Tag Archives: conference

A Little Adventure For Me

Jillian here. Happy March. I went on a little adventure last weekend to a conference in Orlando and got to spend some time with my son and his family. It was fun, but exhausting as the drive is always a pain- about 7 hours each way. AND when I stay at my son’s, since they took down the mattress in their guest room, they put up a blow up bed. And it tends to lose air in the night, so I have to keep turning on the motor to re-blow it up to the full air setting or it’s like trying to crawl out of a bowl of soup when I have to take my mid-night trips to the bathroom. LOL – so, good rest is hard to get. AND one time on the first night, in the dark, I turned the motor switch the wrong way and ended up flat on the cold, wood floor. That was insane, but at least I could get it back full of air in short order. 🙂 And then my hip hurt. Woe was me. 🙂

While my daughter-in-law was out with her mother’s group on Thursday night, my son, grandson and I went for ice cream to a place called Jeremiah’s. Their logo is a frog from the “Jeremiah was a bull frog” song- my son, the architect, is the designer for a number of them as they move from a regional company to expanding with franchises in a number of states, so I wanted to check them out as we don’t have them here.

The first morning I was there, when my grandson woke, the first thing he said was, “Where’s Nonna?” His mom told him I was in the kitchen. He said, “I want to see Nonna.” She said, “Let’s change your diaper first.” He said, “No. See Nonna first.” That made my heart sing. He’s a sweetie AND he likes me! 🙂

The hotel where I stayed one night during the conference has inside balconies and you can actually go out on them. There’s a rail but no safety measures. I was on the 7th floor. The lawyer in me was screaming inside at the risk factor there. LOL

While at the conference, I attended a dinner for the former state officers of the organization and the theme was Mardi Gras. We all got beads and masks so I took them home for my grandson. He had a blast with them- putting them on his mom, dad and me.

It was a great visit–too short– and I’m dragging my tailfeathers this week at work, but I wouldn’t trade sleep for time with these people I love.

Praying for the people in the Ukraine who are being bombed and losing loved ones while they live in terror. I can’t even imagine their fear and anxiety and grief.

RNA Conference July 2014

A few weeks Tricia and meago Tricia and I ventured up north for the 2014 RNA Conference. It was a pleasure to be driven for once, and thanks to Tricia’s skilful driving we arrived relaxed and rearing to go, if a little late for afternoon tea with no thanks to the motorway traffic, miles of roadworks and an incident that had blocked one of the two lanes through the roadworks.

The venue this year was Harper Adams University near Telford, Shropshire, an agricultural college where we were lulled to sleep by the wafting smelly air from the pig pens – good, healthy country air, as my mother would say. That aside, the food was exceptionally good, all prepared and produced at the college, and here I was even brave enough to sample goats’ cheese, which was excellent. I had always imagined it to be strong tasting and overpowering; it was quite the contrary.

Our quarters were in the student residence halls. My, student digs have certainly come on some over the years! A comfy bed, decent furniture and wardrobe and en suite bathroom, with every-thing else required (irons, kettles, fridges, etc) in the communal kitchen areas, where much socialising (and drinking) took place well into the night, with the exception of our first evening. Many had settled themselves on the lawns outside our halls for a picnic party. Too tired to join in, Tricia and I retired to the kitchen for a quick nightcap and left the youngsters outside to enjoy themselves. One of the main attractions of these conferences is catching up with old friends, finally meeting people perhaps only ‘spoken’ with via the internet, and talking and chatting to like-minded people – the mingling.

Bunny came too. He was happy staying in my room and reading.

Bunny came too. He was happy staying in my room and reading.

This was the first RNA conference I had attended for several years and had learned through experience not to attend every talk and workshop I could in the hope to glean and gather as much help and information on the rocky road to be being published. That’s something we all do as an aspiring writer when we first begin but that had always proved far too exhausting. One finds after a few hours, the body and the mind sags, the brain goes into shutdown through overload and you come away often more confused than when you started; so this year I paced myself, giving many of the talks a miss, particularly the first one after breakfast and lunch.

Thanks to the beautiful weather we were blessed with all weekend, I took myself off for long walks around the campus during this time, finding beautifully kept flowerbeds and lawns and quiet areas, a large lake with weeping willows and gliding ducks, fields of sheep, a game of cricket in progress, and a chatty, friendly man who told me lots about the work the university does.

I’d also noticed a step gear change in the RNA this year, something I was surprised by. Listening to the speakers at the talks I attended, there was definitely an undercurrent of unrest amongst the committee members which centred on self-publishing. This was evident in the fact that Amazon Kindle sponsored the drinks parties, many of the talks were geared towards being self-published and how to get your books into book shops, and a talk given by an editing company clearly touting for business from authors looking to self-publish. These seemed at odds against the recent vote taken within the RNA whether or not to allow self-published authors membership, which had resulted in a ‘no’.

It was all a little disheartening really. I came away without the usual buzz of excitement, with no inspiration or eagerness or that compelling draw to the wordprocessor to write that usually follows these events. The only positive I gained was attending Tricia’s Yoga for Writers workshop as the final event of the weekend. She has such a calming voice, is an excellent teacher and the many exercising and techniques we did left me feeling refreshed, relaxed and calm after what was a busy, noisy, weekend. I will certainly continue her regime.North Wilts chap at RNA Con 2014

We enjoyed ourselves, there’s no doubt about that, and came away loaded with books and treats in the goodie bags given to everyone. After a leisurely, trouble free drive we arrived home safely, if tired. I’m glad Tricia encouraged me to go with her. Will we do next year’s? I’ll think about it.


I’m relatively new at professional pedicures- I’m odd in that I don’t like to be touched- especially by people I don’t know. I fought for many years going to have a pedicure also because I’m very ticklish as well but a bit over a year ago when I was visiting my cousin in Texas, she insisted that I go with her and have one done. I had no idea that they rubbed all that stuff all over your calves and legs. It was kind of nice but still a little weird.


So. I’ve been a few times now and am actually liking it- for the most part. I do like how my feet feel afterwards except for the little bit of soreness from the pushing back of the cuticles. That just flat out hurts. How about you guys? Do you like a pedicure? Does the cuticle pushing hurt? How do you feel about the exfoliating and the leg massage?

The girl who did mine this time kept laughing at me when I’d do that little jump off my seat when she touched the bottom of my feet. I can’t help it. It’s reflexes. LOL!

I usually pick a shade of pink. What color do you like?

I’m heading out to the Romance Writers of America convention in Atlanta on Tuesday, the 16th. If anyone is going, let me know. I’d love to meet you for a chat.