After the gym, I met my pal Vanessa Kelly for breakfast. She’d found a new-to-her place about a block from the hotel: a Corner Bakery. We have Corner Bakeries in my neighborhood; Mr. M and I had breakfasted there while we were staying in a hotel, waiting for our wood floors to be done. I was so happy to have food I recognized, lol!
My agent took me out to lunch—sadly, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was next door to the Corner Bakery—and one of the highlights of my conference occurred. Well, yes, I enjoy talking to my agent. and the food was excellent, but that wasn’t it. What made my day was the reaction the woman seating us had to my ensemble.
Some personal history here. I grew up with two older brothers—no sisters—and I was a bit of a tomboy. I attended Catholic schools, so I wore uniforms for twelve years, and then I went to basically an all male college—the University of Notre Dame the year it went coed. And then I was home with four sons and a husband who often wears clothing the Salvation Army wouldn’t accept. (He’s loyal though. He has a jeans jacket that he’s owned longer than he’s known me—and we met in 1976.) Now I work at home in my comfy clothes which I think (I hope) are presentable for a trip to the grocery store. So my fashion sense is a bit stunted. My mother was very stylish, but I’m afraid I didn’t inherit her panache. (One of my daughters-in-law just explained to me that it’s acceptable not to wear stockings in the summer. This is so liberating on so many levels!)
So I was feeling a little out of my comfort zone with what I was wearing to lunch. I’d seen a nifty, knit, long black skirt—longer in back than in the front—when I was doing my mad pre-conference shopping. (My pre-con shopping was especially bad this year because of the RITA dress hunt.) I somewhat hesitantly bought it and paired it with a sleeveless black knit tank that I already had as well as a white, glittery sweater thing (yes, I should be a fashion writer). And while I was buying the skirt, I saw a cool necklace on sale—well, it was so inexpensive, I had to buy it, even though it was bigger and flashier than I usually wear. (Who am I kidding? I don’t usually wear jewelry.)
So when the woman seating us said what an awesome dress I was wearing (okay, those weren’t her exact words, but that was definitely her meaning) and, somewhat sheepishly told my agent (who is far more stylish than I ) that her dress was nice, too, I just about floated to the table. And, no, sadly—or perhaps just as well—I did not think to get a picture.
Later that afternoon, at the RITA/Golden Heart reception, I got my finalist certificate.
Best of all, I got to hang out with friends, drink champagne, and nibble on cute little pastries. Here are RITA finalists Jade Lee (on left) and Angie Fox (right). The lovely lady in the middle is Terry McLaughlin, long time pal and RWA President-Elect.
Shortly after this gathering, I headed off to the National Readers Choice Awards—the Duchess of Love was a finalist in that contest as well. The novella didn’t win, but I enjoyed more champagne (I had to pace myself as I didn’t want another headache) and ice cream sundaes. Yum! I don’t think I ever had dinner, but having foreseen that possibility when I looked at my schedule in the morning, I ate enough at lunch to keep body and soul together. See? Eating is definitely tricky at these conferences.