More on Romantic Times

Part of a series of blog posts that chart my progress from couch potato to published author. See Perspiring Authors page for a sequential list.

Amid the rash of comments regarding yesterday’s blog, I noted Tana’s request for more info about who I met at RT. I aim to please. Therefore, get some tea, drag over your chair and I’ll spin you a tale.

I’m not big on large groups of people. After my first terror-inducing ride in one of the hotel’s horrible glass elevators, I had to give myself a pep-talk. “Go down there,” I said to that stubborn inner-voice that had been spooked by the first wash of crowds in the lobby. She wasn’t open to persuasion. I might still be debating the subject if the negotiations had been left to a my logic-persona and my cringing, alter-ego.

But I got hungry. And, as is true in most situations, the stomach won.

I sent a text to a friend (Hello Dani) and met her for dinner. And that was the start. Between my fear of the elevators, my constantly empty stomach, and the pure comfort of the bar, I found my happy place. Yes, there were times when I longed for a bath, an aspirin and a really gorgeous guy to give me a foot rub. But most of the time, I found myself thinking, “wow, don’t forget this.”

As in–don’t forget eating breakfast and realizing that Joanna Bourne is sitting right beside you, working on her manuscript. Let’s stop for second to embrace my inner conflict. Her w.i.p. was right there. On. Her. Laptop. A rude, underhanded person might have feigned dropping their napkin to steal a glance at the words on her screen…It crossed my mind, but so has robbing a bank, and as yet, I haven’t fallen victim to that particular urge. So, I didn’t peek, and she never lifted her head from her work, and thus, she remained oblivious to the fact that we were sharing a moment. The way Joanna Bourne was studying her prose? Well, I know the evil eye when I see it. Just like her, I have scowled at my monitor and thought, “This is an awkward sentence. How can I fix it?” It was an instant of deep bonding.

Or how about this for another unforgettable memory? Deidre introduced me to one of TKA’s authors, the very gorgeous Kristen Painter, who has a book coming out with one of the most visually attractive covers I’ve seen in awhile. Heck, if the book is as cool and fab as Kristen, it’s going to sell off the charts. Anyhow, my new pal tugged me along, and I found myself crashing an exclusive fete. True, the party was almost over, and I was so cowed by terror that I made like a tree in the corner, but I saw them. Big authors. Together. Sort of a visual feast spread out in front of me. I so wished I’d pack a little spy doohickie that captures audio:-)

I learned a lot at RT. Not only from the panels (which I found really useful), but from people who were willing to share their opinions and insights. At one gathering I attended, Barbara Vey made a comment that made my brain wander to another question. When I saw her passing by the lounge the next day, I asked if she had a minute to answer something. Not only did she satisfy my curiosity–the kind woman ended up teaching me how to tweet. All right. I admit that I hadn’t made much progress on the twitter thing; partly because every time I tried to read an educational blurb about hash-tags, white noise filled my head. Barbara took the bull (or in this case the cow) by the horns (tail) and stood behind me while I fumbled my way through my first use of the dreaded hashtag. I must have looked like a particular dullard, because I misspelled her name three times. Normally, that would have embarrassed me, and I’d have made a quick reference to the family’s long history of l.d.’s, but I was so enthralled by my first tweet that included the proper use of @ and  # in one coherent message that I never got around to doing so.

Generosity. I saw it all over the place. One screen-playing writing author gave me her card and said my daughter could contact her for advice. Another author offered to blurb me. (I’d mention her name, but I don’t want to put her on the spot.) Here’s the thing about fellow word-smiths. Most have experienced the same deep, festering need for validation via publication. They can recollect the struggles. The hardships. The knocks on peach-soft skin. And so, the majority of them are very kind. Not all of them. I saw some other stuff too. Some of it was a bit stomach-tensing, but I’m going to let that go. Let’s dwell on the good things. Or if not that, then the funny stuff.

For example, Patrick Rothfuss.

That poor man. I saw him crossing the lounge, and I had a total fan-girl reaction. I was shameless. First, I started by ogling and smiling at him in such an unavoidably forward manner that he came over to my table and said, apologetically, “I know you, don’t I?” Now, in hindsight, the correct response would have been. “Of course you do. How have you been my friend?”

It would have been the smart thing, no? Instead, I leaped out of my chair like I had won a date with George Clooney, and then…(deep shudder)…I launched myself into that black-hole of humiliation reserved for truly rabid fans–the complete, fluttering hand, impassioned delivery of the most blush-worthy platitudes ever assembled in one babbling speech that the author of THE NAME OF THE WIND was rendered momentarily speechless.

Clever man, Patrick Rothfuss. He hugged me–effectively rendering me mute, and then he backed away and got on the elevator and no one saw him for another 24 hours.

Back to the salt mines tomorrow. Ah, but today. The memories…

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