My plane arrived early to Dulles at 7:30 pm. But then I got the unpleasant news that my luggage wasn't going to arrive until 11 pm! I wonder where it got to go? So, not trusting United because no one asked me if they can send my luggage elsewhere, I stuck around.
3 1/2 hours.
I wrote some of the Crispin novel, I read some of Julia Spencer-Fleming's One Was A Soldier, I wandered, I swore.
But I did get my luggage at last. Should you really have to pay for Thursday night at the hotel when you arrive at midnight when it's technically Friday? Not surprisingly, the hotel said, "Yes. Yes you do, deadbeat."
(That's a picture of the luggage carousel around hour three.)
Friday morning, I got started. Caught a little of the tail end of the Royal Wedding down at the lounge area (really the balcony wave). At 10 am I was going to attend Malice Go Round, a sort of speed dating for authors. 21 tables were set up where readers park themselves and authors flit from table to table in an orderly fashion and have 2 minutes to sell the books. It's your elevator pitch and then some. I passed out sword pens till I ran out. Then I ran out of bookmarks. Then I ran out of voice, so I ditched the last two tables (hope they'll forgive me).
After that, I met with the presidents of the Sisters in Crime chapters from all over the country for lunch and to discuss how to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sisters in Crime. I can't say enough good things about this organization. It got me published, it did, by allowing me to network with other authors and would-be authors in all stages of their success and dejection. And each chapter always has good ideas for their meetings. We exchanged ideas and I have some thoughts to bring back to my chapter (I'm the prez of the Orange County California Chapter). I hope they'll be ready for it.
I skipped a few things to do a little writing and then made an appearance again at the opening ceremonies and reception.
Verena Rose welcomed us and then introduced author Donna Andrews (pictured), the toastmasteer, to give a few remarks. Gifts were given to the movers and shakers and then we emptied our wallets at the no host bar and munched on cheese and crackers.
I was too late to meet with a few people for dinner so I met some others and went to dinner with them instead. Can't leave Maryland without having at least some crab cakes (and they were nummy) while one of my tablemates, Molly Weston, had the ginormous chicken pot pie. Another diner came by and asked if we liked it and I told her I wanted to crawl up inside of it and live there. (See below)
I stayed up way too late yapping with my other tablmate, Kathie Felix, journalist and editor of the Sisters in Crime blog, and enjoyed every minute of it. Kathie, all I can say is, "chupacabra!"
On Saturday morning, I headed out for my first panel on paranormal mysteries when one of the attendees fell backwards on the up escalator. I don't know what came over me but I was right there getting behind her and trying to get her to her feet. Someone, thankfully, hit the emergency stop. I held her up so she wouldn't slide back (but what was going to hold me?) I couldn't get her to her feet--she said she couldn't bend her knee. Another gal came down the escalator to help but I told her to get security. Meanwhile, another Samaritan showed up and climbed over the rail to get behind her beside me. Security showed up and I got out of their way as the men helped her up at last. I think she was okay, I don't know, but I was a wreck for a few minutes afterward. All that adrenaline, I guess.
So after a splash of cold water, I headed for the panel with moderator Becky Hutchinson, Juliet Blackwell, E. J. Copperman (alias Jeff Cohen), Victoria Laurie, and Sarah Smith. I like paranormal stuff even though I'm a skeptic, but it might be fun to venture into writing some someday.
They all first shared their own paranormal experiences, which were all very amusing and some even shiver-inducing. Nothing like a good ghost story!
Then I was on my way to the next panel about amateur sleuths because I also write one of those, but if I could only learn to read the program I would have been there on time. I was just in time to catch the Q & A. Personally, I think that an Amish vampire series is a brilliant idea (it kind of came up as a joke as one of the authors writes an Amish mystery series. But if someone takes that idea I think a Quaker vampire would be fun as well.)
At last was a lunch break where I went off to meet with fellow Guppies (the Great UnPublished online chapter of Sisters in Crime) and passed out sword pens.
(Pictued beloe is Laura Alden, fellow Guppy and Agatha Nominee for first best novel, holding up the first Guppy Anthology, Fish Tales).
After lunch I headed over to my panel on Taboo subjects with moderator B. K. Stevens, Julie Hyzy, Toni L. P. Kelner, and Joanna Campbell Slan. I felt a little like the odd man out as this is a cozy/traditional convention and my tablemates were authors of that ilk, but as I said on the panel, if you squint while reading mine, they could be traditional. It seemed to go just fine and I did sign a few copies (when I checked the dealer room earlier, all the paperbacks of Veil and Serpent were sold out) so I did okay. I was, however, sitting across from Sue Grafton and of course you couldn't see her for the line. (pictured)
Tonight the Agatha Awards are given out at a banquet and I am hosting a table so here's hopiing someone has signed up to sit with little ole me. I have goodies for those who do.