|"You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind..."|
Ahh. Nothing like starting off a convention with a nice, healthy, long-ass road trip with a group of women just as psychotic as you are.
On the left side of the van is Stephanie "Flash" Burke, who apparently really loves to drive (and who has some pretty awesome sounding kids). To the right is Joy of Joyfully Reviewed, who didn't utter one single profanity on the way to RAGT but who was cursing like a truck driver on the way home. The one in the van with the nice butt, repacking so that the scooter would fit? That would be Dusty, who got stuck that weekend with our kids, poor suck...ahem. I mean, he's a wonderful packer, and got everything in there neat as you please.
The one behind the camera is PJ Schnyder, who has the incredible ability to fall face first into a pillow and be asleep within seconds. We kept checking to see if she was breathing. She laughed at us and called us silly, but I didn't want my con experience to turn into a weird version of Weekend at Bernie's. Considering who was in the car with me, can you blame me?
So off we went, and the trip itself, while long, was nice. The company couldn't be beat, but when the rain started pouring down things got a little tense. I'm not a huge fan of pouring rain to begin with, let alone when I'm in a car, but we made it to the hotel in one piece, so tired as we were I can't complain too much. Besides, Steph had it a lot worse: she had to turn around and go pick up someone in Akron, which meant she got no sleep that night. The whole first day of the con she was a happy, bouncy, perky zombie.
|The Breakfast Club?|
My first morning I ran into Jambrea Jo Jones and kinda-sorta invited myself to breakfast. We keep running into each other at cons and not having time to spend together, so it was a nice opportunity to sit down with her and catch up. I also got to meet Desiree Holt, who has been saying for a while now that I named a character after her in one of my books. I swore up and down that she had the wrong author.
I was wrong. There is a Desiree Holt mentioned in Only In My Dreams, one of the Hunters who works with Gabe keeping the tri-state area safe. So consider me suitably embarrassed. I keep picturing her doing an anime-style victory dance around me while I hang my head in shame. (She's a super-nice, super-sweet lady, so I don't really picture her doing that...okay, maybe not for long.)
PJ, who's an amateur photographer, offered to do new head shots for Flash and I. Not being stupid, I said, "YEZ PLEEZE THX KBAI!"
|I need to stop reading LOLCats. Also, candid shot of us getting our photos taken.|
The con was jam-packed this year with authors and readers having a grand time. I barely had time to stop trotting, and that was before registration officially opened. The evening opened with a pizza party, followed by the special signing (and I was wrong, I was not a memory book author...come to think of it, I was wrong on a LOT of stuff that weekend.)
|At the Friday night special signing.|
I gave away almost all of my posters that day. I barely had any left for the Saturday signing. Bunny and Julian were especially popular. And that evening, Carina Press held their Pictionary game, with the grand prize an iPad. Jayne Rylon won the grand prize, and everyone had a good time. After the pictionary game I joined Keri Stevens and PJ for some wine before heading to bed.
Saturday, and we're off and running. Well, most of us, anyway.
|Yes, Steph, these ARE my jammies. See the Cookie Monster slippers? Dead giveaway.|
Breakfast was done in jammies, since it's a tradition (at least as far as Flash and D. Renee Bagby are concerned), so I pulled out my favorite Zevran T-shirt, my comfy jammie pants and my Cookie Monster slippers and headed to breakfast, where I promptly spilled coffee all over my scooter.
This is why I don't allow myself out in public pre-caffeine. Perky PJ is practically doing back-flips, and I'm lucky if I can get the cup to hit my lips.
I meandered down to the lobby to work on Throne of Oak after getting dressed, but that didn't last long as I was soon joined by Bridget Locke and several other people who I was thrilled to chat with, but who were looking for PJ. (And congrats, Bridget, on nailing your pitch!) They had a gift for her, but by the time she came down we had to head out to lunch, so the gift went in my scooter basket. Hey, I was even nice. I gave it to her.
Lunch with Carina Press at Mitchell's Fish House, where we were tempted not by lobster but by the Barnes and Noble right across the parking lot. But, alas, no. The book signing was calling us, so after some ahi tuna and key lime pie to die for, we returned to the con and the print book signing. I gave away the last of my posters and bags before it was picture time.
|I'm the one in the hat, two seats down from OMGSHERRILYNKENYON.|
Then off again! This time to the Samhain offices, where we had sandwiches, chips, and cookies bigger than my head. I got to see my cover on the wall of their conference room, a huge (but nice) surprise.
Then back to the con for the last part of the evening, the Western Ho-Down. I don't seem to have a pic of me in my cowboy hat. Oh, well.
|Several people tried to steal my cowboy hat. I think it was because of the bling.|
I wound up more interested in the jewelry out front than the party in the back, so of course I bought some before hitting the bar with PJ and Monica Burns (who I'll be lucky enough to see again at Lora Leigh's RAW). After a chocolate martini and a peppermint patty martini it was off to bed for me. Oh, yes. I slept well that night.
The following day we headed home, where Flash threatened to do dire, evil things to my poor body if I didn't sleep at her house next year the night before the road trip. Not being stupid (and having seen her husband - Denny's a freakin' mountain with legs) I said, "Sure, works for me!"
|I don't know who's T-shirt was more popular, mine or Joy's. But mine had a bunny on it, so in my head I win.|
We stormed a Cracker Barrel somewhere in Ohio with amazing views of the mountains. The only one who got a shot of it was PJ, as the rest of us had to pee like a baby needs a boobie.
So that's it. Flash got the car back on time, my Muppet hair and I made it safely home, PJ doesn't need to breathe when she sleeps, and Joy thinks the rest of us have lost our damn minds.
|And Keri, you know who to invite along next time you get a bottle of that wine. Wink wink, nudge nudge.|