Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Paying the Piper

Yes, I KNOW I didn't post a Tuesday Trio this week. But I've got a good excuse. Reality.

Yes, from the second I returned home from RAW, reality has been kicking my butt. Within minutes after I walked in, I glanced at the calender and said "OH SHIT.SHIT.SHIT!" The 15th was Saturday and I had forgotten to do quarterly taxes. OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT. But WAIT! If the 15th falls on a weekend, I should have until Monday, the 17th. PHEW! Okay, got that taken care of.

But then there is the other work that backed up during my journey to RAW. And the one task I've put off as long as I could. The one task I've been dreading-- taking my oh-so-pleasant *snort* 15 year old daughter *shudder* HOMECOMING DRESS SHOPPING!!!! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Okay, somehow we did it. And without bloodshed. However, when her at-it-tude started up shortly into the shopping trip, I told her she had two choices-- either she treated me with respect or we went home. Now. No second chances. For once, she figured out that I meant it.

But now we have to go back out shoe shopping. GAK!!


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Anyway, let me tell you a little bit more about RAW. So last Thursday, I still wasn't sure if I wanted to go. Eventually I went ahead and packed and figured I'd just wait and see if I felt like it on Friday morning instead. Well, about 6PM, I saw the weather was calling for rain off and on (sometimes severe) on Friday and knew I SO did not want to drive through it. So, I threw everything in the car and headed out before I could stop to think about it and talk myself out of it.

Now, you have to realize what a complete freeway wimp I am. My husband normally drives and I'm in the passenger seat wimpering and stomping my imaginary brakes. The furthest I have ever driven by myself was 3 hours from home and that was on familiar roads. So here I am driving SIX FREAKIN' HOURS AWAY on freeways I've never been on... AT NIGHT! WTF was I thinking?!

All I can say is, Thank God for Karen Marie Moning!! I saved the audio book of Beyond the Highland Mist just for this trip and it was the only thing that kept me from freaking out! I had to turn it off when traffic got hairy, but it made the drive there and back bearable. I ended up arriving in Grayson, KY about 12:30 AM, but it was around 3AM before I could stop shaking, settle down, and get to sleep.

I already mentioned the freakin' scary drive out to the lodge for RAW events and back to the motel.

Here's the list of authors that were slated to be there.
Jules Bennett------- Angela Knight----Robin Schone
Shelley Bradley------Lora Leigh-------Kay Stockham
Veronica Chadwick----Lorie O’Clare----Shiloh Walker
Bianca D'Arc---------Jacquelyn Frank--J.R. Ward
Sylvia Day-----------Lucy Monroe------Mary Wine/Dawn Ryder
Christine Feehan

Unfortunately, Robin Schone's mother had emergency surgery and she was unable to attend. J.R. Ward evidently lives nearby and she just drove in for the signings on Friday and Saturday. Things were a bit disorganized Friday night for the private signing (actually, most of us weren't even sure there was going to be a private signing), so I didn't get to meet all the authors. Since this was the first RAW, I'm sure things might run a bit more smoothly next time. However, this time, unless you knew what an author looked like, or they had a constant line to clue you in, it was kind of hard to figure out who/where the authors were. I never did find Lorie O'Clare (hell, I don't even know is she WAS there), but somehow had no problem spotting some authors that I'm NOT a fan of!

I met some interesting people besides the authors I mentioned already. Linda K. was only able to attend Friday's party and Saturday's brunch before heading back to Chicago. Her and I became smoke break buddies. She used to be Angela Knight's editor and is sticking her toe back in the water after being out of the business for awhile. I could have picked her brain all night! I seriously don't know how editors do what they do. As far as that goes, I'm pretty sure I don't even know the scope of what editors do! Authors are pretty open and forthcoming, but editors remain a fascinating mystery to me.

Pam and Beth have volunteered at RT Cons for the past few years. In fact, Pam is a Volunteer Coordinator. I had been debating whether to sign up as a volunteer at RT Con Pittsburgh, but didn't want to miss some of the panels. Well, Pam assured me that I can tell THEM what/when I want to volunteer and they will be happy. Beth assured me that, unlike her, I should feel free to say "Sorry, No" when (not IF) I'm asked to work yet ONE more event. She said she always caves and does it it though. LOL! So, it sounds like I just might give it a try.

Besides Linda, my other table mates that first night were Dale and Diane, sisters who were enjoying their reunion as much as the RAW events, and soft spoken, sweet Carrey. After dinner, J.R. Ward commandeered our table for her book signing. Since we all had stuff still sitting there, it gave us an excuse to keep wandering back to the table. *g* Friday night, Linda blazed the trail back to the motels in her little SUV and my Mom-Mobile and Dale and Diane in their car followed behind her on that damn scary road. Saturday night, I gave Beth a ride back to her motel so I had company while avoiding drop-offs and deer.

I also met PamK who comments on alot of the same blogs I do. And Stephanie who doubled over in laughter when I was asked if I like Western Romances and I said, "Not really, just Gay Westerns". She SAID it sounded funny the way I said it, but I suspect she was just too polite to point out that she wasn't expecting that answer from someone my age. And then there were all the other women who I joked around with in various signing lines. Connie's husband and son (I adored them both, even though I have no idea who Connie is), and Maggie who all could usually be found outside having smoke breaks.

Friday night, I heard someone call Susan Clark (crazysue) by name and introduced myself. Lady Susan is a bundle of friendly energy and was anatural in her role of coordinator. By Saturday night, I still hadn't heard the Aussie accents I had been listening for, so I asked Susan for help and she pointed out Sair and Jess to me. Jess is sweet as can be and Sair is as outgoing and bodacious as I always suspected she'd be. Susan and Sair even convinced me to hit the dance floor a couple of times Saturday night.

I didn't win any of the raffle baskets at Sunday's brunch, but when I heard how important the proceeds were, I wished I had bought many, many more raffle tickets whether I won anything or not. The RAW weekend raised $2500 for local schools. That may not sound like a lot, but we're talking about schools whose libraries have an annual budget of $30-$50. Note that I said $30-$50 PER YEAR!! And the teachers, who, let's face it, don't make enough to spare, end up buying the school supplies because the parents can't afford to. So that $2500 is several times over most of the school's budgets and will do some GOOD!

After brunch, where I shared a table with Renee and her hubby, I headed upstairs to the miniscule 2 stall restroom, intending to go back down and say my goodbyes afterwards. Unfortunately, so did about half the other RAW attendees. Since I REALLY couldn't wait in that long line, I figured I'd just head on out since I had to stop back in Grayson to gas up the Mom-Mobile anyway. It was probably a faster trip to the bathroom than waiting in that line was!! Anyway, I never did get a chance to say BYE to anyone.

So, all in all, the weekend went fine. There was enough people that those people from the board that had a problem with me were not even a factor in my enjoyment of the events. Lora even said "Are you my Lady Bev?" and grabbed me in a big hug (posters on her board can become Ladies with titles bestowed on them. Mine was Lady Bev of Fun and Fantasy). Lady Natalie surprised me by being nice enough to come up and introduce herself to me. And scoring an early copy of "Lover Unbound" was an unexpected thrill.

Really, the only problem was that the lodge as a venue for this event was too small and far away from the motels. It might help if next year a couple of events were held in Grayson to give the majority of people a break on that 40-50 minute treacherous round trip. Frankly, with the limited parking at the lodge, I don't know HOW they managed the public signing on Saturday!

And those not staying at the lodge kind of felt out of the loop. As I mentioned, a lot of us weren't aware there WAS a private book signing on Friday. We didn't know where to go for any events at the lodge, and the last time posted on-line for the Saturday party was 7PM but it turned out to be 6PM. Then we were told to go to the pavilion at the campground, but it turned out it was down another road towards the swimming pool (which I didn't find out until I went up to the lodge and found someone to ask). All info that was known to the lodge guests who were in the loop but haphazardly passed on to those that weren't. Plus, time became a problem for those not staying at the lodge. Saturday's brunch was from 10-12. The public book signing was from 1-4, then the 80's Party started at 6. That's a bit of an awkward schedule for those not able to stay at the lodge, that had to make a minimum 40 minute round trip to change or to sit around the lodge lobby between events. Lora DID apologize that she forgot to print out the schedules for everyone, though. So I'm assuming info will be disbursed better next year, but I DO hope the schedule will take into consideration that not all of the attendees stayed at the lodge.

Lora mentioned that she would like to have a masquerade next year. And the party events will all be held outside under tents. Probably not a bad idea since the indoor events were hot enough to melt wax! Seriously, there was a LOT of hot air in that room! LOL!

7 comments:

Chantal said...

Connie's husband and son (I adored them both, even though I have no idea who Connie is)
That would be Lady Connie from Lora's forum. She went to RAW with her son and hubby :)

What a great run down. I feel like I was actually there.
How sweet that Lora asked if you were her Lady Bev and hugged you. I love that.

Ahem-I'm still waiting for you to get your butt back to the forum. You missed my tilting. *sniff sniff*

jade_kristen said...

It sounds like it was fun Bev. I'm glad you had a good time. I'm really hoping to eventually be able to attend one if Lora keeps RAW going. It sounds like I'm better off not having gone to this one since I would not have been staying at the lodge and would have had the same travel issues as you did. I'm sure next year many of the kinks will be ironed out. A masquerade sounds like fun, I'm not really into the eighties theme too much but a masquerade would be interesting.

QB said...

Chantal, I suspected it might be Connie from Lora's board, but I wasn't sure and never met her. And the boy's just introduced themselves as Connie's husband and Connie's son, I figured they wouldn't know if she was on Lora's board or not. But they were each hoots in their own right!

Yeah, I really appreciated Lora's greeting. It meant a lot to me and made me feel welcome. But you know I DID come back to the board for a while. Uh, it didn't turn out well. And that's a craptacular understatement.

Jade, if you had friends staying at the lodge, I imagine it would have been easier. Then you would have somewhere to go and hang out or change clothes between events. But, overall, I feel it WAS planned as if everyone was at the lodge and more thought should be given to the non-lodge people.

There were question sheets passed out on the last day asking for opinions and suggestions, so hopefully there WILL be a few changes.

Chantal said...

Craptacular! omg, thats the finniest word I have ever heard.

I miss all the good stuff. But I guess it wasn't actually good though :(

QB said...

Craptacular must be a Midwest word. It's pretty common in at least Ohio and Michigan.

Mandy Leigh B. said...

I'm so glad you had such an awesome time! Thanks for telling us all about it, I feel like I was ALMOST there too!

There's no way to email you, but I wanted to give you a heads-up on a free ebook that looks really good. You might have already read it, it's called "Forbidden: The Claim" by Samantha Sommersby. Anyway, here's the link to her blog that gives you the link and the code to download it. TTYL!

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=107559267&blogID=311459180

QB said...

Mandy, I swear you are the Freebie Fairy! I had already popped over to your blog and saw you had found yet more free stuff and planned on checking into them further! I don't know how/where you find all this good stuff, but Thanks!

Oh, and my email is ohbal at aol.com, just sub @ for at.