn't even tell you her name. There was nothing about getting the revision back by a certain time. Nothing about discussing the revision. I revised the material, returned it, and heard nothing. about a week before the release date a cover flat arrived in the mail.

(cover by the amazing and wonderful morgan kane)

the book was supposed to come out "in october", so in october i started checking stores. no book. every week i checked every store within driving distance. well, maybe it's not coming out until November. Maybe not until December. yep, i was an idiot. i called my "agent" and told her the book wasn't anywhere. she just said that's the way it was in the business. if i wanted a book to be in stores i should write category romance. I asked what the print run had been. She said there was no way to find out.
later i figured it was around 5000 - 7000, but i was never able to get any figures. somehow the book generated fan mail and gained a cult following through word of mouth. the fan mail was sent to Pocket Books where it was opened and read and forwarded to me months later. Just an envelope filled with tattered, opened letters that were up to a year old.

my experience wasn't unusual for the time. friends who were getting $30,000.00 advances per paperback original had limited contact with editors. it wasn't unusual for an editor to take two months to reply to a question, if at all. the degree of editor/author contact varied depending on the house.

the publishing house was also supposed to be a buffer between writers and readers, and readers didn't know much about their favorite authors.

now there is no mystery. i think that's one of the reasons booksignings have lost popularity. readers pretty much know all there is to know about the writers all the way down to toilet paper preference, so there's no curiousity to simply see the writer in the flesh. today there is no us and them, and i LIKE that. but i wonder if by killing the mystery we've killed some of the magic. i think this also goes back to what we were talking about last week: more people are writing and realizing that getting published isn't something remote and uattainable. we're all in this together.

Friday, October 20, 2006

the hold steady

would i love the hold steady even if they weren't originally from minneapolis?

their music is a novel, with an evolving storyline and characters that move through the entire album.
er, albums. on the surface, the music comes across as kind of eighties guy rock/bar band, which isn't anything i would normally listen to. but it's a strange, impossible-to-describe layering of story, recurring themes, and music. when i first listened to separation sunday last year i thought WTF? what IS this? do i even like it???? i didn't think so. but after a few listens, i was hooked.
the video is from their new album. not sure about the song choice, but it probably worked best as a single. it doesn't really capture the literary bleakness of most of their music.

The Hold Steady - "Chips Ahoy!"

start with this:

all music

from all music:

Biography by Kenyon Hopkin
Resisting the musical trends in New York City, vocalist/guitarist Craig Finn (ex-Lifter Puller) formed the Hold Steady after moving from Minneapolis in 2000. Wanting to capture the sound of bands such as the Replacements and the Grifters, he recruited guitarist Tad Kubler (also ex-Lifter Puller), drummer Judd Counsell, and bassist Galen Polivka. Recording mostly live, the band released its debut, Almost Killed Me, on Frenchkiss Records in March 2004. Dave Gardener (Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu) and Dean Botulonis signed on to produce Separation Sunday, which arrived in 2005. The World/Inferno Friendship Society's Franz Nicolay (keyboards) and Bobby Drake (drums), formerly of End Transmission and Arm, were also added to the Hold Steady lineup. The band's third effort, 2006's Boys and Girls in America, marked their first release for Vagrant.

their new release:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

we're all kin here

Here's what I'm thinking. People who used to read twenty books a year are now reading two. They don't want to waste those two reads, they want to make sure they pick the right two books, so they depend on the media to tell them what to read. They'll choose something that's been near the top of the NYT list for a while, and they're going to choose something everybody's talking about.

Here's what else I think. Of the people left who are reading twenty or more books a year -- a large percentage of them are writers, published and unpublished. And the rest? Many are connected to the writing field in some way.

So except for certain areas such as YA books, are we mainly writing for other writers and people in the field? And are those people mainly trying to keep track of what's going on in the business? Or does it just look that way from my window? Are there enough of us to keep this boat from sinking? I think there might be.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

reverse speech -- voices from the unconscious

i've always gotten a kick out of reverse speech. seems like most of them deal with satan and are a real stretch, but this one is pretty good.

"the most controversial backward messages on the song can be found in the following soundtrack. They say backwards: "Its my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad whose power is fake (indeterminate gibberish - some people claim this says, He gives you 666) There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan."

listen here:

stairway to heaven

the shadow show

some claim it says: Man with the harlot. Girl of evil.

reverse speech website


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

photos from my tuonela trip

as some of you know, i have health issues that make it hard for me to drive a long distance. this bus rode like a dream.

i was pleasantly surprised to find that tuonela now has an internet cafe. and truly some of the best scones i've ever eaten.

unfortunately a couple of homicides occurred while i was in town. the tuonela press isn't online, so i scanned the front page.

shots magazine

lots of new interviews up at shots magazine!


John Connolly

Jeffrey Deaver

Christopher Brookmyre and Anne Perry

Anne Frasier :)

and many more!

while you're there, be sure to check out the archives and short stories.

Daniel Hatadi

Steven Torres


Sunday, October 15, 2006

news of the day...and other stuff


the wonderful and genuine ali karim has joined The RAP SHEET!
i had the great good fortune to work with ali on the ITW Awards, and I've never met anyone more knowledgeable or more enthused about crime, mystery, and thriller novels. please pop over and check out his intro at


and ohmygod!!! i hear james ellroy is guest blogging there monday. ohmygod!!!

thanks so much to everybody who placed a bid during the ebay love without boundaries fundraiser. because of your support, julie kenner was able to raise over $8500, a figure that far exceeded her expectations!

TWANGING IN THE GUTTERS: Tribe is featuring a special Country and Western themed issue of Flashing In the Gutters.

Twanging in the Gutters

FICTIONAL MUSINGS is looking for Halloween stories.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

damn you, bekbek!

bekbek was talking about favatars on her blog, so i had to try it. and now WTF? it seems to be working, but what's all that crap at the top above the url?

Friday, October 13, 2006

friday the 13th

here's something perfect for your friday the 13th. my buddy michele hauf
blogged about this, and i just have to pass on the deliciously gothic-victorian chills.

black phoenix

Thursday, October 12, 2006

remember what i said in my last post?

i've been told this looks good, but really doesn't mean that much because it's only amazon, and amazon is about 2% of books sales. *sigh* was nice for a while!

carry on.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

the year of living pimpishly

A month ago I said I'd be back with my feelings about my year of pimping and whoring.
For the past fifteen years I've said a writer can't sell her own books. That it's a waste of time and money and energy she could be using to write the next book.

Yes, maybe a few hundred UNITS will sell with a writer's push, but not the numbers you have to be able to sell in order to make a living in this business. That has to be done by the publisher. IMO. I'm not going to give actual print run figures, but with my first thriller I did absolutely nothing and the book made the USA Today list four weeks in a row because of strong publisher backing and a nice print run. I also think the book had broad appeal. As a single, unemployed mom at the time, I'm not ashamed to say this was something I deliberately went for. The book also had a cover with broad appeal. I was actually told to keep a very low profile, so even people in my local writing group didn't know I was writing under a pseudonym.

I had absolutely no network or support group. No one outside my immediate family knew my secret. No photo. Vague bio that actually called the book a debut thriller. True, but a bit deceptive. Unknown writer, unknown book. Success.

This year I pimped and whored to the extreme. Pale Immortal still ended up with a print run that was half the run of my last book - common with most writers in these sad, tough times. It had some publisher backing, plus a beautiful although somewhat confusing cover which I think might have kept it out of the hands of target readers. Fewer books means less exposure, so that alone muddies the pimping question. Pale Immortal wouldn't have had the broad readership of my first book, something else that's important. Easy to slot, easy to market. This book wasn't.

Print run pretty much determines success or failure unless something else comes into play such as a movie deal or oprah to give it a big boost from the outside. That's not to say a book with a large print run can't fail. It happens all the time. But in order to succeed, a fairly large print run is a necessity. It's all about numbers.

But my own personal feeling/guess is that blogging and self-promotion doesn't help sell many books. I think more people have heard of me, but I don't know if that necessarily translates to much in the way of book sales. Not that I'm trying to talk anybody out of buying my books. God no!!! And not that I don't appreciate my pimp squad!!! I love my pimps!! And loved the blog crawl!!! That was fun as hell. I'm just trying to step back and process everything in more of a bean counter way. And it could be it will take another year or so for me to have a more solid answer. I could even change my mind/opinion at some point in the future.

Hush - no self-promotion - USA Today list for 4 weeks, fairly big publisher backing.
Pale Immortal - promoted the hell out of it - great reviews, some publisher backing, no in-house excitement that I know of, average sales.

For myself the amount of time, energy, and money I put into promoting wasn't worth it.

That's not to say that blogging hasn't been great in a completely different and unexpected way. It's not about selling books but about being a part of a community. It was so weird and wonderful to go to Bouchercon and see SO MANY people I knew - all from blogging. When you finally meet a fellow blogger, there is no introductory phase because you already know the person fairly well.

That's SO NICE. So I will continue to blog for that reason. Because I enjoy the socialization. People will say they bought my book because of my blog. I know that's true, but I also think the circle is fairly small and when we're talking about the numbers it takes to make a book successful in the eyes of a publisher - I'm not sure blogging makes much of a dent. A writer needs to focus on writing something a publisher will sit up and back and get excited about. I managed to do that with Hush, but haven't been able to hit that moving target since then.

One more thing. I think blogging would have more long-term impact if careers were long-term. But if a book bombs, or sales are just so-so, a writer might have to reinvent herself and start over with a new name. And the typical reader doesn't keep up with these reinventions.

And another one more thing. Hush came out the year before 9/11. Within two years of 9/11 mass market paperback sales were down a total of... it was either 23 percent or 28. so far there has been no recovery.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

time is a good editor

i've started editing and revising my first draft of the Pale Immortal sequel. Right now it's scheduled for October 2007, but could be moved to September. My deadline is December 1. All the while I was working on the first draft I had some problems I simply could not sort out. Should one character be written in first person or third? what about title? I had a list of a dozen.

very often we don't have time to put a manuscript away for a few weeks, but time is truly one of the best editors. when you spot the problems yourself, you will come up with solutions that are more in keeping with the book. i normally don't have time to put a manuscript away, but this break was forced upon me because of my September schedule. When I looked at it with fresh eyes, I chose the title in a second. About the same amount of time to know my problem character needs to be first person. absolutely. no question.

oh, and i had another puppy dream last night. no breastfeeding though. sorry.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

and the curtain rises....

ThrillerChiller Theater -- Act II

enter Shirley Damsgaard with this week's VERY cool story called


Shirley has written a delightful set of books featuring a librarian with psychic powers and a grandmother who just happens to be a witch. I met Shirley a year ago, and even though we haven't really hung out i sense that we have a lot in common. Plus we're both Iowa girls, which means we're practical, but also a little demented.

This photo was taken Saturday at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis where Shirley was doing a signing. It was warm for October, but really windy. Everybody was puffing away, and i felt incredibly uncool without a smoke in my hand. Do they make candy cigarettes anymore? i actually think SHIRLEY is a witch. look at her hair. look at mine. it was WINDY AS HELL! she's a witch! a witch, i tell you!!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

last one -- i swear

i know everybody is getting tired of bouchercon stuff, but i have to post these.

i didn't bring my camera, ipod, or computer. could i live without them? yes, but barely. thank god other people brought cameras and actually used them. here are some of my favorite pics of some of my favorite people.

here i am with the sweet and ornery sandra ruttan. we look a little lit, don't we?

sandra's blog

bill cameron -- my mentee! what a charming, funny, delightful guy!! it's hard to be in a bitchy mood when bill's around.

bill's blog

i have to admit to meeting russel mclean of the sexy scottish accent just minutes before this photo was taken.
russel's blog

we bonded over our mutual misery over the crappy edgewater hotel showers.

the other gentleman is tribe! i've been a fan of his for a long time. if you haven't read any of tribe's stuff, check out flashing in the gutters. it's WONDERFUL. link on the left.
or here:
tribe's fiction

flashing in the gutters


leaving the light on

I don't normally take my writer anywhere. When I step out the door I am no longer a writer. I leave that skin in my house. And I don't think I wear it here on my blog that often either. If I do, I'm usually standing outside looking in. writing is what I do; it's not who I am. Often I go a year or two without wearing the writer skin socially or in public, and if I do it's only for an hour or two. I tend to hang out with people who aren't writers, and if I meet someone for the first time my job often doesn't even come up. I don't even think about it. I think this is why I have such a hard time at conferences. Suddenly I am a writer. All day long. It's a very, very strange and surreal feeling, but stranger still is my own psychological reaction to the whole thing. I don't understand it. when I leave the house, I don't want to think about writing. I want to shed that. If someone mentions one of my books, I'm startled. I have to give myself a mental shake and remember that, Oh yeah, that's something I do when I'm in this certain place. That's right. I have a friend who likes to tell people I'm a writer when we are out in public. I know she thinks she's doing me a favor, but I've had to ask her to please stop. All of this really hit me after getting back from bouchercon. I felt a weight had been lifted. Suddenly I could shed that writer skin and welcome myself back. Not that I'm any different when I'm wearing the skin. That's what's so confusing. It's just some blinking light that's usually off when I leave the house. And having it on makes me feel confused and scattered. It's like something else I have to keep track of when I'd rather just leave it at home. raise your hand if you're confused.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Charity Auction -- love without boundaries

fellow writer julie kenner has been working on this wonderful fundraiser for months. The 10-day auction launches today, October 4.

Love Without Boundaries is
a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping orphaned children in China. The idea for the fundraiser came to Julie only days after she and her husband submitted a Letter of Intent to adopt Chu Yongchen, a little girl born with a cleft lip and palate living in the Chuzhou Social Welfare Institute in the Anhui Province of China.

you can reach the auction through julie's site:

Julie Kenner

Here you will find hundreds of signed books, along with critiques from editors and best-selling authors. I glanced through some of the donations and noticed that my editor at NAL is donating a 3-chapter critique.


BookLoons presents ThrillerChiller Theater

Act I is now playing!

Thriller Chiller Theater

Monday, October 02, 2006

bouchercon highlights

I arrived in Madison Thursday night, but didn't hit the party/conference scene until Friday.

Friday: met sandra ruttan. or rather i accosted sandra ruttan. she was heading for the bathroom. i tried unsuccessfully to get her attention. in a panic i stepped in front of her, held up both hands, and said, "STOP!" note to self: try to find a class that teaches social skills.

now Sandra is a law unto herself, totally unique and totally delightful. You might think you know her from her blog, but Sandra must be experienced in person. in the tipping point, Malcolm gladwell talks about social channel capacity. Sandra's social channel capacity is high as hell. She knows everybody. And not only knows everybody, but somehow keeps track of them and actually remembers what is going on in their lives.

Met Bill Cameron. I really wish I'd had a t-shirt made that said Bill's mentor. "Oh, you're Bill's mentor." "Are you Bill Cameron's mentor?" Hehe! I heard this several times. And LOVED hearing it! A group of us had dinner together. Sandra Ruttan, the wonderful and SO FUNNY Julia Buckley, the delightful David Skibbons, Bill, and myself. Then I finally met Robert Gregory Browne who showed up as we were finishing dinner. He was heading for a party at the edgewater. This is the point where Brett Battles appeared and after some regrouping five of us headed to the bar at the edgewater. There was a party, but I can't even remember who was having it!

On the way we saved brett's life, then arrived at the bar. Here we have a confusion of people. I met the lovely Rebecca Drake and more people. And some more people. I finally met Joe Konrath. He and my twin cities pal Chris Everheart sang a couple of duets. That image is now forever embedded in my brain. OWWWWWW!

End of day one....

Day two. OWWWWWW! Headache. Killer headache.

sandra ruttan was hosting audio interviews. At the bar. People came and went. I mainly sat there with a pounding head and slack mouth. Around 3:00 I started feeling human again. Enter Tribe! Woo-hoo! Wearing a suit and tie in preparation for the banquet. Sandra claimed tribe spanked her. He denied it. you decide. Everyone breaks up for evening plans. There is some discussion of getting together again at the lee child party taking place at an irish pub on the square. I will try to make it, but my head is throbbing again.

That evening: Penguin/NAL dinner at the Harvest Restaurant. It ended up being a wonderful evening. Very relaxing, and a nice break from the frantic conference pace. Lee Goldberg was there, and we were able to discuss the naked bookseller with my editor, who surprisingly had never heard of him. Imagine that! Jeff Shelby of First Offender fame was there, along with Murder, She Wrote writer Donald Bain and the delightful Renee Paley-Bain. Everyone stayed for a couple of hours after the dinner. Lovely all the way around.

The party broke at about 10:30 or 11:00. I walked to the pub. It was packed and I decided I'd had enough for the day and headed back to my hotel which was about a mile away. The next morning I got up and went directly to my panel. Met our gracious moderator Nancy Kopp. Minnesota writers Gary Bush, Bobbye Johnson, and Chris Everheart were nice enough to watch my pathetic attempt at trying to string words together. OWWWWWW! As soon as the panel was done it was off to the signing room. I had to leave the signing early to get back to the hotel, grab my luggage, and head for the airport.
Whew. Flight was on time. my daughter picked me up at the airport. i live ten minutes away. we stopped at noodles for dinner and ate outside. Good to be home.

bouchercon -- an introvert's perspective

This is going to take more than one blog post. I think I'll start with just an overview and my general feelings about the conference.

I stayed at the edgewater hotel which was about 1/2 mile from the conference. The hotel overlooked beautiful Mendota lake. Or was that Lake Mendota? The edgewater was probably nice at one time, but the entire building has some major plumbing problems. Drains didn't drain and using the shower caused sludge backup. Tap water was brown. Some areas of the original building smelled like cat piss. Not at all sure what that was about. Didn't ask. But i did manage to write a cat cozy one night.

weather: 45 - 60 first couple of days. Cloudy, windy, rainy off and on, but every day had a large percent of dry and fairly decent weather. The last day was gorgeous. I love to walk, so the walk to and from the conference hotel was no big deal, but I think not staying in the conference hotel made the conference much more exhausting because there was no running to my room for a few minutes.

My biggest mistake: I didn't get cell phone numbers before going to the conference. I thought I would run into people and we could go from there. Many of the people I wanted to see I never saw; some I saw briefly and hoped to hook up with later, but later didn't happened. Tribe and Pat Dennis were two of those people.

The big surprise: Bouchercon was actually smaller than I'd anticipated. Sometimes hallways and areas outside the panel rooms were briefly packed with people, but often they were almost empty. I never saw the massive mobs of people I've seen at RWA conferences. Never heard that roar that signifies hundreds of bodies in one space. not that i was looking for that!

This is what I learned: I don't have the stamina for a conference. I might be wrong about this, but I think conferences are like blogging. If you don't enjoy them, don't go.

I will never do another panel. Ever. Period. The end. It wasn't horrific, but it's just not something I'm good at and it's not something I care to ever get good at. I'm not a verbal person, so it's just a bad fit for me. Some of us have talked/blogged about this before, but I actually see the words in my head and am editing and rearranging them as I'm talking. This is not good for someone on a panel. I could feel the audience waiting for me to just spit it out. :D

What I enjoyed: hanging out. That was fantastic. I LOVED meeting up with online friends, old friends, new friends. I will report on those highlights later.