Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cruise With Your Muse - The Final Hours

Okay, Cruise With Your Muse, day two and more…I left you hanging at The Dungeon. Well, not really, but I’ve been so busy working on Justice is a Lady (85 pages this weekend!!) that I haven’t gotten around to blogging. If I’m writing this, I’m not writing books, and if I’m writing books, I don’t have time to blog. Funny how that works.

A good thing I paused, though, because I forgot to mention Christina Dodd’s speech on The Sidewalk of Success, and how we all fall off of it now and then, but the important thing is to get back on it. And we can step back on it at any time. Success is relative. It can mean finishing a manuscript, querying an editor, getting an agent, that first sale, a multiple book sale, or hitting the NYT bestsellers list…you decide what success is to you and go for it.

Christina also told us about her first sale, Candle in the Window, which she was told would never sell because it has a blind heroine. Now, 16 years later, it’s still in print, and around her house they call it, “The book that won’t die.” Don't know about you, but I'd love to have a book that sells for sixteen years:) I read it way back when it came out, and it’s on my keeper shelf to this day. Precisely because the heroine was different.

So after that very inspirational talk, they had a drawing for a full ride to (oh, darn…I can’t remember now) someone’s very nice conference in the fall—plane fare, lodging and conference fee—about a $1000 prize, tickets were $10 each--donated by Heather Graham, which was won by M.A. Ellis, that dynamo of promotion I told you about earlier. I’m telling you, positive energy attracts positive things and I couldn’t have been more thrilled for her when she won. She was just glowing.

You can bet she will be selling her books left and right at that conference, too. M.A. actually lives about 45 minutes down the road from me and maybe we’ll get together for lunch or something to talk writing and marketing. It’s on my list of summer activities to consider. Maybe we’ll even have a beer. You know I’m all about multi-tasking. Why else would I attend a conference on a cruise ship?

Okay, so off I went to change for dinner and attend the FRW cocktail party in The Dungeon, a cavernous bar with low ceilings, and very low blue, almost black lighting. Lots of gothic-looking statues in alcoves. I spent the time sitting in a dark corner catching up with Maggie Toussaint and enjoying a very tasty rum punch. Then it was time to toddle off to for dinner, for our singing wait staff and another fabulous meal. I’d held back on dessert the night before, but this time I was going all out.

The first night I had pork medallions with mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes. I went for the mushrooms every chance I got on this trip, since nobody at home likes them. Tonight it was these little steak tenderloins with vegetables grilled to perfection, and this awesome pumpkin-apple soup. The group at the table ordered multiple appetizers and we shared. In addition to the soup offerings we had some kind of toasted ravioli and cool shrimp cocktail. We did the same for dessert—key lime cheesecake and strawberry shortcake were the ones I tasted. (Yes, I did gain three pounds on the trip, which took me two weeks to work off at the Y but it’s all gone now and only the memories remain :).

Afterward, I went back to my room and set my luggage outside the room in preparation for leaving the next day, then trekked through the casino and to the other end of the ship (one...more…time) to catch a stage show of hits from the 40s, 50s, 60’s etc., ending with this weird tribute to ABBA. The costumes were very white and space-cadet like. But I enjoyed it, and then headed back across the length of the rocking ship to sleep like a baby once again.

Breakfast was in the buffet lounge, and I sat with Rhonda Penders, Sandra Kay and Tina Gayle from TWRP as we loaded up our plates one last time before disembarking. We were already in port, and had all been assigned different departure times, based on cabin location. Finally I caught up with Rhonda outside of customs, where Mona Risk and her husband gave us a ride back to the motel, and we met up with Dayana Knight and went to---what else—a bookstore!

We noshed on some quiche and chocolate in the café before heading off to Dayana’s for the afternoon and using her computers to check our emails. Then we did some driving around sightseeing before we headed out to The Olive Garden for more good food. Afterward, we spotted a shiny new pink car and I took Rhonda's picture next to it so she could tell RJ, “Look what I bought!” on the TWRP company credit card :).

We then drove up the coast and took Rhonda to meet a friend she was staying with for a few days of well-deserved down time. Back at Dayana’s, nirvana awaited. Florida might have been balmy to me, coming from the sub-zero north, but Dayana thought it was cool out, so we turned down the lights, had some tea and visited while watching the fire.

I think it was the best moment of the trip for me. Comfortable clothes, a full belly, a cup of tea and good company in front of a cozy fire. My idea of what life is all about. As Dayana and I talked (we’d never met before), we decided we had to be twins separated at birth. We uncovered similarity after similarity…and we even had the same shower curtain and rug, both purchased around the same time, many years before. It was a hoot.

More next time on Millionaire’s Row and alligator wrestling….


Mona Risk said...


I had so much fun at FRW cruise-conference. The best part was meeting so many roses from TWRP, including Maggie Toussaint, Rhonda Penders, and many more.

jodi said...

It sounds like a pretty cool time was had by all, and *sniffle* the food was great.

Mary Ricksen said...

Next time I'm going, even if I have to stow away!

Maggie Toussaint said...

What a nice remembrance, Liana. I so enjoyed getting to hang out with you on the cruise as well. Thanks for your kind words about meeting me.