Then it was back home for three weeks in January while I contemplated having to fly to Chicago. In February. Was I nuts? I'm no fan of cold weather and I questioned my sanity daily for deciding to accept the gracious invitation of Todd Stone (author of Novelist's Boot Camp) and the Love Is Murder folk to appear on several panels at the Midwest confab. But as much as I hate cold weather, I like getting together with other writers, publisher, and fans a lot more.
Jason drove me to the airport one chilly Philly morning and I went through the check-in and remove-your-shoes routine. Hey, I'm all for it. Security is best. If they want us to fly nude, I'm right there! Once all that was taken care of, I flew off to the Windy City.
It was gray, COLD, and snowy when I stepped out onto a drab walkway to wait for the hotel shuttle to pick me up. The February air was like ice and the wind was strong. I looked into the sky and saw a bird fighting against the draft in the gray-white sky. Not an easy task -- I wondered what the hell it was doing out on a day like that. But then it was a bird. As for me, I wasn't feeling bad at all -- I needed to be out in an open space. After being cramped in a coach-class seat for hours and breathing the stuffy air of the airline cabin, I stood out in the cold, gulping in the frozen air, not caring about the temperature. Just glad to be on solid ground and not sandwiched between other passengers and sucking in recycled air laden with who-knows-what. I thought the sub-zero temperature might kill off whatever germs the other passengers had managed to put into the air filtration system.
Eventually the hotel shuttle arrived – only my left ear was frostbitten and the doctor said the right ear was almost there. Just kidding. The nice Italian shuttle driver and I were the only two on the mini-bus. And he regaled me with tales of his family's coming to America . He's about the age of some of my aunts and uncles so it was familiar territory.
The day after I arrived, Love is Murder began in earnest and I was treated to a most wonderful conference. The people were warm and welcoming, the panels were interesting and informative, and the program overall was super.
I met a lot of fabulous people from here and there and made some new friends. More about some of them later on.
Morgan Mandel, author of Two Wrongs, took lots of video at LIM and here's one of them: