Friday, July 24, 2009

Why I had great conference mojo

Working on: Critiquing my CP's deadline final chapters, bwahaha
Listening to: Kids watching SpongeBob
Reading: Suddenly One Summer, Barb Freethy

I am going to post photos etc from DC next week, but I wanted to take today to write this particular post while I am still "glowing". Nationals exceeded all my expectations, it truly did. And I arrived and considered booking a flight to go right back home. Those of you who met me in DC are probably really surprised at that. But I made it to the hotel, had to wait 3 hours for my room to be ready, and I spent the majority of the afternoon alone in the lobby lounge. I had several "What the hell am I doing here" moments.

Finally, after an hour of positive self-talk, I got up the courage to approach a group that I knew to be RWA authors. I recognized Trish Milburn right off, and with my heart in my throat I asked if I could join them. Being Romance authors they were, of course, lovely and fun and I felt much less alone for the hour I had left to wait for my room. Thank you Trish, Terry M, Merilee, Terri R, and everyone else for helping me break the ice. And to Jennie Lucas, who had dinner with Fiona Harper and me. I met Jennie, shared a lemondrop, and made a friend for life. Here we are at dinner.

The next morning, one of the first people I met when I went to register was Holly Jacobs. Bliss! I adore Holly and we had already planned to meet up later seeing as we're twins and all, but meeting her changed my life. I mean that. She gave me the Hollyworld speech.

In Hollyworld, there are two kinds of people. Those that know you and love you, and those that don't know you and WILL love you. (Of course there are those that maybe don't love you, but pretend that they do. It'll piss them off.)

As a theory, that's damn good. And I determined right then and there that I would NOT be afraid. This would be the only chance for at least a few years to meet so many wonderful people in person, and how dumb would I feel going home knowing I'd been too chicken to do it? Nope. I WOULD do it. I would smile and introduce myself.

And so the mojo began. The first thing I did was register at the desk. I smiled and said, "Hi, I'm Donna Alward." The lovely lady behind the desk said..."Donna Alward! I love your books. Welcome to conference."


And so it went the Heartbeat Luncheon where I met Kevan Lyon, Roxanne Rustand and her lovely daughter Emily; at the Literacy signing where I met Starr Ambrose and Patti Schenberger (here we are at the lit signing) and other members of the Detroit chapter who feel like old friends at this point. On Thursday at lunch, I ended up beside a friend of Debbie Macomber who was simply delightful and very indulgent as I had a bit of a gush. In the end I signed a couple of books for her - one to Debbie. At this point I called my husband who said "Why are you calling me? Roaming charges are like a million dollars." When I told him, he laughed and said, "Ok, that IS big. Now hang up the phone."

And the more I did it, the easier it got. At the PJ party I introduced myself to Harlequin Executive Editor Marsha Zinberg, who blogged with the Pink Heart Society. My new friend Elaine Knighton gave my conference mojo a boost when she pressed a crystal in my hand and did this thing...good vibes followed.

On Friday, I did it with Miriam Kriss at my agent appointment. That afternoon Tessa Radley, (I owe her dinner now, I swear) introduced me to my new agent, Jenn Schober. I said hello to Suzanne Brockmann, Eloisa James.

Quite a departure from the scared woman in the lobby on Tuesday.

The thing is, and this really is the whole point, there is POWER in the positive. And I was effervescently positive all week. More than that, I was GENUINELY happy to be there, to meet people, to experience the whole thing. When I said to someone I was happy to meet them, I meant it. I really really was. Those of you that know me know I cannot be blase, even when I try. I find joy in the smallest things. And how can someone hate you if you SMILE? (if they do, do you really want to know them anyway?)
One of my favourite things was meeting Elaine's friend MaryLou, a pro member who at our first meeting looked an awful lot like I felt that first Tuesday afternoon. So I hung back, rode the escalator at the metro station with her and met someone really great. (Waves at MaryLou)

I truly believe in the power of positive thinking. And yes, I have crows of doubt days, frustrating days, down days. But on the is a series of opportunities. Reach out and grab them, enjoy them, savour the ride. I coined a new personal phrase while I was gone.... Joy me, baby!
If you need proof that positive mojo works, well, quite unplanned I met Jenn, and now I've got a brand new agent that I'm so excited to be working with.

So try it. Who knows where it might lead you?


  1. Wonderful post, Donna! I hope we get to meet at one of the conferences someday soon.

    All the best,
    Gail Fuller :)

  2. But Donna - who could ever resist that smile of yours? I know I can't - and don't get me started on what the Babe Magnet thinks. If I didn't love you so much I might get jealous . . .



  3. Well, the first person I saw after registering was you and I got the hug I'd been waiting nearly TWO YEARS for!

    And your babe magnet might just have a fan as well, you know. I am so glad I got to spend some time with you both before jetting my way home. :-) Give him a hug and kiss from me if you can bear it. ;-)

  4. Congratulations on meeting and finding an agent. I hope that mojo lasts for you long after the conference is over!