Are We there Yet?

Can you imagine my parents shepherding seven children on an outing by car, bus, or train? It must have been horrendous. At least on the train they had food, and toilets. But the car? We didn’t have seat belts or air conditioning back then (I know…weird huh?) and five little butts had to cram into the back seat while one sat up front between Mum and Dad and my mother held the youngest on her lap. To say it was a sweaty ordeal is the understatement of the year. But somehow we survived. And those car trips were always an adventure. I don’t recall ever hearing that refrain of “Are we there yet?” The photo below is of the seven of us taken about twenty years ago while sitting in the mulberry tree in Mum’s backyard.

Do you know old people who get dressed three hours before an event and then sit in the window searching for the car that is coming to pick them up? That’s me, today. I’m ready, damn it. Why is this not happening? Geez. I talked to Mum in Australia, my mother in law in NYC, my kids in Los Angeles. I checked in with the person who’ll stay at my house and care for my animals, (one goldfish, ha ha) printed up the driving directions, had the car washed and gassed up, checked the tire pressures, paid my bills, organized my papers, selected the workshops I want to attend, and the events I have to attend. And I put the clothes and shoes and stuff into an empty closet ready to go into the luggage. I’ve had the haircut and color, the facial. Tomorrow I’ll get the nails done. Good. I’ll have something important to do. : )

My gown for the awards event has been tried on and I’ve walked around in my silver shoes and haven’t turned an ankle once. Oh, did I tell you I have a new gown? Nope? The other one became too big but fortunately Bloomingdales took it back without question and I purchased one I like even better, it’s more me, and it was $150 cheaper. (Which is even more me.) It’s navy blue, and has a sheer ruched three quarter sleeve so it covers my ugly melanoma surgery scar. I know. I know. I should be over that by now, but I’m not.

Anyway, I’m talking about RWA National conference in case I’ve lost you. There’s always a high degree of excitement/nervousness that builds prior to the trip. This year it’s being held in my backyard, so I’d been a little less pressured. Plus I’d been super busy with copyedits. Then last weekend hit and I figured I’d better hustle around and complete some things. It was time to write my pitch on an entirely different story. It took a while to get out of editing mode and into characters that had been sitting quietly in the wings. I went up to Los Angeles and attended a workshop titled, Itching to Pitch, given by author Dee J. Adams. It was very informative. However, when I wrote my pitch on Thursday it was as dry as two day old toast that had never been buttered. I thought, well hell I wouldn’t acquire that story if I were an agent or editor. A friend on Jenny Crusie’s forums gave me some feedback. She was very nice but agreed it was too stiff, too formal. So I sat down yesterday and wrote one that I enjoyed writing and even had fun with. I think that’s important. It had to be in my natural speaking voice not the voice of an old lady watching her p’s and q’s. : )

So, I’m done. I’m ready, and it’s only Monday. What about you? Not going? Going? Ready? Not ready?

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31 Responses to Are We there Yet?

  1. Janie Emaus says:

    I’ll be there on Wednesday. I’m not completely ready yet, but I’m excited as this will be my first Literacy Signing. See you there!

  2. Roz Lee says:

    Going!! All packed! Ready to fly! I’m sure there’s something I’m forgetting, but it can’t be that important – can it? LOL Congrats again on the GH final. I’ll be one of many in the audience cheering for you!

    • Robena Grant says:

      I forgot that your flying back to Cali. Hope the trip is smooth.
      Thanks for the good wishes. I’m rooting for one particular person in my category and hope she wins. : )

  3. Hi Robena – I’m with you, let’s get this show on the road. I’m doing my laundry now and plan to pack tomorrow. One thing I’ve changed, I realized arriving on Wednesday would be too hectic so I’ve booked Tuesday night and will drive after dinner. I feel much better about things now, because i didn’t want to start out conference uptight and frazzled, you know?
    I’m nervous, and I don’t even have to pitch or anything. I can only imagine what a GH final must feel like! I’m putting my money on you kiddo!

    • Robena says:

      That’s a good plan, Lynne. you’ll feel much better. Looking forward to meeting up, and to buying an autographed copy of your Doctor Tall Dark and Dangerous, for Betty. She’s a huge fan.

      Hope you aren’t betting too much money. Ha ha. Like maybe a dollar?

  4. Melina says:

    I’m so excited for you! Congratulations. I wish I could attend this year, but in any case, I’ll be cheering for you on Saturday! 🙂

  5. Dee J. says:

    Okay… now I’m really freaking out. I’ve barely gotten started. Still need to pull out the suitcase. I have about 20 hours to get ready. Going to go with the flow this year and see how that approach works. LOL. See you there!

    • Robena Grant says:

      Don’t freak out! You have a double whammy going on. Today the release of your third novel: Dangerously Close, and then the trip to Nationals. I’d be dizzy by now but you are of much stronger stock. : )

  6. I so want to be there cheering you on, but alas, life and work is getting in the way (and that pesky thing called budget). I’m closing a chapter of my life this week after ten years. However, I would love to take you out to lunch to celebrate, and know that I’ll be there in spirit. I can already feel the excitement for RWA here in Chino Hills! Go Robena!

    • Robena Grant says:

      I’ll wave to you Wednesday morning as Gina and I drive down there. : ) And yes, lets do lunch once things cool down a little. We have so much to talk about.

  7. Whee! We are gonna have SUCH a good time! I’m working the registration desk from 8am to noon, so hopefully I’ll see you then. Am I ready? Oh please – of COURSE not! Barely got my laundry started and then I had to come into work. I figure I’ll work my tail off when I get home tonight.

    And of course, HUGE waves of positivity on your nomination for the GH! We’re ready to have a LARA winner again, right? I’m so looking forward to cheering you on Saturday!

  8. Nan says:

    Roben, how I wish I could be there to meet you in person and sit down for a long chat! Enjoy your moment in the spotlight, mon amie! You’ve earned it! Promise to post lots of pictures of the GH awards banquet and hug my crit partner, Sandy James, when you see her, okay?

    • Robena Grant says:

      I wish you could be there too. But maybe next year when it’s closer for you and when you don’t have a brand spanking new grandchild. I’ll try to stop by Sandy’s table at the literacy signing event.

  9. Deborah Blake says:

    I’m not going this year (too far, too expensive, although I went last year when it was in *my* backyard). But I will be rooting for you with all my might! Have a great Nationals!

    And we only had 3 kids in the car for our long trips, and I suspect we asked “how long until we get there?” way too often. My father finally started saying: 45 minutes. Didn’t matter if we’d just pulled out of the driveway or almost finished the 7 hr trip to Cape Cod. The answer was always, “45 minutes.” LOL

  10. Robena Grant says:

    Oh, thanks Deb. Yes, I do understand the expense. I didn’t go last year as I’d had a springtime family reunion in Australia. Thanks for your good wishes.

    I like your story on trips. : )

  11. Skye says:

    Not going. Waiting for it to be in Houston. 🙂

    Fingers crossed for you for the award!

  12. Robena Grant says:

    They don’t choose Houston, Skye. : ) So you had better polish that manuscript, and then start another one, and you’ll be ready for the next time they hold the conference in Dallas.

    Thanks for the good wishes!

  13. Hey Roben! Your post just made me giddy with excitement and totally overwhelmed at the amount of STUFF I’ve still got to do! Holy jeez! But I’m off to put these pages in the mail for Dixie-Kane, and then it’s home for laundry and packing. And Tuesday I will be doing the food shopping for back up food options in the hotel room and so as not to break the bank.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    ~V

  14. Robena Grant says:

    Good luck again on the Dixie Kane. It was always one of my favorite contests to enter. : ) Yep. I’m doing my Trader Joe’s run tomorrow. Must stock up on healthy munchies so I can zipper up the zipper on the gown come Saturday night. Thanks for the finger crossing!

  15. I always think I want to go but I never commit cause I just don’t do well in big crowds. I tend to end up off to the side watching people.
    I am excited for you and anxious to hear that you’ve won the award, though!
    Pic of the new dress or not enough time?

    • Robena Grant says:

      The first time I went was NYC 2003 and I stayed off site, didn’t know a soul and hardly spoke to anyone. But I’d also just joined my chapter. By the next year I knew the ropes. : )
      I took photos but they didn’t turn out. I’m doing a post nationals blog next Monday and hope someone manages to take a decent photo. Thanks for the good thoughts. : )

  16. I can’t wait to see you there and cheer you on on Saturday night!!

  17. I love that picture of you and your sibs! We had a big station wagon when I was growing up, and I remember sleeping on the floor between the front and back seats! No seatbelts, nothing. We must have been very small, or that floor must have been huge. A few years later we got a wagon that had small jump seats that flipped up in the rear. We’d fight over who got to sit in those.

    I won’t be at RWA this year, because it’s all the way over there on your coast! But I will be rooting for you and my friend Colette Auclair. (I checked; you’re in different categories, so no worries.) I’m so excited for you–have a great time!

  18. Robena Grant says:

    Hi Megan, love your story. Funny how everything looked so big when we were small. : ) Yes, I know Colette from our Firebirds group. Did not know you were friends. I’m looking forward to meeting her in person. Thanks for the good wishes. : 0

  19. Carol says:

    I will be cheering for you, sitting in the audience and hope to meet you just to say hello and congratulate you. Lots to do before I get on the plane. I’m going to write my pitch in the air.

  20. Robena Grant says:

    Carol, I would love to meet you. I’m staying at the Marriott. Thanks for you kind words. Yes, those pitches are hard to do. I’m still not thrilled with mine, but well… .

  21. Julie says:

    Cheers, whistles, gratuitous waving and large hand motions from up here aimed down there in your direction! I’ve got the pom-poms all ready to go.

    (We all bunched together without seatbelts too. What we really wished for though, was a functioning heater.)