Laundry Tote

Deni Dietz

My blog titles seem to be getting longer and longer. Almost as long as my book titles.

Except the book I’m working on now has a one-word title: JUDY. It’s the name of an Elvis song, but I’ll bet you knew that.

Oh Judy, don’t let our sweet love
Wither and die like flowers in the fall
Oh Judy, don’t you know it’s you
I love most of all…

But I digress…

This week’s Quibbles & Bits is: PACKING FOR A CONFERENCE

A week from tomorrow I leave for Madison Wisconsin and Bouchercon (visualize one of those trademark thingies here), and the age-old question has, once again, come up.

How do I lose 20 lbs in 7 days?

Only kidding. Okay, half kidding.

The question is, of course, what to pack?

1]  Smiles. For an author, getting caught without a smile is like locking yourself out of your room while wearing nothing more than a hotel towel (been there, done that, and let me tell you, it’s not as funny as it looks in the movies).

2]  Books. Yes, the Dealers will carry Denise Dietz books. No, they won’t have enough on hand. And they won’t have my OOP (Out Of Print) books. So I’ll have OOPs and back-ups, just in case some wonderful, lovely reader says, "I tried to buy your books, Deni, but the Dealers are out of them."

By the way, I carry a little suitcase filled with my books when I board airplanes, ever since a sweet lady noted my T-shirt with one of my book titles on it and I sold 4 books to fellow flight passengers. Hey, every little bit helps!

3]  What am I forgetting? Oh, yes, clothes. I received the following email from a first-time conference attendee: "I’d planned to wear business style attire. Will I be overdressed? I’m hearing jeans and Nikes are in."

My answer: "Jeans and sneakers are perfectly acceptable. Whatever’s comfortable! I’ll be packing jeans and T-shirts, plus what my husband calls "jumpers" (blazers? suit jackets?) to wear with my jeans. I might pack one skirt, but that’s denim too. And I’ve heard the weather might be somewhat cool, so I’m packing a couple of sweaters. Again, wear whatever’s comfy."

I’ve moderated conference panels. For one conference, the pre-panel instructions told me to "look professional." My dictionary defines professional as "characterized or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession." Apparently, they wanted me to look like a mystery author! My dictionary also defines professional as "engaged in by persons receiving financial return." Hahahahaha.

I’ve attended romance conferences, where I’ve been told that by wearing jeans and tees I don’t project the "proper romance author image."

So I don’t go to romance cons anymore 🙂

In any case, conference attendees only look at pecs and breasts…or wherever the name tag happens to land. Clothes are superfluous.

For those of you who have been to conferences, what is YOUR packing advice?

This week’s Household Hint comes from EYE OF NEWT’s Mercy the Parrot. Mercy is very vain and speaks with a Brit accent. She says: "Spray air freshener to clean your mirrors. It does a good job and leaves a lovely smell to the shine."

Over and Out,

14 thoughts on “Laundry Tote

  1. JT Ellison

    Definitely a light sweater for the conference rooms, they get really chilly. Love the pecs and breasts, that’s the truth. I’ve never spent so much time looking at other people’s chests. And pack a big bag of RELAX. This is fun, not nerve racking.

  2. Terri

    I’m a romance author and have been to three RWA national conferences and whoever told you “…that by wearing jeans and tees I don’t project the “proper romance author image.” must not have ever been to a conference. (I really hate how romance writers are stereotyped!!)The only time anyone actually “dresses up” is at the awards presentation. Everyone from best selling authors to agents and editors wear what they’re comfortable in, be it business attire or jeans. Me, I wear jeans at all times, and depending on what I’m doing (attending a workshop or hanging out) I wear either a nice blouse or t-shirt.Like you say, whatever makes you comfortable.

    As for what to pack, I think you’ve covered it.

    Have a great time! One of these years I’m going to make it to Bouchercon.

  3. Beatrice Brooks

    Hi Donna, nice to have you here. But I have a question. If you plan to *pack* lots of shoes, do you still plan to *buy* lots of shoes? And will you sign my copy of GO TO HELENA HANDBASKET? Yes, I know. That’s 2 questions 🙂

  4. Beatrice Brooks

    JD, JD…while I won’t bring a special suitcase for books, I’ll definitely leave room in the suitcase I tote. I’ve been waiting for THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND to come out in paperback (so I can buy a bunch for gifts – my kids are readers and all have birthdays coming up!), and how can I resist the sequel, GOOD DAY IN HELL, which came out…last Feb? March?


  5. Pari

    I’m one of those folks who dresses up a bit. It’s a change from my normal attire: sweats.

    Conferences give me an opportunity to be an adult, well, sort of, and to pretend I’ve got a professional persona.

    Smiles? Yes.Relax? Yes.Have fun? Yes.Sweaters? Yes (or a light dressy-ish jacket)

    Books? I always ship ’em home because it’s easier in the long run. That may not be the case for the international visitors.

    BTW: That title comes from one of my favorite songs from WWI (or was it WWII). The second line is the one I loved to sing when I was in middle school:

    “While you felucifer to light your fag, smile, boys, that’s the style.”

    Actually the rest of the verse is good, too.

    “What’s the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile. So pack up your troubles in your old kit baaaaaaaag, and smile, smile, smile.”

  6. Beatrice Brooks

    Terri, a couple of romance authors told me I didn’t project the right image [I don’t wear makeup and my hair looks as if it’s been cut by a chain saw], but that’s okay. I used both of them in EYE OF NEWT 🙂

    You see, my witch sleuth, Sydney, doesn’t wear makeup either, and she’s always forgetting to do the laundry and borrowing her brother Davy’s clothes. Davy is a “wizard with a webpage.”

    Attending a romance conference in Branson, Missouri, I brought my ELVIS IS DEAD, DEAL WITH IT! tee.

    No one would speak to me.


  7. B.G. Ritts

    So I can ship all the books home, I’ve mailed a carton with more boxes and shipping supplies to a newsgroup friend — she is driving and will bring it along. That gives me more room for whatever I think I need, mostly jeans, shirts and blouses, shoes — and my pillow.

  8. Pari

    B.G. Did you know that most of the conventions provide shipping service?

    It’s wonderful. You fill out a UPS tag — or whatever — and they do it for you.

    It’s not horribly expensive either.

  9. Elaine

    And don’t forget comfortable shoes!!

    And if you’re a writer-business cards, promo material, etc.

    Oh, and turn your cell off when you’re at a panel.

  10. JDRhoades

    Deni: I’m pleased to announce that THE DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND *is* out in paperback, and copies do make wonderful gifts :-). GOOD DAY IN HELL came out in HC in March.

    Ask for them at your local independent bookstore. If they don’t have it….MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE!

  11. Beatrice Brooks

    Dusty, I knew DRH was in pb, but I’ll be buying it at Bouchercon, tra-la. Then you can buy me a drink (oh, look, I’ve been possessed by the Evil E).

    Pari, you look adorable in whatever you wear, although I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in sweats. Or jeans, for that matter 🙂

    Yes, Elaine, comfy shoes are a must. I like to wear sneaks, sandals and cowboy boots. Um…not all at the same time.

    Hint: Since one can no longer lock one’s suitcases, I carry “good jewelry” in my purse. And remember that little suitcase full of books I mentioned? I also pack some undies and a change of clothing in that — just in case the airlines lose my luggage.

    An airline losing someone’s luggage, Deni? Surely you jest.


  12. B.G. Ritts

    Pari, yes, I’ll use the shipping service, but my boxes are heavier than theirs and I’ll have the box ready to go when I go to ship. I remember watching people getting their stuff packed in ’03, and I was glad I had it done already.


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