I'm going to a conference!  I'm going to a conference!

What me, excited? Couldn't be. Just because I haven't rubbed shoulders with my fellow NINCers for too many years doesn't mean I'm looking forward to landing in St. Luis the end of Sept. Granted, staring at the bill for my flight has taken a bit of the bloom off the rose, but its worth it, all worth it.

No surprise, writing is a solitary business. I've heard that its a lonely business but for this hermit, that's not a problem. How am I gonna get the books written if I don't hole up with charcters and plot? For the curious, I'm accompanied by music and a couple of dogs who insist its meal time long before the clock says so and I have a pretty darn good view of the nearby hills, but its really just me and those charcters I've birthed.

Once a month I have dinner with some local writers, about half of them published. And less frequently than we would like, five of us more seriously addicted get together to supposedly talk writing but mostly discuss all the things women discuss.  I connect with other writers via the Net, but for the major most part, its just me and this computer.  I've been in this insane business so long you'd think I'd have it figured out, but I love cruising the Net for everything I can find about the business.  I've even dipped my toes into Twitter because that's where my agent is.  Yep, yet another time suck.

But as invigorating as all those things are, a NINC conference does things for me nothing else can. These are 'my people'.  We speak the same language and have the same scars.  I'll learn new things, share and share some more, meet new friends and hopefully chat with the industry people who are going to be there.  Maybe, hopefully, I'll make some important contacts and will meet my agent face to face for the first time.  I won't get enough sleep, will stress about making my early morning return flight, and my system will fill out of wack, but I NEED THIS. NEED THIS I SAY.

Lordy, just thinking about the shot in the arm being together with 100 or so other professional writers will give me has me all hot and bothered.  Who needs drugs when NINC exists? 

I've been to the big cattle calls (aka RWA) and frankly the sheer numbers terrify me.  This country hick/loner doesn't do crowds.  I have not so pleasant memories of being part of the crowd chasing down editors.  Newly and barely published, I was determined to leave an impression on my editor--me and dozens of other writers.  Somehow I approached her and said 'hi'.  Somehow I survived that non-defining moment.

This time I'm not going to be doing any of that.  This time I'll be relaxed which means I can be a sponge soaking up every moment of what will get me through another year of making my living staring at a monitor.

As they say, let the good times begin.