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Just back about six hours ago from lovely Maryland and the book signings at
TTP. As promised, here is my travelogue.
As usual with TTP events, a few key phrases defined the entire weekend:
"That's one big fu*king rabbit!"
"Hello, I'm Laurie. Kiss me."
"MaryKay wants my cherry."
I'll explain as we go along here.
Jen B drove up to Columbus on Thursday and arrived at my house around 1pm.
After I lost my eBay attempt to win coordinating bed shams for my new
bedding, we hit the road, stopping at Patrick J's for a sandwich before
leaving town. The drive to Maryland was fairly uneventful. It was a smooth
5 1/2 trip (Jen: "I love speeding, don't you?") and we listened to the first
half of the unabridged version of Reunion in Death. Forgotten just how much
I love that book.
We checked into the hotel in Hagerstown and got to our room okay. The place
was PACKED! Some senior citizen patriotic convention going on. But our room
was very nice, much better than TTP last July where we were sandwiched
between two party rooms, neither of which were part of our party. We even
had a very nice big leather reading chair, though I don't think either of us
made use of it.
After getting situated and watching Friends, we headed down to the hotel bar
to try to scrape together some dinner. Found who else but Laurie and Wendy
at the bar, already making the most of their weekend. We moved to a table
where we could all fit and Jen and I ordered dinner while Laurie pointed out
the hottie she was checking out across the bar. I didn't have my glasses on
so I couldn't see him real well, but I did notice he had a KISS T-shirt on.
Karaoke was in full swing. Some people were really good. Some should have
stayed home. And the guys doing the rap thing non stop were really annoying,
but we hung out for a while. DeeAnn, Debbie and Kelly (Canada Kelly) showed
up after a while and joined our group. Pam, Connie and Autumn were already
dead to the world in their room we were told. At some point later in the
evening, Laurie's hottie guy walked by and DeeAnn grabbed a hold of him.
Whisper, whisper. Next thing you know, he's talking to Laurie. "What's your
name?" he asked. "Hi, I'm Laurie. Kiss me." she says! She stuck her hand
out for a kiss. We all busted into laughter. Me? I'd have been under the
table, hiding in embarrassment, but not Laurie. Gotta give that girl credit!
So Laurie comments on how she likes Mr. Hottie's T-shirt and he says, "Oh,
look at the back." and turns around to show her. Laurie immediately
disregards the back of the T and aims her ambitions a little lower. She
lifts up his T-shirt and checks out his butt! "Nice pockets." she says.
We're all in stitches. As we try to catch our breath, we note Laurie is
asking this guy if he'll be back tomorrow night. "No? Oh, well, how about
mid-July? Say, like July 11th?" I hear her ask. Again, laughter breaks out.
Then he was gone.
Shortly after, Jen and I retired to our room where we read, got ourselves
ready for the big day Friday and just hung out for a while.
Friday morning we were up early. I couldn't sleep, never do away from home.
Plus I'm still recovering from this horrendous flu/pneumonia/whatever bug,
coughing like crazy and probably driving Jen nuts. I got in the shower and
dressed then Jen got up and did much the same. We had some breakfast and
then headed out to TTP.
We arrived at TTP around 9:15 or so. Some people already on the porch, but
not many. Pam, Connie and Autumn are there. Hugs are exchanged. Laurie,
Wendy and now Carla had arrived. I pass out little cherry adornments to the
cherries that are present (Laurie, Connie, Jen B, Pam) and most of us found a
way to attach them to our clothing. Pam and I begin catching up. It was a
really lovely morning. Cool, but sunny. A really good day for TTP. After a
while, the front door to the bookstore opens (dropping Autumn to onto her
back as she was leaning against it!) and tickets are handed out. And yet
ANOTHER TTP change. No numbers now. Just tickets with letters, 25 to a
letter. So most of us who showed up early got A tickets.
Pam, Connie, Autumn, et al, go off to grab breakfast at Crawfords while the
rest of us shopped. I was good, only spent $28. Got a paperback of Naked In
Death for Nora to sign for Lt. Patts and In the Midnight Rain by Ruth Wind
(aka Barbara Samuels) since everyone had raved about it the night before and
she was there to sign books as well. And one of the new Nora travel mugs
that are so cool but they only had a very limited stock of. It's got a nice
quote from the New York Times about Nora on it. Scooted over to Crawfords
afterward and showed Pam and Connie. You could see the sudden look of panic.
"Do I eat my breakfast now and risk not getting one, or do I run over there,
stand in line, get one, and come back to a cold breakfast." Then Jen B came
to the rescue. "Give me money, I'll get you one." she says. Suddenly, Jen's
getting more money thrown at her than a stripper at a bachelor's party. So
off she goes.
Someone pleads with Connie to tell the X story. Don't think it got told, at
least not at Crawfords. Another story of hers was revisited, but quietly (or
as quiet as we can be) since there were some older ladies sitting at the
booth behind us. Jen comes back with the mugs and everyone is thankful. Pam
gets up and we thought went to the bank, but when she didn't come back and
didn't come back we finally figured she'd ditched us for TTP. So we went
over there, and as usual, Pammy was well on her way to making BW a
gazillionaire. Earlier, when I ran into him someone asked if they could do
anything to help and he said, "Buy books." I immediately replied, "Don't
worry. Pam will be here shortly."
Around 11:15, they asked all the As to line up. Some woman up front got
snippy with a couple of us regulars. I heard it, but wasn't part of it.
Apparently she felt that she was A1, not just A, and some feathers were
ruffled. But in good time, we all started moving into the signing room.
They had us line up through the store, which I really didn't like as much
because it was hot once we were all crammed in there. I liked it much better
last July when we lined up outside. But they've fixed the signing room up
some and it looked nice.
The first 8 authors or so were no one I knew, and not my type of books from
what I could tell. Found Barbara Samuels at the end of that row and she
immediately recognized me, but admitted she couldn't remember my name. She
said she hoped to be joining the JennysCherryWriters list soon and I said,
"Great, we'd love to have you." Said things had finally slowed down for her
a little. She signed No Place Like Home and In The Midnight Rain for me.
(Another TTP change - only 2 books. Per author, brought from home... and you
can't get back in line... grrrr...)
Next up was Janet Evanovich. While she signed Full House written as Steffie
Hall and my UK hardcover of Four to Score for me, I asked her about the
Trenton appearance she did last summer. Jen B, Annie and I drove to that and
it was a madhouse! I asked how long she was signing books. She said they
knew they would have too many people to fit into the ballroom, but they never
expected over 3,000 people to show up. She said she signed until 6pm when
she had to go to a dinner they'd auctioned her off for, and then came back
and signed until 9am the next morning!!! Sheesh!! Talk about dedication!!
And then she immediately started to tell me about this year's big event at
the Mall of America in MN. I told her that sadly, I could not go. "Why
not?" she asked. "I'm speaking at RWA that week." "Oh, well I'm going to be
in New York during RWA." and I said, "Great, why don't you come to RWA then?"
She said, "No one wants me. They didn't ask me to talk." and I told her I
didn't think that could be true and we laughed.
Next up was Nora. She was sick. Really sick. Probably the same crap I'm
getting over. You could just tell she was completely drained. But as
always, she was so cool and professional. She signed my books and to tell
you the truth, I can't even remember what we talked about! I know I said I'd
seen Kayla and what a cutie she was (Dan was carrying her around the store,
in her completely matching jumpsuit, hat socks and flip flops - no doubt
bought by "Nana").
Finally, I made my way out of the store, only to realize that I'd forgotten
to give Nora the frogs - again! I gave her a sand pail for Kayla with little
frogs all over it, knowing Stacie had a frog theme going, when we were in
Dayton. But I forgot the little rubber-ducky-lie frogs that were supposed to
go in the pail. And then I forgot to get them out of my bag again on Friday,
so I snuck back in when BW wasn't looking and slid them on to the table next
to her. As I was sneaking back out the door, MaryKay McCombas (sp?) stops me
and asks where I got my little cherry, the stem stuck through my knit
sweater. Someone was calling me outside so I said, "Hang on and I'll bring
you back one." I ran out and Pam and everyone on the street wanted to do a
big group photo and I said, "Make it quick. MaryKay wants my cherry." Which
just came out completely wrong, but it made for a lot of smiles in the
Grabbed an extra cherry and took it back in for MaryKay. I told her about
the lists (JenniferCrusieFans and JennysCherryWriters) and invited her to
join us on the writing list. I know she's published some categories, perhaps
more, so I tried to make her feel comfortable about joining us by letting her
know that Jenny, Pat Gaffney, Katy Copper, Dallas Schulze, etc are already
members and quite vocal. So we might see MaryKay on the writers list at some
point. Then we got into this whole discussion about cherries, actual
cherries, not us "cherries", before I snuck back out on the street again.
Pam, Connie and the crew headed up the street for ice cream while Jen plopped
down to read and I ended up running into Carol P, chatting with her for a
good while. Such a sweetheart. Love this woman.
After Carol P, Dee, Deb and Kelly went on their way, I hear my name being
called and find out that I've won something in the raffle! WooHoo! "I never
win anything," I say. "Well, except for that one time I bitched so much I
think I scared MaryKay and she gave me something just to shut me up."
So Dawn walks me back to the prize table where I have my pick of things. I
decided on an ARC of Flesh and Blood, an anthology written by mystery writers
with a heavy dose of noir. I'd actually almost bought the book through my
book club the week before, so I was quite glad I hadn't!
After that, it was decided we'd go to Barnswood Books and then to get
something to eat. So we piled into our cars and headed out. I didn't spend
much at Barnswood. Only about $18. Got 4 books, so that seemed reasonable.
Someone decided we had to go to the naughty girls and boys store (or what
some were calling the "Fu*kerware store"). Something about Pam having to put
together stuff for a Donna Kauffman basket for TTP in July. So off we go and
into the store we head. All 8 or so of us. Loud and obnoxious as ever.
Scared the living shit out of the dirty old men in there looking for porn.
LOL! Autumn seemed most enthusiastic. "Mom! Look at this!" I heard her
exclaim more than once to Pammy. Finally Pam says, "Autumn, you can NOT tell
your father I brought you here. He'd think I'd really gone crazy!"
I walk to the back of the store, on a mission to prove that the Climbing
Gecko is a real vibrator. No Climbing Gecko in this little shop, but I did
find the Jack Rabbit, which we bought Kelley (my friend who got married last
year) for her bachelorette party. So we were all talking about that and Sex
and the City which made The Rabbit a household name when Autumn looks up and
says, "Look at this rabbit." pointing to a vibrator at the top of the
shelves. I blurt out, "That's one big fu*cking rabbit." To which Laurie
replies, "Yeah, Thumper ain't got nothing on him!" Pammy opts for some
fuzzy handcuffs, a feather duster and an erotic blindfold before we leave.
Next up is TGI Fridays and some refreshments. We push a bunch of tables
together since there will be about 16 of us when everyone arrives. I
immediately order a Cosmopolitan, followed quickly by another. Felt like
drinking for some reason. We all get appetizers while waiting on the others.
Big mistake. We get full. But when did that ever stop any of us from
ordering dinner? So we ordered and ate and drank and talked more. Dee,
Kelly, Debbie and SheriBear arrive. We hang out. We drink. We talk, and
talk, and talk. Finally, around 6, I think, we leave. Lots of hugs and
pictures. Pam, Connie and Autumn head back to York. I was disappointed. I
thought they were staying Friday night too and felt I didn't get enough time
to catch up with them. The rest of us head back to the hotel.
I assume everyone went out drinking or something Friday night. When Jen and
I got to our room, the red message light was blinking on our phone and when I
called, I found out my grandmother had died at about 2pm that afternoon. Any
desire to continue drinking pretty much drained out of me at that point. So
I napped, and Jen read (while I snored, I was so congested!). And then I got
up and read some and we watch Tom Brokaw interview President Bush on NBC
(nice interview, I thought). Read some more. Slept. Had very bad dreams,
so I didn't sleep well. Probably partly because I drank (I tend to have
weird dreams when I drink) but mostly because of losing my grandmother.
We got up this morning, checked out, grabbed some B'evans (Bob Evans) and hit
the road. I dozed off and on during the drive back, coming in and out of
listening to the rest of Reunion in Death. Jen was a doll and drove the
entire way. We stopped for much needed comfort milkshakes at Steak N Shake,
just inside the Ohio border, and made it back to Columbus around 5 or so.