Monday, June 20, 2011

Stranger than fiction

So this month I've been crazy busy with signings, conference appearances, and travel. In fact im writing this post in a hotel room on an ipad... And i have no idea how to do the picture thing to add to the post on this gadget, so you will all have to seriously use your imaginations.

This promotional stuff isn't cheap...as you mentioned, Jenna. And Lois, as you so humorously shared with us, truth is ALWAYS stranger than fiction. So last weekend I was in Florida at Disney, in a far too expensive resort hotel attending a small lesbian writing conference. We have about 150 people attend every year, so we were definitely teeny fish in a very large koi pond.

So the first thing I notice is that this humongous hotel has a great number of conference rooms and the hotel was absolutely maximizing the use of their conference space. Along with us, we crossed paths with a conference of pregnant women. I'm not sure what they were talking about, maybe the best breathing techniques or treatments for chafed baby bottoms. Then as we went down a set of escalators, a new conference was setting up. Sure enough, that sign DID read Annual Meeting of Funeral Directors. This came complete with a room specially equipped to handle vendor displays of the latest in coffins and hearses. Nothing like walking by the room and seeing caskets propped open, just waiting to be filled. Of course, morbid curiosity overcame me and a couple friends one evening when we were coming in from a late supper. No one was around, and the doors to the vendors room of death were closed. Being, shall we say, intrepidly inquisitive, I tried the doors. To my surprise, they popped right open. One of the gals I was skulking around with whipped out her camera and started taking pictures. Just as the flashes began going off, this guy, all dressed like The Men In Black, complete with FBI earpiece, bursts from a door not far away and comes charging right for us. All we could make out before we ran for our very lives was him yelling into his lapel mike, "C3 to base, we have a breach." Needless to say, we busted a move and got our fannies out of there.

The next day, the Boy Scouts moved in on one side of our vendor area. A meeting a physicians filled the space on our other side. Too bad they weren't around a couple of days later when a few of our members were stricken with food poisoning.

The day before we were finished, the hotel came and rudely kicked us out of our vendor area. The same vendor area we were contracted to have throughout the following day. After a heated verbal exchange between the hotel and our con director, the conference bookstore and seven other vendors were kicked to the curb and forced to re-set up in a room that was even further away from the breakout rooms. This was done so a huge wedding could move in where we had been. Then a few drunk attendees of said wedding threatened to come and teach us a lesson. After some very non-veiled threats by one of our board members to the wedding planner, everything remained calm, and no one wound up in any of the display coffins.

So, in the space of four days, I think I have witnessed enough unbelievable, yet true fodder for three or four new books! Reality is absolutely way way way more crazy than fiction ever could be!!!!

9 comments:

Alan Orloff said...

Wow, Jessie! I think I'd like to travel with you. I could use a little excitement! (but just a little)

Beth Groundwater said...

Anyone who reads your post, Jessie, is getting a good taste of your comedic voice. If you like it folks, pick up a copy of BINGO BARGE MURDER.

And hey, I would have been right there with you, doing that security breach thing and snapping photos of the coffins! Did you take your fannies to the bar after that to snicker over mojitos?

KH said...

And people wonder where writers get their ideas! Just keep your eyes open -- they are all around us!

Robin Allen said...

I don't know if it's true, but I read in a Donald Westlake novel that coffins are tightly controlled. They aren't available to the general public lest someone decide to kill granny for her award-winning blueberry muffin recipe and bury her in the back yard. It could happen without a coffin, of course, but burying her in something designed to contain a dead body makes it much more likely she'll never be discovered.

You probably earned another entry in your FBI file, Jessie.

Darrell James said...

Wow! And all in four days, Jessie! Just think what a two week stay might have turned into.

Lois Winston said...

Jessie, I'm hanging out with you at Malice next year!

Jessie Chandler said...

Alan, Stick with me and you never know who might wind up chasing you!

Beth, thanks for the great plug:-) We dispatched our fannies to our hotel room and called everyone we knew and told them about our adventure!

KH, absolutely right...you never know when you're going to cross paths with the oerfect plot.

Robin, that's really interesting. Maybe that's why they had the Man In Black guarding the room of death. Pretty soon I'll have to start just popping up here and there so the Feebs can't track me LOL

Darrell, I'm pretty sure a two week stay would probably have landed us in the hoosgow. Or is it hooskow?

Lois, you can hang with me any time!

Shannon said...

Lucy! You have some 'splainin' to do. I'll be your Ethel anytime; it sounds like fun.

Jessie Chandler said...

Shannon/Ethel, come ON! Let's go!