Well I made it Schaumburg, IL for the Catholic Writers Conference Live. I didn’t get lost even once, which is a first in forever for me.
Unfortunately, as I was pulling into the parking lot my battery light came on. I had hoped that it was just due to my car being crabby having been driven over 400 miles with only a short stop. Yeah, I wasn’t that lucky. (More on that later)
Here’s a picture of the hotel and my room.
There is a TV built into the mirror of the bathroom.
I didn’t sleep in either bed. I brought my sleeping bag and camped on the comfy floor.
The view from our window.
Monday evening I had supper with Karina Fabian, Jeannie Ewing, Michael Fraley, Ellen Gable Hrkach, and Ann Margaret Lewis and got my first taste of Chicago pizza. (I took a lot of pictures of food.) It was so much fun.
I shared a room with two other authors, Jeannie Ewing and Erin Cupp. We didn’t spend much time in the room except to sleep. My Eastern time zone roomies hit the sheets way earlier than me. They also woke up way earlier than me. While they were sleeping, I headed down to the lobby to work. The first night I did a quick draft cover for Declan Finn’s book that will be coming out this year. And fixed a few things for another author I have been working with.
The second day there, I helped set up the CWG booth and got a signed book from Karina Fabian. I also did a bit of pre-conference “window shopping” while I was there. I would have brought half the floor home if I thought I had a place for it all. There were just so many pretties and books and books and more books. I spent much of the day socializing with people that I’ve only ever met online and a few new people that I didn’t know prior to the conference. I made several new friends and contacts. It was fun getting to talk books and religion with other authors. Although, it was a bit strange having people look at me and go “Oh my gosh, you’re Dawn.” One even added…”you’re real.” (Oddly enough I get that frequently because I do so much behind the scenes volunteer work. No one ever sees me…they just know about me.)
On Wednesday, the conference started in earnest. My super hero cape came out. This started out as an offhanded remark regarding attire for the conference. I decided to make it fun and wear the cape. It brought me quite a bit of attention. One young lady in attendance couldn’t stop staring. She loved the cape. I attended many of the lectures on social media, public speaking, writing in general. While there was a lot I already knew, there was still a lot I learned. I made a few new friends during the lectures as well.
One thing I hadn’t expected was seeing “celebrities” there. I was sitting in the lobby one evening working on Path of Angels when I look up and see Fr. Frank Pavone and Janet Moreno walking my direction. I have only ever seen them on TV. It was quite the shock to see them in person. Later, I learned that they weren’t the only ones there. Fr. Calloway and Fr. Andrew Apostoli were there. Other than seeing a picture of him, I had never heard Fr. Calloway speak. He is hilarious. And has a new book out on the rosary, which I had planned to get, but missed out. Will have to order it later.
Thursday was more lectures and more social time. By this point, I was getting tired. I ended up in bed at the same time as my roomies. I never go to bed that early, but I was worn out. It was fun and I wanted to stay until tear down, but with a 7.5 hour drive home, I left early. Good thing too.
The battery light didn’t come on until I was down the road a bit. I was hoping I could at least get out of the Chicago are and then I could find a place to look at it. No such luck. I got 10 miles down the road, in heavy traffic on I-90 with road construction no less, and the ABS light came on then the dashboard lights went out when I hit the brakes. I was able to get off and ended up near the Sears Arena, I think it was called. Thankfully, I have road side assistance, so I got a tow to a local dealer and found out my serpentine belt and the battery were toast. Four hours after I broke down, I was back on the road heading for home.
If I would have been smart, I would have gotten my car to a repair shop on Tuesday, but I was hedging my bet. This is why I don’t gamble often. I tend to lose. But all turned out well and I was able to do some site seeing on my way home, but that’s for another post.
For more pictures from the conference check out my Facebook page. For some odd reason I kept getting an error when I tried to upload them to my blog. Figures.