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Monday, July 16, 2007

New Image, New Motivation, New Blog Post Nationals - Dallas 2007!!!

Okay, so I'm back and better than ever!!!

I finished the first book in my series and am still waiting to hear from the editors who have it, so I'll keep you posted on that front. On another front.....I got my hair cut!!! I wanted something a little more hip and stylish, not an easy feat with curly hair, folks. Anyway, I like it so far.

Which picture do you like better? Picture one inside, or picture two outside? I want to update my blog and website, but can't decide which picture to use.

Okay, on to nationals! This was my first nationals ever, and it was simply amazing. I never fly alone and neither does Barb, and to top it all off, we had to fly separate even though we live only a mile apart. We used our husbands frequent flyer miles from two separate airlines. Anyway, I got to Dallas two hours before her, and I thought I could eat lunch while I waited. But no, they wouldn't let me reenter the terminal without a ticket and there were no restaurants by baggage. So I got my bags, then hoofed it outside in 90 plus heat 34 baggage claims outside the airport to get to hers. Never wear new sandals without testing them out first. I had such blisters, I could barely walk. I ate a bag of chex mix and a green tea from a vending machine while I waited, but I can't complain. A ton of people never made it in on Tuesday coming from New York City. The cancellations and delays were terrible.
My poor age agent, Christine Witthohn of Book Cents. She is fabulously amazing. Once Barb and I got to the hotel, after our shuttle went around and around the airport until it was completely full, we called her and she told us to come down to the bar. She and her husband showered us with drinks, and he even brought down a ton of snack food from their room just for me. Then, as if that weren't enough, she gave me her brand new Ocean Pacific flip flops to wear because I didn't bring any other business casual shoes. Let me tell you, I wore them the entire time at the conference, other than my evening heels.
In this next picture, our room is the third row up, overlooking the bar. Not too shabby being on the fourth floor, considering there were like 28 floors or so. The hotel was huge and beautiful, with a really cool bar.

This is a waterfall as you go up from the lobby to get to the bar. Not that I know a ton about the bar or anything, snort. Yeah right;)) The workshops were fabulous too, especially Michael Hauge's from Identity to Essence workshop. He was amazing. Best workshop I've ever taken.

At the top of the escalator is the bar. Really nice with tons of windows looking out. The hotel itself is surrounded by highways, not on a street you can walk down or anything, but there are things to do close by.

Barb and I sat with our CNYRW chapter members on the first lunch. This is Gayle Callen, aka Julia Latham who writes historicals for Avon. We also sat with CJ Barry, aka Samantha Graves who writes futuristic for Love Spell and Romantic Suspense for Grand Central. Carol Lombardo, Shannon and Holly also sat with us, but we couldn't seem to hook up with Suemarie Simpson and Stevi Mittman. Although I did see both of them, and I went to Stevi's workshop on babyboomers and it was awesome.

Here we are with Holly and Shannon, who I kept calling Sholly and Hannon. It was too funny. We had soooo much fun with them. They went to the jousting show and said it was amazing. If you could have seen the pictures of the men they had. They were incredible. It was really like they have in the books. They only came to their chests and the muscles in their thighs were huge, and they were gorgeous. One woman who was with a publisher asked them if they would be cover models for their books and took down their emails. Yum, yum. I wish we would have gone. Barb and I were supposed to go to cowboy red rivers but we never made it. But somehow I doubt the cowboys would have measured up to those hotties.

And here we are, hanging in the bar....yet again....with poor Christine. Are you seeing a theme here, folks???? I really can't say enough about my agent. She's freaking awesome and went way beyond what any other agent would do. She wouldn't let us buy our drinks or food any time she was with us, and she rented two limos. A black one for the Romance Divas dinner, and a white one for our Book Cents dinner. And everybody knows her. She got so many pitches it was incredible. She even had published authors sending all their friends to pitch to her, saying if they didn't have their agent or anything ever happened to their agent, they would want her. I really feel lucky.
Barb and I went to the Chick Lit Party. It was great meeting people from the loop. We sat with Heather Davis and Christina Arbini and met their blog group. What a nice group of women. And Wendy Toliver came over and introduced herself, which I thought was very classy. I don't do enough of that, so cudos for her. My agent also made an appearance there.
And here's the Limo for the Romance Divas dinner. Jim, a thriller writer who pitched to Christine, rode with us, as well as Gemma Halliday on the way home. What a classy lady, we were rooting for her all the way. Thank God she missed the ride down where none of us knew how to do the limo slide, where you sit your butt down and slide across the seats, so we did the limo hunch instead. We stood and bent over so our butts were in everyone's faces as we made our way to the back. Then I couldn't find the "Oh shit bar" when we wipped around the corner, but I reached up and slipped my finger through a doohicky and yanked. It wasn't an oh shit bar, but it worked just as well as I yanked it clear out of the roof and yelled, "Oh shit." It was the air vent....duhhhhh!! It only got worse, folks. The diva dinner was at a mexican restaurant. Let's just say beans and limo rides don't mix. Barb's nametag said Double D Diva and mine said I'm On All Night Diva, because I didn't stop telling funny stories (which sadly were true) the entire conference. My life is my material, I swear. But we had such a good time. Those divas are a lively bunch;))

Then we took a white limo to the Book Cents party. We ate in a very nice italian restaurant until we were stuffed. Liz Lipperman ( a fellow book cents client) is nicknamed One Drink Diva and it fits. I think she only had one drink when she started knocking over glasses at our table. Seriously, she is the sweetest woman alive. I love Liz, and she sure knows how to dress. We also had Anna Perrin who was up for a Golden Heart award for Romantic Suspense eat with us, as well as, Rayna Vause who is the conference coordinator for New Jersey. They are both very nice, but Rayna is a riot. Barb and I partied with her as much as possible. She rocks, people. You'll see what I mean if you ever get the chance to meet her. She had me laughing so hard, I kept doing the "Strike a pose" Madanna song and had to vogue it all the way to the bathroom. All you women who've had children know what I'm talking about. You have to pee so bad, you literally can't walk without stopping ever five steps and striking a pose so you don't wet your pants. You wave like nothing's happening, then you keep going five more steps until you strike another pose because you're laughing so hard. Barb and I did this across the room to the midnight madness bazarre with a whole work crew behind us wondering if we were going into convulsions. It wasn't pretty, trust me. And it always took at least 20 minutes to get to our room because we had to keep stopping. It's the price you pay for having such a damn good time.
But back to the restaurant, this is a story I have to tell. It started in the limo. I was dressed to the nines, looking pretty good I might say. Because of my capris, that is. What are capris you might ask? Well, let me tell you. They are the lovely beige underwear that go from just under your boobs all the way to your knees and suck everything in so you look nice and smooth in your form fitting dress. We were all in the limo, crusing along to dinner, when our limo driver slammed on the breaks as he almost missed the restaurant. All the women are sitting on the side seats and the front, while our agent's husband was sitting in the back, holding "literally" the only oh shit bar in the vehicle. So he remains firmly in place while we go flipping to the side with our legs straight up in the air. His eyes bugged as we up righted ourselves, and I simply said (knowing damn well he saw my lovely capris) "Bet you never thought I had those under there, did you?" Snort. He had no clue what to say. Same as when we got out, all the women tried to do the limo slide or even the limo squat (except Barb who lost her shoes and did the limo crawl) and Jeff reached out a hand to help all the women out. Now my brain said don't do it, Kari, but my funnybone just couldn't let the opportunity slide past, so I did the limo hunch, only backward as I backed out of the limo as Jeff reached out a hand to help me out. All I heard was, "Oh, Christ." It was sooooooo funny. Don't worry, folks, he GETS me as much as my agent does. Like I said.....I'm on all night. Can't seem to help myself.

Oh, my God, I almost forgot another story. Hey, I told you my life is my material. Anyway, I went to the bathroom, striking a pose all the way, and all of the sudden, the lights went out. I'm sitting there, mid-stream, saying someone's in here, wondering why they put the lights on the ouside. Then I realized the lights were on a freaking timer. I swear this could only happen to me. I walked in on the end of someone elses time and had no clue how to reset the stupid thing, so I tried to find the toilet paper in the dark and wash my hands in the dark. Then I even had to readjust my capris in the dark. I came out, adjusting my capris along the way, to let the others know I was singing Stevie Wonder's "I just called to say I'm stuck here" but no one heard me. Like I said, this stuff could only happen to me.

I repeat, LIz is such a sweetheart. She is now going to the New Jersey conference just because of Barb and me. We love you, Liz!!!!

Christine hates my camera, but I love taking pictures of her;))) I meant to print off a picture of Manic Mommy (aka Stephanie Elliot) and glue it to a ping pong paddle, then every even we were at, we were going to say, see we met Manic and she was with us at nationals (like she and swishy were supposed to be...ahem, ahem!!!!) but I forgot. Now, that would have been funny.

Barb and Christine looking hot for the Golden Heart and Rita awards.

Me and Christine looking hot for the awards show. Hey, if you don't believe in yourself, noone else will, right? That's my motto, my mirror just lies;))

And the Book Cents Crew at the awards ceremony dessert buffet. And that's only three of us. There will be a lot more members at the New Jersey Conference. So anyone that can go, go. They are a fun group to par-tay with;)))

All in all, it was the most amazing conference I have ever been to. I can't wait until next year. Hopefully by then I will have sold;))) I promise to be a better blogger from now on. I think I'm finally back on track.
Karitown out!


Lexi said...

Now, if you spent so much time in the bar, I can't figure out why we didn't run into each other! It was a good time, wasn't it? Next year we'll have to be on the lookout and make plans to the bar.

Liz Lipperman said...

The pictures are great. I'm so glad you mentioned how I spilled the water not once but twice!! (and once the next day!!)I really am a one drink only diva.

Meeting you and Barbie was awesome. You two kept me in stitches the entire time. And if you think having a baby qualifies you for Depends, try getting old!!

Both Christine and Jeff treated all of us like we were something special. For four days, we got to be princesses.

I can't wait to meet the rest of the gang in NJ.

Oh, I like the short hair. It looks sassy.

March to the Sea said...

welcome back! Of course good luck w/getting this book deal rolling! Your hair looks fab to boot!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Oh, and I forgot to mention never carry your conference bag as your purse to the awards show. Can you say "newbie" or better yet "moron." The funny thing is, Barb and I didn't even notice we did that until the awards and dessert buffet were over and we were on our way to the bar.

Duhhh, I repeat, morons!!!!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks, March. It's glad to be back. And I promise not to stay away that long again. Bad, bad blogger that I am!!!

Barbie Jo said...

OMG! (as I sit here and twirl my hair. *snort*)

My eyes just watered up while reading your post, while my head was wailing "Memories...." Yes, we had waaayyy too much fun. And i can't wait to do it again!

I'm usually pretty fashion conscious and I can't believe I didn't pick up on the conference bags until it was too late. Yeah, "moron" definitely works for that one.

Jennifer Talty said...

Oddly, while I'm sad I wasn't with you, I'm so glad I went to Thrillerfest!

Sounds like you had a rocken time

And you know which picture I like.

Manic Mom said...

OMG!!! I am JEALOUS!!! But since Swish and I couldn't be there together, we were here in Chicago together, lamenting we weren't THERE!

Here's to us all getting sold and all partying in San Fran next year--that's a goal to shoot for!!

Love the hair!!! So chic!

Beth said...

great pictures and it's so good to read something from you!! ;)

I love, love, LOVE your hair!!! My kids have curly hair, and you are so aint easy getting a good haircut when you ahve curly hair. But your's looks fantastic!

I can't wait to read one/all of your books!

kim said...

Welcome back! Great hair, I vote for the inside pic.

Dim said...

Glad you are back, Kari! Like both of the pics, but I think I like the one that is a little bit of a side shot. Looks like you are up to something...

- D.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Yup, everyone pretty much picked the indoor tilted head shot, so that's the one I'm using! Thanks all for the help. And it's great to be back.

The Dummy said...

Great pictures! I like the indoor photo; it has a nice, soft light. And what's up with the bathroom timer! At least it made the conference even more interesting :)

TTQ said...

I was going to say the inside pic..but it looks as if it was already decided!

Gwyneth Bolton said...

I like the first picture, the side view best. But they both look darn cute. I love the new hair cut. :-)

I'm not commenting on the conference because it looks like you and Barb had a blast and I'm jealous. ;-)



Swishy said...

Love the pictures! It looks like you guys had an absolute BLAST! We are totally going next year!

And I love your hair!

Rayna Vause said...

Hi Kari!

Had a blast meeting you a Barbie.

I was cracking up all over again reading your post.


Kari Lee Townsend said...

We missed you Gwen. Wish you could have gone too, and thanks for everyone's help on the picture. I'm still liking my hair and that's huge for me;))

Waving wildly, Rayna!!!!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Ps. Holly, I'm up here;)) You commented on the wrong post. Snort. We had such a good time at the conference too, and I forgot all about the swampass. Probably a good thing I did because unless you were there, you so wouldn't get it. It was funny, dammit;))

Shannon said...

OMG! You are hilarious! I will never forget "strike a pose"! :) And how about swampass - yea, I used that one on my husband and let me tell you, if I could have had a picture of his face! He thought I was pretty gross for a while! It was great!
Definitely like the pic of you inside better!

Travis Erwin said...

I like the inside picture best.

Thanks for sharing you adventures.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks, Travis. Pretty much everyone likes the inside better, so inside it is;))

Anonymous said...

I like the first picture best...the second one is too shadowy.

Looking forward to you 'new and improved' blog :)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Wow! Sounds like you had an awesome time--makes me wish I'd gone this year. Hopefully next year...

I like the first picture--cute cut!

Jennifer Talty said...

thought you said you were putting up another post - sheesh, Kari, get with the program would ya. One would think it's summer and your kids were under foot or something.

Lexi said...

Okay, you're back, but where are you? What's up? What's new? What's happening?

Come on! I need a reason to procrastinate! Sheesh.

i am said...

OH! Look what i've just found on the network!! To find out who deleted you from the MSN without noticing it, isn't it great?!