I wanted to post this sooner but damn if something didn’t keep happening that would stop me. Anyway, Fantasy on the Bayou is over and what a great conference it was. I was able to meet some wonderful people in the industry and learn a lot from them. Maggie Mae Gallagher, cub reporter for Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book blog, was so much fun! We were able to go out and enjoy the sights on Bourbon Street and she wrote a great report on the conference. I was able to meet and visit with Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing and Elaine Spencer with The Knight Agency along with authors Kristen Painter and Kerri Nelson during the Keynote Luncheon. They were all great to talk to and patient with this newbie writer and my questions. They were perfect table mates.
I was also able to meet and chat with Maggie Shayne, the Keynote Speaker. Maggie was actually a stand in for the original scheduled speaker, who was not able to attend because of personal reasons, and she did an amazing job. Maggie had everyone laughing at her childhood stories, crying over her hardships, and cheering her on even after she’s become such a well loved author. But Maggie went above and beyond for a few of her fans, myself included.
My daughter and her friend were at the book signing event on the last day of the conference, and they told Maggie about a mutual friend, Shannon, who wanted to be there but couldn’t because of work. Since she had some free time before her flight she offered to go visit Shannon at work but since she didn’t work in the French Quarter, it didn’t seem possible. I told Maggie that if she really wanted to do this, I wouldn’t mind bringing her and then I’d take her to the airport. She agreed and was so excited to do this, she made sure to tell us not to say anything so she could surprise her. So after leaving the hotel, we met up with Dawn Chartier, Liz Pelletier, and Leanna Renee Hieber for lunch then headed to the bookstore where Shannon worked. We arrived and went straight to Shannon. When we arrived, Kendall, my daughter’s friend,  told her that not only did we bring her a signed Maggie Shayne book, we brought the author herself. At this point Shannon started tearing up and her and Maggie hugged. We had learned that Shannon had lost her grandmother the night before so getting to meet Maggie was even more special. It helped to cheer her some. We all visited with Shannon for a little while then we all sat on the floor with coffee and chatted about books, puppies, whatever we wanted. It was such a special day for all of us there and it wouldn’t have happened without Maggie.
So here’s a toast to Maggie Shayne! Thank you for sharing your story with us at the conference and for sharing a part of your day sitting on the floor with us and chatting like teenagers. You gained a couple of new fans I am honored to have been a part of it. May you always be blessed with good friends and close family.

C’est Tout,