Friday, October 29, 2010

The Traveler Returns

I am now home from my travels and trying to get caught up. This was the longest I've been away from home in more than ten years. I do love to travel and see new places, but I also love my home and am quite the homebody. When I get home, I just want to hug my house. It was so lovely last night to use my own shower and sleep in my own bed, to have my sofa and my TV and my kitchen. It was probably more intense this time because I'd just spent more than 24 hours on a train, so not only did I have all of the above, but those things weren't constantly moving and shaking. It was several hours after I got home before it stopped feeling like I was still on a train.

So, first the convention. I don't think I acted too much like a raving fangirl when I met Katherine Kurtz, and I think I played it moderately cool when I ended up sitting next to her at the big, mass booksigning. I got her autograph on a book I'd brought, and then she actually picked up one of my books and flipped through it, which caused a major internal meltdown, of the "Yikes! Katherine Kurtz is reading one of my books!" variety. Wouldn't you know, it didn't occur to me to get a photo with her. After the signing, I did hang out with her a bit because we went together to watch the boat races at the hotel pool. They had a competition for building a working, self-propelled boat out of a milk carton. Mostly though, I ended up spending a lot of the convention chatting with her husband, who was very interesting. We had some similar things in our background, and we'd read some of the same books, so there was a lot of conversational fodder. One fun bit of news: Deryni Rising is under development for film (which I think means it's at about the same status level as the Enchanted, Inc. movie -- option and script).

I was surprised by how many people I knew at the con, but there were people I knew from Worldcon a couple of years ago and others who seem to overlap with the regional cons I usually attend. I also met some interesting new people. For instance, I spent much of Sunday afternoon chatting with Carol Berg.

I got to do some sightseeing around Denver on Monday and even got to go up into the mountains a little, where it was very cold. Then it was off to Chicago by train. The thing I liked most about the train trip, aside from seeing the country in a different way than you do by car, was that for meals in the dining car, they put you at tables with other people, so you meet some really interesting people along the way. I thought Iowa, at least the part we went through, was absolutely beautiful. The fall colors were going strong, and there were all these farms with the white farmhouses and red barns, like a picture on one of those scenic jigsaw puzzles. And then all the little towns we went through were very picturesque.

We missed the storms in Chicago, thanks to the train being a couple of hours behind schedule (I think for some of it, they deliberately slowed down to miss the storms), then after a night at a hotel (a bed that didn't move and shake!), it was time for the train back home. We saw St. Louis at night and got a great view of the arch. Then the next morning, my favorite part of the trip was a part that was unscheduled. There was a problem on the tracks ahead, so we got a detour on a freight line through northeast Texas, on a track that was pretty far from the road a lot of the way. It was like we were tunneling through a forest. I sat in the observation car and just stared out the window. Then it was fun for me to be on the train tracks that parallel the highway I drive to visit my parents because I was seeing a lot of the familiar landmarks, but from a different perspective. The area near where my parents live was probably my favorite scenery of the entire trip. It really is a beautiful part of the country.

While I was in Denver, I met with my agent, and she really liked the project I'd been putting together. Now I have some work to do to get it ready for submission, so I have an excuse to hide in my cave for a while. I've already talked myself out of going grocery shopping today because I can survive until tomorrow, when I have to go out for a dance class, anyway, but I do need to go to the library to get a reference book for all this work I have to do, so I can't be a total recluse, even if I do love my house.

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