I’m writing on my laptop from my hotel room at the Chicago Hyatt Regency O’Hare–well, actually, I’m writing from my BED in my hotel. Yup. There are readers and authors I should be socializing with but I have hit the wall.
Tired, I am. There are so many interesting people, so many stories to listen to, so many things to pay attention to. A lot to soak up. Unfortunately, in terms of sponges, I’m the old one that got tossed under the sink. A little worn, still capable of soaking up stuff, but prone to leaking. I simply can’t seem to absorb anything more. And the stuff I’ve already processed? It’s drizzling out of me. I’m groping for people’s names. I’m asking the same question twice. I’m writing incoherent notes.
Yesterday I was a little toasted. Today, I’m fried…If I go out for a dinner, I’m going to say something dumb. Screw it. I’m going to bed.
Okay, two days have passed. Now, I’m home. Recovering from the dreadful, bumpy and claustophobic flight, where I was the unfortunate person sitting next to the guy with the bad breath. Fate, however, threw me a bone. My other seat mate was a trim and fit United employee who didn’t overspill the seat nor steal the armrest. There were three stripes on his sleeve. I took note of that and decided if the plane skidded off the runway, he’d find me one inch behind him. Wherever Mr. 3 Stripes chose to go (Please God, don’t make him a hero) he was going to find a well-to-do matron shadowing his every move. Hell, I can and will scramble over seats if pushed.
So, what did I learn at the Convention? I took a moment (okay, an hour) to think about that as I was waiting for my plane to board. Here’s an important one: remember your pitch. I managed to get away without mentioning anything directly about my book for 4 out of 5 days, but someone nailed me in a weak moment, and I had a brain fart. Then I got snotty because I was embarassed and said, with a shrug, “You’ll just have to read it.”
Yeah. I said that.
I could have avoided that snot moment if I’d remembered my damn pitch. In future, I will not go unarmed. Actually, I’m considering taking a cue on that from Charlaine Harris. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but when asked, she just says something that’s loosely translated to “I write about a telepathic Southern waitress.” Well, she says it better than that, but what’s important to note is that she has a short sentence that doesn’t tell too much or too little. Later today, when my brain is less like jelly, I’m going to spend some time crafting a one liner of my own. Here’s why: in my opinion, I’ve sold my book, I don’t need to resell it to every person I meet, so my full pitch is TMI. That sell, sell, sell thing? It gets old. Besides, at present, I go to conventions to meet other writers. They’ve got their own books and limited interest in mine. “I write urban fantasy” is just about all most of them want to know. However, I’ll need something along Charlaine’s line for later. Because later, after the first Mystwalker book comes out, I’ll be coming to a convention to hopefully meet people who bought my book and liked it well enough to want to meet me.
Well, that’s the big dream anyhow. (So if you do like my book, don’t get shy, okay? As long as I’m not eating dinner, speaking to someone else, or sitting in the next stall, feel free to say ‘hey, you!’)
But that’s ahead, when life will be sweet and sweating something I’m more used to.
At this convention, I mostly socialized. Meals and drinks with some writers I know and some best-selling authors I didn’t (whose names I’m not going to drop because I’ve overspent my snot allotment for one month). And I met some Charlatans (Kimberly accept this as proof that I do know your name), and had lunch with my Beta-reader (hey Becci-love), and kissed a guy on the cheek.
And I discovered the power of the cellphone. At dinner with some St. Martin’s Press authors, the subject of dogs was brought up. Faster than you could say “Pinch that Pomerian” cellphones were whipped out. Ain’t-I-one-cute-pooch photos were exchanged. Smiles creased faces that had been guarded.
I thought about the power of the cellphone a couple mornings later, when I sat alone in the lobby at 6:00 a.m. No. I wasn’t waiting for a work-out partner. Truth is, sometimes, I need space. Quiet. Alone time. Doesn’t matter if I have a great roommate (and I did). I just need to be alone. So I took a book and went down to the lobby, and started reading. And soon, I found myself in the happy place. I took a picture. Well, I took a few. Here was a moment of perfect happiness. A very, very good book and an empty lobby.
Later, I tested the cellphone theory. At an informal, impromptu Charlatan gathering, we started talking about kids and dogs. I asked to see, and Holy Hannah, did I see. So, I shared some of my photos, and on and on it went. Fun times were had, and people’s lives were shared.
There. Another thing learned. Cellphones are ice-breakers, unless of course you choose to use yours to get a shot of my ass, in which case they’re potential nose-breakers.
Anyhow, they have their uses. Particularly when you’re missing your husband so much that…well…let’s put it’s this way…
His face broke into a wide grin when he saw me.