A Week on the RoadBy Randy Rawls
Sometimes I have to remind myself how tiring travel is. I left South Florida last Thursday morning, heading for Cape Fear Crime Festival in Wilmington, NC. I should have known not to trust that small map I had. It's a lot farther than it looked. Anyway, made it to Santee, S.C. before deciding to employ common sense and find a place for the night. With that accomplished, I looked at gas prices. Wow, so much cheaper in S.C.--at least 30 cents a gallon--than in South Florida.
On Friday morning, I pushed on and landed in Wilmington in the early afternoon. Met with some of the CFCF gang on Friday evening for a pizza party. Joyce Lavene and Judy Nichols provided pizza and colas. Several other authors supplied stories about our crazy world of writing. I won't mention the jokes that peppered the evening. Judy regaled us with stories of her adventures on Jeopardy. If you missed it, she won big.
Saturday morning, too early and too cold for this old South Florida body—temperature dropped to 22 degrees overnight—I had the first session. Did my BOOT CAMP FOR WRITERS, which seemed to be well-received. One person assured me she was heading into rewrite after listening to my list of evils. As I do at any appearance with writers, I offered to critique the first 10 pages of anyone's manuscript—if that same anyone wants to hear the brutal truth. A couple of folks stepped up and said they'd take a chance. I'm looking forward to receiving their work.
The conference continued through the day, and although attendance was small, it was a fun day. Judy and Joyce came up with a gimmick I haven't seen at any other conference. They set up a Skype connection with the Guests of Honor. First up was William Bernhardt. It was a no holds barred interview and Bernhardt hung tough and answered every question. In the afternoon, the Skype session was repeated with Alexandra Sokoloff. She, too, was totally candid and fielded some tough ones. I may have witnessed the future of conferences. No expensive Guests of Honor on site, just Skype sessions. Having run SleuthFest a few times, I can hear the cash register kajinging with savings.
When the day wrapped up, we hugged our goodbyes to those who had other places to be, then the rest of us met for dinner. A fun day at a fun conference with fun people.
On Sunday morning, I was on the road again, heading for my hometown of Williamston. After a couple of days there, I was en route again. Arrived home this afternoon (Wednesday) and now sit here reporting to you, looking forward to an early bed tonight and a late rising tomorrow morning.
If you live within commuting distance—and who doesn't since airplanes took over the skies—consider Cape Fear Crime Festival for next year. I am.