Anyway, Thursday night we finished up early and were back in the hotel room and in bed by 10 or 10:30. I had a breakfast meeting set up with Anne Leslie Tuttle, Senior Editor of Harlequin Nocturne. There were several other authors there and I wish I'd taken pictures. I don't think I was awake enough. And I'm horrible with names. Some of the authors I knew, like Elle James. But I met tons of new people. Next to me was a woman who worked as a Hospice Nurse (aka Angel on Earth). She had fascinating stories. And I also met (going to Twitter to look up her name) Laura Kaye. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury and when she recovered, she discovered she wanted to write (she'd never had the slightest interest before). She became a bestselling author! AND AND - it that's not enough - she decided she wanted to lose weight to help her migraines. So she started eating clean and doing a workout video once a day. Since April 1st, she's lost 31 pounds! What an inspiration. And she was so nice. If she didn't live in Maryland, I'd hang out with her all the time!
And then I had a few hours to kill before a lunch meeting with Patience Smith, my editor and the Senior Editor for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. I spent that time drinking coffee to given myself energy for the rest of what would be a very long day.
The lunch was at Boudro's (that's ok, have I mentioned I LOVE that place?). Due to my overindulgence the night before, I opted for a healthy salmon and salad.
And here's a photo of me and Patience. (I wish I'd thought to get one of me and AnneLeslie)
So, after that lunch I went back to the hotel. Despite the coffee, I really needed a nap. Really should have taken one. But I didn't. I changed and Lonnie and I walked around in the heat some more and had a beer.
We decided to go to the Rivercenter Mall (airconditioning!) and stopped at Hooters (I know, I know). The pigeons were bold and obnoxious there.
You could shoo them off, but they'd keep coming right back. I started to think they'd been extras in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Birds.
Once back in the room, I got dressed for the big event - the Harlequin Party.
That night I met my friend and Harlequin Superromance Author Stephanie Doyle for dinner. I haven't seen her (she lives in NJ) since the conference in 2009 and we had LOTS of catching up to do.
We went to Luciano's and had wonderful Italian food. I had my favorite - Mussels Marinara.
And then it was on to the party. Walking, in heels.
But all was good. The party was in full swing when we arrived. There were desserts, a chocolate fountain, and of course the open bar. People were dancing. I had to have a couple of drinks to dance, but I did.
It was fun and amazing. Harlequin had jars of new footy socks for us to wear to dance so we didn't have to dance in heels or bare feet, even though some people went with the bare feet (not me, socks all the way!) Sorry for the dim photos, but the light was muted.
The dessert buffet.
The jars of footy socks.
It's Raining Men (always always played every year!)
I had SO much fun (and too much to drink). This year, I didn't go to the hotel bar like I used to do in years past. I went back to the hotel and got in around 1 am. My Jawbone Up showed I'd walked over 22,000 steps that day! (more actually, but after midnight the next 3300 rolled over to the next day).
Whew. I slept in until nine a.m and reluctantly got up as I had one last meeting - an early lunch with my agent of 12 years, Lucienne Diver. She chose Luciano's (the really good restaurants keep popping up!)
Here are the two of us posing in Luciano's.
After that, we checked out early and headed home. The hotel was lovely and was able to rent our room, so they credited me back for the night. I was thrilled. And exhausted. Did I mention exhausted?
It took me two full days to recover from all that.
And then I learned about the shower. 2014 is the year of the home renovations, sadly. We redid our pool early on, then our yard, and then our camper (remember those nasty mushrooms? It's still in the shop). And now our shower. Sigh.