Thursday, May 10, 2018

Post-Conference Hangover: It's Real, People

A Conversation with Ronda Simmons and JC Lynne

We're all recovering from the NCW Conference in our different ways. During the opening schpeel, we offer advice on how to navigate the information overload, and we see people think, "Not going to happen." It isn't long before those 1000 yard stares start. It's fabulous and exhausting and reinvigorating. 

We may be biased, but it was said in multiple conversations how intimate and welcoming the NCW Conference is compared to others. We hope you all came away with some golden nugget to inspire your writing and we can't wait to see you next year. 

For now, I decided to parse with my pal, Ronda to help break down some of the overload. 


I received an email from NCW member Belle Schmidt today. She asked if I'd recovered from the hectic energy of the conference. I still need a couple of days and a nap. To be fair, The Beard returned from a month work assignment in France on the last day of the conference, so it's been busy at the house too. 

All of the kudos go to April and her creative team. I show up with my fire brigade bucket and take orders from Mon Capitaine. I wasn't even fired this year which must be a record. 

I'm already looking forward to next year. As long as Marriott replaces the mirror in the women's bathroom. I may have to take drastic action next year.


Every year I think it can't get any better. Every year it does. This year was a winner hands down. Along with kudos to April and the rest of the NCW team, I'm also going to give props to the Marriott (two r's, two t's) staff. They were first rate. The rooms were comfortable. The food was great. The staff everywhere was friendly.

Once the whirlwind stops spinning, some essential things must be done. I'll share my list so stay tuned for my next blog post!


Ronda, you've been to a few NCW conferences now. What do you enjoy that keeps you coming back?


There is something magic about spending almost three days with other writing industry people. At the NCW conference, mainly, I feel I'm with my tribe.

You've become our go-to emcee at the conference. Do you get stage fright?


I spend a few days before the conference convinced I'm going to bomb. The first thing that helps is I'm a control freak. No comments from the peanut gallery. I'm a former secondary ed teacher. I have mob management skills. Another thing I remind myself is I'm a published author. Sure, my books are only paying for themselves, but I hope we all remember even our panel speakers are still part of the tribe. And finally, I just say f*cki it (You know I do) I'm going to have a good time.

Also, coffee. A lot of coffee.

What was one of your "I'm putting a pin in that one" moments?


For me, even though Shakespeare was our official muse, resilience cropped up as a theme. Jim Davidson's fantastic closing embodied it in graphic detail, but others did as well. Woven through almost every other presenter's message the concept of never giving up stood out. From Peter Heller to Windy Lynn Harris to the ever ebullient and lovely Whitney Davis. 

Also, every side conversation I had with the other agents, publishers, and writers seemed to swing around to keeping on keeping on. Over and over again, we were encouraged to overcome our obstacles and stick with writing.

I also loved the creative team's Top Ten List for Writers. And those Elizabethan Ruffs were quite a statement. 

Thanks, Kerrie for Slamming This Together!

Which was your favorite session?


I didn't sit in on many sessions this year. I enjoy working behind the scenes to keep things humming along, hello, control freak. BUT I have to say a standout moment for me was Jenny Sundstedt. She pretty much stole Friday night's dinner with that kazoo and the ruff. I enjoy emceeing the panel discussions because we always have stellar participants and our attendees ask such smart questions. 

I will say Jim's closing gave me the shivers. Angie Hodapp and I were in the back, and we both agreed neither of us has any desire to climb Everest. My new mantra is "Focus on the rungs, not on the drop." Seriously, it covers everything. 

Did you have a memorably good moment?


Oh man, I have about 100 good moments. 

Talking with Brian Kaufman about his book The Breach, which I highly recommend.

Celebrating with Mary Roberts, who received a full manuscript request from one of the agents. 

Lee Larsen telling me which of my blog posts he really liked. 

Pitching to Patricia Nelson. Whitney Davis's critique session.

Talking geology with Jim Davidson. 

Spending time with writers I know and have admired for a long time, like Patricia Stoltey, Todd Mitchell, JC Lynne, ahem, Laura Mahal, Amy Rivers, David Sharp, Sheala Henke, and April J. Moore. Google them (or hit their websites up at our NCW members page) and buy their books!

I could go on and on.

Hey, I just remembered I promised you an adult beverage, my treat. 


That's my other conference secret, okay, not so secret. And I'll remind you. Don't worry. If all y'all have some great takeaways, leave 'em in the comments!


Patricia Stoltey said...

It was great talking to you and seeing everyone I don't get to see except at conference. I too had a moment when I watched that part of Jim's video where he was inside the tent while avalanches rolled around their camp. Terrifying, even though there he was on the stage, safe and uninjured.

Great idea to split the post-conference blog post between JC and RS. You ladies rock!

Jenny said...

Thanks for sharing your takeaways! I'm still recovering :-)

Oh, and the ruffs are easily made from coffee filters, so anytime you feel crafty or need to channel a little Shakespeare....

Ronda Simmons said...

Always great to see you, too, Patricia! And Jenny, I think I might just make myself a coffee filter ruff for when I need inspiration to write all fancy-like!

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