Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rough conference start leads to great finish

My trip to Sleuthfest got off to a rough start with a reservations snafu followed by an "Oops, I forgot my suitcase." Yeah. I'm that person. I'd like to say that's never happened before (the suitcase), but I made the same mistake about 25 years ago. Let's hope it's at least another 25 years before it happens again!

Maggie with Nancy J Cohen
But, everyone at the conference was so gracious and accepting of my total Space Cadet moment, that I stopped hyperventilating and enjoyed myself. I met up with Guppies, with Five Star Authors, with 3 of my fellow Booklover's Bench authors, with old friends, with my "home-team" crew from Killer Nashville, and of course, the incomparable Deni Dietz from Five Star.

From left: SL Menear, Maggie, Sandy Parks, Clea Simon, and Judy Knauer
I was fortunate enough to have been placed on two panels and asked to moderate a third. In the first panel about how our sleuths were not so ordinary, I was fortunate enough to be sandwiched between two authors with pilot sleuths (Sandy Parks and SL Menear ) while Clea Simon rounded out the author line up and Judy Knauer did an excellent job of keeping the conversation moving.We were supposed to dress up as our sleuths, if you're wondering about the hats. I'm supposed to be Cleopatra Jones, my accountant and terrible golfer sleuth.

Neil Placky, Jennifer McMahon, Heather Graham, and Maggie T
Panel #2 was all about paranormal mysteries, and I had the great fortune to be seated beside the wonderful Heather Graham. Other panels included Neil Placky and Jennifer McMahon, with moderator Diane Stuckart who did a wonderful job.

I moderated for the cross-promotion panel featuring author-marketing dynamos Nancy J. Cohen and Libby Fischer Hellmann, along with publicist Erin Mitchell.

from left: author Nancy J Cohen, librarian Judy Buckland, and author Elaine Viets from the Librarian and Author Mash up Panel
I attended several panels about the business side of the publishing industry and got a good vibe on what authors are doing to expand their reach. They're doing the kind of marketing they enjoy the most to maintain a consistent social media presence. They're also scrambling to write the next book!

I enjoyed meeting up with new and old friends, and I came home fired up and ready to write!

Good thing because I have a novel to finish. I'm currently at 48,000 words on Doggone It, book 3 in my paranormal dreamwalker series.

Stay in touch!

Maggie Toussaint
Gone and Done It coming in April
Available from Amazon for preorder... now!

26 comments:

  1. Hi, Maggie--I'm very impressed. You keep very good company, it appears. I know you did a fabulous job.
    Mainly, I'm impressed that you could arrive without your luggage including make-up, and rush out in an unknown place and buy all new stuff. Amazing. I couldn't do it.
    Your career is really moving along. I'm proud to know you!

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    1. Celia, You'd be surprised at what you could do in a desperate moment like that. I was at first chilled that I had nothing to wear. Then I realized I had no underclothes or socks. Then the whole personal hygiene and makeup moment hit. It was truly a roller coaster of emotions. Thanks for your friendship and encouragement.

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  2. Maggie, forgetting a suitcase is one of those nightmares that keeps me awake at night before a trip! That and missing the plane, lol. SleuthFest was a WONDERFUL conference and I'm only sorry we didn't have a chance to meet. Next time!

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    1. HI Alyssa, I wish we had crossed paths as well. I really like the size of Sleuthfest - not too big, not too small. Attendance at the panels was very encouraging, so the programming and distribution of panelists was spot on. As for my suitcase moment, I hope I've learned my lesson. It sure burned a hole in my credit card, that's for sure!

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  3. I can never relax when leaving on a trip until I remember what I forgot. But I have to admit your suitcase story trumps anything I've ever left behind. Once it was a plane ticket, but I remembered in time to turn back and get it and still make the flight. On this trip, I didn't forget anything (that I remember), but my phone fell out of my purse in my friend's car as she was giving me a lift from the airport to the hotel. I didn't realize it was missing until after we'd had dinner, and she was on her way home to pack for her trip to Mardi Gras the next day. Luckily, the "find my phone" feature told me where it was, and she was sweet enough to come all the way back to the hotel to drop it off. Which reminds me, I need to send her a BIG thank-you gift. And, for the record, nobody would have known you were traveling "light." You looked just fine all the time.

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    1. Thank you, Terry. It was a challenge to look and act professional when I felt like I had egg splattered all over my face! One thing you can say about Orlando, there are plenty of places to go shopping!

      And it sounds really traumatic to lose your phone. I haven't done that - yet- and I hope that one's not on my karma list. It was a pleasure to see you again at Sleuthfest!!!

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  4. I once forgot the dress I was going to wear to a wedding. Realized it after unpacking at the hotel. Had to go out and buy something quickly in another state. Yes, these things are stressful. But it sounds like you had a great time anyway and met up with some super writers.

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    1. Wow, Jacquie. I think losing a formal outfit would have put me in serious reverse. I rank formal outfits with swimsuit and underwear shopping - things I want to avoid as much as possible. I have several such outfits "saved" in the back of my closet. Sure they are currently out of style, but by the time I need them again, they will be classics.

      You did great to be able to find something fancy in a pinch.

      Thanks for the comment.

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  5. It was great seeing you at the conference, Maggie. And nobody would know you had a suitcase snafu from your stylish clothes.

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    1. You're sweet, Nancy. My husband suggested I not tell anyone about my suitcase disaster, but I couldn't keep it in. Thankfully my sneakers weren't too flashy and worked well with all my new clothes... Thanks for the comment and the good vibes.

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  6. Maggie, I always saw it's those mishaps that make the most entertaining stories and yours certainly was. I arrived at the local airport once to discover that the Super Shuttle had forgotten to take the small suitcase with my medicines and laptop. I was heading to Hawaii for two weeks and that would not work. I called my next door neighbor and she drove to another friend's house who drove 50 miles to the airport. She handed it off to me and I made my flight by 4 minutes. I hope to get to Sleuthfest next year. It sounds like a great conference.

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    1. Cindy, Your suitcase misadventure sounds like a nail bitter! I am compulsive about meds and laptop. They go in my backpack for every trip, and I carry that on my back. There will be no forgetting of the backpack! But we have left cell phone chargers just about everywhere we've ever stayed. They should make travel versions of those things that glow in the dark or are neon colored. Those black colors just don't show up.

      Hope to meet up with you at a conference soon, Cindy!

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  7. Maggie, it sounds like you had a wonderful time in spite of it all. Once, my niece's mother-in-law forgot her suitcase at the HOTEL here in Ok City. The people at the hotel were so nice--I called and explained what happened and they actually took it to the bus station and bussed it back to her.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself and just had a good time (and got a new wardrobe out of it!) once you got settled in. I would have been so rattled I don't know if I could have "moved on" like you did. You are so amazing with all you do!

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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    1. Oh Cheryl, I was definitely rattled. I tried to act like nothing happened but my insides were jello. But after paying all that money for the conference, I needed to make a good impression on my panel, so I sucked it up and gave it my best shot. This conference was definitely one for the record books.

      A suitcase count will be mandatory for all Toussaint trips in the hereafter!

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  8. Forgot your suitcase? That would definitely get me off on the wrong foot. The worst I ever forgot was a business trip to Puerto Rico where I forgot to add my cosmetica drugstore!s bag (toothbrush, deodorant, etc.) to my suitcase before heading out.

    I really hope I can attend Sleuthfest next year. I've never been to that convention, and Florida sounds like the perfect place to visit this time of the year (especially after the crazy winter we've had).

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    1. Hi Patricia,
      Gosh, the cosmetics and drugstore bag part is traumatic too. I had to replace those items as well. At first I thought I could get along without them, but then I realized part of networking is to not scare everyone silly with pale skin, undereye circles, and faded lips. The joys of aging!

      We had quite a few winter refugees at Sleuthfest. Even though I was in a sweater, folks were in the pool swimming, and many folks were walking around with shorts on. I tend to dress winterish for conferences because the meeting rooms are always cold to me.

      Thanks for stopping in, Patricia. Always a pleasure to have you!

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  9. Great post Maggie, and I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has forgotten the suitcase :)

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    1. Hi Kait, Thanks for stopping by and for being of like mind. I have to give my husband credit for being so supportive. He was so patient with me as I melted down and his calm helped me regroup and recover in time to carry off a polished, professional appearance.

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  10. Maggie, so glad you had a wonderful event after the rough start! That's one of my nightmares - forgetting my stuff when I travel. If I do that now, I'll do my best to handle it with as much grace as you did. :)

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    1. Ella, it was not a very comfortable feeling. Luckily I remembered all my book stuff. That would've been impossible to replace at local shops. It was a lesson learned. Just like a pilot, do a pre-flight check...

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  11. Great pictures, Maggie. I heard about that conference from FRW Nancy Cohen and Alyssa Maxwell. apparently it was fantastic.

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    1. Thanks, Mona. I think the first time we met, it might have been a FRW event? That writer's cruise?

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  12. You look very well put together for someone who forgot her suitcase!

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    1. You're kind to say that Morgan. I was lucky enough to find some things that suited my personal style. But it was quite the experience trying to shop in a hurry and to get the right fit. Apparently even though I'm tall and often perceived as slender, my leg type is curvy. A lot of my curves are now in the wrong places...

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  13. I might be able to top the forgotten suitcase. I was on my way to the airport for a conference (not driving) and found myself wondering why everything was so blurry. Then I reached up and realized I didn't have my glasses on.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful conference.

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    1. LD! Oh my goodness. That's quite a goof. The only thing I've done like that is sometimes think I have my glasses on, realize my vision is not very crisp, and reach up to push my glasses up my nose - only to poke myself in the eye because I didn't have the glasses on. We must be two peas in a pod.

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