If it appears that I have fallen off the face of the planet, that is only partially correct. I've been away. Not abroad, as it were, but away. Part of that "away" involves the heavy-duty edit we're going through on the latest book (Madman's Dance). My beloved editor has pulled out all the stops this time so there's a lot of work to do. In the end, the final product will reach or exceed the standards of the other two.
The other reason I've been away from this blog is that I actually have been on the road. For the last 18 days. 5 of those days were spent in Las Vegas (actually Henderson which is just southeast of Sin City) at the home of some dear friends. It was a great way of starting the long road trip. Tony Roma ribs, beer on the back porch (with cigars) and the not quite as cool as usual evenings. I really do love Vegas, even when it's 105 degrees. Seeing my buddies was sincerely overdue.
From there I executed a short hop to San Francisco on Virgin Airlines. Never flown those folks before and they were fun. Apparently the Powers That Be allow the flight attendants some leeway when it comes to the FAA mandated safety announcements. I've heard this a million times and I turn my brain to snooze when I hear it again. Except this time the flight attendant (a guy) was having a grand time with the announcement, rifting on theme, as it were. Hilarious. And I listened. Pity more airlines don't get that clue.
I've been through SFO's airport, but not been in the town. So this was a treat. I've always snarked about why in the hell would anyone live on an active fault line knowing it's only a matter of time before the earth truly does move. Well, I apologize. Now I know why they do it. San Francisco rocks. It's a truly lovely town. They've come to an understanding of how architecture outta work: new stuff blends with old stuff. Denver is the same way. London -- not happening there. New ugly stuff doesn't compliment cool old stuff.
San Francisco has a unique feel I didn't expect. The food was awesome, some of the folks on the streets definite book fodder. I was there to attend the Romance Writers of America annual convention. I took part in the annual charity book signing event, but that was a bust for me. Usually I sell six to seven books. This year -- zip. Most of the problem was that RWA made a new rule that the books at the charity signing could only be 2007 and 2008 copyrights. That's book 2 in my series only. So if you've never read the first book, you're not going to buy the second. I was sad they missed out on the sales as it would have gone for literacy in San Francisco. Unintended consequences.
I roomed with a buddy of mine from Wisconsin (formerly of Colorado, Saudi Arabia, etc. She's been everywhere.) She was pitching to an agent and trying to get the most out of the conference. The only downside is the poor soul was suffering from a sinus infection. Jana is a very light sleeper. I can hear a mouse cough on the moon. Sinus infections = snoring. Big time. No way I could sleep that first nigh, even with ear plugs, so I donned my clothes, trucked down to the front desk and asked if we could have a roll away sent to the room. Since we didn't end up with the two queen bed room we'd originally requested (got a king instead) we were able to use the roll away.
When I returned to the room my roomie was up, worried about where I'd gone. There was a happy ending: she took some meds to help her sinuses. I put the roll away near the door, with a wall between us and lo, we both got a great night's sleep. Improvision saves your butt more often than not. To her credit, she took the roll away from that night forward as it was 1) comfortable and 2) close to the bathroom. I slept like a dream. She's a gem, that lady. (Yes, I know, a comfortable roll away bed in a hotel. Absolutely unheard of.)
The conference itself was of value. I am now considered a Published Author by RWA standards so I attended the Published Authors Network programming track. This track aims for more industry specific info such as contract negotiations, input from the major booksellers' representatives, etc. I also had the opportunity to meet with my agent. Yes folks, I've finally reached the stage where I've signed with a NY agent. I got one of the best, which shows that being patient and working hard for seven years does pay off.
After the conference ended, I got the chance to spend a day with my dear friend P.C. Cast and her daughter Kristin (co-authors of the dynamite House of Night Series). We headed up to Fisherman's Wharf, had some excellent breakfast complete with Irish Coffee and then went hunting sea lions. I have some neat pictures on my digital camera, providing I can find the sync cord to unload them (sigh). We visited Golden Gate State Park, toured the horticultural gardens, bought some goodies at a Gem and Mineral Show ( love that bling) and then gave up. Totally tired, but a very fun day. We didn't get to see any sea lions that day, but Kristen got to see a bunch of them the next. P.C. and I so rarely get to spend time together. We met 7 years ago when I was self-published and she was with a small press. She and Kristin just passed their fourteenth week on the NY Times List. Awesome.
More about the trip in the next post. I must get some work done tonight as tomorrow I'm back to Jury Duty when we learn if I've been empaneled or not. If not, I'm back in the pool. If so, I'm going to do my civic duty to the fullest. Who knows, someday somebody might have to do the same for me.