Friday, February 27, 2015

On Not Plunging In

The antithesis of Albany’s current weather. Winter? Doesn’t exist!
Generally, when we write about attending mystery conferences, we mention opportunities to catch up with writer friends, meet and mingle with readers, see editors and agents, and appear on panels. We write about what we learn by attending workshops and interviews with bestselling authors. We write about how we soak up all that energy, and come home ready to sit down and write.

These are all excellent reasons for attending conferences. In fact, when I signed up for Sleuthfest this year, I thought of what fun it would be to hang out with friends, be on a panel, and do a pre-publication debut of my new book, What the Fly Saw. I have to admit – no offense to Floridians – that the chance to get out of snowbound, frigid Albany, New York and spend a few days in a balmy clime was not one of the reasons I wanted to attend. I'm not a warm weather person. But, I arrived this afternoon, and so far it hasn't been bad. I've gone from air-conditioned airport to shuttle to hotel room. There is no humidity. Much better than my last visit to Florida.

But I haven't gone to the conference yet. I'm in an overflow hotel across the street (busy boulevard) and – more important – I got up at five a.m. to make my 8:15 a.m flight. That wouldn't have been bad, but I got to bed at around 2 and had about three hours sleep. So I decided to pass on the last of the afternoon workshops and the Thursday evening kickoff events. Tomorrow, I'll go over fresh and wide awake.

Being in an overflow hotel does offer one advantage – the opportunity to hide out. This is also possible in the conference hotel if you dodge people you know and/or are willing to nod briskly and keep moving when you do encounter friends. It is much easier to hide out when you are in the overflow hotel because most people in your hotel will be heading to the conference hotel. In the overflow hotel, you have an excuse for not attending an evening event – you don't want to walk back to your hotel alone in the dark. This excuse only works if you purposely don't look for people you know who might be in your hotel and with whom you could walk. Of course, you also don't bother to consider the possibility that you would be safe walking across the street from one hotel to the other.

Obviously when you have gone to the effort and expense of attending the conference, hiding out in your room should not be something you do every night. Especially when you are attending a great conference like Sleuthfest. But I would argue that taking one evening for decompression before plunging in is acceptable.

The other opportunity that should not be missed when attending a conference is the chance to take an airport shuttle to your hotel. I say this without sarcasm. Yes, if you are rushing to plunge into conference activities, then waiting for your shuttle to leave and then going on a rambling journey while other passengers are delivered to their destinations can be tedious. On the other hand, if you decide to think of the shuttle ride as a tour of the area, it becomes much more interesting. Much can be learned about an area while a passenger on an airport shuttle.

The other first-evening pleasure you should consider – in-room dining. Room service or delivery. Tonight, I ordered a wonderful meal – including coconut flan – that was delivered to my hotel. And I ate it wearing old tee shirt, shorts, and flip flops.

I also got a little work done. Some reading I needed to do. Some notes I needed to make about a project. Bright and early Friday, I will plunge into Sleuthfest, and I'm sure I'll have fun. But Thursday was my transition day…and that is why I have no photos for this post.

(Special Note: After reading Frankie’s post, I felt compelled to go out and find an image that reflected her current location as compared to her usual location – just so you’d all know what she’s currently suffering through! —Rick)


Donis Casey said...

The last time I went to Malice Charlotte Hinger and I enjoyed a fabulous tour of the DC area on the airport shuttle.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Donis, exactly what I mean. An easy way to sample an area.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...


Thank you for the photo. I haven't been to the beach, but I did see some people hanging out by the swimming pool yesterday.

Made it to Sleuthfest today. Great conference!

Eileen Goudge said...

Great conference tips, Frankie. Enjoy & drink it all in.