Another year, come and gone. It's hard to believe it goes by soooo fast. Here's what went down:
Friday: I left earlier than usual, about 7:3oam, hoping I'd get to Cincy in time to catch up with those already there. Armed with caffeine and a breakfast sandwich, I headed out. As usual, I printed up directions, and failed to notice that there were different than the ones I usually take, meaning that I was completely avoiding the tollroad. I'm not sure if it was better or worse because it was backed up so early in the morning, but then again, so is the tollroad. What was funny is that I had just bought an iPass earlier in the week so I could avoid the tollbooths. Oh, I did alright. Completely avoided them.
Once traffic started moving, I felt better. I decided to let go of any lingering road rage and just enjoy the drive. Which I mostly did. The thing was, it was incredibly windy, which meant I had to drive with both hands on the wheel, which is unusual for me. It also kept me under 85 mph, which is very difficult when you just want to get there. But crashing was not an option. And am I the only one that wants to smack those idiot drivers that pull into the left lane right in front of faster cars and goes about 1 whole mile faster than the car/semi in the right lane, which causes a line of cars to tailgate and swear and get irritated? Good, I didn't think so.
Roughly 5 hours later, I arrive at the Marriott. Being the 4th year, I was pretty comfortable with the set-up. The hotel staff is incredible, and very accommodating. The only problem was that it was so warm inside the hotel, and that's saying something from someone who usually freezes. As I ran out to my car to save the melting chocolate, I saw Joni, Niny and LisaF (who probably thought I was a complete snob for not immediately stopping to chat but I as hot and tired and a little crabby and of course there was the chocolate to think about, which was part of the gift basket for the raffle) and they were on their way out to grab a bite, so I tagged along with them since I was absolutely starving. We headed over to Wendy's, which was blissfully cool, and fairly empty. Nothing like grease and a chocolate frosty to perk me up.
When we got back, we started helping put together the nametags, which was not easy, but then I realized I forgot something, so the procrastinator that is me went to my room to put together my raffle basket, which included Fannie May chocolate, Bath & Body Works lotion, bodywash, pillow mist and candles in Jasmine Vanilla, and the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop, the omnibus version, which I wanted to keep for myself. I hope the girl who won my basket (Carrie H?) likes the trilogy.
At 4pm was registration, and wow, was there ever a line! With over 250 people, it was to be expected, but still, wow. Sarah McCarty was an "instant friend", and went down the line to greet everyone and chat. I really like her. She's so friendly, and such a great writer, and she's great at remembering people. And Christy and her mom Cheryl are wonderful and funny and great at checking everyone in. We got a great bookbag from Samhain Publishing, and some free books and other items.
Dinner that evening was pizza, served by the hotel, and I bought my raffle tickets and looked at the baskets. I don't even know how many there were, but there were 3 different raffles put together: one for the Conductive Learning Center of Greater Cincinnati, a local school specializing in education for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy; a troop donation raffle, as well as one for the Animal Adoption Foundation. Also Part of the proceeds from the sale of "Power of Love" are going to the Battered Women's Shelter.
The baskets were incredible! Sarah McCarty always puts together one of the most coveted baskets, and this year was no different - she included the Amazon Kindle in her's. Another basket had a Sony ebook reader. There were books, jewelry, chocolate, lotions, a free night stay at Marriott of West Chester, a quilt with the "Power of Love" cover on it.
Then there were guest speakers. I was lucky to be seated near the front, because the PA system was awful. Sue Grimshaw, a buyer for Borders was there, as was Sheila Clover from COS (Circle of Seven) Productions, and my pal Michelle Buonfiglio from MyLifetime.com, as well as Angela James, Executive Editor for my favorite ebook site, Samhain, and some others I can't exactly recall. I love hearing about the publishing world, about the different lines, what's popular, what's the hottest thing. It's a fascinating world, and I'm just visiting....
Meeting Lucy Monroe! She is incredibly sweet, and I've wanted to meet her forever. She's such a darling, and she just sparkles. Love her to pieces.
Catching up with the girls from LoriFosterBookJunkys and/or Scamps and Vamps (JudyF, Laurie, BarbS, Lisa F, Chris S, Joni, Niny, Beth, Carolyn, MichelleB). I've known most of these ladies for over 5 years, and it's always a pleasure to see them.
Chatting with Toni Blake/Lacey Alexander. She is definitely one of the most genuinely nice and caring people you could meet. I could talk to her for hours.
(to be continued...)