01 May “We’re not in Samoa anymore Toto.” (Or New Zealand.)
I’m in Kansas City, Missouri. Gotta say, I never thought I’d ever start a blog with THAT sentence. I’m sitting here in the Sheraton hotel Convention center, waiting for my chicken quesadilla lunch, hoping it hurries up and gets here because the next session starts in 30 minutes – and if I had a dog, I’d be saying – “I don’t think we’re in Samoa anymore Toto.” But because it would be a Samoan dog, its name would more probably be Bingo. Blackie. Whiskey. Or Rambo. (and yes, I know the Wizard of Oz started off in Kansas which is a totally different place from Kansas City but work with me here people…)
This is my first time back to America in over twenty years. How and why did I get here? No, a tornado didn’t chuck me over here. I took a 12 hr flight from Auckland to Los Angeles. Then I sat in the LA airport for eight hours, waiting for a flight that kept getting delayed. And I was sitting next to a bag that SOMEBODY left behind, suspiciously enough the police were called to check it out and they brought a very clever dog to sniff it and tell us there wasn’t a bomb in it. (While they were waiting for the bomb sniffer dog, I made sure to phone my family to tell them cheerily, I love you all! You know, just in case.) Then I got on a plane to KC and waited some more while the flight attendant kept apologizing, “We’re sorry but our pilot is still in the air flying a different plane and will be here as soon as he’s landed.” Then I arrived at Kansas City airport at 3.30 in the morning and my pre-booked shuttle never turned up. So I waited in a dying airport while all the other passengers went home and the airline staff locked up their offices, turned off the lights and left. And I tried not to think about killers and rapists because I was determined to be a super confidently cool, calm and collected international traveller rather than the (loser) cave dweller who never goes anywhere. Then I was super grateful when a lovely woman took pity on me and invited me to share her corporate shuttle, “I don’t want you sitting here at the airport all by yourself at this time of night!” I am very sure my opportune rescue by aforementioned lovely woman came about as a direct result of my Fab5’s prayers on my behalf. They were all rather concerned about their mother going sooooo far away from home. “Don’t talk to ANY strangers mum. Be careful! America is soooo dangerous.”
Why the heck am I here? About a year or so ago, I made some friends online. They’re all authors, all fantabulous women doing fantabulous things in books and in life. We chat online, laugh, and commiserate – about everything from our latest writing project to our children, spouses and Diet Coke addictions. ( Okay, I lie, some of them are Diet Pepsi believers but I don’t hold it against them.) Some of these women are going to be here in KC for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. This is a massive annual event which has over 3000 authors and readers, all coming together for a week of going crazy about books and the awesome people who create them. There are workshops on writing and publishing, tons of free books, as well as a chance to meet your favorite authors and learn from them. I turned 40 last month ( aaaaaagh OLD!) and the Hot Man wanted to give me a birthday present to surpass all others. Because he’s splendiferously awesome like that. He knew lots of my author friends were going to be here, so VOILA! Here I am.
Today I will get to meet some of these author friends for real and establish once and for all that they are not imaginary people I have imaginary conversations with. (So there Big Son! You can stop teasing me…) Excited much!
You know what else is exciting? The weather here right now is sunny and warm. But they tell me the temperature is going to drop psychotically in the next few days with a possibility of SNOW FLURRIES. I haven’t seen snow for over 20 years and the Hot Man and Fab5 have never seen that stuff. I know I should be worried about it getting so cold but I hope it happens. I will be excited super-much.
And if it happens – I’ll be wish, wish, wishing the Hot Man and the Fab5 could be here to see it.