Saturday, I had planned to get up early for an 8:30 workshop. Except I slept through my alarm, so arrived closer to nine with damp hair. (I snuck in quietly. I also got the recordings so I can listen to the rest when they arrive.) Workshops and signings. I grabbed lunch in the little cafe which was jammed. More workshops and signings. I had also made a spa appointment for late afternoon so I could be extra pretty for the awards ceremony. I moderated a workshop given by a fellow YARWA member, which was funny because I figured it was an easy job until I figured out this meant I would forever be on the recordings. (No terrible mishaps that I recall.)
Then I went to the last two signings, rushed to my hotel, boxed up my books and headed to the shipping line where I thought I was in luck because compared to lunch time (where it had been out the door, round the corner, so to speak) it was tiny. Just ten to twelve people. Well, the good news is I had a nice long time to chat with my linemates because, it took (and I totally wish I was kidding) an hour and a half. Seriously, I have made trips to the Columbia Heights post office that took less time and that post office never has more than one person working, and sometimes that worker works like she’s being judged no how few people she can process each hour. It was particularly unfortunate because they had two guys but one computer. The plan was for one to pack and one to type everything up and process the money. I ended up calling the spa (who of course had a four hour cancellation policy, but fortunately were kind enough to say that they would see what I had time for once I got there). The person in front of me heard my call and offered to let me go ahead, but I told her honestly it wasn’t her little package holding me back, it was the slooooooooow process.
Anyhoo, I did finally get my package mailed ($20 - totally worth not having to schlep an extra bag home on metro). And made it to the spa in time to at least get a manicure. (Which was awesome, and my manicurist used to live in Fairfax.) I then raced back to the hotel threw on my dress, pinned up my hair and raced right back to get in line for the awards dinner. Managed to find the cherries, including the lovely Christine Merrill.
During the awards ceremony, they had some interludes where they posted covers of former Golden Heart winners (the unpublished contest) that had become books. Including, that of Christine Merrill! I was then told the story of how when Chris was nominated the announcer goofed and left out her name. One cherry jumped onto a chair and yelled her name and then, of course, she was the lucky winner. (By the way, I love Christine’s historicals and her self-pubbed contemporary.)
There were some great award speeches and it was lovely to see people win! After we hung out in the lobby for a while and then went up to a suite where a larger crowd had gathered. Someone had left their RITA sitting on the table. I might have gently touched it.
Sunday I slept through two alarms and ended up not making the airport shuttle that the shuttle people suggested I catch, and instead getting the one an hour later. (Oops!) I did pre-check in. And I had a lovely chat with a person who it turns out was the announcer back when a certain Christine Merrill was nominated for her Golden Heart. She told me the story, saying that she thought she had finished the names and then heard a commotion and looked at the prompter again and realized her error and added Chris. And then opened the envelope and said, “Of course.” I also ran into one of my line buddies from the shipping line. Anyway, I did get to the airport in time (just) and almost got foiled by the fact that the Orlando airport has a complete lack of self check in kiosks and of course my bag, while reasonably sized is not a carry on. Fortunately the skycap line was not crazy (the desk line was out the door and around the corner.) And despite all the warnings about the security line, I found it not terrible. So, I made it safely home.