Cause that’s the way I roll, lol! (Also the fact that Monty Python has ruined my life)…
For starters, I was glad to make it to y’alls conference. I take the bus to work in Tucson, and was taking my regular buses as though I were heading for work.
When I was about to head across Broadway in Tucson (If you come to the Tucson Festival of Books next March you will get to see all this), three police cars, sirens blaring, lights flashing, wouldn’t you know from childhood to watch them pass? No, some fool on a bicycle decides to ride across the street in front of them, barely making the other curb. It is 5:15 in the morning, if this moron had been flattened, I would have been THE witness, other than the police officers. Instead of getting on a plane, my morning would have been spent at 270 South Stone Avenue, Tucson Police Headquarters. Something tells me, “Officer, my eyes were closed, cause you killed him mid sneeze wouldn’t have worked.
My friends on the second bus were teasing me about the cowboy hat and boots, asking if I was headed to a rodeo. We call ourselves, the 5:45 morning crew.
Anyway, Moonlight and Magnolias. I’ll let my readers weigh in. What image does that conjure up for you? Plantations in the moonlight, parasols etc. (Hey, if you write, you think of these things).
I tried to imagine Gone with The Wind, in 2011, with Scarlett angrily texting Rhett. Then Rhett texts back, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Can’t get there anyway. Oops imagination misbehaving again. The Yankees led by General Sherman blew up MARTA and the Interstates. Very naughty general…
Arrived in Hartsfield-Jackson Airport not realizing I COULD take the airport train most of the way. I had nothing but carry on, but I did get my exercise.
As I had no checked luggage, I didn’t have to wait for bags. I went straight to the MARTA station where a nice MARTA helped poor tired struggling me, buy a Breeze Ticket.
I like MARTA. The trains were clean, you do have to talk into a speaker in the car, if there’s a problem, but with my size, what if I AM the problem? LOL!
I had to change for the Blue Line Eastbound to Decatur at Five Points Station, which is the only time I spent in Downtown Atlanta.
I lived in a small town in Southern Virginia at one point and expected people to say hello to you on the street there, but not in the Five Points MARTA station in Atlanta. I also saw the rules about riding MARTA and they were enforced. Two MARTA police officers showed up and escorted a man from a train for panhandling.
I sat down on the train to Decatur and a young lady, young enough to be my daughter said, “Good afternoon, sir, how are you doin’ today?” (I was already taken aback, because a man who had to be seventy-five addressed me as sir on the Five Points platform).
Anyway, she proceeded to tell me how she was just coming off work as a shift manager for the McDonalds outside Five Points Station and how bad Atlanta’s unemployment is and all the bums she has to throw out of the store (has to be with the help of the police, she was small), and getting 20-30 people a day looking for jobs.
She asked nothing about me, I’m sitting there with my two bags, the next thing I know, she’s rubbing her leg against mine (and I did try to move up against the window). Glad to know the old person still has it lol, but she is missing the fact that I have bags and am going somewhere. She was disappointed when I asked her to get up, so I could get off the train. Oh well, c’est la vie.
Was glad to make it to the hotel and could finally relax. Was happy to register except my first goodie bag ripped down the side. Not y’alls fault these things happen.
A plug for Facebook. I don’t know how many people greeted me with, “I know you. The hat and red suspenders give you away). Now there’s a trademark for you, LOL!
I knew the hotel was closing, but I think it stinks the staff (who were very nice) have to reapply for their jobs when Marriott takes it over. Courtyards are really hotels to live in by the week, so they don’t have to be as large, no ballrooms, etc.
The Scavenger Hunt is a great idea and a great way for folks to meet. I had not actually met my co presenter Kelle Z. Riley before. Our friendship was strictly Facebook and phone calls and we planned our workshop that way.
Met my friend Traci Hall from Florida Romance Writers and her friend Patrice Wilton. I hadn’t eaten except for peanuts on the plane and even a big boy like me has to eat sometimes. (See, I can make fun of myself most of all).
I like the center of Decatur, Georgia all the shops and restaurants and the old courthouse and the memorial to Baron DeKalb, who DeKalb County is named after.
The three of us went to the Tapas restaurant, the Iberian Pig. I love Tapas, like with Cantonese Dim Sum, you can try all sorts of different things. Our waiter, Jamal was great in suggesting things. I made sure he got a great tip!
Late that night I went to my Facebook friend Nita’s room which was three doors down from mine. What little time I spent in the room, I enjoyed the free WiFi.
There I met the rest of CARA (Chattanooga Area Romance Writers). Stupid me of course saw the buttons and didn’t make the connection because of my mystery writer friend Cara Black who writes about her Parisian Detective Aimee Leduc, who had trouble on the Romantic side.
We sat in the room Nita Wick and Laurie White were sharing, drank wine and ate Doritos. I kept my plastic cup as I found out people had trouble getting toilet paper towels from the hotel. (I guess all that was now Marriott inventory and much of it was being packed). Maids cleaned rooms (that was being asked about). Didn’t get much sleep for the conference, but it is busy, the adrenalin was going etc.
The following morning, I sat with my new Alabama friend Heather and her chapter mates. They gave me a a card to pass on to my friend and fellow Saguaro Romance Writers Chapter Member, Romance Writers of America Region One Board Member Vicki Lewis Thompson. I am going to email it to her in case she doesn’t make the October meeting.
The food… Again, not the fault of the conference. The eggs had no taste (what would we do without Tabasco)? The grits were poorly made (there must have been all sorts of anguished cries from the native Southerners). The Bacon was burned, I did like the potatoes. Lunch on Saturday, the meat, I suspect was supposed to be Brisket, but many of us called it “mystery meat.” It was as though someone tried to make Carne Asada and didn’t do a good job. Leave the Carne Asada to me. Mashed Potatoes were OK, string beans cold, Chicken at dinner tasteless and tepid. The desserts were good, there was ample coffee, service at dinner was friendly, but could have been more efficient.
Friday for lunch, I ran into six people from the Charlotte, North Carolina area. I was coming out of CVS and we went down Ponce De Leon to Cafe Lili. One of the women converted to Judaism (I’m Jewish, but American first, thank you) and we laughed about it being Rosh Hashanah and not being at services, though the thoughts were there. (And here I am having a Jambon Serrano ham sandwich). Never said I was religious… 🙂 Like the Aioli with the sandwich and the French Fries, but Katie, our waitress left something to be desired. (I post on Trip Advisor and posted this). She would not split the checks and because there were seven of us, tip was included so no chance to demonstrate our feelings about her snippiness. I was honored to be asked to dine with them. How you meet folks.
Friday night I joined the Chattanooga crew for Thai food. Food was excellent, service harried, because they were short staffed. Road trip to Thailand? Hmmmm….
Deidre Knight asked me to send her the first three chapters of the Romance based in Paris I’m writing. Critique Group is going over that tomorrow. I enjoyed Susan May and Kim Castillo’s sessions.
We have to apologize to Eloisa James for sneaking out of the luncheon early, but Kelle and I had to set up for our workshop. Kelle was able to obtain a small projector and we had power point. We practiced on Friday in her room in the dark (no snide comments please). We do well playing off each other. The workshop was great, we had fun doing it.
That afternoon, I met with one of my former vendors in my rent paying job, Lisa Monsees and her husband. Lisa was a Sheriff’s Deputy in Florida for a long time. Her stories are great, she is funny and fun to be with. Her son is serving in Afghanistan, I am trying to help get her books for the troops.
The Maggies ceremony was excellent. I may enter my romance for next year. The dancing, I enjoyed it. Y’all are wild and fun!
Finished the night with the CARA folks. Only got three and a half hours sleep. The hotel staff were disappearing. The Noon checkout deadline on Sunday was like a reverse Cinderella. All you get is a wrecking ball.
I left at 5:30 AM on Sunday. The night clerk was sound asleep. I was the only one on the streets of Decatur.
Got the first Westbound Blue Line Train. 6:07 AM. Train was crowded with shift workers. One lady seeing my Wicked Pissah T-shirt looked at me and blurted out “You’ve got to come to Jesus, boy!” At that hour of the morning, I didn’t have a clever comeback.
You folks should be proud. You put on a great conference! Thank you for having me be a part of it and I will do it any time!