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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Emerald City Recap by Jenna Ness

Place: the Coast Hotel in Bellevue, Washington.

Time: Friday, October 6th through Sunday, October 08, 2006.

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m writing this from my hotel room. Once again, Emerald City has been a terrific writing conference. It even sold out this year! (Probably because Noodler Terry McLaughlin was the publicity chair!) The food was terrific, and so was Romance Karaoke night … okay, that part was half terrific, half terrifying.

Here are some of my personal highlights.

At right is a photo of me with Jane Porter at the bookfair! Jane wrote my favorite book of 2006, Flirting With Forty . It’s the kind of story that you try to read slowly and savor, because it’s so witty and wise, but it’s also so hot you just can’t hold back from rushing to the end. Any woman, particularly if you’re a mother between ages of 30 and 50, will love this book. I finished it in a day – I just couldn’t help myself. Flirting With Forty is my pick for 2006’s better-than-sex book.

At left is a photo of me and another of my absolute favorite authors, Julia Quinn! I’ve read all of her deliciously fun, smart Regency-set historicals. My all-time favorite JQ book is The Viscount Who Loved Me. I’m bummed we’re out of Bridgertons, but on the plus side, I can’t wait to read her first non-Bridgerton story, which comes out next summer!

I also saw Debbie Macomber at the bookfair. What a warm personality. She is just like her books – kind, heartwarming, loving. Almost from another era, like a modern Norman Rockwell painting.

At the opening banquet the first night, we sat at a table with YA author Niki Burnham, Harlequin American author Leah Vale, Love Inspired author Terri Reed , and Avon historical author Elizabeth Boyle. Niki was so kind and pretty, Leah was chic, and Terri didn't just look a model, she actually was one a few years back. And the glorious Elizabeth had us cracking up the whole time.

Other highlights …

- Theresa Meyers’s roundtable discussion on publicity/promotion was brilliant. She is smart, smart, smart.

- Missing Cherry Adair’s welcome tea because our flight arrived in Seattle two hours late. (Okay, that’s actually a lowlight. Very low. Sucked, actually. But at one point, we were afraid that the flight might be canceled altogether, so making it to the conference was the highlight.)

- Having everyone be extra nice to me because finally, I look obviously pregnant, instead of just like I've had a few too many banana splits. While I was fanning myself in the 70-degree temperature, the illustrious Stella Cameron actually noticed and instructed me to stand in front of the air conditioner. How cool (and kind) is that? (She and Vicki Lewis Thompson were both very entertaining luncheon speakers!)

Picture to the right: at the Bellevue Square Cheese cake Factory with CBC chapter mates on Saturday night.

From left to right around the table: Denise Hale, Becky Clark, Candis Terry, Christine Carminati (Denise’s critique partner from Houston), me, Tatia Totorica, Amberly Smith and Val Robertson.

At left is an extra shot of Candis and Christine, which I took as punishment since they hid in the group photo.

After dinner, we went to the hotel bar for Romance Karaoke,

where we were joined by Avon author and Boise resident Laura Lee Guhrke. We heard some great singers, like Shelli Stevens, who sang a rendition of “Fever” that brought the house down. Others were just … uh … brave to go up and sing. I left in the middle of one cringe-worthy performance, and dangit! Right after I left, Tatia, Denise and Amberly sang “Wild Thing” to an appreciative crowd! (Warning: look out for Denise! She will coax, lure and intimidate you into singing backup against your will!)

Finally, Sunday morning, Terry McLaughlin corralled us for a “Noodler breakfast.” There were three of us in attendance: Terry, me, and Delle Jacobs.

We look pretty bright-eyed for Sunday morning at 7 a.m., huh?

At lunch we sat with Pat White and Martha Powers. Pat White had bought 40 raffle tickets. Thank goodness she won a basket! (Note to self: buy more raffle tickets next year. Those baskets were amazing!)

Cherry Adair was the farewell speaker. Last year, she’d issued a challenge for all the attendees to promise to “finish the damn book” by a certain date. She asked everyone who’d fulfilled their promise to come to the front. About twenty people went to the podium, and of those, two had even sold their first book since then! Cherry gave them each a framed certificate. Seeing how passionate she is about encouraging her fellow writers is amazing. She really has a big heart. I was just sorry I didn't get to see the end of the presentation, or her bonus workshop afterward. I was doomed not to get the full Cherry Adair experience --we had to leave early to go to Sea-Tac airport, which is where I’m finishing this blog right now.

It was a wonderful conference, GSRWA! Thank you! See you next year!


At 11:49 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Sounds like a great conference. Love the picture of you, Terry and Delle.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Shelli Stevens said...

Jenna it was great to have you at our conference! I can't believe you blogged about my singing! LOL. Those are all great pics.

Cherry is AMAZING! Did you stay long enough to see her draw names from the people who made their goals? She paid for 3 people's registrations to ECWC next year. And then one person's Nationals fee, airfare and hotel. She actually drew my name for the Nationals one, and I cried like a lunatic! I love Cherry!

Anyway, I'm glad you had fun and came over to Seattle. Sorry the weather wasn't better!

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Jennie Lucas said...

Thanks, Trish!

And Shelli, no, I missed seeing Cherry draw the names! I can't believe she did that. What an amazing person. You can just tell that she really, really cares. But to pay for all those registrations! And oh my gosh, an all-expenses paid trip to Nationals!!! WOW!! Congrats!
Does that mean we should be looking forward to seeing you perform more karaoke in Dallas? :)

At 10:21 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Jenna, thanks for your terrific re-cap! It was one wonderful conference, and so good to be with you and Terry again. Terry's workshop was so cool! She makes it fun for everyone, with both great information and her incredible and infcetious enthusiasm.
I wish I could have stayed around for Cherry's speech, especially since I could have been in that finish line. But we had to leave. So Shelli, I am so happy for you, winning that conference fee. That is really super!


At 10:37 PM, Blogger Shelli Stevens said...

Thanks Delle and Jenna! I'm so broke, so it was such a blessing!

Karaoke at Nationals...hmm, I don't know. I want to break into NY someday, think it'll help or hinder my chances? LOL!

I'm totally putting this blog on my sidebar! I'm sorry it took me so long to get here!

At 7:57 AM, Blogger bridget said...

Jenna, this is wonderful--I feel like I went to the conference myself now! Thanks for letting us in on the fun.


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