Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back From RT, Minus One Bag

Romantic Times went very well in many ways this year. I got filmed for a documentary that was interested in me as a male writer in a female-dominated field, I was interviewed and quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and my buttons were a hit. Alessia and I had a book given away in the freebie room and were pleased when all 100 copies got scarfed up and some people even sought us out to sign them.

I met several people I'd been looking forward to meeting, such as Barry Eisler and Elaine from Coffee Time Romance and The Dark Castle Lords. I got to know some people better that I only briefly met last year, like Samantha Kane. I got to meet great new people like Larry from Torquere and Erika. I got brief introductions to people I hope to get to know better, like Caprice Crane and Alexandra Sokoloff. And of course I partied and enjoyed the time with Lillian Feisty, Eden Bradley, Christina Cross, Tawny Taylor and my dear partner Alessia Brio.

The only thing bad about it was the return. Not just leaving my friends, but troubles and inconsistency with the airlines. First, the airline website said my flight was delayed. This created anxiety about making my connection in Minneapolis. Then, we took off on time with the original schedule and even made up time in the air, arriving early. Obviously, that isn't a bad thing. I don't mind having an hour and a half to make my connection instead of 45 minutes. But it does add to the inconsistency portion.

That time ended up being a positive, since the tram was broken down in Minneapolis. But I made it to my connection in plenty of time. I called my mom and told her we were on schedule, or just behind it, and it looked like we would arrive in San Diego just after 11 p.m. as planned, then got on board. And sat while a thunderstorm passed. We backed away from the gate late. We taxied and sat on the tarmac. Eventually we made it into the air.

And I arrived in San Diego safe and sound, if a bit late. My mom had to wait a while, but she was understanding, despite the witching hour being upon us. I told her by phone I would be out as soon as I got my bags. It took a long time for the baggage carousal to start, perhaps due to the lateness of our arrival. I suspect we were the last flight of the evening and that they had a skeleton crew. I got my garment bag right away, one of the first bags off the belt.

And waited for a second case that never came. One that they still can't locate. They know it left Pittsburgh and that is all. This is not good. All of my jeans. About $400 worth of boots and shoes. Lots of brand new promo gear, some autographed books, things I had purchased for the costumes, autographed books, gifts for my kids.

Sure, the airline website says they cover losses up to $3000.00. But it takes a minimum of thirty days. Yeah, I'll have to buy a new electric shaver and pants before then, gang. Plus, if I know the way insurance works, you'll want receipts for things I never expected to need receipts for.

The thing that bugs me the worst is that they had an extra 45 minutes to do it in and they still screwed it up.

But I'm not using the name of the airline deliberately, because I'm hoping they will still get the bag to me, and soon. If they have lost it completely? Then I'll drag their name into the mud.

But other than that one issue (which I really didn't think was gonna be such a long rant) the trip was great.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Promo & Partying In Pittsburgh

I thought it was busy and frantic last year, but it turns out that as a first-timer who wasn't presenting, I was wrong. Last year was nothing, crazy though it was.

Craziness is normal at RT. If not in your mind, at least on your schedule.

Romantic Times is the big convention for the romance genre, and while it may not quite reach the nuttiness of ComicCon, it gets wild. As always, I don't feel like I've slowed down since I got here.

It started yesterday with the normal registration lines and elevator overflow. We had to get our promo gear out on promo lane and then I did a panel on e-books and law for EPIC. That was the first time I had been on a panel and it was a very interesting experience. Then we had the Expo. I sold and signed a few books and spent about 15 minutes on camera talking to some folks making a documentary about the Romance industry. If I get ten seconds in the finished film I will be thrilled.

Ellora's Cave hosted a "Golden Age of Hollywood" party that started almost immediately after the expo was cleaned up. Went upstairs and got into tuxedo and danced for hours, with lots of drinking and flirting.

This morning, I helped Alessia set up for Club RT, then was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This afternoon I will be signing at All Romance eBooks table for an hour, then doing dinner and coming upstairs to get all pirated out for the Faery Ball.

And of course there will be much drinking, dancing and flirting. *Grin*

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Fool I Couldn't Laugh At...

Abraham Lincoln said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

The wisdom of this applies everywhere and I certainly have been able to think of people who should follow it in ballparks, but rarely in quite this manner.

Last night, I went to the ballpark with my Mom, something we do together several times a year. My Mom has been a season ticket holder for the Padres since 1985, so her seats are excellent and we don't often have the people drinking ten beers and screaming obscenities. For one thing, the ushers know to take care of the customers in that section. Jake Peavy owns the tickets directly in front and to the left, so someone yelling how he sucks is going to be politely told not to say so in front of his wife, for example.

But last night, we had Mr. "I'm on a date and I really want to impress her so she will consider me a suitable candidate to impregnate her" sitting behind us. And for nine innings, he could not shut his mouth. I know where he works, I know where he went to college, I know who he rooted for growing up and what he wants to name his firstborn... who, by the way,has no choice but to be male. I know how familiar he is with stripper names and that he thinks anyone who names their son William is foolish because it will get shortened to Billy and "Billy sucks." (Billy sucks as a name worse than Everett, which he wants to name his first born because "if he gives him a bad name to begin with the kid won't get a bad nickname from his peers"... and yes, he really said that.)

Luckily for him, he has a good job and he isn't bad looking. Plus, she wasn't the brightest star in the sky. Still, I did feel like telling him that it wasn't smart to tell the girl you are trying to sleep with that her taste in names for children sucks. And that it might have been wise to let her get a word in edgewise on occasion.

And I wanted to be a good teammate on the guy team. Despite the fact that about 40% of his baseball knowledge was dead wrong, I never turned around and corrected him in front of her. I resisted the urge to block his path... although at one point in my life I might have done it merely to teach him a lesson. That, or cornered him on a trip to the snackbar and told him he was blowing it. By the way, it took him two or three beer runs to realize that they actually serve people in those seats and that the people in uniforms bringing nachos to people seated around him were not family members.

And I held my tongue for nine innings of incessant babble. I even took a picture of them together for him and accepted the title of "new friend." Although I could have warned him that when she fixed the collar on my jacket for me and leaned forward to ask me questions, he was in danger of losing her regard.

Until the ninth inning. Warning to prospective idiots. I will allow you to give misinformation out with authority in search of a bed partner only to a certain extent. Chanting "OOOOver-rrrrated" about the all time saves leader while children around you are screaming with excitement? Talking about how the position of reliever has only existed for "about twelve years" and it's "no big deal" to close a game?

Too much.

I let him have it. I asked him how a no doubt Hall of Famer could be overated? When he said no relievers were in the Hall, I named those who were. I told him (and his girl) who Lee Smith was. I disputed every counterpoint he made for a couple of minutes and then, having exacted my revenge for the previous nine innings, I turned and watched the game. Hoffy got two quick outs, but then a nubber to first base happened to be a single because it basically was not struck hard enough to roll faster than the batter could run. Which prompted renewed posturing from fool boy about how he was right. I gave him one long look. I didn't say anything.

I did notice that when Hoffy struck the next guy out, the girl did a little hop and the half-hand claps that screamed "former cheerleader" and that she was suddenly rooting for what he was rooting against.

And I noticed that he got her out of there in a hurry.

I apologize to my fellow guys, and I do kinda hope that I didn't keep him from getting laid. But friends, please...

Before you chatter incessantly for nine innings in front of the girl you are trying to impress... listen to Mr. Lincoln.