Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cruise With Your Muse - Day 2

Okay, Day 2 of the cruise. My roommate was up, and offered to go get coffee while I showered. I came out of the shower to find a wonderful plate of fresh fruit and these lovely little red raspberry-filled danishes (for what red raspberries mean to me, see my interview at Alisha Paige’s blogspot) and two mugs of coffee….but no roommate.

As I dressed, I wistfully eyed the fruit and mini-danishes and wondered if they were intended for me or not. I decided to wait until my roomie returned to ask…but she didn’t return. Eventually I decided they had to be for me, and bit into the fresh pineapple, always a favorite.

Guilt immediately consumed me. What if they were for her and she had been delayed and I had just helped myself to her food? Dilemmas, dilemmas.

My problem-solving skills kicked in. She had gone in desperate search of coffee and there were two mugs on the desk. Where ever my roommate had disappeared to, she was not without coffee. Of that I was positive. So I ate the fruit and cute little pastries and went to my first workshop of the day, Jumpstarting your Plot with Leanne Banks, where she led us through an interactive exercise about 20 ways to get unstuck on our WIPs. Next was a fun session with Cherry Adair on Layering and Texturing Your Novel.

I finally found my roomie (and more mini-danishes in the workshop rooms!) and learned that the fruit and coffee had originally be intended for both of us (so I was half right!), but while she was collecting it, she was invited to join some friends for breakfast, so she just brought the food back for me, God bless her. I was glad then I had not let it go to waste. And doubly glad she had saved me the trouble of having to go and get my own breakfast, so I could get to the workshops on time.

After the two workshops, I decided to take a break, thinking would be a shame to have come all the way out here and not visited the island. So I walked to the other end of the ship again and found my way onto a ferry. I was a bit nervous when they handed each of us a big fluffy towel as we got on board, but later realized that was in case we wanted to go swimming while on the island.

Coco Cay was not what I expected. Mostly man-made, it had brightly colored booths for Bahama souvenir shopping (cash only) and a few others for rentals and first aid. Snorkeling was available, as was parasailing. Otherwise you could swim, or sun yourself on the rows and rows of lounge chairs provided, or go shopping. Maybe take a nature walk.

I didn’t stay long, because I wanted to make sure I made it back to the ship in time to attend the Floridian Idol, where Heather Graham and a gentleman I didn’t know took turns reading one-page openings from immensely courageous writers while the editors and agents commented as to what they liked—or disliked--about each entry.

So I headed back to the ship and for the 24-hour buffet, only to discover they were closing up shop. All the food they usually serve was being sent to the island. But there was still enough food left to make a tasty brunch, and I found a seat overlooking a vast amount of water and sunshine in one direction and the island in another.

After that, I ran into the editor from Harlequin I had sat near the night before at dinner, who was also looking for some lunch. I told him none was available and we wandered back down to the glitzy promenade in search of food and people to chat with. We found both, in a little deli-type place, where as we started to sit down, we were invited to join three USA Today Bestselling authors, an agent and an editor at the next table. I obviously didn’t have anything to add to that conversation, but was perfectly happy to sit there and soak in what industry news I could.

When that broke up, I headed for the Cosmopolitan Lounge, which is on the top floor of the ship (#14) and resembles one of those all-window restaurants you see perched on the tops of buildings in big cities, only this one had a panoramic view of the ocean and islands. I found a comfortable armchair with an awesome view, and a few minutes later, was joined by the Harlequin editor again, and Rhonda from TWRP and Tina Gayle, also from TWRP. We ordered drinks.

Side story here: I am not a beer drinker, but once a year, usually in the summer, I’ll drink a Corona (or two) with lime in it as part of my “summer experience.” (Just like I eat one or two hot dogs every summer—that’s right, go ahead and make fun—but that’s the way I do it. I pretty much turn everything into a special occasion.)

My beer tradition started when I went to a friend’s house for a 4th of July party. They were serving Coronas with limes--and there you go. I was hooked. The next year I went back for two more. The following year I had one on vacation during a whitewater rafting trip—a story in itself. Last year I never got around to having my summer beer--so here I was, catching up on my Coronas while contemplating the islands and what it must be like to live/work there, while listening to editors and agents dissect the entries of several souls far more brave than I.

The highlight of the event was when one entry was read, and an agent said, “I like this, and I’d be happy to take a look at that manuscript.” Turned out it was from my roommate, who is already represented by that agent, she just hadn’t submitted it to her yet. Everyone got a good laugh out of that one.

After that, I was hungry again. On my way across the promenade (which was the most interesting path to cut across while going from one end of the ship to the other) and back to the workshops to see what was going on there, I had a craving for chocolate. I popped into that deli-type place I had been in earlier, and was thrilled to find they had chocolate biscotti.

This, I determined, was how life should be. You decide you want some chocolate, you wander into a shop and ask for it, it’s handed to you with a smile and free of charge, you smile back and say thank you--and keep walking, munching your chocolate as you stroll.

Nothing was going on at the workshops, so I went exploring again. I ended up discovering a casino, an arcade, an ice rink (!!) a children’s creativity center, a nine-hole miniature golf course, an inline skating loop, a basketball court and a fake rock-climbing set up. I played a couple rounds of miniature golf and watched the sun sink into the ocean. When it got too cool I went inside, and, overlooking the pool and several pool bars, watched a promoter-type person draw volunteers from the audience for what I thought was a karaoke contest, but which turned out to be a belly flop contest.

Oh, dear. You’d have to have more than two Coronas in you to do that one, I am sure.

I went back to my cabin and changed for the FRW cocktail party in The Dungeon, one of the many themed bars on the ship.

More on this, later.


Sheryl said...

Just an average boring old day then! :)

jodi said...

how did I miss your first post about your trip? Too much school I think. I used to talk to M.E. back when she was...just M.E, and I hadn't deleted my old blog. A class act all the way. I'm very happy for her.

Sounds like a great cruise. Lets get the third day!!