Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cruise With Your Muse - Day One of the Cruise

So let’s see, day 2 of the big trip to Florida…We got up and headed off to our complimentary breakfast with a bunch of fellow WRP authors, then were told to meet in the motel lobby around 10:40 for transport to the cruise ship. We didn’t leave until around noon, and the atmosphere was one of confusion all around. When moving large herds of people who have no idea what’s going on, that’s only to be expected, I suppose. But we made it to the ship, after being told to pack our clothes for dinner in our carry-ons, in case our luggage didn’t make it to our room in time for dinner. First thing that happened on the ship was they snapped your picture for posterity and gave you an ID card that told you when and where you’d be eating dinner, and for you to use as cash on the trip—linked to your credit card, of course. Then we headed for the buffet, where every food imaginable was available for the asking, and it was all included in the price of the cruise.

The ship was huge….I think it holds something like 3000 people. It took me forever to find my room, which was of course at the opposite end of the boat from the workshops, so by the end of the day, my legs were numb from the knees down from all that walking. But I walked and explored (found the buffet and conference classrooms and library and casino and a few hallways I probably wasn’t meant to wander down, but were fascinating nonetheless) and ate and attended two workshops—Rhonda Pollero really knocked herself out putting together a workshop and handout worth its weight in gold on Crime and Punishment: Everything you Need to Know to Kill Someone—(I think she was selling the spiral bound handouts later for $10.00 to those who had not attended her session)--and sat in on an editor/agent panel before it was time to participate in the book signing on the promenade with all kinds of authors from every area of romance. A great chance to get in some more people watching, which every writer loves.

I was between Linda Carroll-Bradd, whom I had met the night before at the Ale House, and M.E. Ellis, a powerhouse of promotion. Watching her draw people in and sell her books was a lesson in public relations I will never forget. She knows whereof she speaks, as she and her publicist, Becky Scoggins, had just given an awesome workshop on publicity and promotions chock full of internet ideas for the terminally shy like myself.

By this time the ship had set sail, and I wasn’t sure if the swaying under my feet was because I was hungry or about to get seasick—thank God I never did. How odd to be standing on what looks and feels like a high-end small town main street with shops and pubs and eateries, and have people walking by laughing and smiling with drinks in hand (kind of like Bourbon Street in New Orleans) and the earth is moving beneath you. I wish I’d had a drink to blame it on, but instead was left to wonder if the effect was doubly wobbly or simply unnoticed by those already happily imbibing.

After the book sale/signing, we headed off to dress for dinner, an absolutely chaotic affair in a huge, elegant dining room with 200 servers and a grand staircase on which our waitstaff and more than 100 cooks gathered at one point in the evening to sing us an Italian song, since (I con only assume) the head chef was from Italy. That was a bit bizarre, but all in all a good time. The food was incredible, and the company relaxing, but since it was nearly nine o’clock before we were eating our main meal, the only thing left for this tired puppy was to go back to my cabin and sleep afterward.

And I did. Slept like a baby, straight through the night. Never even heard my roommate come in and get settled for the night. When we awoke the next morning, we were already anchored outside Coco Cay.

More on that, next time.


Hywela Lyn said...

Oh I loved reading this Liana, it sounds like such a wonderful experience. I have to admit to being more than a little envious, but thank you for sharing with us.'Seeing' everything through your words is almost as good as being able to participate oneself!

Sheryl said...

Aw, how lovely. I have cruised and I adored it, singing waiters and all. The rocking of the ship gave me my best ever sleeps, too. NO! I did not imbibe--much. :)