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So sad today

All my writer friends are in Pittsburgh enjoying the Pennwriters conference. I have been unable to attend a conference for a few years now and I truly miss it.

Pennwriters conference was where I could mingle with other writers, attend workshops, and have a wonderful time being with my writing family.

Hell, I even miss the early morning wake up calls complements of Dave, who always took such joy in my “Idon’tdomorningshandmethatcoffee” misery.

I miss the late night conversations in the bar until it closed then in the lobby until we were chased to our rooms.

I miss handing out chocolate to everyone.

BASKETS! I miss donating them and winning them. LOL! They were my fun thing.

I laughed

My wonderful Pennwriter friends managed to make me laugh like a fool yesterday.

You have no idea how much I needed to laugh. You managed to bring me something that I badly needed.

You were all a bright spot in an otherwise miserable couple of weeks.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And to these two co-conspirators–There are no more words I haven’t said, just big hugs.


No PW conference this year for me

So, because of The Curmudgeon’s MS getting worse and his lovely (NOT) hospital stay, I am missing another Pennwriters Conference. When the conference is in Lancaster, it doesn’t worry me to go because if I have to get home, it is not an 8 hour or more drive.

This year the conference is in Pittsburgh and that is why I had to skip it.

It breaks my heart to miss the conference because I can’t be with my writing friends whom I only see there. It will be an entire year more before I get a chance to see all those crazy, fun people.


Getting ready for the PW conference 2014

     I bought two large baskets and a hat box to add to the three smaller baskets I had. I have stacks of books, note paper, pens, pencils, and some toys. Next, I’ll get the chocolate, snacks, wine, and other things to drink. Hey, the bar isn’t inexpensive.

     Before the fifteenth, I need to drag my suitcase down from the attic, pull out the wheeled computer case, and pack. Haircut on the 7th, yay! Can’t wait, my mop is too long and thick, it feels like I’m wearing a heavy wool cap.

      G is going to keep checking on The Curmudgeon along with a few other friends. I hope Gavin and Patty are on their best behavior.

     I am looking forward to a four-day break. Look out, I’m beyond ready!

HPIM3709You is going to leavez us alone wid da old man? If he don’t havez jelly beans, you iz gonna owe us big time!


The best part of the Pennwriter conference for me this year?

Having my dear, dear friend Deb show up.  I hadn’t seen her since her horrible auto accident five years ago.  Yes, there were many tears of joy.

Wheeeeee, whee, whee!

Carefully check out all the baskets…

Buy a bunch of tickets…Dave’s arm length is best…

Place tickets in bags for baskets you hope to win….

Win baskets to take home.


     I’ve almost finished packing.  Going through my check list.  Wine packed?  Yes.  Corkscrew packed?  Yes.  Chocolate packed?  Yes.  Okay, that takes care of the important things…

      I hope all my friends will keep an eye on The Curmudgeon while I’m gone.

      See you all Monday!  I’m out of here!

PW Con Sunday


     Sunday rolled around all too soon, because not only I was up until 4:30 a.m., but also because it will be another long year before I will see many of my Pennwriters friends.  The last day always makes me sad.

     I slept through the alarm clock while my roommate showered and dressed.  She said she had to shake me hard before I woke up.  I didn’t hear the alarm at all but she says she heard it while she was in the shower.  Can you say, dead to the world? 

     Dave banged on our door and we went down for breakfast—I do love the hotel’s breakfast buffet.

     From 9:15 to 10:15, we had our choice of five different sessions.  In addition, from 10:30 to 11:30, there were four more offerings.  Oh, what to do what to do….  Getting more coffee came to mind.  After the third cup, I knew I’d embarrass myself by falling asleep in a session and most likely falling off my chair when I did.  I opted for the hospitality suite and schmoozing with people.

     If I had not gone to bed at all, I probably would’ve made it to two sessions and been able to hold my own in a coherent conversation.  An hour and a half of sleep makes for a foggy brain.  Five cups of coffee began to wake it in time for the drawing of the baskets.  I brought home three this year.

PW Con Saturday


     Up at six again, this time it was a bit tougher for me to crawl out of bed.  This getting up in the morning is for the birds, not me.  However, after Dave banged on our door I dragged myself downstairs to load up on FOOD.  Getting up early in the morning makes me VERY hungry and I eat like a farmhand.  I couldn’t fit more on my plate and believe me I tried.

     My first session was under the Genre Know-How track.  Researching the police with Kathleen George, her techniques on interviewing police and other professionals for research were very interesting. 

     My next session was in the Improve Your Craft track; your life is poetry with Timons Esaias.  I love Tim’s sessions and always try to go to one if I can.  He makes me THINK and WORK.  This is not something that has come easy to me lately.  Thank you for jump-starting my brain Tim, I needed it.

     The Keynote lunch came next.  Jonathan Maberry gave a dynamic and inspiring speech.  He managed to fire up even the most jaded Pennwriters.  Kudos Jonathan!

     Two more sessions followed, The Geography of a Novel with Kristin Bair O’Keeffe and Acting for Writers with Kathryn Miller Haines &Kathleen George.  None of the sessions disappointed.

     After those sessions came plenty of fun networking and socializing at the Book signing and tea followed by the cocktail party.  I wore a dress and heels, which lasted about two hours for me, and then my feet began to scream in agony.  I limped to the elevators with Dave’s help, waved bye-bye, and went to my room to change.  A little while later, I reappeared in jeans, new T-shirt, and my happy feet were back in flip-flops.  Party time!

PW Con Friday


     Up by six in the morning, breakfast buffet, some socializing with friends and then my roommate and I hit the hospitality suite around eight to go over the day’s schedule.  So many sessions to choose from and we were like kids set loose in the candy store.

     My first session of the day was Jonathan Maberry’s “Writing Fight & Action Scenes.”  I had a blast and it was only nine fifteen in the morning.  Thank you, Jonathan for providing me with a great wake up session. 

     The next session I made a mistake and throughout the entire hour, I wished I’d gone to CJ Lyon’s session instead.  Hey, sometimes you hit a home run and other times you strike out.

     Ramona DeFelice Long’s session on Shaping Story Arcs was quite a draw.

     The last session of the day for me was Balancing Dialogue and Narrative with Terry Friedman.

     Those of us not attending the keynote dinner went out and had some kickass steaks and drinks for half the cost of the dinner.

     Afterwards many of us congregated in the lobby to schmooze….  Over time, the crowd thinned down to me, the night owl.  I wandered up to my room.

PW Con 2011 Thursday’s arrival


     The drive from our area to Pittsburgh is very long.  I’m sure I drove my roommate crazy with the “are we there yet” routine but it helped keep me sane.  Okay, my reasonable facsimile of sane.  I hadn’t slept the night before because had I gone to bed I would’ve only had one or two hours of sleep before we left anyway.

     You have no idea how happy we were when we sighted the hotel.  For those of us not used to ‘big city living,’ driving into Pittsburgh is literal hell.  I am so glad I wasn’t the one behind the wheel.

     We checked in and the bellhop unloaded our car.  I think he was surprised at the amount of stuff we brought along and the ten baskets took up a lot of room.  (He almost went back for a second cart.)  We tip well so he had no complaints when he settled us in our room.  He left smiling.  We called our husbands to let them know we arrived safely.

     As soon as we freshened up, we went to the lobby to watch for other arrivals.  Hungry, we ordered an appetizer to tide us over until dinner.  (Fair warning, do not order their nachos they were awful.  However, they made up for it later at dinner by treating us to a free appetizer.) 

     As each member of ‘the rowdy bunch’ arrived, there was much hugging and kidding around.  When everyone had checked in and freshened up, we all trooped into the restaurant for an excellent dinner.

Time to get ready


     I am counting the hours until the Pennwriters Conference.  I picked out sessions that I want to attend.  I’ve begun packing.  My snack stash is ready.  Business cards are printed, as are envelopes for housekeeping tips, and manuscripts I will work on are ready to print.  I have lists to go over as I load my stuff into my roommate’s car so I don’t forget anything.  It’s only Monday and I KNOW the next few days will crawl by.

     Isn’t it Thursday? 

     I pity my roommate since I know I’m going to be that child in the car who says, “Are we there yet?”

     I hope no one warns her.  Last time she did mention duct tape…