Anyhow, here's the scoop of the weekend that was.
I got to the con hotel at something unearthly like pre-7 AM, and I said to them, I realise what time it is, check-in is probably five hours away, but I need to be in New York, like, right now. So (a) can I just register and dump my luggage in your storage area and I can deal with the rest of the logistics when I come back this afternoon and (b), er, just how DO I get to New York, exactly, then, please?
No problem, said the hotel people. Here's your room key, your luggage will be delivered to your room, and here's a train timetable for the correct commuter train service, just remember to take a particular train which is express and it'll get you there faster, and we'll see you this afternoon.
Damned impressive, that.
Caught a cab to the station, driving through Westchester which is IMPRESSIVE. Those houses are amazing. That has to be one pricey suburb, that one. I got a return ticket on the New Haven line and duly found myself in the marbled halls of Grand Central station - where I had actually never been before, and it was pretty amazing, that place. But I had a full day, lots to do, places to be, and after an obligatory gawk at the cupolaed ceilings and crystal chandeliers I issued forth into the streets of the city.
First stop, Bryant Park, to investigate pigeons. (All will be made clear in book 3 of "Worldweavers" [Evil Grin]) The weather changed from cloudy to full sunshine while I was about that, and the coat I had brought along *because they said it was going to be cool, damn it* became something I had to haul around by the scruff of its neck and a major annoyance. I took my pictures, wandered around the park, soaked in the atmosphere, and then made my way down 42nd Street towards Eighth Avenue. But I'd had no breakfast, and more importantly no coffee, and I detoured into the nearest coffee emporium to correct this - and realised that although I knew that the New Yorker Hotel, my next stop, was on Eighth Avenue I had no idea which direction from the corner on which I was standing. I could see the Port Authority Bus Terminal kitty corner from where I was standing - so I called the hotel on my cellphone, standing there on the street, cellphone in one hand and coffee-to-go in the other, and it suddenly occurred to me, as I was receiving directions to the hotel into my ear, that I was "blending", that I must have looked like I belonged in this magical city which I visit once a year (although as far as rdeck is concerned, he says I didn't so much acquire protective New Yorker camouflage as basically drop everything else that had accreted to me over the years, and that that was my natural environment, and I quite happily DID belong there. Eh - who knows.) Directions in hand, I set out towards Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, with a springy purposeful New York stride, coffee in one hand, dodging hand trucks and bicyclists and yellow taxis which don't seem to pay much attention to traffic light signals and small foo foo dogs got up in scarlet harness and plaid doggy coats (I swear to God. I saw one. I expected Burberry bootees to match....)
A sprightly walk down the Avenue later, I arrived at the New Yorker Hotel ziggurat on the corner of Eighth and 34th, and waltzed inside warbling something about "writing a book" and absolutely needing to go and see the 33rd floor, and what is the view outside a certain room? They weren't all that eager to help - I got a lot of "We can't do that" and "You need to go speak to A" while A responded with "That's something you need to tale up with B", with B being the person who had sent me to A in the first place - but eventually I got a gentleman to take me up to the floor I wanted, and I did some exploration, and that was cool. Yes, I fully realise that nothing in this hotel has survived intact since the 1940's. It doesn't matter. I needed to SEE. The flesh is different; the bones underneath are the same...
Okay, research part of the business over, I wended my way cross town towards the Avenue of the Americas and pointed myself at my publishers' offices. On the way I picked up a bunch of pretty spring flowers for my editor, who has done such a sterling job on Worldweavers 1. I arrived at the offices, the security personnel asked who I was and what I was doing there, I tried to explain and then they wanted to see picture ID which of course didn't read "Alma ALEXANDER", and eventually I got issued a visitors pass... in the name of Alexandra Deckert. Good thing my editor knew who I was and told them over the phone to let me in.
We had a good confab, I got to meet at least one other HC person dealing with aspects of publicity and got a contact number for another (which was just as well seeing as back at the hotel, when I checked my email, I found an interview request which wanted a picture and I was able to point them at the publicity person for that. Pretty cool, this internet.) Then she took me out to lunch, and we chatted about books and family and things, and after that she had to scurry back to the office for another appointment and pointed me down Broadway so that I could meander down there and meet my lovely agent in a chocolatier and coffee shop up near the intersection Broadway and 19th. By this stage the weather had turned AGAIN, and it had started to rain - and by the time I was halfway down Broadway it had started to pour. I ducked from scaffolding to scaffolding (lots of work going on in that area, thankfully, and that meant shelter from the storm), scurried past the Flatiron Building, past people who appeared to have sprung up like human mushrooms on every intersection selling umbrellas out of purloined shopping carts for five bucks apiece, sidling past women trying to hurry in the rain-wet streets wearing winklepicker-pointed, needle-heeled knee-high boots in which actual balance seemed miraculous and which could probably be considered a lethal weapon if they were properly used. I got to the coffee shop early, a little damp around the edges, and waited in a cloud of chocolatey aroma for my agent to arrive.
We spent nearly two hours discussing the latest new project, involving bloody uprisings and political murder and court intrigue, which must have left the people at the table next door a little bit mystified as to what exactly we were plotting there - but it was a quick two hours, it pretty much FLED, I enjoy her company as much as I appreciate her efforts and her enthusiasm, and I love these annual opportunities to catch up with her and confab in person. But all good things come to an end, and so we hugged goodbye on the corner and she hurried away to pick up the reins of her life and I, having finally had enough of walking and the rain, caught a cab to Grand Central and from thence a train back to Rye.
And that night, it started to snow.
And snowed and snowed and snowed all the next day.
Lunacon registration opened around noon, and once I had done that I sat down somewhere to figure out my itinerary for the day (the hotel is WEIRD, you can literally walk out of a fourth floor corridor and find yourself on floor 7 of another wing. Very strange place.) alexjay arrived later that afternoon, and having him there, as usual, made everything into a party. This is the guy who announced that he had an idea for a late-night programming item called "sick singing", and challenged everyone to give him a musical, any musical - and then offered up a famous song from that musical as sung by someone or something completely inappopriate - like "Godspell" as performed by the Chipmunks, God help us - and then followed that up by just about performing the entire Rocky Horror Picture Show in the corridor - *in charaacter* -outside a panel room while we were waiting for the room to clear and our own next panel to begin. In one of those monumental cosmic coincidences I had recently made the online acquaintance of writer Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and she had invited me out to dinner Friday night, and I had said that I'd have a friend in tow - and it turned out that she and alexjay already knew each other, and dinner was a thoroughly festive affair with much fun and laughter.
I was on several panels, three of them with guest of honor Christopher Moore, who is a gentleman of sparkling wit and much erudition and a pleasure to be on a panel with. I sincerely hope our paths cross again some day.
My last panel for the day on the Saturday was "Creating Fantasy Characters", with writers jpsorrow and Sam Butler (who as far as I know doesn't have an LJ), and the panel turned into a group dinner with the two of them, myself, pbray, jennifer_dunne and alexjay. SOmeone had brought along a portable game of darts to play in the hotel's pub area, where we repaired to eat, but we all talked so much that the darts kind of fell by the wayside. That was dinner; we then split up to go up to a party, and reunited at one of the funky hotel's corridor junctions, having all aimed at the same place but having chosen to get there via different routes. The party finally segued into an impromptu concert by a couple of consummate guitarists who did covers of well-known songs as well as amusing filk versions of other things - but I had stayed up yakking until 4 AM the previous night, and by 1 AM I was starting to fade spectacularly so I retired to bed while alexjay went to one of the scurrilous late-night panels (yes, there WERE still panels and readings going on!).
By Sunday morning, the four copies of "Worldweavers" that the dealers' room had, as well as the two I had brought with me, were all gone - and so were a number of copies of other older works which were floating around. A most gratifying con, in that respect. It's always great when the dealers room runs out of your book - and they were doing really well to have any at all available for purchase right there, since the book had OFFICIALLY been released literally two days before the con was due to start. But of course I returned with more books than I left home with - that's par for the course, isn't it?... They included jpsorrow 's "The Skewed Throne", one of Christopher Moore's novels, one of Danielle's books... sigh. Dealers rooms at conventions are absolutely fatal...
Sunday afternoon, Danielle and her husband departed, taking alexjay back with them. I was left alone to cope with post-con blues, and then I got up at the crack of dawn the next day and caught a cab to the airport and a plane to Chicago and then another plane to Seattle and then a shuttle bus back home, and here I am at last, having fallen over more or less in a heap last night, back up and functioning. We *HAD* to make a grocery trip this morning, to replenish groceries, get the mail, and literally release rdeck from his week-long house-arrest kind of thing seeing as I was away for almost that long and he doesn't drive (yet). Spring is sprung all over, the cherry trees are all in bloom, and in my own garden I have a dozen daffodils and four hyacinths out already and a bunch of tulips getting ready to bloom.
Tomorrow, I dive into the copyedit of Worldweavers 2, which was waiting for me when I got back. After that, I have a bunch of reviews I owe to people which need to be done, like, pronto. After that, I have to start getting ready for the first "worldweavers" reading in Village BOoks which has 34 copies of the book in stock - damned impressive, that - and after THAT, I have to get back to the third book which is calling calling calling.
Hit the ground running. Never stop.
See you around, here in cyberspace.