We finally made it, after a really unpleasant flight in which an irate woman tried to exit the aircraft after the doors were closed and we were on the runway, ready for take-off. Although I will never fly United Airlines again unless I'm forced, the flight attendant did a magnificent job of handling the situation. I suspect that attendant, alone, averted the issuance of one of those ugly news releases about someone being arrested for air rage. I know I was feeling rage, but against a fellow passenger, rather than the airline itself because I damn well wanted to take off and the captain said that if this person were allowed to deplane, then the air manifest paperwork would have to be redone and we would be delayed until it was redone. When I heard that, I could have strangled the woman myself! Of course, I also feel a bit of rage towards United for "allowing" me to purchase a packet of disgusting trail mix for $5 -- and at myself for being hungry enough after 24 hours with no sustenance to pay for it.
All's well that ends well, though, and we did finally hit the sheets somewhere around 4am. DH managed to make it to one of the site-seeing tours, but it was all I could do to make it down in time for registration, and then to the dinner, where Bernard Cornwell was the keynote speaker. Cornwell did an excellent job of being funny while discouraging would-be authors from thinking they'll ever be able to quit their day jobs. I'm not sure of what to make of that, but I do have to admit that it's true; few will ever achieve his level of success. I suppose my problem with the message is in believing that it isn't worthwhile for those who don't get to his level. Maybe it isn't, but I'm not entirely sure of that.
I have to say -- attendance at the conference is amazing. It is quite literally, packed, and so far, everything is terrific. I doubt she knows what a great job she does, but I put a lot of that down to Sarah Johnson.
Once I had got over my horrific travel woes, I was ready to have a good time and I am. It's wonderful to see so many people I met at the last conference, and people I've wanted to meet. It isn't as much fun without Lady Tess, but it's still fun to tell everyone about how we've signed a brilliant new author named Louise Turner and how Brian Wainwright's book continues to make its way up the charts.
Nancy Atwell and I had a lovely chat about publishing issues, while sipping drinks in the lobby -- the bar here makes a mean margarita (with Cointreau) and after a couple of them I allowed myself to be shanghaied into playing pool with DH, a couple of librarians, and a former AOL exec named Lawrence, who is charming as well as savvy about software. In case you haven't guessed, I suck at pool. I really really suck. Lawrence, whose partner I was, was a good sport about my awfulness -- and the margaritas eased my pain. It's interesting, btw, that you can be married to someone for going on 20 years, and not have had the faintest idea that he plays pool really well! He's smart too; he didn't want me on his team. *g*
Alas, I'm still stuck on west coast time, which means it feels like 11pm to me, but it's really 2am, and I have to get up in 4 hours if I'm going to make it to any of the early panels (doubtful). However, I do need to be up and about at a reasonable hour to make it to the next batch (and lunch!). I have also learned that our panel is up against one of Diana's Gabaldon's -- and, of course, no one will come to ours for me (although they may come to hear Pat Wynn and Nancy Atwell) -- unless I work out how to be charming in the next 24 hours (not likely).
Wish you were here!