Friday, July 11, 2014

Making the Most of Your Conference Experience

with guest Kathleen Y'Barbo 

1. Make your plans early. 

Often the cost of the conference rises after a certain date. Note that date and secure your spot ahead of time.

The same goes for hotel rooms. If the conference offers a special rate for conferees, grab it early even if you’re not absolutely certain you will be attending. It is much easier to release a room back into the block than it is to scramble around and end up having to stay in another hotel because you waited too long.

Decide as far ahead of time as possible how you will get there. Often groups will gather and caravan to conferences. This is always great fun although not always feasible. If you decide to fly, utilize fare watches to check for the best price. Keep in mind that booking ahead may land you with a nice discount on the fare. 

2. Be prepared. 

Make a packing list at least one week before you depart. Keep your list handy and, if possible, your suitcase open and available. That way you can add your must-brings to the suitcase as you acquire them. Be sure to include chargers for your essential appliances.

Pack for the event and not for the weather. No matter the month, it always seems like hotel conference rooms are chilly. Dress in layers and bring a jacket or light sweater for those frigid classrooms. Talk to others who have been to the conference in prior years to find out what conferees usually wear. Look over photos of previous events to get an idea of what might work best. 

Back in my days as a publicist, I learned the trick of basing my outfit on black tops, trousers, and skirts and accessorizing to change up outfits. By keeping to a neutral palette, all of my clothes work together and I do not have to pack as many items. A bonus is that with black, no one will notice if you got jittery and spilled coffee on your skirt right before you go in to a meeting with an agent or editor.

3. Don’t forget the essentials when packing your conference suitcase:

• A professional-looking portfolio with a legal pad, a pocket for notes or one-sheets, a slot for business cards, and a loop to hold your pen. Even if conferees are given totes or something of that sort upon registration, I find that carrying a portfolio into a meeting makes me feel much more together and prepared. I can easily check before the meeting to be sure I’ve got what I want to present to the editor, and I also have my notes on what I want to discuss. I don’t have to hunt around in a tote for pen, paper or business cards either.

• Plenty of business cards. The last thing you want to do is run out of cards. You’ll be exchanging them with a lot of people, so plan ahead and be sure you’ve got at least several hundred on hand before you leave.

 • Comfortable shoes. Even if you are staying in the same hotel as the conference, it is likely you will be walking quite a distance to get to appointments and workshops. Invest in good quality walking shoes that, if possible, don’t make you look like you’re about to run a marathon. Because I stick to an all black basic wardrobe, I purchased a pair of Born walking shoes that look like office-ready shoes, and I am very glad I did. Save the cute heels for the gala and stick to something that is professional but comfortable. You’ll thank me!

• A water bottle, healthy snacks, etc. Eat healthy, hydrate, and try not to vary much from your usual routine. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so good fuel is essential.


1. Breathe. Yes, breathe. I’ve seen first time conferees get so wound up that they end up exhausting themselves to the point where they are unable to enjoy the conference. Conferences can be daunting, so any time you feel your stress level rising, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Add a prayer for peace and perhaps a reminder of just Who is in control. Repeat when necessary. It works. I promise.

2. Allow for divine appointments. If you’re so busy running from place to place
trying to make something wonderful happen, you just might miss the
something wonderful that’s happening right under your nose.

3. Know where you’re going. As soon as you’re able after picking up your
conference materials, determine where your workshops and meetings will be
held. Have a plan to get to them and an idea of how long it will take to walk
there. Pay attention to the clock and allow at least ten minutes longer than
you think it will take. If you’re early, great. That’s much better than having to
hurry and risk being late.

4. Smile and introduce yourself to conferees you don’t know. Maybe you’re not
the outgoing type. Well guess what. During this conference, you will be. Some
of my best friends started out as strangers I met at writers conferences. You
never know when your smile might be the one that stranger desperately
needed. If you need an inspiration, think of something fun, maybe something you did as a child that never failed to make you grin. 

5. Consider buying audio files of the conference. Often an entire conference of
workshops can be had for a relatively low price if purchased during the
conference. Imagine having every workshop at your fingertips and at your convenience! It’s a great purchase to consider, especially if you were unable to attend all the workshops that caught your interest.


1. Follow up. Gather all those business cards you exchanged and connect with them, either through emails or on social media. Did you promise an agent or editor a proposal or manuscript? Send. It. Not ready to send? Fine, but set a calendar date no more than two months in the future and stick to that date. 

Maybe you went to a workshop you really enjoyed. Odds are that teacher is accessible online. Let him or know not only that you enjoyed the class but why. Pats on the back are few and far between, and they’re so simple to do.

If the conference offers feedback forms, make sure to fill yours out. Without feedback, coordinators cannot continue to improve the services offered to conferees.

2. Send thank you notes. Your mother was right. Saying thank you is not only polite, it is memorable. A simple note, be it an email or an actual card sent via snail mail, is a wonderful way to thank an editor or agent for his or her time or a workshop presenter for what you’ve learned.

Those are a few of my favorite tips. Now tell me some of yours!

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of over forty novels with more than one million copies of her books in print in the United States and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified family law paralegal, she was recently nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well as a Reader’s Choice Award by Romantic Times magazine.  has four grown children, seven bonus children, and her very own hero in combat boots. Find out more about Kathleen at

Opposites Attract.

Widowed contractor Logan Burkett knows exactly what troublemaking teens need: discipline. A former rabble-rouser, Logan had his life turned around by firm guidance and hard work. But try telling that to Pippa Gallagher. The softhearted event planner runs a skate park ministry for troubled teens and thinks a place to be themselves is the answer. As he and Pippa work together renovating the space, they seem to disagree about everything. But when disaster strikes, Logan finds himself feeling very protective of the beautiful planner and surprised to discover they share one very special thing in common…love.  

Second Time Around:

Widowers find that love can bloom again…

Two very lucky commenters will win a print copy of Their Unexpected Love. Leave a comment and check back in the Weekend Edition.


  1. What a helpful post! I always pack too many clothes and too many shoes and my luggage weighs a ton. Thanks for all the helpful hints - they would really work for any trip - and please enter me in the drawing.

  2. I love numbers 2, 4, and 5 under "During." Great advice -- thank you!

  3. Kathleen, good morning!!!!

    Hey, bud, some very good advice here! A great listing with solid advice!!!!!

    And I love that book cover and blurb! Wonderful, Kathleen!!!!

    I will say that when I go to conferences, I do wear the cute shoes and diss the comfort because ....

    Lenora Worth has CORRUPTED me. Or opened my eyes to the glee of cute shoes!!!! :)

    And I'd add one more thing:

    Don't feel too bad when you don't recognize an author/agent/editor who uses a twenty-year-old TOUCHED UP picture.

    It's not your fault, darlings, and yes... it will happen. I promise. Multiple times.


    Smile and nod. Smile and nod... Smile and nod!!!

  4. We've got coffee!!!!!

    And to celebrate swimsuit season, we've got Special K with almonds, skim milk, no fruit (take a vitamin and avoid the carbs, honey) no toast (Awwww.........grumble... growl....)sliced ham, grilled, scrambled eggs and your choice of omelettes.

    Hey, don't yell at me... I didn't invent swimsuits, LOL! :)

  5. Welcome to Seekerville, Kathleen!
    Thanks for the excellent tips for improving the conference experience.

    I try to be alert to those divine appointments during conference. Your advice to go to meetings or workshops early is great because we'll have time to interact with those God puts in our path.

    The year RWA was in Orlando, I wore shoes that killed my feet. A lesson for sure. Now I put comfort first and hope no one looks at my feet. :-)

    I must make new business cards!


  6. Thanks for breakfast, Ruthy! I'm not concerned about swimsuits but what about fitting into my slacks?

    My photo is 10-years-old. Yikes I hope Villagers recognize me. Some days when I look in the mirror I don't recognize me. LOL


  7. Great tips. One color scheme. Portfolio. Healthy snacks.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Your new story sounds great, and I like the cover. Have a great weekend.

  8. Yikes, I get jittery just reading your list (as helpful as it is.) I'm not heading out to a conference any time soon though but I'll keep your breathing advice in mind if I ever do get to one.

    I'd definitely be over the top exited at seeing my favourite authors all in spot (think screaming rock band groupie LOL.) And I'd be pure nervous taking a class. Maybe I should take up yoga as a prep for conference attending!

  9. Good morning Kathleen and welcome to Seekerville. It is a pleasure to have you.

    What great tips for the conference. I really liked your suggestion to pile up the business cards and connect with them. So many times, I pile them and then they sit there. What a great idea to actually get them in your system and contact those you met.

    Have fun today.

  10. Ruthy, a low carb omelet sounds like it will hit the spot. Thanks. And some coffee sounds good also. Is it Dunkin Donut coffee? I love that you can buy that in the store now.

  11. Great tips, Kathleen! I absolutely love the cover of your book! I have a thing for lighthouses and footprints in the sand...beautiful!

  12. GOOD MORNING, Kathleen and welcome to Seekerville.

    Kathleen is in T-Town! My favorite city on earth.

    It took me a while to realize your biz card is PARIS. Tell us the story behind that one!

  13. As a 14 year veteran of conferences my advice is:

    1. bring a power strip

    2. pack protein bars

    3. hang out with strangers

    Yes. That's it. Insightful, eh???

  14. And my next question is the origin of the name Y'Barbo. It's an intriguing name.

  15. "Allow for divine appointments"

    Well said!

  16. Excellent advice as usual, Kathleen! I'm excited for my second time at conference to not be such a newb :)

  17. Okay, enough with this Special K, STUFF!!

    We need real food.

    For those on deadlines: cold pizza and for the rest of us: Tulsa omelets with a side of hash browns and bacon.

  18. Welcome Laurie! Will we see you at RWA or ACFW???

  19. If you are going to RWA be sure to send us a holler at so we can include you in our email burst, letting you know when we are hanging out.

  20. Great post Kathleen!

    And no cute shoes over here! I tried wearing cute shoes to walk into the last conference that I went to. By the time I got to baggage claim, I prayed for my bag to come out quickly so that I could put my flats on. I changed my shoes in front of an author who, I came to learn later, is known as the queen of cute shoes. I felt a little embarrassed that I couldn't take it--but I don't care anymore! Comfort rules! :)

    And now for the buffet...

  21. One piece of advice....if you are by yourself and feeling awkward or lonely....look around. Look for someone who is sitting alone, staring into space, leaning against a wall.

    They're lonely too.

    Go up to them and say, "Hi, mine if I sit with you? I don't know anyone here." (or something like that). Then say, "What do you write?"

    Guaranteed kick off to a great conversation.

    It gets you out of your own head, your own awkwardness, your own loneliness. There are plenty of people like you. Be kind to them and you may make a friend.

  22. Great list of tips, Kathleen.

    Are you coming to ACFW or RWA this year? I haven't seen you forever.

  23. No. I've never met Lenora...maybe there's more than one queen or there is a competition going on that I don't know about. No her name is Angie Daniels and when she gave her Keynote Address people applauded her as she walked to the podium. Everyone in the room admired her ability to walk in cute shoes. I stood and applauded as well...:)

  24. Love it, Piper!! She deserved a standing ovation for feet everywhere.

  25. Great tips, Kathleen.

    I second the need for comfy shoes, and I usually rely on black slacks with a variety of colorful tops. This year I may add some navy! :)

    Here's my tip: Be sure to chat with your favorite authors at the literacy signing. NO NEED TO BUY OUR BOOKS!!! Yes, you CAN buy, but no one expects you to buy. It's all for charity.

    But authors do want to meet you and to have folks who visit their table and say hello. I meet so many first-time conference attendees at the signing, and we keep seeing each other throughout the conference. By the end of the weekend, we're good friends.

    So don't be shy. Stop by at the literacy signing and say hello. I give out hugs and will be waiting to see you with open arms.

  26. May I add a couple more tips...

    If flying, weigh your suitcase before heading to the airport. If your bag is over the 50 lb limit, the airlines add a hefty fee. I pack my heavy items in my carry-on so my checked bag stays below the limit.

    Everyone gets a nametag badge that has space to attach pins. Adding something that draws attention--in a good way--can often make you stand out from the crowd. Even better if there's a story behind the item. An artificial flower, a pin from your home state, a picture of your book cover...I stick Seekerville bookmarks in my name badge. So many folks will comment on the blog when they see the Seekerville name!

  27. KATHLEEN!!! Waving to my former Houston crit group member and later my ACFW-Tulsa chapter mate!

    Great, great tips on conference prep! And the comfortable shoes tip? Ignore at your peril!!!

    I'm heading to RWA in San Antonio later this month, so I'm already examining my wardrobe choices and making sure I have everything I'll need. I foresee at least one more shopping trip in my future this weekend.

  28. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, KATH -- soooooo good to see you here, my friend!!

    And, WOW, what a comprehensive must-have conference list that every attendee needs to print off.

    Hope I get to see you at ACFW in September, girlfriend!


  29. Great tips, lady of the unusual name. Right on.

    I'm not going to RWA, but I plan to be at ACFW.

    When I taught school I was known for my shoes of every color. Now I stick to my most comfortable black all-purpose ones. :)

  30. AND you can get free chocolate at author tables during the Literacy Signing!!

  31. I usually pack too much as well. But in a pinch, I can pack light. And I try to build almost all my outfits around black.

    I'm not going to make it to RWA, but can't wait to see a bunch of you at the ACFW Conference this year! :)

  32. Speaking of healthy snacks, a few times I've prepared my own "trail mix" breakfast. Fiber One, almonds with just a bit of melted white chocolate. After the white chocolate cools, add some dried fruit, raisins, craisens, etc, even a few M&Ms if you you like. Then store in a ziploc bag.

    One year I thought the TSA guy was going to TAKE it, not because it was forbidden, but because he wanted to eat it! lol

  33. You and Ruthy and your M & M breakfast.

    Chocolate for breakfast??

    How about raisins/cranberries, pumpkin seeds (protein), nuts and dried edamame (more protein)?

  34. I just ate the last twizzler in the now I can go on a diet.

  35. Hi Kathleen,
    Solid tips for conference survival are always useful. Thanks for the post.

    I have to remind myself to drink a lot of water during these events. With the hectic scheduling, it's easy to forget. Because of the heating and cooling systems in hotels and hotel rooms, I tend to dry out very quickly and end up with coughing and a sore throat.

    Sending good wishes to all attending!

  36. Tina, I love edamame. I've never heard of it dried.
    I'm trying that.
    I ordered some from Amazon.
    Not sure but I might be getting a one gallon jug.
    Hope I like it. :(

  37. Here's a tip for RWA.
    I skip the literacy signing and just wander among the tables. I see friends and I see famous people and both are super fun.

  38. I'm not going to lose weight by conference. my diet is just to be healthy.
    (I keep hoping that if I say that, and my cause is I will 'accidentally' also lose weight)

    My body never falls for it but I am holding out hope.

  39. I'm pretty sure REAL trail mix is beef jerky and hardtack.

    If you're enjoying it too much, Pam, you're probably doing it wrong.

    Thanks almost always the case with food!

  40. Well dried and salted edamame isn't tasty, but if you are a mindless eater, as I am, it's a great savory treat replacement.

    Remember it's SOY.

    Don't overdue.

  41. The other good one is wasabi peas.

  42. My hubby just mixed us up some "trail mix" (no jerky involved, Mary) with walnuts, almonds, Ghirardelli chocolate chips, Craisins, and roasted peanuts. Yum!

  43. You guys are having way too much fun without me! So while I have my scrambled eggs--sadly no chocolate or Twizzlers in the house--I'm reading all your comments.

    Yes, Ruthie, Leonora will ruin you for sensible shoes. But then the woman is gorgeous...and the pearls?! Well, she's got me thinking of adding a little sparkle to my conference footwear. Maybe a tasteful kitten heel? ;)

    Thank you for your sweet comments about THEIR UNEXPECTED LOVE. That cover is one of my very favorites. The beach, the sand, the footprints...oh, I do wish I were down at the Gulf Coast right now. But as Tina said, I'm in T-Town where it poured yesterday and is back to blazing hot today. Ah, love, for that is why I'm here. Ladies, when I find a man who is worth leaving my beloved Texas for, well, suffice it to say he is quite a man. Adding another smile.

    I'm loving all of your hints and taking note of them. I won't be at RWA this year (boo!) but I will be teaching a Continuing Ed series at ACFW this year. Can't wait to reconnect and get those hugs!

  44. Well, great, we have a huge Seeker contingency going to St. Louis this year.

  45. Great tips, Kathleen! My only tip would be to make yourself available for volunteer opportunities. That's how I happened to be available to drive you and your husband! Obviously, I lived close to the conference last September, so this year will be my first to have to travel and stay in the hotel. I'm already a bit panicky about packing, so I'm definitely taking your advice about preparing a week ahead.

    Seekerville, when Kathleen recommends thank-you notes, she's serious. Her thank-you to me for a simple ride to the hotel was an autographed book! I felt like I should write a thank-you for her thank-you. :-) (And now I'm showing my newbie status. I'm still starstruck by actually being around published authors!)

  46. Hi Kathleen, all this talk has to do with conference.........


  47. I agree, Meghan. I volunteered for the Bookstore at RWA. I used to volunteer for the luncheons but I got run over once, by eager, hungry writers. That ended that. Never stand between a writer and a full plate. EVER.

  48. Hi Kathleen, I'm definitely going to read Their Unexpected Love, love the cover and the content as well.

    This is totally off topic but I seem to remember reading a series of yours years ago and am going crazy trying to think what the series was. I looked through your web page but didn't see anything that looked like it. I think one of the stories had a girl going west to be a school teacher(?) If I'm confusing one story with another sorry, I read a lot and sometimes books overlap in my memory.

  49. Hmmm...Tina, are you thinking of the Women of the West series I wrote for Waterbook? The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper was the first one. She exchanges places with her maid and takes a train to Denver to see the West before (she thinks) returning to New York and her proper life and marriage. Instead, she ends up being mistaken for the new governess and goes along with the ruse.

  50. That was Tracy not Tina..BUT...I read and loved The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper.

    RITA finalist wasn't it??

  51. Sorry Tracey. With an e. Typo. Time out for me.

  52. Dave brought home TWO LARGE packs of Twizzlers for the kids...

    I'm hiding upstairs.

    They're calling me. It's like a GHOST TEMPTATION.

    M&M's for breakfast. That was my former reality... Now it's coffee 1 and coffee 2...

    And then followed by coffee 3.


  53. OOps! Sorry Tracy! Yes, THE CONFIDENTIAL LIFE OF EUGENIA COOPER was a RITA finalist in 2010.

  54. I do bring a bag of M&M's to conferences when I go.

    Brain food.

    And I hit Starbucks when they open.

    Brain food.

    And then I go talk to people and skip classes. #badstudent

    But that's where I first met Kathleen was at an ACFW conference ! :)

    And she's adorable and nice and sincere.

    And a great author.

  55. Meghan, that is newbie... because we are just so down to earth ordinary folks 'round here!!!

    Don't you be awestruck. Although I'm still awestruck around Connealy.

    I can barely BREATHE much less SPEAK when I'm with Mary.

    That might be because of her driving.

    Or not.


  56. I love Pam's recipe but it has a zillion carbs... so I love it but I don't eat it.

    But offer me a selection of cheese???

    Sigh.... :)

    Vermont cheddar. And you know, Kathleen, you can speak to this. How hard is it to stay on a healthy diet when surrounded by so many off-limit choices at a conference??? In a sedentary job, most of us are always conscious of either calories or carbs so what's your advice???

    Mine of course was listed above. ;)

    Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

    But that's the New Yorker rearing its bossy head.

    Anybody want a Twizzler???? They're cherry.

  57. I'm piggy-backing Tina's list:

    Yes to the power strip.

    If I pack protein bars, they would be for TEEEEEEENA.

    And I'm still voting for the downright cute shoes.

    And by cute, I mean seriously c-u-t-e.

  58. She is nice. I am sure she doesn't remember me. But you and Mary and I were hanging near the coffee shop as a matter of fact, in Denver. ACFW. She was hanging with us for a bit.

  59. Kathleen, yes, I blame The Elnora for SO VERY MUCH....


    And most of it so good!!!!! But the shoes... Ah, cute shoes is not something I ever would have thought I'd be jonesing for... and yet...

    I blame The Elnora.

    Feet heal.

    Great looking shoes?

    Worth every gasp and glance of appreciation, LOL!


  60. Kathleen.... Us stay-at-homes for RWA are spending a working weekend being That Cool Author by focusing on gettin' 'er done! Feel free to stop by and join in!

  61. "TELL ME ABOUT PARIS!!!!!" she begged.

  62. Great tips.

    I have two one more.

    1-You will spend extensive time on your feet at the gala waiting to go in and then networking afterward. Try rhinestone sandals. Your feet will thank you and with a long gown, pretty low-heeled sandals always look nice and FEEL better.

    2- Pack or buy healthy snacks just in case the meal doesn't turn out to your liking. We go to the conference for the networking, not the food. If you have a backup snack, you don't have to worry about a rumbling tummy if you have a surprise meal.

  63. One other tip:
    Look for lonely authors. You can always be the one to take a stranger under your wing and introduce them to people you know. Pay it forward.

  64. Well said, Becke!! You sound like a conference veteran.


    And I noticed that RWA is doing less conference food which helps keep down costs, so that's awesome.

    I'd rather grab a coffee at Starbucks and chicken fingers someplace and sit and chat with people.

    That's my kind of cop-a-squat lunch!


  66. Good advice, Kathleen! Thanks for sharing.

  67. I wish I was preparing for Nationals.

    At the same time, I've yet to attend a conference where I can't spend the evening at home. It limits me, but it's a blast.

  68. Maggie calls go out soon, Walt. Right?

  69. Welcome, Kathleen! Thanks for the reminder to start my packing list now. I'm the worst at doing things late the night before I fly out! :)

  70. Tina, how many people do we have on our list of those attending RWA?? (I hope you put me on there, by the way.)

  71. Maggie calls go out in early August.

    TARA calls went out last week. First contest for my Americana manuscript. Didn't final but got a great score, so I was happy.

  72. Small group, Ms. Tippens.

    Two hands and one foot.

    But we'll add two double RITA finalists to that next week when they visit Seekerville.

  73. Great post, Kathleen! Thanks so much for sharing with us today! :)

  74. Walt, I think that's like the best of both worlds. And honestly, you have M&M there. I don't know if a national conference, no matter which one, offers you a whole lot more than how well yours is done. You guys in GA have one of the best RWA groups known to man. It really is an amazingly diverse and industrious group.

  75. Missy, that's so funny!!!

    I remember the long thought-out process of getting things to look just right with those early conferences. I think last time I borrowed Beth's killer black dress, used it for three different things, and used another cute dress for two things.

    And then blue jeans and a shirt for visiting downstairs.

    With my coffee, of course!!!!


  76. Ruthie, it is HARD to eat healthy at conferences. There are so many yummy choices! An editor friend of mine swears by selecting the vegetarian option when she registers for conferences. She says it doesn't make her feel sluggish like eating from the regular menu, and if she wants to splurge or nibble, at least she's getting her veggies in during the meals. Going gluten free for meals is another option.

  77. I see I missed a question. Y'Barbo is Spanish in origin. The original Y'Barbo came to Texas (it wasn't Texas at the time, of course) in the 1700s and settled the town of Nacogdoches. Those of you who will be attending the annual Pulpwood Queen weekend there can see the Y'Barbo statue in the park near downtown.

  78. was bliss, although my visit was very short. Christmas 2009, my four children got together and sent me to London to visit my eldest son, Josh, who was studying for his Masters degree in Fine Arts at Chelsea College (he's now getting his PhD). We took the train to Paris and had a grand 24 hours there before returning to London. The photo I use on my business cards is of Josh taking a picture of me atop the Arc d'Triomphe. It was taken by my cousin, who also lives in London, or did at the time. Such a wonderful city, and such wonderful memories.

  79. Wow, great Paris story.

    And statue story as well.

  80. Welcome Kathleen, and thank you for these great tips! :)
    Even though I've attended 5 ACFW and 1 RWA conference, I ALWAYS need reminders.
    At my 4th ACFW conference, a kind stranger looked at me, smiled, and asked if I was a first-time attendee. I laughed ([politely) and told her it was my 4th conference, but I probably looked so overwhelmed that it appeared I was at my very first. ;)

    Recently read your book THEIR UNEXPECTED LOVE and really enjoyed it (loved that cover too!). In fact, I was on our family vacation at a FL beach, found your book at the local Walmart, and was thrilled! (*sigh* Wishing I was still in the beach house we rented).

    Thanks again for sharing today!
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  81. WALT, congrats on the good scores! I loved what I've read of your other work so I can imagine the Americana piece is excellent.

    Did I ever tell you I'm writing a YA set in Kyoto? You make all that research look effortless. My brain is going to pop from all the details, but I'm loving it.

  82. Kathleen, you know what astounds me about your name? It was never changed! Of course, if your ancestor was a wealthy nobleman there was a probably a lot more chance of that.

    Thanks for giving us the background. I've always wondered.

  83. Did someone mention shoes? Good advice on the comfortable shoes. Foot Smart catalog and website--the go-to site for comfy shoes. And go thee to the drugstore and buy some blister crème. You rub this stuff on all your weak spots and it will keep blisters away and soothe your feet. Plus it conditions your shoes to behave :)
    My advice--try kitten heels. Not as high-heeled but very lady like. And we all want to be lady like at conference. Think like a boss, act like a lady. Can't wait to see all of you!

  84. Kathleen-
    Someday, I would love to go to a conference! I am a reader, not a writer but I would love to meet so many writers whose books I read! It's a dream of mine! Thanks for the post that shows what the writers have to think about!!!! I have a question about your newest book??? Is it part of your other series that I think was called Second Time Around also? I read the other books but it's been awhile and I'm trying to think if that was the name of the series!!! Thanks! Valri

  85. I love number two - we get so worried and hurried we forget to slow down and be open to unplanned opportunities. Also conference apps have become popular and I have to say if you are going to RWA the one they have is one of the best - It has a map and you can add you own unofficial events to your personal schedule. I already have everything mapped out - which is good to keep track of it all - I've been know to double book.

  86. Dear Kathleen,
    Thank you for today's blog. I am leaving for the RWA Conference in less than two weeks. I commuted last year, but I will be flying to San Antonio this year. I never even considered a portfolio or some of your other great suggestions. Thanks so much for your blog.

  87. "Think like a boss, act like a lady..."

    Great advice, and now that I've got the shoe thing under my belt, I might try Lenora's behavioral techniques....

    Because sometimes I reverse things and think like a lady and ...


    Act like a boss.

    Highly unattractive.

  88. Kathleen, great advice for conference prep. I'm really crying here...I can't go to either of them. Enjoy both RWA and ACFW enough for me, too!!

  89. Great advice, but I've never managed to pack a week in advance.

    From experience I can say don't bring too many shoes. They really weigh your luggage down. This is a hard one for me because I love shoes.

  90. "Think like a boss; act like a lady." Love that!!

    Thank you for your kind words about Their Unexpected Love. I wish I was at a beach house, too!! And yes, this story is the third in the Second Chances series about widowers falling in love. Each stand alone, although if you've read the other two, you may see some familiar names as secondary and background characters.

  91. Lenora! All that good advice. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

  92. Terri, I pack the night before.

    I shop two days before. I might loose some more poundage!!!!

  93. Great ideas, Kathleen!

    I'd love to win a copy of your novel. Sounds enticing.

  94. One last word about packing and preparing for conference. Two words, actually: make lists.

    At least one week before, I pull out my legal pad and start two lists: To Bring and To Do. As I think of things to go on these lists, I add them. As I accomplish the task, I draw a line through the item. Simple and low tech, but it works.

    So what comprises each list? My To Bring list has everything I want to put in my suitcase to take to the conference. I put out my bags and start filling them a few days before. Each time I put an item in my bag, I cross it off the list. Usually the last things in are my makeup case and my chargers, so I'm crossing things off the list almost until the minute I walk out the door.

    My To Do list is the list of tasks I need to accomplish such as purchasing healthy snacks, ordering books to bring, etc. As I do those, I cross them off. Generally a day or two before I'm leaving, I go over the list to be sure I've done everything.

    So that's it. Again, low tech but it works for me. Thank you for having me on Seekerville. I've had a great time. See you at the conference!!

  95. Thanks for sharing these great tips Kathleen! I hadn't even thought about the shoes or portfolio. After reading this I hopped over to Amazon to grab these necessary items. Now I'm better prepared for September!