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Monday, August 01, 2005

Conference Recap: Saturday

Saturday was another busy day. Like I mentioned at the end of Friday's recap, my foot and ankle were still swollen when I woke up, and for added fun, my back and hip had started to hurt too. Probably from all the walking/standing I'd done. I'm favoring my bad foot, so I must have been walking weirdly. Anyway, it made it really fun to hobble off to lunch. (Yes, once again, I woke up in time for lunch.) While I was waiting in line, Carolyn came past and joined me. We needed to duck out of lunch early for a Crimson City thing.

Poor Carolyn didn't realize I was going to quiz her on computer stuff--I'm sure she would have run the other direction if she had. I have a story proposal that has a bad guy who receives anonymous email, and I wanted to make sure I could make it difficult to trace. He just needs to be stymied over the course of the story, not forever, and searching for info on this topic was difficult. I always figure ask an expert and Carolyn knows a lot about computers.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips was the luncheon speaker and she was very entertaining. She told more than one humorous story and ragged on her good friend, Cathie Linz for divulging last year that SEP was wearing a swimsuit with her blazer. Maybe I found it particularly funny since Cathie is a friend of mine as well. And darn it, I didn't run into her in Reno. (Side note: The way the hotel was set up, it was very difficult to run into anyone. Or maybe it just felt that way to me.)

We stayed until the end of the speech, which stuck us in the crowd waiting for the elevator. Since we were asked to be at the Dorchester spotlight 15 minutes early, this was a huge problem. We finally hopped on the escalator down a floor (GAH! This was scary because the fashionable cam boot affects my balance even more than the broken foot does) and then got on the elevator down there. Several other people had the same idea and it was a good one because our elevator was full and we never stopped on the Casino level.

I hurried up and changed clothes, then had to wait for an elevator back down and head for the Tahoe room. (Or should I say the "Taco" room. One person will know exactly what I'm talking about. ;-) Dorchester was giving away copies of Liz's book and ARC's of Marjorie's, so we were putting bookmarks in each copy of both books. I think I was the only one at the conference who felt this way, but the conference rooms were hot! I was sweating in all of them. I was sweating in the rooms where they gave the awards, I was sweating in the spotlight. In fact, I was actually wiping sweat off my brow and had the temperature in my room set to 60. Usually, I'm comfortable wherever I go, but not this time. And lucky me, I was wearing a blazer,

Crimson City was mentioned in the spotlight and we all had to stand up. GAH! And the first three covers from the series were up at the front of the room. These spotlights can be excruciating because instead of researching publishers, a lot of newer writers just show up and ask questions that they should know the answer to already. TBH, I don't know how the editors can stand it--I'd lose my mind going through this conference after conference, year after year.

After the spotlight, we headed off to meet with the buyer for Borders/Waldenbooks and a couple of fabulous booksellers. I actually ordered a drink. :-) A cantaloupe margarita. It was surprisingly good, but it was very hard to hear in the restaurant because the music was so loud. It was very interesting to hear their thoughts and Dorchester is going to be sending out copies of the galley for Through a Crimson Veil to them.

Then it was time to rush off to the hotel room to get ready for the awards dinner and show. Our table at dinner was the land of the lost or something. Everyone around us had finished their meal and I still had my salad plate in front of me. This was in the Hilton Pavilion, then afterward, we had to walk across the entire length of the hotel, including through the casino, to get to the Hilton Theater for the show. It was a parade--a slow parade. We ended up stopped and standing around, waiting for the line to creep forward.

It was kind of funny, actually. I was standing with two men--one of them an editor--and we were all in conference overload. Now here's the funny part--I could see several writers glancing enviously my direction and I know it was because they wished they could be standing there, pitching their stories to said editor--and we never talked books. :-) There's no doubt in my mind that as overloaded as I was, it has to be 100 times worse for the editors and agents present at the conference. They must be constantly inundated by writers. Again, I don't know how the editors stand it, especially National which has something like 2000 women each year.

So finally we make it into the theater and I head to my table (we had tickets with assigned seats this year), only I go the wrong direction and had to limp the opposite way. By now, I was in a fair amount of pain, but the awards show is usually fun and there were people up that I wanted to cheer for. I was in a booth with 2 other people. We were supposed to have another person too, but she was sick and stayed in her room. It was not a roomy theater, and our booth was not roomy either. Every time I tried to stretch my legs, I kicked the person across from me. I couldn't shift very much and it was uncomfortable. Thus began the longest awards show in RWA history--or at least in all the years I've been going to National. Almost three hours! GAH! I thought I was at the Oscars or something.

Then, just to make the evening more pleasant, there were two women sitting behind me who apparently were never taught what is appropriate behavior at an awards show and what wasn't. They literally booed and hissed whenever the film montage showed Bill Clinton. I don't care what your politics are, their behavior was juvenile and inappropriate. No one else in the entire theater behaved that boorishly. Clearly these women need Emily Post to pay them a visit for a crash course in how to attend formal events.

I've heard there was a great deal of controversy about the show. I've heard all kinds of stuff, including that the film montage was heavily edited and that the script for the show was all but rewritten the night before the awards. I don't know exactly what on behind the scenes, all I know was that it was EXCRUCIATINGLY LONG.

And by the time it ended, I could barely stand. My back and hip were giving me terrible pain--and funnily enough, my foot was okay. On our long walk back across the entire hotel to return to the Pavilion, I beheaded the chocolate RITA Award I held. I was trying to figure out what to do, when the top half of her torso fell off too and rolled part way across the casino floor. Oops! I retrieved the pieces from the floor and threw the whole thing in the trash.

I should have just gone back to the room, but instead I headed for the party. I didn't stay long, but said goodbye to a few people and then went to bed. Okay, I didn't think I'd stayed long. It was nearly 1am when I reached my room and I still hadn't packed for the flight the next day. I didn't care. I washed my face, changed into my jammies and crawled into bed. By the time the alarm went off the next morning, I was not only exhausted, but also in considerable pain. More on that in the next installment.