Saturday, August 31, 2013

road trip - Parthenon & STYXX book launch (long, with pictures!)

even tho i think i paid extra to have a wi-fi connection in my room at the Westin, it wasn't working, so there was no blogging the rest of my trip.  d'oh!  so, i'll try to do the trip & party justice here, but if i get disjointed, well, sorry!!  : )  

i left the hotel in nashville around 9:30 & went to the parthenon.  i can't be in nashville & miss it.  it won't matter how many times i go - and i hope i get to visit many more times, truly!  there is a sense of peace and wonder i get when i'm there.  i don't know how to explain it, or why that even happens, but it does.  it's just so beautiful and ... idk.  : )  and, since sherri (through Ash) is the reason i even knew about the parthenon & wanted to go there in the first place in april... it seemed doubly appropriate to visit this monument before meeting the woman herself!  

there was a guy getting his picture taken by some of the columns, too - senior pics, maybe?  i would think if you lived in the area, that would be a must-do for senior portraits.  or wedding... oooh.  *grin*  

i left nashville around 10:30 & headed for atlanta.  the drive was just amazingly beautiful!  and some of it was scary!  there are some hills in the mountains that are at a 6% grade - i don't know what that means, but the speed limit is 55 & i was hard pressed to keep the car anywhere near that!  i could feel the pull of gravity... and while i am totally okay w/ ppl wanting to go faster than the posted speed limit (i tend to go w/ the flow of traffic, so if they're going faster, i do, too.  otherwise i generally don't go more than 5-10 miles above on the interstate.), when they did so on these roads it was scary!!  and yet, i managed to get some pictures...

the pictures i didn't get were amazing, tho.  God is truly amazing.  best artist!!  : )  

i had forgotten about the time difference - atlanta is an hour ahead.  so, instead of arriving at 4:30, it was closer to 5:30.  and then i drove around for a bit trying to locate the parking garage... that was an adventure in & of itself!  *laugh*  thank God for my chicago driving experience, because i wasn't flustered in the traffic at all.  i finally saw a parking garage, and pulled in, but i didn't think it was the right one, and when i asked the guy reluctantly said that no, it was just a day parking garage & closed at midnight.  i drove right back out.  heh.  finally, down the block a bit was a garage right across from the hotel.  whew!  and only $10!  woot!  (which, i think was God looking out for me - truly i do!  because when i left, the guy at the window was super confused as to how i got the type of ticket i got & seemed to want to charge me more money, but i told him when i arrived & everything & somehow i got a weekend ticket.  i glanced briefly at the prices on the booth, and am thinking that an overnight stay would have normally set me back about $40!  so, i'll take the $10 charge, thank you!  *grin*)

i grabbed my stuff & hoofed it over to the hotel (PTL for the strength & lung capacity to do that.  a couple of years ago, before losing weight, there is no way that would have been a comfortable walk for me, in the atlanta heat & humidity!!).  met a nice guy who was there for dragon*con w/ his mom & gf.  he had a really neat bowler-type hat on.  he & his gf had costumes for the con that were inspired by How To Train Your Dragon.  super neat!!  i got all checked in & headed to the elevators to wait in the queue for... THE FORTY-FIRST FLOOR!  i had requested a high room.  i had no idea the Westin had 70 floors!!  i had seen pictures, i knew it was tall, but goodness!  there were some costumed ppl waiting, and some non-costumed, and no, i don't have any pictures of any costumes.  it's rude to just take pics willy nilly at a con & i was already melting from being around so many ppl... sorry!  i know ppl were looking forward to cos pics!  

however, pics of the room & view, i have:

yes, there was wine, AND a robe!  i should have taken a picture of myself IN the robe... 
also, for some reason a couple pictures of the view & the customary Mr Bear on the bed are not showing up for me to post, so i'll have to fix that... sometime... 

there were reading lights in the headboard.

the shower was like rainfall....which was cool, but i discovered later that it wasn't quite so good about getting all the shampoo out of my hair!  d'oh!  the shampoo (which smelled reallllly nice) was green, and after my hair was up & dried a little, i noticed a green film... NOT THE TIME FOR THAT!  oye.  i could seriously feel the Lord with me, tho, through this whole thing.  you guys, your prayers mean SO MUCH to me!  the shampoo incident is something that could have really put me into a panic - no time to get back in the shower, no real way to get it all out of my hair w/o getting back into the shower... i did well enough, but that could have really thrown me into a ball of sobbing.  so, but, it did not.  : )  and i just finished getting dressed & headed myself down 30 some floors to the ballroom.  one of the ballrooms.  LOL  this hotel is HUGE!

the line was already in the second queue area, so i mosey'd over there & started chatting w/ ppl.  the gals in front of me were not so much the friendly type (normally a panic trigger) but everyone else around me was super friendly & the guy behind me even had a stuffed dragon on his shoulder!!  there was also a girl dressed as Simi, well there were a lot of ppl dressed as characters, but this gal was close by & we had a rousing discussion of Firefly & other joss shows while we waited.  : )  

doors opened at 7, i believe, & i made it to the book line about 8.  got my copy of Styxx & proceeded into the seating area where sherri was doing a Q&A.  i always feel badly for her when she does these (in person, radio, tv, fb, whatever) because she gets the same questions over & over again.  now, i know everyone can't possibly have seen answers to every question.  but, as a fan, i would think you could at least pay attention to the basics.  there will be a dark-hunter & CON movie/tv series.  sherri is writing the screenplay.  she can't give out much more information than that, because that's all she knows.  that information has been posted on her website & FB site (& probably twitter & other sites as well) SEVERAL times in the past couple months, because ppl keep asking.  and still, ppl asked at the event.  that's just one example - it seems like i knew the answers to almost all the questions asked, because i pay attention.  *laugh*  but sherri is ever gracious in her answers, even when ppl seem to be upset w/ her, she handles it so well.  (more on that later.)

after the Q&A, sherri went upstairs to start the signing.  while she was doing that, alethea kontis (friend & fellow author) was the MC & introduced the band... Adam Ezra Group.  OH MY HECK are these guys good!  so, we got a nice concert while we waited for our tickets to be called for signing.  i found a seat next to a nice lady & jammed out for the first set.  during a break, i went to the merch table to get a CD.  ended up w/ two & a hoodie.  : )  (it's a very comfy hoody, too, AND i got brown instead of my usual gray!)  after that, i wandered around a bit & somehow managed to be in the line to meet the band.  WOOT!  so, i met the band (no pictures.  seriously, i cannot explain to you why all of a sudden taking pictures w/ ppl has become attached to panic attacks.  now i can talk to ppl no problem, but can't bring out my camera even tho it's EXPECTED and everyone else around is doing it.  what is UP with that, someone please explain to me??)  you should totally check out their page, tho, because they are adorable & GOOD!  so, i met them & they signed a cd & i have the hoodie & it was a fabulous experience!!!  : )  

listened to another set, drank some water, and then decided i had time to go up to my room & use the loo & drop off the swag.  (oh, i also visited the SK merch table for free bumper stickers & post cards & things.)

the band played til about 10 - they had a gig in connecticut the next night & they were DRIVING, so they had me beat (13 hour trip) by a few hours (19 hour trip each way!)!  LOL  then alethea drew numbers for the raffle prizes (which i did not win, pity!) & there was dragon*con TV, which had a bunch of awesome nerdy facts & skits & things, plus information on the con.  fabulous!!  

and then, finally, it was time for the rest of us to get into line for the signing!  i was by some really fun ppl (one of whom was drunk, but a friendly drunk...) & we chatted nearly the whole time we were in line!  

and at just after midnight, i met sherri.  *sigh*  she is, as mentioned, one of the SWEETEST and most genuine ppl i have had the pleasure of meeting.  i knew this from her online presence, and interviews i've seen/heard, and other ppl's accounts.  but her smile, at midnight, after signing alllll night.... well.  and even tho i am sure ppl must have been thanking her all night for writing her books, because it seems to be the thing to do for an author you adore!, when i said, "i just have to thank you," she looked startled, and like she was about to say, "for what?"  *laugh*  now, she was hugging each person as they came up, and it was a real hug, but a tired hug.  ya know?  again, she started signing at about 8:30 & it was now midnight.  so she was pretty spent.  and STILL giving genuine hugs.  but when i told her why i was thanking her, or really, what it is i admire about her (one of the things!) - is this: the way she handles herself w/ her fans not only in person, but online, and not the complimentary fans.  i admire how she handles the fans who, sometimes, can be rather cruel.  or, harsh - i don't think they mean to be cruel.  they just love her books so much & want their favorite characters to have stories RIGHTNOW and sometimes they can be very critical if sherri doesn't write the way THEY think she should.  and she always handles them so graciously, sweetly, kindly... and i thanked her for that.  she seemed genuinely surprised, like no one had thanked her for that before, and jumped up to give me another round of hugs - and these hugs were different.  not more, just - tighter, and like she was saying thank you back.

and then i complimented her "peeps" because her staff is comprised of family & friends rather than "handlers" and i love that!  : )  

and that is the story of the night i met one of my favorite authors.  : )  this has been super long & i am going to get back in the car (OMH, NOOOOO!) because leyton is at mom's & i want to hang out a bit.  : )  here's the book & the autograph, since i don't have a picture w/ sherri - that is one i WANTED but my phone was dead by that point.  *sigh*  


(p.s. - confession - i'm a little intimidated by this book, and i think i might read a different book first, but we'll see.  my amazon books were delivered... )  : )  

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