I survived one crazy weekend. Now I have many more to go. The author party that was on Saturday night and was at the Southfork Hotel, not the ranch (bummer) turned out to be kind of fun, mostly because of the company. I was sitting with a group of my writing friends, and that made the experience bearable and entertaining. Literary events like that can be uncomfortable when you write genre or commercial fiction, especially if you write romance or something that's associated with romance. I was a little appalled by the way my friends who were being featured as romance authors were introduced at the event, in a way that wasn't quite belittling or insulting, but that sort of was, like what they wrote wasn't to be taken all that seriously. Both of them are published by major New York houses, and one of them is a New York Times bestseller, yet the numerous self-published (in other words, they hired someone to print their books instead of being chosen and paid by a publisher) authors there were treated with more respect. With me, they just messed up my title, using the advertising tag line from the cover as the "title." I guess that's an understandable mistake if all you've seen is the cover, but to participate in this event, you had to fill out a form about yourself and your book, so the actual title was on the form. It was also in my bio and is on top of every freaking page in the book and on the spine of the book. Even if someone had just written my intro from the formed I filled out, they should have had my title right.
Then my friends and I got an attack of the sillies during the speaker presentations for the evening. One got up and made it sound like it was a rare thing to bring authors together because usually they're so competitive and hate each other and don't want to help each other. We all looked at each other and had to stifle laughs because our experience has been that authors are incredibly supportive and giving. Then the next speaker reminded me instantly of Michael Scott, the clueless boss from The Office. He had that same jokey, slick salesman demeanor, the kind of guy who thinks he's wild and crazy and fun and hilarious while everyone else is cringing behind his back. The moment I made the Michael Scott connection in my brain I got a case of the giggles because every thing he did after that reminded me even more of Michael. Finally, I had to share the fun I was having and whispered to my neighbor, "Do you ever watch The Office?" Her eyes went wide as she looked at him, and then she got a case of the giggles. It spread around the table. The speaker probably thought he was rocking the house. By the time the panel discussion started, we were hopeless. After the dinner, we adjourned to the hotel bar so we could properly rehash the event and talk about the industry in general.
Sunday was a blustery day, and the book festival was being held outdoors in tents. Anything that wasn't nailed down -- paper, cardboard, rocks, tables, tents, small children, pets -- was being blown down or sent airborne. I was glad I'd been too lazy to do something with my hair and instead had resorted to a ponytail. Otherwise, I'd have ended up with a truly spectacular Afro, probably with leaves, twigs, balloon animals and maybe a small pet stuck in it. We didn't have a huge audience for our panel, but I got to sit on a stage under lights and talk about things I'm interested in, so I was happy. I also didn't sell a lot of books at the booksigning, but I ended up chatting with the guys from Borders who were there, and that was probably the most beneficial thing for me. I want to go back and explore downtown Plano some day when you don't expect Mary Poppins to blow in. That city has a reputation of being a bland suburb, but the old downtown is really quite charming. It would be a good destination if I decided to buy a DART pass and just spend the day riding the train to see where it might take me.
And then I saw Phantom of the Opera at the Music Hall. I think this was the fourth time I've seen it. I'm not a fanatic who obsessively lines up to see it over and over again. I'm just a season ticket holder, so I automatically see it each time it comes through town. It seems like I'm in the minority in thinking the ending is totally appropriate and happy -- Christine gets together with her non-psychotic childhood sweetheart and the Phantom seems to have learned something and doesn't get caught. I don't know how many romance novels have been inspired by people wanting to rewrite the end so that Christine ends up with the Phantom. I guess I've never been drawn to the tortured, troubled, dangerous type. I don't go for that "I can heal him with my love" stuff. If he's not already pretty much okay on his own without my help, I'm not interested. Call me after you've been through therapy, okay? The childhood sweetheart/boy next door is right up my alley. But for a change, in this production I could see Christine with the Phantom. That's probably because the actors playing the Phantom and Christine were married to each other, and as a result they had some sizzling chemistry going on. Meanwhile, Raoul was played almost as if he'd be far more interested in the Phantom than in Christine.
And now I know I have a ton of stuff to get done, but all I want to do is collapse completely. Maybe if I nap now, I'll have some concentration for the rest of the day.