Spring Fling Flung: Part 1

April 27, 2010 at 9:02 am (Events)

Hello, lovely blog followers. Sorry I’ve been a little quiet lately, but I have a good excuse–Chicago North RWA’s Spring Fling Conference this past weekend. I’ve been looking forward to Spring Fling (to be summarily called SF) since at least last fall. With headliners Julia Quinn and Cherry Adair, it was a conference not to be missed. And as time went by and other awesome historical presenters such as Jenna Peterson and Elizabeth Hoyt were added, I was swooning. Plus, it was in one of the dearest places of my heart, Chicago. And I was going to see wonderful friends there, some again and some to be met in person for the first time.

You want to know how geeked up I was for this conference? Not more than 5 minutes after we got off the plane, I had Montana take a picture of me in O’Hare. (Note to anybody who cares: I am a Tourist. Be prepared for me to point at obvious landmarks, fun sites, and even local flora and fauna and squee. I kid you not. In the hotel shuttle van to the NorthBrook Mall on Thursday night, I pointed out the window and yelled, “Duck!” because I saw a beautiful male mallard duck. Poor Montana.)

So here’s me at O’Hare:

And yes, if I could have gotten to my camera in time, I would have taken a picture of the duck.

The conference started Friday afternoon, and I got to spend a wonderful few hours before then talking with my friend Jenifer, who I’ve only chatted with online. I had honestly been a little nervous to meet her, but as soon as the Firefly/Serenity and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog discussion started, it was like we were old friends. Then I had the great joy of introducing her to another of my dear friends, Marilyn Brant. Marilyn had even gone to the trouble of having a special welcome picture of Jon Bon Jovi put into my conference materials, which made me feel pretty dang special! And to make me feel even more special, Pamala Knight Duffy was at the registration table, and I got to meet her IRL, too. So not even ten minutes into the conference and I’d already received 3 huge hugs–I was definitely off to a great start!

I was so busy talking I missed the first set of sessions, but we managed to make it to the Julia Quinn/Cherry Adair Q&A in the late afternoon. Now I’ve heard Cherry before on my RWA discs and knew she was a total cut-up, but I have to say I was surprised about Ms. Quinn. For some reason I had it in my head she was a very proper and polite woman (which she totally is!), but she also has a hysterical sense of humor! Hearing those two talk about their writing, their first sale, and challenges throughout was both education and highly entertaining! And just to hear Cherry Adair talk about an interaction with an editor that got a little messy when all she needed to hear was “Make the heroine more motivated,” was worth the price of admission! Good advice for any writer, if you ask me!

Dinner, as are all meals at these conferences, was a wonderful chance to meet new people. I think our table was the traveler’s table because out of ten, we had people there from Arizona, Michigan, New York and South Carolina. And the yummy pasta, though a little bit spicy, hit the spot on a cold and rainy day. And to celebrate this conference, I had to go upstairs and change into my casual evening attire, complete with the Rock-Star, Kick-Ass boots that have been having such a fun year.

After dinner was the Editor and Agent panel, with Paige Wheeler, Laurie McLean, Diana Fox, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe and Selena James. I was lucky enough to just be able to listen and enjoy as I was signed by my agent earlier this year, and loved their stories of the craziest queries/submissions they’d received (a wedding invitation with a link to a manuscript, a book read into their voice mail, and the ever classic “I’m the next Nora/J.K. Rowling/NYT bestseller!”) And I thought it quite crafty of the conference organizers to lull the masses with the pasta for dinner (carb snooze, anyone?), then have a delicious chocolate reception directly after the agent and editor panel, thus tempting some away from pouncing on the agents by throwing handfuls of brownies, chocolate-covered strawberries and shots of chocolate mousse in the opposite direction. Crafty, Chicago North. Crafty, indeed.

Day one wound down at the hotel lounge (as always happens at a RWA conference) and there was much more talking, laughing and meeting of new people. (Hi, Laura!) Yes, there were paramedics and some firefighters, but it seems like this is also getting to be status quo at any good romance writers’ conference. (Woman fell and twisted her ankle, but I think she’s okay. She looked okay when being taken out in a wheelchair. Of course, one of the firefighters was pushing her chair, so she may have been feeling no pain at that point.)

Stay tuned later in the week for Day Two events, including the amazing and spectacular Smart Bitch Sarah, the incredible Jenna Peterson, and more with Julia Quinn and Cherry Adair. And how I dodged the looming karaoke threat for the whole weekend!



  1. Judy Croome said,

    All this on Day One only? Sounds like a fantastic, fun and worthwhile experience!

  2. jenifer said,

    Couldn’t agree more that this was a fabulous conference! It was so fun to meet you in person, and when Marilyn recognized me from the Cherries I thought I might faint. πŸ˜€

  3. Jenny Brown said,

    What a wonderful conference! I hope I’ll be able to go to a few of these in years to come, too!


  4. coffeegirl88 said,

    Sounds like you guys had a blast! Looking forward to the next post and more pictures.

  5. Pamela Cayne said,

    Judy–yes, it was awesome! I think most of us who were there are already saying, “Looking forward to 2012!” πŸ™‚

    Jen–yes, that was a golden moment when Marilyn realized who you were! And I agree–it was a blast to finally meet you in person, too! πŸ˜€

  6. Pamela Cayne said,

    Jenny–I’m sure before too long you’re going to be asked to present at these! πŸ™‚

    Coffee–there are pix from this conference all over the web, which is a good thing because I was somewhat poor at using my camera. But the memories are fabulous! πŸ˜€

    • Melina said,

      Wow! So glad you got to go to this!

      First of all, how could you not take a picture in that famous part of O’Hare? Second of all, love the boots!

      Don’t even get me started on how jealous I am that you got to see the lovely Marilyn and finally meet Jenifer.

      I agree. Cherry Adair is a fabulous speaker. And SB Sarah? The best! I want to see a picture of Courtney Milan’s famous jacket too.

      Can’t wait for the second part of the update! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  7. Pamala Knight said,

    Just popping out to say first, I’m glad you had a good time. It was great to get to meet you in person and you’re just as lovely in the flesh as you are online.

    Next, you did indeed dodge a bullet because I had a whole playlist of songs for you to karaoke but you skated by on that front. Next time, there will be singing *twirls fake moustache*


  8. Caryn said,

    That sounds amazing!!! Wish I could have been there, too.

  9. Marilyn Brant said,

    LOVED your report, Pam dear! LOVED (x 5K) getting to spend some conference time with you, Montana and Jen (*waving*–of course I recognized you!!). LOVED your awesome boots! And LOVED what an incredible job Pamala and June did organizing the conference…but, oh, you have NO IDEA how glad I am that we escaped the threat of karaoke… That Pamala cannot be trusted. πŸ™‚

    Looking forward to your Part 2!!

    p.s. Melina–I’m hoping we’ll get to cross paths again in Nashville!

  10. Heather Snow said,

    Such a pleasure to meet you this weekend. It was a wonderful conference, and it’s almost as fun reading everyone’s takes on it.

    Look forward to seeing you again in Nashville πŸ™‚

  11. Pamela Cayne said,

    Melina–it just wasn’t the same without you though, and neither will Nashville. However, I promise to take good notes and better pictures next time! πŸ™‚

    Pamala–dodge? Dodge? Madam, I am insulted (but never really was since you called me lovely!) And I never heard Bon Jovi singing, so maybe next time you need to turn the volume up! (tee hee!)

    Caryn–nah, you had somewhere much better to be. *hugs to little Maddie!* πŸ™‚

  12. Pamela Cayne said,

    Marilyn–I have heard more reports on what an awesome conference it was and I totally agree! It was so lovely being able to spend a few minutes with you (even if it took paramedics to clear the area!) and will have to arrange for another meeting in Nashville! πŸ˜€

    Heather–yes, yes, yes! I’ve been delighting in reading the reports and seeing the pictures and can’t wait to do it all again in 3 months! Until then, keep us posted on your fantastic journey! πŸ™‚

  13. L.A. Mitchell said,

    Aw..thanks so much for the pictures, Pam. Sounds like fun. Cherry Adair is one of my favorite people to sit with in the lounge. Super fun and very generous. She also penned me with my pen name πŸ˜‰

  14. Tweets that mention Spring Fling Flung: Part 1 Β« Pamela Cayne -- Topsy.com said,

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pamela Cayne. Pamela Cayne said: My #SF2010 Day One recap, including Jon Bon Jovi, firefighters, and chocolate. It was a helluva Friday! http://bit.ly/d0so9Y […]

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