Thursday, September 2, 2010

Find Your Stride

Hi all! Audra here.

Can you believe there are only 15 days until the ACFW conference in Indianapolis? Where has the time flown? I’m super excited because I can attend this year – haven’t been able to since 2006 and I’ve been in severe withdrawal ever since.

(Hint: It’s taken 4 years for me to recover from sightseeing in Dallas with Ruthy…need I say more??)

So now I’m dusting off my conference paraphernalia and shaking the wrinkles from my conference attire. I’m actually flying in a day early to enjoy the peace and quiet of anonymity, aka no family members popping in my office asking, "whatcha doin’?" and then taking a seat. Can anyone relate?

Actually, I’m not very comfortable when plopped into strange environments, I need a good day to acclimate to my surroundings. I want to be ready when the bell sounds announcing the start of the ACFW conference!

Of course the option of putting on my sneakers and exploring my new surroundings, in and outside of the hotel holds vast appeal, too LOL!

That’s a quick peek inside game plan for conferences. My advice to any first time attendees, or anyone who doesn’t travel well is learn to ride your stride.

The key to any good conference experience?

Don’t Stress Out!

How about a few more pointers from my point of view?

Let’s start with the workshops. ACFW always offers a plethora of great speakers and teachers. I’m sure you’ve had a tough time deciding which Continuing Ed track you’d like and which workshop will give you the best info, especially with so many choices piled into each time slot. Pace yourself. Remember, bestsellers weren’t created overnight and you won’t earn an authorship degree in one weekend! Absorb what you can from the workshops and talks you can squeeze in and pray there are hand-outs for all the rest : )

If it’s financially possible at all, I recommend purchasing the CDs or MP3 set of the conference. Not only do you have the opportunity to hear all the sessions, you can also do that at your leisure. I find slapping on my headphones, tuning in to a workshop that targets my problem area of the day, and taking off for a walk with the dog not only works out my writing issues, but also keeps me walking for the duration of the workshop. Our tubby Corgi benefits from the exercise, too. Win-win.

Now, how many of you are natural night owls? Or do you pour your first cup of coffee at 5:00 in the morning? Consider too, rushing all morning, learning all afternoon, chatting non-stop during dinner, socializing into the wee hours. Is this a normal lifestyle? If it is, more power to you!

Me? I’m an early riser--please pass the coffee about 4:30 am—but I’m dead by 10:00pm. I used to shift into overdrive at conferences for fear of missing the one tidbit of conversation that would change my destiny forever, learning the secret handshake to get me into the club of published. Wore me out. Don’t fret over every opportunity to socialize. Or sacrifice your health. The world won’t end if you take an afternoon nap. You’ll probably be a better person for it in the evening : )

Now, on to my favorite topic: Food.

Personally, I love the food offered at the conferences. Nice variety; great desserts. You never walk away hungry. And there’s the problem. It doesn’t take me long to belly up to the buffet for all the mouthwatering options I NEVER have at home.

This is not good.

Not only are you in a different time zone, sleeping in a strange room, playing with old and new friends every waking minute, but realize gourmet food meant to impress awaits you at every turn. Well, maybe not gourmet, but when you live salad-to-salad the rest of the year like I do, sweet and sour sauce drizzled on succulent chicken becomes a 5-star treat.

Eat, drink and be merry!! But take time to find normal food and drink familiar drinks too, even if it’s a piece of fruit or a granola bar. I don’t know about you, but if I eat lots of new goodies, I’m a goner. You’ll find me nodding off in the back corner during a workshop I’ve waited all conference to attend!

Chocolate, as always, is a free food. Indulge as opportunity arises : )

I know there are veteran conference goers among us who have war stories of survival to share! Please join in and offer your words of wisdom. We can all use ‘em!!!

Remember, if you're feeling lost Indy, find a Seeker and we'll help you feel found!

Leave a comment! I’m giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card. Great for use at conferences (yes, the hotel has a Starbucks) or anytime.

See you in Indianapolis!!


  1. Fun post! Makes me wish I could join ya'll... ;) I'm sure you will have a wonderful time!

    And great tips, as well! I think the nap tip applies to all different occasions, right? And of course, the chocolate!

    I don't have much besides cafeteria food to share, but my RA did make us brownies for our first day of classes, so dig in! :D There are chocolate chips in them of course!

    I'm so glad Seekerville stays the same even when you go away to college!



  2. Oh, Audra, what perfect timing for truly excellent advice!!

    Regarding the workshops, you said "pace yourself"!! WHOA, BABY, you said a mouthful there!! The first few years I wore myself out rushing to seminar after seminar when handouts were available for so many and then there are the tapes too. Now I relax a little bit more and if I miss one, I miss one and the world isn't going to end.

    I am SOOO glad I get to see you in two short weeks, my friend!!! And you may not be a night owl, but I sure hope you stay up a little past ten when the Seekers and friends meet in the lobby bar after 9:00 PM each night!!

    And speaking of "night owls," I am not one, so I better get my tired, little carcass to bed ...

    Sweet dreams!


  3. I'm early!! hehehe And yes, I should go to bed.

    Great post, Audra--my future roomie! Since you're getting there before me, let me just take this opportunity to tell you not to pick the best bed! ;)

    My favorite piece of advice for conferences is one you gave. Don't try to do everything. Be sure to take time to rest.

  4. Hello all,

    great post. Yes a person needs to pace themselves. I'm prone to headaches if I don't.

    One thing to remember is while your flight maybe a three hour tour, it could quickly turn into a long journey.

    Make sure you have things To pass the time, snacks and comfortable shoes for that if the need should arise, because it's expensive in the terminals. ( that is if you are allowed off the plane) I hope everyone gets to the conference without ado, but just in case...

    Oh and those comfortable shoes are a must even you don't get delayed. You'll be doing some walking, and your feet will love you if you don't give them blisters.


    Tina P.

  5. Oh, Audra, didn't we have FUN seeing things, dear heart?

    Even if some of it might possibly be construed or described as "life threatening"???? Come on, seriously, it's not like I'm the Ebola virus or something, I just like to drive fast, snoop slowly and draw cute cops into our lair.


    Hey, I am so sorry to miss this year's ACFW conference because I LOVE the fellowship of getting to see y'all, but next year, here's hoping. (Although I ALREADY had to dip into my $20/week savings toward next year with a promise to make it up later in the fall.)

    Ee gads.

    Love the tips on pacing.

    And I discovered this year at RWA that I would have been fiendishly rude to work early in the AM (my mode) while Sandra was trying to sleep. I'll have to reconfigure for '11 because my self-discipline is to work every morning... 8 mornings without it makes me twitch.

    I will be with you guys in spirit whilst working away in upstate NY.

    And I've got a book signing that weekend, so I'll PRETEND that I'm doing an ACFW book signing.

    Take time to rest????


    That's all I'm sayin' to that one!

  6. I second Audra's recommendation that you buy the CDs or MP3's (even if you don't attend ACFW).

    Often schedules overlap at the conference. Editor & agent appointments don't have their own "slot" -- they're scattered throughout the day. So you often have to arrive late or leave early for some workshops in order to get to your appointment--and miss a good 30-40 minutes of the speaker you've been waiting all year to hear!

    I've listened and RElistened to my CDs in the car the past 12 months.

    If you're unpublished and want to know what publishing houses are looking for, the recordings are worth their weight in gold--tons of hour-long "spotlights" on all the publishers represented. They tell about themselves, what they're looking for, and answer questions. Great stuff!

    And yes, you WILL be tired by the time you get back home. It's intense, but fun. Energizing.

  7. Amber! Living in a dorm is an adventure in itself! Pace yourself, my dear. Ancient as I am, I do remember the days, LOL!

    Speaking of dorms and college, I'm an empy nester for the first time!!! Daughter and son both in college. Luckily, daughter is only 45 minutes away, but baby boy is 2 hours away!!!

    On the bright side, they're both having a blast, so maybe I should tell them to chime in here and gets some tips on college living, LOL!!

  8. Hi Audra,

    Know you and the "gang" will have a grand time. Sounds like it might be something to pencil in for myself sometime - ACK! How fun would THAT be?!

    Another idea is to bring folders and paper for notes. After a session, everything gets tossed into a folder for that session.

    And a wheelie bag is great for carrying all the "stuff" one accumulates. Anything to help with your back is a big plus.

    Y'all have a blast - looking forward to hearing all about it when you return!

    Yay Amber - how's college going? Is it what you expected?

    I brought a variety of cheeses this morning, along with some fresh baked bread and butter and several flavors of homemade jam. And the assortment box of Twining's tea... AND coffee. But no chocolate - have to wait until the conference I guess:)

  9. Julie, nightcaps in the hotel lounge is the icing on my conference cake! Wouldn't miss them for the world.

    THAT'S why I need the afternoon nap, LOL! I'll be working the bookstore with you on Friday. I'm so excited!!

    Hey, all! Julie and I will be in the bookstore first thing Friday morning. Come visit!

  10. Hey Roomie, I can't wait! What an adventure for both of us. Our usual roommates can't attend (hi Lindi, hi Pat!) so Missy and I are scoping out the digs together.

    What a hoot! Can't wait!!

  11. Audra,

    It sounds like you all are going to have a great time! I have ACFW inked in for next year, but this year my workplace is sponsoring the 9th Maritime Heritage Conference, so I'll be running around with historians, lighthouse keepers, museum curators, and historic ships people. Great research opportunity! Same rules apply at this conference, but at least this year I'm not speaking, so I get to just enjoy everyone else. I'll be thinking of my Seekerville friends and hope you all have a super time!


  12. sniff sniff. I am so disappointed to not be going this year. I took your advice, Audra -- last year-- and went to bed early the first night of conference, thus missing the gathering of all the Seekers. My roommate Connie Marquise came back to tell me how she'd met you all (got the stickers!) and how much she'd enjoyed it.

    One thing different this year is that rather than being outside of the city, you'll all be right in the center of it, and as has been noted, across the street from shopping and restaurants.

    Can't wait to hear all the stories!

    Ruthy, where's your book signing?

  13. Hi Tina! Sorry you won't be joining us this year. I'm looking forward to see Indianapolis so the comfy shoes are a must!

    You're right about the flight delays. Bring some sort of sustanence, just in case of delays!

    I was delayed on the tarmac on a return flight from Boston due to mechanical problems...4 hours sitting there unable to dig in to dinner b/c of something that had to do with only feeding passengers while in flight. So peanuts were doled out.

    Until those ran out.

    And once we were airborn, the flight crew apologized, but the food was no longer safe to consume.

    You've got to be kiddding me!!

    I had a lobster on ice beneath my seat that I was bringing home for a friend. By the time the flight was cleared for takeoff, I was fighting off my fellow passengers for custody of the lobster!

    Wow. What memories.

  14. Ruthy, conferences with you are always an adventure. We'll miss you and will just have to keep in mind - What Would Ruthy Do?

    Is your booksigning the same time as Steeple Hill's? We can set up a framed photo on the table and have you on speaker phone. Send me a rubber stamp and I'll pass out books, LOL!

    Speaking of Ruthy our ultimate hostess...where are my manners!

    Coffee is on, along with tea and fruit juice. Peaches are gorgeous this time of year here in Colorado, so pancakes are being flipped as we speak. Enjoy a splash of whipped cream on top or just double dip into the peaches!!

  15. I love, love, love my MP3s, Glynna! It's fun and annoying when my player skips at times, but I'll start listening to a workshop I never would have chosen myself and completely enjoy my walk.

    If it means the walk goes longer than usual, I'm biting into the Corgi's dinner time, so I end up dragging one unhappy camper! Did I mentions she's rotund??

    Glynna is signing her debut book, Dreaming of Home with the Steeple Hill crowd. Stop by and pick up a copy!!

  16. KC, start planning and saving to attend conference next year! What a blast.

    Yes, a folder of some sort is so handy. Anything to keep your life sane as it rushes by.

    ACFW usually gives out notebooks with a couple of place to stash your notes and handouts.

    I love 'em!!

    Thanks for bringing the goodies! Ummm, great looking jams!! I'm adding bisuits to the table as we speak, LOL

  17. Deb, Kristin! We'll be missing y'all? Know that your cute faces will be on our minds as we roam about Indy.

    Kristin, your conference sounds awesome!! How romantic are lighthouses? In my mind, they're tops.

    Deb, I'm loving the extra time to snoop around the sights. My present to myself for all the overtime I worked at the county fair this year.

    I eat chocolate in your honor and wait to see you next year.

  18. Have a great time Audra! I just checked out the MP3's from last year's conference.
    I think I'll put this on my Christmas list and start my own 'Ruthy Fund' for next year's event.
    I can't wait for your post (and Julie's, Missy's, and everyone else's) when you return with everything you learned.
    And ate, drank, spotted....

  19. Good morning Audra

    And yes, we are both still in recovery from driving around Texas with Ruthy. LOL

    Please note, in Orlando I DROVE. No incidents except I missed a toll station and got fined by the rental car company. Since I had mailed the 75 cents in they waived it. But you know how it is. We don't have toll roads out west and Ruthy and I were talking. Need I say more?

    I'm so glad you are going to ACFW this year, Audra. You have your debut novel to celebrate and you're going this time as a PUBLISHED AUTHOR. How cool is that?

    I can hardly wait for January when your Love Inspired arrives--ROCKY MOUNTAIN HERO. Wow the title just makes me want to read it NOW.

    Have fun at the conference. I'll miss seeing all of you Seekers. Hugs, Sandra

  20. Ruthy, Ruthy, Ruthy,

    Do not use my sleeping as an excuse. I woke up before you and YOU WERE SLEEPING IN dearheart. Talking to the angels.

    So don't blame me if you didn't get your writing done.

    But truthfully, I think she didn't want to wake up because there was no coffee. ONly hotel room coffee which was fine but not up to Ruthy standards.LOL

    Pour thing. Ruthy without coffee is just plain sad. Broke my heart.

  21. Audra!!! I didn't realize we would be working the bookstore at the same time, girl -- I am PUMPED!!! Hope Janna doesn't throw us out for talking too much to each other!! :/


  22. Hey, Audra!!! I can't wait to see you in Indy!!! We have to find each other! I'm so excited! I think I might actually not stress out as much this year!!!

    Usually I'm so stressed and keyed up I can't sleep. At this point, I think I'm getting used to being keyed up, since my first book comes out TOMORROW! And I'm actually sleeping well in spite of it.

    I will give one piece of advice. If you are having trouble sleeping but aren't used to taking sleeping pills and your body reacts weirdly to a lot of meds, don't take a sleeping pill! That's why I passed out at breakfast at my first conference. Not an experience you'd want to have! Even if the ER doctor WAS cute, still not worth it. At all.

  23. Audra,
    Can't wait to see everyone in, gulp, 15 days. Not that I'm nervous or anything. Does anyone else hear that knocking noise? Silly me, just my knees.

    Lots of paper and pens as I take notes like a madwoman. And I have gotten the CD's. Well worth the money.

    Did someone say something about shopping? I think I have a few things to hock. Or is it hawk? Anywho, I can't wait.

  24. Dawn, I think I heard tell that there is a mall connected to the hotel. :) Ready for some shopping, roomie?

    Audra, thanks for the tips! I'm anxious, and I know I'll get little sleep on this trip, simply because I'm so EXCITED!!! We need a jumping-up-and-down smilie.

    Pacing is really important. The last few state-level conferences I've attended, I found out that sometimes just stepping aside and skipping an activity was the best thing for me. The idea that there is a prayer room is like manna from heaven. State Library conferences don't usually have those. ;)

  25. Audra, I SO needed this post! This is my first ACFW conference, and the nerves are starting to kick in big time. Love all these practical tips!

    For you and any other Seeker friends coming early to the conference or leaving late, I did a blog post on tips for how to spend your free time in Indy. Here's the link:

    So excited to have you all come to my city! :)

  26. Audra,

    I agree, Lighthouses are tops! But the people I spend the most time with are the historic ships people. I realize this is a blog about the ACFW conference and no one cares, but there's this quirky man from England who cracks me up. He carries around an black book and calls it his "book of slights." Anytime he feels slighted by a "beastly Yank" or a place over here he puts the name in the book and crosses it out to be "forever cast upon the waves." He's hilarious and, yes, he's already in one of my stories.

    Okay, sorry to interrupt the ACFW chatter! :o)


  27. Pamela, we will miss you. Eat, drink, be merry are soooo words to live by.

    Yes, I can't say enough how much I love my conference MP3s! A little bit of heaven all year round!

  28. Can't wait to read the posts and see pics from the conference. In all the busyness y'all must take time to record the fun of it so the rest of us can enjoy!

    I have questions about ACFW, in general. Can anyone give details about membership? What it's like behind the scenes? I'm contemplating membership but I am on a budget and I'd like to know some specifics. Yes, I've been to the website and it is vague, to say the least. Thanks, y'all!

  29. Sandra, I HAVE to blame you. Actually, my sweet, dear and beloved respect for you and your sleep.

    Okay, I'm gagging myself, here!!!

    Mmm... time for mid-day coffee. YES!!! And we have it here, all the better!

    Sandra's right, I shouldn't blame my buds for my own weakness... And I'm not pretty without my coffee, I'm barely tolerable WITH it, so the need for coffee (and I love that at every ACFW conference I've attended, coffee has been in abundance. Lovely, just lovely...)

    And so we missed one little toll? Who puts tolls way over on the side of the road? If tolls are on the side of the road, they shouldn't be considered rules... More like guidelines, you know?

    I will miss you guys.

    And yes, tuck that money away for next year, ladies and gents. We'll plan our work and work our plan together.

    We rock!

    And What Would Ruthy Do????

    Oh my stars, that could get the whole bunch o' youse into trouble, but what fun you'd have, LOL!

    Who brought these brownies on the back table? Oh my gosh, so fresh and chocolatey.... YUM.

  30. I can't believe it's only a couple weeks away! So much to DO!

    Great tips here.

    can't wait to see you all!

  31. Honestly, my book comes out tomorrow, my first booksigning is Saturday, and I haven't even thought much about the conference! LOL


    Whoever you as sitting by, NO MATTER WHO, NO MATTER HOW SHY YOU ARE, NO MATTER HOW OVERWHELMED YOU FEEL, say these four magic words.

    What do you write?

    That's it. Guaranteed two hours conversation.

    If they're published/non-published they'll be dying to answer and you can have your turn. If they're an agent or editor...they'll say that and talk about that.

    If you're both unpubbed, practice your pitches on each other. You will never be with a group that is so simple to talk to.

    Repeat after me.

    What do you write?

    There. You need nothing else for a successful conference.

    You're welcome.


    The Seekers gather in the main lobby bar every night. COME ONE COME ALL.

    In the Hyatt Downtown where the conference is, it's called Level One. And we only gather there because it's simple. It works no matter what hotel we meet in. So you can always find a friend.

    See you all in Indy.

  34. Also, I have a standard policy which really minimizes panic.

    For me at least.

    When I'm packing I ask myself: What problems can't be solved with a credit card?

    I am so careful to take the things that cannot be solved with a credit card, which pretty much boils down to ID and cell phone.

    That's it.

    Did I ever mention the time I went to conference WITH NO SHIRTS?

    I had the one on my back, but I'd left this tidy stack of shirts, carefully kept out until the last minute so they wouldn't wrinkle, at home.

    I had NO OUTFITS. Because each outfit needed a shirt that was at HOME!!!!!!!


    I survived. I doubt anyone was exactly admiring of my wardrobe, which was a pair of black pants and a red t-shirt for the whole conference. That shirt went with NOTHING, the neat blazers and slacks in my suitcase, the matching jewelry. It was pretty sweet.


    Anyway, that helped me develop my credit card theory of packing. Not that I DID any shopping, but I could have, and that kept me from freaking out...anymore than usual.

    Also, my daughter once lost her wallet on a trip. Crazy panic about getting on the plane. How do you get home? How? How? How?

    You know what? They let her on.

    It took some doing. She had to go somewhere and be screened somehow but she DID get on the plane.

    So I got my baby back. (Okay, she was a thirty year old woman, but still........)

    So even ID can be overcome.

  35. Great post, Audra.

    Don't you think it helps to know what YOU want to get out of a conference before you get there? Then keep that in mind during the conference?

    The first weekend SCBWI conference I attended, I was surprised to find that many conference attendees went for the "night life socialization" with each other and a chance at an editor's appointment than to actually listen to the presentations. They didn't mind if they were late to sessions or if they skipped one.

    Which is OKAY if that's what they wanted to get out of the conference but I had different expections. I still networked with other writers during lunch and breaks between presentors.

    I hope that makes sense?

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  36. Sandra, you are too kind. And I'm going to miss you at conference.

    You're way too fun to get into trouble with, LOL!

    Plus being Seekerville's newest published author!I'm sure you took care of celebrating at the RWA conference.

    I guess I'll just have to wait until next year...

  37. Great post! I agree with Amber, makes me wish I was going with you. Hopefully next year and I am storing all of this great knowledge up to remember when it is my turn. :D

  38. Melanie, you're a debut author, too!! Signing, right?

    Okay, let me amend original post -- when you decide to nap, DO NOT nap during booksigning times!!!

    Can't wait to see you, Mel!

  39. Dawn. Regina.

    Shopping is very theraputic. Good way to walk off (exercise) the stress of the day...

    And bring home great momentos!!!

    See you in the mall, LOL!

  40. Sarah! Thanks for the insiders guide to Indy! Great info. Thanks for saving us the time trying to ferret out the attractions.

    BTW -- I love that *free* word!

  41. Mary B, ACFW has something for everyone. It's hard to describe, because one nutshell would not begin to hold all the opportunities.

    Probably the stand out features are the loop, the forums and of course the conference.

    That's very generic, but all encompassing. You almost have to join for a year and skip around the organization, take 'em out for a test drive, see if ACFW is for you.

    I know I don't use a fraction of all the opportunites available.

    Try it, you'll like it.

  42. I'm excited and nervous! More nervous about getting everything done before leaving for conference!

    I'm also a morning person. I have been known to pour my first cup o' joe around 3:30 AM. So I could definitely use that Starbuck's card!

  43. Wow, I have butterflies in my tummy just reading all of this and I'm not even going to ACFW!!!!! But I know people who are going for the very first time so I guess my butterflies are sympathy ones.

  44. Okay, Audra. I was just looking over my workshop list and second-guessing myself. Then I sneak over to Seekerville and find your post.
    I think not.
    Thanks for the advice...even if I frowned at the 'food' one :-)

    The only thing I really HAVE to do at the conference is meet you guys. Everything else can happen as it happens ;-)

    I was so glad to learn that the conference has an attendance of about 500? Is that right?

    That put me at ease. I went to the national Speech Conference two years ago in Chicago and it had THOUSANDS of people. Even for an extrovert like me, that was LOTS, but Chicago was cool :-)

    Okay- I've had my 5 minute break. Back to work :-)

  45. YUM! Look at those photos. Makes my tummy growl.

    I LOLd about the part where you said it has taken you four years to recover from sightseeing with Ruthy. Too funny.

    Great post, Audra! It makes me want to pack for conference right now. LOL.


  46. Great post! Sue Brower gave a great tip a couple of conferences back.

    Set small goals, like a couple of new contacts/friends. Write a good hook.

    Alternate conquests of goals, one by one, with bites of chocolate!

  47. Edwina, I wish I could get up as early as you. What time do you go to bed?

    I've been getting up between 5:30 and 6:30. Four am is the earliest I've been able to rise and shine all day. LOL! I'm toast by the evening otherwise.

    I love watching sunrises with God and coffee though. Starts the day out right.


  48. I've never been to a conference, but they sound like fun. Indy is a great city. Ya'll will have a blast!!

  49. Excellent advice, Audra!

    I am not as relaxed a packer as Mary, so that tends to be my greatest source of pre-conference stress. I try outfits on ad infinitum until I decide exactly what I will wear on Friday, on Saturday, on Sunday, to the banquet, after hours . . . you get the picture.

    And then once I get there, the whole plan changes.

    My best conference tip is to print out your schedule ahead of time. A few years ago I started creating my conference schedule in Excel, with columns for workshops, etc., and columns for personal appointments. If you're interested, you can download a customizable version at my Web site under "Writer Helps."

  50. Sounds like so much fun! I'll have to start saving now to maybe be able to go next year!

    In the meantime, think I'll check out the downloads from last year.

    Thanks for sharing the madness!


  51. Great post, Audra! I'm so looking forward to conference. Last conference was the first one where I really relaxed and didn't try to attend every single workshop. I buy the cds and listen to them at home. My advice is to bring comfortable shoes then hope you don't have to wear them!

  52. Oh, and I was so impressed with Debby's rolling briefcase she took to RWA Orlando that I ordered myself one for ACFW! Sure beats achy back and shoulders from toting files, notebooks, bookstore purchases, etc.!

  53. Mary, with your stress relieving method of *charge it*, I do believe I'm feeling quite calm and peaceful.

    Now why didn't I think of that?? Oh, yeah. I have. My HUSBAND didn't think much of it, LOL!!

    Oh, and btw, what do you write?

  54. Rose, I can't agree with you more. I have to admit I've been guilty of partying all night at a couple of conferences years back. Felt awful the next day.

    With the price of conferences what they are, no way am I going to purposely going to sabatoge myself!

  55. We'll look for you next year, Casey!

  56. Edwina, dear girl! 3:30, 4:30 is there a difference that early in the morning??

    And let's not forget our friends in upstate NY (as if she'd ever let us) who guzzle premium coffee right up there with us, LOL!

  57. Kav, we'll miss you! I'm certain the sympathy is appreciated!

  58. Pepper. We can enjoy the tasty treats the conference and surrounding eateries offers, but no gluttony!! Besides, how much cheesecake can girl eat anyway : )



    As Mary said, in the hotel lounge each night at 9:00...or earlier. That's the highlight of my conference, LOL!!

  59. The thing is, I don't usually 'charge it'. But just knowing I could if I had to somehow takes a thread of panic off my shoulders.

  60. Audra, Great note about not napping during booksigning times. Definitely don't nap on Sunday from 1:00 to 1:30 because that's when I'm signing copies of The Healer's Apprentice! Woohoo! Such a God thing that I'm going to be there signing books! I'll have to tell that story some time ...

  61. a great posting...wish i were going, too.

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  62. Cheryl, start packing those bags! I'm taking a few days off of work before the conference just to make sure all my pressed shirts and jackets get packed and I don't have to shopping...

    Although if Mary twists my arm, I'll pull out the silver card, LOL.

    Can't wait to see you, Squirly!

  63. I can promise I will be looking for you all too. :) If not next year, than the year after that and the year after that. I will get there eventually!! :D

  64. Cara, you can relax while Myra tries on ever outfit she owns, LOL!

    I'll be checking out your rolling office, Myra. Sounds like such a handy item. Just leave your conference stuff in until the next conference.

    Any type of prepacking works for me!

  65. Patti! I love your advice. I'll set lots of little goals and pop in a bit of Dove Dark Chocolate...just to help me think.

  66. Audra,

    I'm sorry you're an empty-nester, although I'm glad your kids are having fun! :) I'm about 7-ish hours away (including lunch break) from my family. :(

    Don't know if I have very many great tips to offer. ;) But I do know that it helps having wonderful teachers, great friends, and the knowledge that God stays by your side wherever you go!


    College is going well. :) This is actually my second year (though I'm at junior status), so it's about what I expected from being here last year. ;) Corban is a wonderful school, so it's all good! Thanks for asking!


  67. YAY Melanie! Time to celebrate! Congrats on your book coming out TOMORROW!!!!

    photos - need photos!!! :)

    YAY Amber - we KNEW you were a smart girl! Congrats to you too...

    Ok - y'all kick me in the butt. I procrastinated today on the rewriting... But worked out some things that needed to happen so praying tomorrow goes better/faster/cleaner. We shall see.

  68. Thanks, K.C.! I am sooooooo excited!

    I'm thinking I'll do a contest. If you see my book on a book store shelf and take a picture of it and post it on facebook, I'll put you in a drawing for a T-shirt with my book's cover on it. Need to get over to facebook and post that.

  69. Thanks for playing today everyone! Watch for the WE where someone will be receiving a Starbucks card!!

    Don't you just love this place???

  70. Sounds like so much fun! Hopefully I'll get to go to a conference someday. :)

  71. Wow, it sounds wonderfully intense. How do I sign up? Do I have to be published? How do I get to purchase the CD's. It sounds like something I would like to participate in perhaps next year.

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  73. Excellent post, especially the napping end of things. I will be in another hotel (last minute open door and here I come!) but at my age, I will definitely have to pace myself.

    Looking forward to meeting many new friends.