Man, oh, man, what a trip! In both that literal and physical sense. We won't even talk about how sore my posterior is. Really.
1. I have the best agent in the whole wide world. Numerous other conference attendees kept saying things like, "Gosh, I want your agent! She's awesome!" It actually started to freak me out after a while. Am I really worthy of this level of Kung-Fu Agent Awesomeness? (name that movie!)
1 a. Case in Point: So, Saturday, I'm in the middle of listening to Sherry Thomas expound on the finer points of generating sexual tension and chemistry on the printed page, and the fire alarm goes off. And you know what? We are all sheep. 150 people in the room, and we all sat there looking at each other going, "what should we do?" Right up until the security guard plowed into the room and began knocking chairs out of the way while looking seriously perturbed. Then we collectively decided that evacuation was the way to go.
Anyway, after the kick-butt fire truck showed up (remember, mother of a four year old boy here) with the kick-butt fire fighters on board (writer of romance here) we all went back inside. Never did figure out if the hotel was on fire or not, but as we were all milling around the lobby trying to figure out what to do next, (SHEEP! SHEEP, I TELL YOU!), I saw my agent and we got to chatting. (Tip: Takes less time to evacuate out of the basement than it does off the ninth floor.) And then a dazed and slightly confused woman stumbles past us. My agent calls out to her, the woman collapses on the seat next to the agent, and within two minutes, the woman--an editor from Sourcebooks--wanted to see my book. Watching my agent in action was a master class in selling and a clear indication of why I need an agent.
1 b. Which brings the number of potential editors wanting to review my stuff to four. As I said when my agent told me this, "So, it's okay if I'm having a good heart attack right now?" To which she replied, "Yup. You can have a good heart attack."
2. I do some of my best thinking in the car. It was a long, long drive to D.C. I got chapters written for the vegetarian book, and also got the general ideas for the next two books outlined.
Somehow, I neglected to realize that, to get to D.C., we would have to cross the Appalachians. If you go to D.C., go the scenic highway 68. Just beautiful.
At the Museum of the American Indian, you can get real Native food. Like fry bread and a pulled buffalo sandwich. Beat the heck out of McDonald's!!
Now, I'm actually at the Botanic Garden, but that's the Museum of the American Indian there in the back. Cool building, huh? Has a very organic, kiva-esque vibe to it. (Yes, I expect you to know what a kiva is.)
This is my mother's idea of a 'good picture' of me. We're at the Chicago-North RWA Fire and Ice Awards reception. I'm wearing the dress my sisters--ahem, stylists--picked out for me. Anyone want to guess how far into the complimentary champagne I was at this point?
I got second! That's Blythe Gifford, one of the sweetest women ever. She's been such a friend and source of inspiration--and she was thrilled at my second place!
Mom got all gussied up, too. YAH for second place!
I don't know about you, but it's not a vacation if your mother doesn't make you take a dippy picture, and this is the grand bull moose winner. We're at the Schmidt Sausage Haus in Columbus, OH. I lived in Columbus for two years while earning my Master's degree, but hadn't been back in nine years. Kind of good to see the old town again.
Finally, we made it home, and while the kid was happy to see us, he was happier to see his presents, especially the panda mask Mom got for him at the National Zoo. Kung-Fu Panda in the house! (have you named that movie yet? COME ON! You can do it!)
So that's mostly it. A great trip, but man, I'm glad to be back home with my guys. And secretly, I think they're glad I'm back, too. Someone's got to do the laundry!
ADDENDUM: The full shot of the fancy dress with shoes has been requested, so here you go!