I went north, to Canada, and it was good. Calgary is a delightful city that reminded me a lot of Denver. They understand the concept of closing off streets during the day so we bipeds can wander around without fear of vehicular traffic. The shops were eclectic, ranging from the tourist places to the high end boutiques. And the food was nummy. The weather was very nice for Calgary this time of year and one of the surprises was this magnificent "clockwork" horse sculpture. So steampunk.
My advance scout for this trip was Jean Marie Ward who can scout with the best of them. She arrived a few days earlier and immediately began to map the environs. By the time I arrived Wed afternoon, she knew where to find the restaurants, the pubs and the shops. We grabbed a quick bite of food and then headed back to the hotel for the Hades Publications party. I'm published by Dragon Moon Press, which is a Hades imprint, so I was eager to be there. They served delightful munchies, had a cash bar and entertained us with The Plaid Tongued Devils. I've never seen a band that could mesh Roma, Klezmer, Middle Eastern and Celtic music like they did. It was a rousing time. Their fiddlers were incredible!
Now I'm usually pretty stupid after any plane trip and Wed noc was no exception. I've never met my publisher and have seen only one photo of her. So Jean Marie and I are chatting away while I enjoy some rum on the rocks and this lady walks up. I give her a smile and then turn back to Jean Marie. I look back and see this impish smile on the lady's face. Then I see her name tag. Gwen Gades. My publisher. I felt like an idiot. We hugged, repeatedly, and then starting catching on on all the stuff you don't put in an email.
Thursday morning was open for us so Jean Marie and I did some trekking around. I figured out how to get to my emails via the iPhone without roaming (Starbucks) and we bought some wine and champagne to celebrate the launch of my new book. I did make it on a panel (Adding Mystery to Your Fiction) which went very well. After some time signing at the Hades booth (lots of folks bought Sojourn) I popped off to lunch with the roomie, the publisher and Christine, a friend of Gwen's. We went to one of the highly recommended Chinese places and the food was awesome. Way too much of it.
Saturday involved a book launch party in the afternoon courtesy of Hades and that went very well. Lots of excellent chocolate. And to celebrate, Jean Marie, Maggie Bonham (her book Lachlei debuted this weekend) and new author Lizzy Shannon joined me for a trip to the James Joyce (pub) which Lizzy proclaimed to be truly Irish. She would know. She comes from Northern Ireland. So after some Irish Stew, lots of grand gabbing, a couple of pints and a quaff of Aberlour (single malt) and I headed for my room. And crashed. The rest of the evening was spent reading and relaxing.
Sunday involved more time at the booth, which was a kick. Lots of folks came over to talk to me about my panel (thank you programming coordinators for adding me to it, by the way) and to buy books. LOTS of books. I was thrilled to see so many readers coming back for the later books in the series or taking that brave first step with Sojourn.
Which leads me to Josh Langston. Mr. Langston was on both my planes from Atlanta to Calgary. I noted him because of the steel gray piping on his shirt. (What can I say?) We met again at the Hades party and then he surprised me with something so cool I still can't believe it. Josh and I had never met before, but he created a book trailer for Madman's Dance. It is awesome. What's even more awesome is that he'd never read the series! That's being remedied at the moment. So here's this gent who spent at least 14 hours of his life creating a book trailer for some author he's never met. What a lovely gesture. He's making a few changes to it as I type, especially since he read the first book over the weekend (I did warn him it was addictive). From what I gather there may be a book with Hades in his future. Wishing you all the best Josh! I'll be sure to post the trailer once it's available.
Coming home wasn't as much fun. Delta had screwed around with my reservations since I booked them last December. I think there were at last four or five schedule changes, many of which involving a number of hours later than the original booking. I checked in online Sunday night, but couldn't print a boarding pass without a printer. I called Northwest (they were code sharing the first flight out of Calgary) and verified I was confirmed. Fine and good. I arrived at the airport at 5:06 a.m. because it's Monday morning and I know that's always busy. To make this adventure as painless as possible for you, dear reader, here is the sequence of events.
1) Go to Delta counter. They can't check me in.
2) Try to find NWA counter. No can find. The counters change as needed per airline.
3) Back to Delta counter. They tell me NWA's counter doesn't open until about 6 a.m.
4) 5:45 and the NWA counter opens. Try to check in using kiosk. No good. Try again. Ditto. Reach representative who asks why I haven't checked in and then asks if I did it right (grrrr).
5) Return to Delta counter as NWA says I need a printed ticket. Delta rep says they've "closed out" the counter and they can't help me. Points to 800 number of my itinerary. "Call them."
6) 800 number is for flight status. Sigh. Call husband, get actual number.
7) Res line rep TICKETS the NWA flight. Apparently the ticket had never been issued even though I had a seat assignment. (oy!)
8) Stand in line (again). NWA takes pity on me and pulls me forward, prints the ticket and sends me into the long Customs & Immigration Line.
One hour later, after clearing US Customs (in Calgary!) I grabbed a sandwich and hotfooted it to the plane. I did snag an exit row seat with no one in the middle, so I spread out and read all the way home. Heaven.
And my final words?
GO VOTE PEOPLE!