Sunday, April 25, 2010

Preparing for a Conference

blog65 Friday morning at o’ dark-thirty, I’m going to the Malice Domestic conference in Washington, DC.

Cool things about this: I get to meet (in person) some of the great folks I’ve gotten to know online over the last year or so. And I’m looking forward to the panel I’ll be on Saturday afternoon--"Senior Sleuths versus Middle-Aged Meddlers and Crime-Cracking Kids: How Age Impacts the Story."

Uncool things? Well, I’m packing and flying. I should write a book entitled The Paranoid TravelerTips for Neurotics.

I won’t check luggage because I’m convinced it’ll end up in Belarus.

“So,” my sister asked me, slowly, “you’re wearing an evening dress Saturday for the banquet. And …you’re putting it in your carry-on.”

I nodded.

“Okay. Maybe if you wrap it in tissue paper?” She stops, shaking her head. “I just don’t know how this is going to work out, Elizabeth. What about the rest of your clothes?”

“Well, I’m wearing Friday’s dress on the plane. And I guess I’ll wear that dress to the Berkley dinner that night. Maybe I’ll sleep in it too because I definitely won’t have room for pj’s. And then I’ll just pack a couple sundresses for Saturday and Sunday. If I roll them up they won’t look too bad. There’ll be an iron in the room. And the dress for the banquet I’ll just stick on top of the others. I was going to pack the blue dress, but it was too poofy. My red one looks wrinkled…but I think it’s supposed to. It always looks wrinkled. It’s perfect for carry-on.”

“And shoes?”


“What about your shoes?” she looked pointedly at my flip flops.

“Oh. Well, I’ll probably wear my flip flops there and then pack some dressy sandals for the banquet.”

She’s looking concerned now. I redirect.

“See, I have to have room for the potholders…”


“The fifty potholders. They have “BBQ” on them and I’m going to tie a tag with my Memphis cover on them and give them away at my book signing after the panel.” I’d actually bought ALL of the potholders at the store. They were completely sold out. But they had “BBQ” on them…

So maybe I don’t have a handle on conference attire and packing.


Things I Think I’ve Gotten Right:

I’ve got my business cards and bookmarks printed and ready to go.

I’ve reviewed the program and I have an idea when people will be where. I know the people I really want to meet.

I’ve programmed my agent’s number in my cell phone (she’ll be there) and I’ve programmed the numbers of author friends I’ll be seeing while I’m there.

I’m prepared to be more outgoing than usual. I’ve been more antisocial than usual lately so I could save up all my visiting for this weekend.

I’ve got a couple of short, snappy descriptions of my mysteries if I’m asked what my books are about.

I’ve got something to give out during my book signing. Potholders.

It’s also probably a good idea to carefully gather your clothes and promo material together during the days before the conference—do laundry, pack, study your checklist. Definitely don’t do anything like have your downstairs re-carpeted a couple of days before you leave. Because—ha! That would just be crazy…