And let me start by saying that the conference was nearly nearly ruined by a poorly placed can of hairspray (thanks to our friendly neighborhood airport security screeners). Okay, so accidentally putting my (not so small) can of hairspray in my carry-on was my mistake, but come on...have any commercial airliners actually been taken down by a can of ultra-hold hairspray? Forget that it's a discontinued brand that I had to outbid a little old lady in Topeka, Kansas for on eBay (and at the rate I've had to pay for it, it's like liquid gold in a can). Apparently it would have been okay if it was under 4 ounces, but anything over that is, what...lethal?

So, I get to LA and head to the SCBWI conference at the Hyatt Regency downtown sans hairspray (at this point I figure I'll buy some in the hotel gift shop). After all, this was my big chance to meet my agent, Laura Rennert (who I'm sure couldn't pick me out of a crowd, since we'd only met once at this point for three minutes at the Pitch Slam session at the Book Expo of America conference in May. That was when she first requested to see my manuscript). She had arranged a private cocktail get together at the hotel bar that first night for all of her clients attending the conference.

I was more than a little excited for the party. That would be my chance to make a great first impression, since I'd have plenty of time after the day's classes to get freshened up after my early (did I mention EARLY?) morning flight.

But before I registered, I decided to grab a cup of coffee at the lobby Starbucks. Haggard and exhausted, I waited in line and eavesdropped on the conversation starting up in front of me. A man in the line introduced himself to the woman directly in front of me. As she starts talking, I think, is this her? Is this my agent?

Of course it was.

Well, crap. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. This wasn't supposed to be my great first impression. I decided, almost immediately, not to say anything to her. I'm going to wait until I can check in to my room, get a bite to eat...and hopefully, buy some hairspray.

Unfortunately, she ends up having to wait for the Starbucks people to refill the half-and-half for her drinks while I'm waiting for my latte to arrive. We were suddenly side by side. I turned to her and...

(Check back later to see how this plays out)


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