It began Tuesday when I arrived at the airport. (Correct flights this time.) I was checking my baggage when the agent asked what state I was flying into.
“Kansas,” I proclaimed confidently. He took my bags and printed my tickets and handed them to me. ”Have a great day, Mrs. Hoover. And just so you’re not confused when you arrive, you’re actually heading to Missouri.”
And that was just the first five minutes.
But all was better when I turned around and Tammara Webber was standing beside me. She was my roomie for the week and she’s quite the lovely roomie if I must say. I mean, how often is it that you can bark around orders to a New York Times bestselling author of one of your favorite books? Tammara would say, “Let’s go have lunch, Colleen.” And I would laugh heartily and reply, “Tammara Webber, no food for you until I get another chapter of that book! Work, woman! Work!” And so I would lock her inside the room and she would work and I would go eat for the both of us. It was a blast!
When we arrived on Tuesday, Abbi Glines and I discovered that people have a hard time telling us apart. We don’t look anything alike, but when people tell me they loved Never Too Far or Twisted Perfection or they would tell Abbi they loved Hopeless, we just learned to smile and say, “That was a great book! I loved it, too!” But I’m honestly flattered that people confuse me with Abbi, because she’s so damn cute. But here I am posing next to Abbi’s sign, just to confuse Abbi.
On Wednesday, the rest of our friends arrived so we joined together and traded gifts. Tina Reber and I were slacking in the buy-your-friends-gifts department, so we went to the gift shop and bought them out of stuffed unicorns. You would be surprised to know that hotel gift shops have an endless supply of stuffed unicorns. An odd item to keep in stock, since diet pepsi was nowhere to be found. (Until I whined about it enough that our gift shop employee friend ordered some and saved my life.)
But if I thought I had an addiction to diet pepsi, I quickly learned that it was nothing compared to Abbi’s addiction to crunchies. Apparently it’s an item found in the UK, and Abbi talked about it constantly. I would try to have a normal conversation with her about writing or the state of the economy and she would just turn and look at me and say, “Crunchiiieeeesssss.”
So luckily, when EL James arrived on Wednesday, she saved the day. She walked in with a bag and dumped it on the table and said, “Here’s all y’all some crunchies.” (Yes, EL James has a heavy southern accent. I was shocked, too.) Abbi was elated to finally have her chocolates, and I have to say, they’re pretty darn good. Not as good as diet pepsi, but the two together make a deadly combination. Here’s a pic of Abbi with her
That would be a Tina Reber and Jamie McGuire photo bomb.
We had dinner a few places, but I can’t remember the names of any of them. I just know that we would go in such large groups that dinner took hours, so by Saturday night when someone would say, “Wanna go grab some dinner?” I knew what they really meant was, “Wanna leave on the shuttle with me and 15 other people and not come back for six hours?”
I always said yes. Mostly because I was hungry, but also because I couldn’t believe this was my life. I would sit back in my seat on the shuttle and stare at all the amazing, talented women surrounding me and think, “I’m a part of this? Is this really my life? These awesome people are really my friends?”
But as soon as I would stop relishing in the moment and open my mouth, something awkward would come out that would always end up on Twitter. Things like, “I wonder what sound unicorns make?” Or “I hate root beer and ice cream. Why did I order this rootbeer float?”
And OMG! Speaking of that rootbeer float that was never touched…this was THE. COOLEST. RESTAURANT!
Me, Abbi Glines, Steph Campbell, Elizabeth Reyes, EL James, Killian McRay,Tina Reber and my editor, Johanna Castillo all went to this restaurant where, I kid you not, a train track runs around the ceiling and carries food from table to table. They load a basket up in the kitchen and put it on the train track and then it comes to your table and drops down with all your food in it.
I was honored to be on a panel with Abbi Glines and Sylvia Day, moderated by Mark Coker of Smashwords. Abbi and Sylvia are super-smart women, and while I was part of their panel, I felt like I learned more than I spoke. Here’s a pic with Tracey Garvis-Graves and Sylvia Day. And below that is a pic of the most awesome moment ever, where these two readers were wearing the coolest shirts ever!
It was a great week with very little drama, despite the fact that Twitter seemed to want drama to exist. I can’t wait for RT14. Oh, and for the record. I had several people tell me that I wasn’t what they expected. After talking with me for a while, people would say, “Colleen, you aren’t anything like I expected. You’re so cheerful and bubbly on your blog!” I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not, because in essence they were saying, “Colleen, you’re so…not cheerful and bubbly.” So, I think perhaps I’ve misrepresented myself? Because I’m not cheerful and bubbly. Quite the opposite, actually, if you can be opposite of cheerful and bubbly without being mean. I’ve said before that I have no emotions, and I was being honest when I said that. But I do love a good exclamation point, so maybe that’s where it went wrong? ;)
Oh! And Saturday was my thirteen year anniversary. I was sitting in the lobby, preparing to leave with a lot of people to go to a forty-hour long dinner and I saw some beautiful roses sitting at the concierge desk. I jokingly said, “Those better be for me!” not really thinking they would be, because that would mean my husband would have had to have thought of something as clever as sending flowers to my hotel states away. Well, to my surprise, they actually had my name on them!
I’m sorry, husband. I underestimated your undying devotion to me.
Okay, then. I just got home from the airport. I’m going to go play with my children for an hour, then go to bed because I’ve got another flight in the morning to New York City! (See? That was an exclamation point that misrepresented my sentence, because that would not have been inflected had I said it in person.)
Stay tuned on Thursday for a recap of my appearance on the CBS morning show this coming Wednesday. That blog post should be…interesting.