Monday, April 13, 2015

TNEE Recap Part 2: Viva Las Vegas

Check out PART ONE

After our long drive and side trip in Reno, we made it to Vegas. The lights are so bright you can see them on the horizon long before the city comes into view.

Driving in was scary as hell as I encountered the infamous "Spaghetti-bowl" for the first time. As I saw an ambulance rush to a wrecked car, I was grateful that my boyfriend was driving.
We arrived at the Planet Hollywood late at night and exhausted. And that's where the trouble started. The valet was terrible and tried to tell us that we'd have to park and then haul our bags all the way through the parking garage, then the shops, then through the casino to get to our room. We got that part sorted out. And the front desk lady practically called me old when I checked us in.

"You look so YOUNG here!" she said, pointing at my driver's license. "How long ago was this taken?" I wanted to slap her. After a 15 hour drive, followed by a seven hour drive, of course I looked haggard.

The bellhop was nice, though.

Finally we checked into our room. I will say that the bed was comfy and the giant bathtub was nice. After a rant and a hard cider I had a nice long soak and some romantic time with my sweetie before having a much needed rest.

The next day just had panels, which I didn't sign up for because there was no guarantee I'd make it there Wednesday. Still, I figured that like most hotels I'd been to for conventions there'd be a lobby or common area for authors and readers to hang out. Another bummer was that I'd forgotten my top hat in the other car.

Not this one. They wanted to lure you into the Casino and shops. I had no problem hanging out in the casino since I could smoke in there, but I never encountered any other convention attendees there. All the other organized get-togethers were for Vegas shows and attractions that I had no desire to see. I can't handle crowds and loud noises. So aside from on Facebook and registration, where I got my badge and schedule, I didn't encounter anyone until the VIP signing on Friday.

Thankfully I had my boyfriend/assistant with me and I was able to implement plan B. He ended up showing me the fun local sites of Vegas. I had THE BEST chicken-fried steak I'd ever eaten at a little diner called "The Blue Skillet" and then he took me to Lovett's, a hidden place that sold frozen custard. Yum!

Then he took me to the Calico Basin to see some gorgeous rock formations and do a teeny bit of climbing before I took him out to Pasta Mia for his birthday dinner. It was decadent.

These are called "Indian Marbles" The wind carves them from the rocks.

On Friday, my fantastic man found a costume shop and got me a top hat! He's a miracle, I tell you. After picking up the hat, I went for a swim in the pool... which was only 3 feet deep and open until 5... in VEGAS. Still, I had a nice swim before it was time to meet up with the wonderful Rissa Watkins. She came all the way to Vegas just to see me, so I totally wanted to take her out to lunch.

We went to Bubba Gump Shrimp and although it was spendy, it was AMAZING! I wish we had one in my area. Then it was time for the VIP signing.

My magnificent assistant pretty much shooed me aside while he set up my table with books and swag. I sold a few books and finally got acquainted with some readers, bloggers, and fellow authors. Sahara Kelley and Connie Suttle were at the tables next to me.

Shortly after that, authors Amy Jarecki, Kathryn Le Veque, Dan Willis, and I hosted a wine and appetizers gathering with some readers. We had a delightful time and I gave them all signed copies of my newest book, BITE AT FIRST SIGHT.

The next morning was the signing. My poor assistant was run ragged running back and forth from our room to my table. We were almost late because the hotel put a bunch of extra charges on my card and we had to get that straightened out. (More on that later.)
The signing got a late start anyway because the hotel had changed our location and it took the readers awhile to find us. Still, we had a decent enough crowd and I almost sold out of my new release as well as sold a few of my other books. And everyone recognized me with my top hat. :D

I was stunned at how many readers knew me. Some digital readers even came to my table with print-outs of my covers for me to sign.

We also had a big raffle and a reviewer was very pleased to win a bag of books and my homemade huckleberry jam!

After the signing, we took off because there was no way in hell I was spending another night in that hotel.

My sweetie finally tracked down his friends so we had dinner with one of them and then went to another's house. There were a couple other guys there and as we were having beers and chatting, one of them served up bowls of exquisite sauteed shrimp. Then he served us a rack of lamb. Seriously, I wanted to kidnap that guy. He was an amazing cook.

After that my sweetie and his friend jammed out on the huge collection of guitars in the living room. Then with a pleasant buzz I was happy to check into the La Quinta, who not only didn't rob me, they also had a fridge, microwave, AND coffeepot.

But right after we checked in, another of his friends called to see if we wanted to meet up for pizza and beers.

And did I mention that his friend is now the lead guitarist for the band, HELL YEAH?

So yeah, we got to party with rock stars. Though only in retrospect. At the time it was just catching up with an old friend.

Needless to say, we had a lot of fun, though I was a little hungover on our drive back to Reno. 

The adventure continues in PART 3

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