Meet Golden Heart Finalist Erica O’Rourke


Young adult author Erica O’Rourke reads anything she can get her hands on – including cereal boxes and train schedules. But she writes what she loves: dark urban fantasy about girls who fall for boys they shouldn’t, learn to use their loud voices, and take control of their fate.  She likes the Oxford comma, anything ginger-flavored, driving stick shift, and flawed characters. Whenever possible, she avoids iceberg lettuce, live fish, algebra, and emoticons. Erica lives outside of Chicago with her husband, three daughters, and two very, very bad cats. To learn more about her, including her quest to create the perfect fish taco, you can visit her website, or follow her on Twitter:

Erica’s Golden Heart manuscript, UNCHOSEN, is a finalist in the Young Adult category.

Mo Fitzgerald wants to have an ordinary senior year – and get out of Chicago, away from her family’s secrets and scandals. But when she witnesses her best friend’s murder, her need for vengeance eclipses everything else. Her search for answers is complicated by her new, bad-tempered bodyguard and a charming, mysterious Southerner. When she discovers her friend was prophesied to stop a supernatural apocalypse, Mo must step into her friend’s destiny and save the world, without using magic. To get the justice she seeks, she will have to leave her safe, predictable world behind, stop a mob war, and choose between two different, equally dangerous, guys. Most frightening of all…ordinary Mo must become extraordinary

Nationals is in the Bag

There are a lot of really wonderful posts out there about what to do at RWA’s National Conference. Etiquette, networking tips, wardrobe advice, packing strategies, tips about the resort, goal-setting…all of which are exceedingly valuable. You should read them as soon as you finish here. But most of them will not tell you what I am going to tell you: buy a tote.

“Erica,” you are protesting, “RWA gives you a totebag when you check in. It will be stuffed with awesomeness – a flash drive with the workshop handouts, my badge and pin, probably some stationery and other swag. I am not made of money, woman! Why would I spend my hard-earned cash on a ginormous purse when everybody already gets one for free?”

You just answered your own question, my friend. EVERYBODY GETS ONE. Two thousand-plus people, all carrying the same tote, ducking in and out of conference rooms and lounges and luncheons. WITH IDENTICAL BAGS. What could possibly go wrong?

*cue ominous music*

Below are three easy steps (plus a packing list!) to create the Swiss Army Nationals Bag. I can’t guarantee that your dream agent, Jane Q. Preempt, will offer you representation solely on the basis of your accessories, but it can’t hurt.


Go to Target, if you are cheap like me, or go to the Coach store, if you frequently find yourself on the NYT bestseller list. Find a totebag that will comfortably hold your preferred writing material, whether it’s a legal pad, a laptop, or an iPad, and yet does not dislocate your shoulder.  Err on the side of spaciousness. You are going to get a ton of books. You want somewhere to put them.

The tote should look professional. If you find one that perfectly compliments your brand or your book, more power to you. But you’re here to convince publishers they should entrust you with large sums of money. Now is not the time for tie-dye and sustainably harvested hemp.
The bag will do double-duty as your purse, thereby freeing your hands for firm-yet-pleasant handshakes, so make sure there are pockets. Not a zillion – we’re not looking for a diaper bag – but three or four pockets of varying size, inside or out. Pockets help you maintain the impression that you are an organized, with-it person.  You don’t want to be fumbling and digging for a pen while talking with an editor.


Once you’ve taken it home and admired your exquisite taste and unmatched bargain-hunting skills, and explained to your partner that the nice guest-blogger said you HAD to buy it, fill your new bag with the following:

  • Cell Phone: Let’s get this out of the way now, shall we? Unless you are on the list for a heart transplant, set the phone to vibrate and leave it in your purse. People will remember the person whose phone started playing Lady Gaga during Debbie Macomber’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and it won’t be fondly. Don’t be that person.
  • Pen and paper: Well, duh. Just make sure you bring an extra pen or two. I like a legal pad, myself, but it’s really anything you can put in your lap and write on.
  • Conference schedule: So you know where you’re going and when.
  • Business cards: Yes, yes. You have some carefully tucked into your badge. It’s the mark of a conference pro. You know what else is? Having cards in your bag to replenish them over the course of the day. Rumor has it the Swan and Dolphin are roughly the size of the Gobi desert, but with better dining options. Do you really want to spend your day trekking back and forth for business cards? Throw a few more in your bag and network fearlessly.
  • Kleenex: For dabbing at your eyes when Eloisa James gives another moving, inspiring speech. Hell, at this point I just see Eloisa’s picture and I well up.
  • Painkiller of your choice: Even if you aren’t prone to headaches, it’s good karma to pass along a Tylenol to someone trying to fend off a migraine.
  • Bandages (regular and blister). I’m sure you’re only packing the most comfortable of shoes. But on the off-chance Florida’s humidity is making your feet swell, blister bandages (I like the Band-Aid brand) are going to save your bacon. They stay on for DAYS, they’re not terribly noticeable, and they make walking possible again. Regular bandaids are for hangnails or papercuts. Two or three of each should suffice.
  • Lip balm/lipstick. Use whatever lip care product you choose. Make sure you can apply it without a mirror, so you don’t inadvertently transform yourself into a Lady of the Night.
  • Mints: Tictac, Altoid, whatever.  You know why.
  • Bottled water: You’ll get thirsty.
  • Protein bar: Have a little something to nosh on so you don’t faint while waiting in line at the literacy signing. I like Cookie Dough-flavor Balance Bars, but there are a frillion options. Vegan, gluten-free, raw food, cooked food, nut-free, nut-filled. The key is a bar that is not crunchy (awkward during a workshop and a danger of crumbs) and not messy (I love me a nice Luna bar, but the coatings seem extra-melty).
  • Wallet with plenty of small bills: I’m sure you’ll be hanging at the bar, celebrating your wildly successful pitch appointment. (I’m partial to a nice mojito, if you’re wondering.) Tip generously.


Attend the conference and put your plan for world domination into action.

I always forget things when I pack, and I’m sure today is no exception. What crucial item is missing from the list?

93 responses to “Meet Golden Heart Finalist Erica O’Rourke”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Erica! Thanks so much for joining us on the Ruby blog!

    UNCHOSEN sounds fabulous–I love the idea that Mo has to fulfill the mission *without* magic, and your voice seems very funny and perfect for YA!

    Great advice on “the bag”–I have no idea what I’d add. I’m not so good with packing: I’ve been known to show up at the pool with only the bottom to my bathing suit in my swim bag. (That might have been fun when I was 20, but, um, NOT these days.)

    Luckily, organizationally-challenged as I am, I’m traveling to Nationals with my brilliant CP and sibling Eileen, who’s known for having EVERYTHING imaginable in her bag. Seriously, it’s like traveling with Mary Poppins. While digging around in there, she makes jokes about “going into the back room” and comes out with, like, a cheese grater, just when you need it.

    Anyhow, you’re on for a mojito at Nationals!! See you in Orlando!

  2. Hi Erica!
    Great great post! I love everything about the idea of a bag that looks different from all the others. And your list of items to include is printed off and part of my “to pack” list.

    One other thing I always carry is my camera. I have a small digital that isn’t too bulky–and it’s nice to have when you’re out and about with friends–imperative if you get the chance to visit any Disney parks. And this year, with all the photo ops that will surely occur while getting to know the special people who’ll be in Orlando, I can’t imagine how disappointed I’d be if I forgot it.

    Thanks for putting the “Swiss Army Nationals Bag” squarely in the center of our packing radars! And I’ll add my name to the mojitos list! Can’t wait to meet you in just a couple of weeks.

    • Hi, Liz!

      Thanks so much for the camera reminder — I can’t believe I forgot something so basic, especially in a year when we’re all going to be taking a zillion pictures. You just know I’d be the person saying, “Oh…do you think you could email me a copy of those?”

  3. Shoshana Brown says:

    Welcome, Erica. Unchosen sounds awesome.

    I can’t add anything to your packing list–I’m one of those people who starts packing two weeks in advance in the hopes that I’ll have time to remember all the vital stuff I forgot to stuff in my bag on the first pass. It mostly works. Although a list would perhaps facilitate any world-domination plans I may or may not have.

    • Hi, Shoshana,

      I think one of the keys to having a plan for world domination is that no one realizes you have one until it is too late for them to resist. You are CLEARLY on the right track.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi, Erica! (Waving and squealing excitedly! Yes, those your painkiller of choice would come in handy now.)

    I’ve got the tote bag. Now I cram it with all of the items you listed above. I did bring my camera last year, but felt shy about taking piccies of people. I came away with exactly 11 photos of the whole trip as a result.

    I *love* mojitos. We’ll have to grab a few of those as well as margaritas in Orlando.

    • Anne Barton says:

      I feel shy about taking pictures too, Vanessa. I’m going to try to do better this year. I wonder if people have tips on how/when to ask authors to pose for photos…

      • Hi, Vanessa and Anne!

        Yes. Margaritas. Mojitos. Other drinks that begin with M, yet are not Milk. It is Sesame Street for Grownups.

        Anne, I have no plan in place for pictures, but you’re right — if I don’t formulate one, all my shots will be of people from across the room. “See the back of that lady’s head? The one in the stylish jacket? That’s Nora. I was too shy to say hello.”

  5. Lynn says:

    Thanks for a great list! This is my first nationals so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I love having details. And I think I have a tote already – pink leather… don’t ask.. I just have to dig it out of the bottom of the closet.

    • Hi, Lynn!

      You’re going to have a BLAST at Nationals. Truly.

      I don’t know how effective my lists are, but they do make me feel better. They’re my version of Linus’s security blanket. A numbered, bulleted lovey, if you will.

  6. Great post, Erica. You are right about not going back to the room. Not a trip to make a half dozen times a day.

    I actually picked up a messenger bag last year because my shoulder gets to hurting if I cram large purse/tote full of things. It looks a little wonky (across your chest) but if you get a long enough strap and a nice neutral bag it works. My daughter stole it to take to college, so I have to go find another one.

    • Anne Barton says:

      Hi Elisabeth — Kids borrowing/stealing clothes = the ultimate compliment. Well done! 🙂

      • Elisabeth!

        I LOVE LOVE LOVE messenger bags! They don’t look wonky at all, except perhaps at the reception. But I suspect you knew that.

        I think Timbuk2 has some dressier ones these days, if those appeal. And Anne is spot-on — any time your kids take your clothes/accesories, you’re doing something right.

  7. Hope Ramsay says:


    Welcome. The book sounds fabulous!

    And the bag advice is awesome. I have a favorite tote that I got at a New Jersey Romance Writer’s meeting a couple of years ago. It has pockets for the water-bottle (although in my case you will see me toting my signature bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper–don’t ask it’s a Southern thing and I basically need a steady caffeine drip).

    I also change out purses for conferences. Usually I carry a pretty big handbag, but at nationals I go for the small wallet on a string. I can wear it over my shoulder and I have my reading glasses, a pen and mechanical pencil, my cell phone, and credit cards and cash in the small bag. That way I don’t run the risk of leaving the tote someplace with really valuable stuff in it. Also, and really much more important–I always know where the reading glasses are, and I don’t have to go digging for cash when I buy mojitos for my CPs after hours. This year I’m carrying a small digital camera — a new purchase just for Nationals. 🙂

    • Hi, Hope!

      Thanks for the kind words! I think you’re right about the wallet on a string; it’s a good way to ensure you don’t leave anything behind. I can only imagine what the lost and found looks like at the end of Nationals.

      The mojitos will be flowing, I think. Hope the bartender has his muddler at the ready!

  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    I’m so glad that someone else doesn’t carry the conference bag at the conference, Erica! I have a black leather tote bag that I bring to any conferrence, whether it’s day job or writing-related. I know its dimensions, I can carry it comfortably on my shoulder, I can find it in a crowd.

    WORD on the blister care. Last year I got a monster blister from a new pair of flats (grr) and went to the hotel’s convenience store, only to find them completely sold out of blister stuff. Wear comfortable shoes, y’all.

    • Liz Talley says:

      Tam- Did you just use “y’all”? Guess you’re getting in the mood to head South. LOL

    • Tamara,

      I don’t know what they do to those blister bandages, but they’re amazing, like something you’d find on a spaceship.

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just wear our comfy clothes? I think someone should hold a conference where the dress code is pajama pants and old t-shirts. You’d have a miles-long wait list.

      • I’ve never heard of a pajama wearing conference, but mystery conferences are all about jeans and gym shoes. I have to admit that my feet are happiest when they aren’t forced to walk all day in really cute high heels.

        Great post, Erica. I won’t be at Nationals, but I will use your list for Bouchercon (yep – mystery conference) in October.

  9. Liz Talley says:

    Welcome, Erica!

    Nice list. I never use the bag given to me by Nationals. I bring my own for the same reason you stated. And also because I’m lazy and I don’t like to change my bags out. This year I’m bringing the bag a friend gave me when I sold. It has my writing name monogrammed on it 🙂 Plus it’s polka-dotted and has a zebra print. Very sassy.

    Can’t believe it’s almost here. Better get to shopping….for those bandaids 🙂

    • Liz Talley says:

      Yes, I used extra emoticons


      • I knew all those smiley faces were mocking me…

        In truth, Liz, my reasons for a different bag have little to do with professionalism, and everything to do with sheer laziness. Time spent switching bags is time I could be spending asleep. Or watching Doctor Who. Or having a snack. You’ve found me out!

        • Liz Talley says:

          See? I should totally be writing who dun it?s

          Extra Smiley face, just because 🙂 LOL!

  10. Anne Barton says:

    This was awesome, Erica! It reminded me of a few things and made me laugh too. 🙂

    Now I’ve gotta go google “oxford comma.”

  11. Gillian says:

    A professional tote, hmmm? Oh well. I’m pretty partial to my “cats as famous authors” tote from B&N, but oh well…:)

    I’ll have band-aids. And meds; Excedrin for headaches, Aleve for achy hands, Pepto-bismol tabs for tummy, peppermints. Little notebooks. A plastic baggie, and tissues. A nail file. Powder! Definitely the camera. Oh–Shout wipes. They really do take out almost every stain.

    Unchosen sounds awesome, Erica.

    • Thanks, Gillian!

      And thank you for the addendums — I had totally forgotten about shout wipes, which is strange, because I invariably spill things on myself.

      I am SO looking forward to seeing you in Orlando!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Wow! Now I know who to follow around, if my sister ditches me. I’ll be lucky if I have an old gum wrapper in my bag.

  12. Elise Hayes says:

    You’re going to be in Florida in late July. Throw a bottle of sunscreen in that bag. Or, if you can’t stand the icky stickiness of a mid-day sunscreen application, try one of those new (to me, anyway!) powder sunscreens that can take the place of those old-fashioned compacts. It’ll take the shine off your nose and keep said nose from glowing red later.

    And Erica, UNCHOSEN sounds fabulous–good luck at Nationals!

    • Excellent point, Elise. I hail from a short and pasty people, so sunscreen is essential. Of course, I don’t plan to leave the hotel much, but when I do…SPF Infinity.

      And THANK YOU for reminding me about the pressed powder. I keep putting it on my to-do list and then forgetting about it!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Pressed powder sunscreen, eh? Sounds awesome!! I hate the sticky stuff.

  13. Erica, I like you already!

    Ugh, you’re so right about pen and paper — seems obvious, but I assumed that we’d get all sorts of that kind of thing upon registration at the hotel. Like, what? They’d be handing out steno pads like they hand out free novels? Hardly. So even though I brought a cute little half-used notebook, I ran out of paper. I resorted to anything I could find — the interior of my conference program, namely. So it looks like crap. Luckily, I accidentally stole someone else’s during the course of the week, so I still have one pristine one.


    And: hold onto your conference program around me!

  14. Oh, what about that felty moleskin stuff you can put on the insides of your shoes if they start to rub you the wrong way? It’s like getting ahead of a blister. I loves it, and it’s pretty easy to shove a sheet of it inside your purse. You’d need scissors to cut it, though I’ve used fingernail clippers on a trip when I really needed to cover a snaggly bit of my new shoes.

    Maybe just cut it into pre-sized strips for whatever shoes you’re bringing. Or put install them in advance.

    Or wear sneakers.

    • I like the sneakers idea. I am trying to figure out how I can make appearing in my pajamas at public events part of my “brand”. Flannel pants can be edgy, right? RIGHT???

  15. Hi Erica,

    Unfortunately I won’t be going to National this year, but I look forward to picking your brain about everything you learned when you return!

    Good luck with your Golden Heart entry…we’re all rooting for you!

    And congrats again on your agent….big things are in the works for you…I just know it!


  16. I’ve got this post marked for when I actually start to pack – wouldn’t want to be caught without my Swiss Army Nationals Bag and all its crucial accoutrements!

    Since I have several likely contenders for the bag, I will leave off the trip to Target…maybe.

    Can’t wait to check out everyone else’s SANB!

    • Hey, if you have contenders in your closet at home, so much the better!

      I haven’t begun packing yet. It’s on my interminably long to-do list, but I’m still strategizing how to manage with only the SANB and a carry-on. I am going to avoid that checked luggage fee if it kills me. Which it might.

  17. Shea Berkley says:

    Erica! (screaming name with delight) Unchosen sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it.

    This is a fabulous post. Everyone’s suggestions remind me of that old TV game show where the host would go into the audience and ask anyone if they had a boiled egg in their purse, and someone would. You’re the girl scout of conference bags. Love it.

    I will be hauling around a nice, maroon colored Target tote and hoping I don’t fall off my high heels. And yes, heels are a must since I’m desperately trying to foist myself off as an adult. I need all the help I can get.

    • Angi Morgan says:

      It was LET’S MAKE A DEAL with Monty Hall.


    • Shea!!!

      Thanks — I, too, love hearing other people’s suggestions. I’m typically of the mindset that you can run out and buy whatever you’ve forgotten on any given trip, but I shudder to think of what Disney will be charging for all those things we’ve forgotten.

      My house was egged this weekend, so the notion of a boiled one in my purse is pretty shudder-worthy, too.

  18. Angi Morgan says:

    Great Post, Erica !

    Some of the stuff in my bag never gets unpacked…if that sad or pratical?



    • Practical. Definitely practical. It means you’ve planned so well that you’ve covered every contingency, but you’re so with it, you didn’t need any of your emergency supplies. It’s a badge of honor, Angi — wear it with pride!

  19. Kimberly MacCarron says:

    You put the purpose in the all-purpose bag! Unfortunately, I won’t be carrying around any of your wonderful items because I have long ago admitted to my deficiency in the planning department. But I will be carrying some Visine. This all-important item is needed for several reasons. One is for the morning after one, or two, or even three margaritas–so that I can appear clear-eyed and “with it.” Two, is for just the regular dry-eyed moment. Three…now this is the most important…I’ll need to put in a few drops right before I look up at you with my pitifully helpless eyes and ask for one of the items in your bag or ask if you can point me in the direction of Gillian and her handy Shout wipes. But I will offer something in return. For every item borrowed or mooched, I will buy you a mojito or margarita in the bar.
    I’m not much for world domination–since I have a problem with the planning aspect of said venture–but I will be standing right beside you while you dominate. I might ask you for a tic tac, but I’ll be there. With my visine.
    See you in Orlando.

  20. Darynda Jones says:

    I like your style, Erica, and your manuscript sounds amazing!!! Super congrats and good luck!

  21. Okay, okay. So last weekend (or the weekend before — it’s all a blur) I found myself staring longingly at some tote bags. And of all the dumb luck, my husband was standing next to me. Smirking. I must have two dozen tote bags. But I decided I’d buy me a brand new tote bag and bring it to Nationals thinking NO ONE will have the same bag as me, right? It’s what I told hubby, who rolled his eyes and said he’d wait for me outside the store. Only thing, now I read your fabboo post, Erica, and I realize, I don’t think fun new tote has pockets. Argh!! (or, woohoo! more shopping! it could go either way).
    So now I have to go check the totebag for pockets. And put the blister bandaids in my pile of stuff to go to Nationals. The only thing I would add for folks to not forget: sunglasses!
    And erm, confession: I have never had a mojito. There I said it. I’ll go hide my head in shame now ; )

  22. Don’t panic, Jen. Zippered bags are an easy fix. You can buy them at office stores or cosmetics section or, since it’s past the 4th of July, the school supply section of Target. Each bag gets one purpose: toiletries, writing utensils, snacks, etc. And as long as you are diligent about returning things to the appropriate bag…you’re all set.

    Of course, if you felt the only possible solution was a new bag, I would back you 100%. You can even tell your husband I forced you to do it — I will take one for the team.

    Never had a mojito? *pet-pet* Don’t worry, honey. We’ll take good care of you. Just pack extra Tylenol.

  23. Cat Schield says:

    Erica, great post. I went to ebags before the 2007 National conference and bought a great laptop bag. It has 3 sections, tons of pockets and a little purse that clips to the inside that I can put cash, etc into and not worry about losing it. I leave the laptop home or in the hotel room and use that section to collect books. Goes with me to every conference and I make sure it’s well stocked with everything on your list.

    Can’t wait to see you in Orlando.


    • I knew there was a reason we hit it off so quickly, Cat! A bag like that makes my heart beat just a little bit faster.

      I can’t wait to see you again in Orlando…oh, the catching up we will do!

  24. Dear Erica, You’re probably in bed by now. I should be, but you know how writers can be night owls. Your blog has great advice. If two thousand women are carrying identical totes, I won’t. I prefer my own. My son just bought me a great messenger tote at Macy’s that was on sale. He’s nineteen and I’m not sure how I got him to part with his money, but he’ll get it back. As for fish tacos, I just found a recipe on Food Network that uses wonton wrappers, instead of tortillas, you shape them into small cups, bake for a few minutes and then fill with fish, cabbage, guacamole, salsa. AND Bobby Flay did a fish taco Throw Down.
    Good to see you last night at the Chapter meeting and good luck in Orlando.

    • Yasmine, it is clear to me that you are an EXPERT mom.

      The fish wonton things sound delicious — I would probably eat my body weight in them. I just can’t call them fish tacos. It’s like when you order blueberry pancakes and instead of pancakes with blueberries in them, you get plain pancakes with blueberry syrup on top. Tasty, but not the same.

      We will have to talk about The Doctor at our next meeting. I am a smitten kitten.

  25. I knew there was another reason I loved you!! Doctor Who fan!!

  26. Heather Snow says:


    Loved your post! I have the same tote I’ve taken to the last couple of Nationals, but this year, the dh got me a roller bag…he says the Dolphin/Swan is huge and so he thought I might like a little bigger, rollable thing.

    Sweet, but I don’t want to look like a stewardess (no offense to airplane professionals everywhere). I think I’m digging out the tote 🙂

    Really looking forward to seeing you again in Orlando!

    • That is a very sweet husbandly thing to do, isn’t it? Props to him for the effort…but go with the bag you know will work!

      We are going to have SO MUCH FUN. Can’t wait to see you!

  27. Hi Erica,
    Congratulations again on landing an agent! You rock! Hope you have a great time at National. Wish I could be there also. Be sure to tell us all about it when you get back.

  28. Paly says:

    Congratulations on signing with your new agent. I am so happy for you and a teensy bit jealous!!! I hope you have a wonderful time at National. I’m looking forward to hearing all the details when you return.

    Have fun and don’t forget to pack a sweater. Those conference rooms can be SOOO chilly.

    • Thanks, Paly! If there’s anyone who is qualified to give advice about traveling, it is you, my friend. Thank you for the tip — I’m adding a sweater to the list post-haste.

  29. Hi Erica,

    After attending 16 national conferences I am here to tell you that you give great advice!

    Have fun everyone!!

    • Thanks, Nancy. I am remarkably ill-qualified to give advice on most topics, but packing a bag o’stuff? That is an area I feel confident in. Also, napping. I’m something of an expert in that field…

  30. Erica, great advice! I’m going to print out your list. I think I normally take most of that stuff, but I’m not so organized, so usually get into a panic while packing.

    • Thanks, Maureen!

      I’m so scatty that if I didn’t write it down, I wouldn’t bring it. So I actually have this entry printed out and stuck in my “To Do For Nationals” pile. Otherwise I’ll be wandering around the hotel asking people if I can bum a pen/tictac/tylenol.

  31. I’m back. I’ve heard it said sleep is overrated, maybe but napping is underrated.
    I have a question. When I go to Nationals, I often have a pad of paper and no padfolio or portfolio/ binder to write in. Duh, but I have a tote. Can you suggest one? Maybe similar to the one you wrote in during our meeting Monday evening? I often have papers just shoved down in my bag. I’m looking for something simple and not cost an arm and a leg. Maybe I convince my son to buy that too?

    • Hmn…my padfolio was a gift from my parents many, many years ago. I think they got it at the Franklin Planner store. Do they still have those?

      I did a little poking around — the Franklin Covey ones are on the pricey side — 100 and up. Staples seemed to have similar ones for much more reasonable prices. Of course, I believe you can find everything you need (and likely more) at Target, so I’d hit their office section first. Good luck…I can’t wait to see what you choose!

  32. Katrina Snow says:


    I love the sound of your book and the list is fantastic. I’ve been hunting around for a brand new tote, not knowing exactly why I needed one. Thanks for making it clear that I really do NEED one and for explaining exactly what I should put in it.

    See you in Orlando!

    • Thanks, Katrina!

      I suppose it is possible that I am really just a totebag junkie, and lists like this are simply a tool for justifying my behavior. Possible, but unlikely. Can’t wait to see you in Florida!

  33. Oh My Giddy Aunt! Trying to find a padfolio is like looking for shoes. So many designs, so many prices, some many colors. LOL.

  34. Laurie Brown says:


    Congrats on signing your agent. I’ve always taken a tote to conference but you had some great ideas. I’m a sucker for a good list.
    I’ve have been a Dr. Who fan since, well several incarnations back so we’ll have to talk. I can’t wait to see everyone in Orlando sice I’ve been practically handcuffed to my computer to meet deadline. My M drink would be a Manhattan.

    • A Manhattan it is! Thanks for the congrats, Laurie, and I’ll be looking for you in Orlando, on stage, accepting your RITA. (I’ll be the crazy cheering girl in blue.)

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  37. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  38. Alayna Parsens says:

    I’m glad that someone is recognizing the superb job that Rob Ford is doing in this city, despite all the slander and nonsense that the hippies and socialists are smearing on him for the past little while. At least he is doing exactly what he promised that he was going to be doing when he was elected, which is refreshing. The left wing nuts love to fault him for being rash, impolite, a brute, etc., but I would take that any day over a well dressed, well spoken politician that is full of rhetoric and bullshit. We’ve had enough of those.

  39. Thanks for the opportunity to have read this and I will reflect upon it and I’ll come back in the future, to look at what other readers are saying about the matter.


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