Our carload of Ottawa mystery authors, Mary Jane Maffini, R.J.Harlick, Linda Wiken and I, arrived at our respective hotels last night around nine o'clock, a mere 13 hours after I left home. We leapfrogged our way across New York and Pennsylvania into Ohio without incident. The only snag when I tried to book into the hotel with Mary Jane and Linda only to discover I was in a different hotel ten minutes away. Turns out I'm in the conference hotel so not bad in the end.
We decided to have supper in my hotel bar where the lighting was dim enough that Mary Jane ordered two glasses of red wine without realizing they were $20 per glass (she thought she was splurging on $10 a glass). All in all, a rather brazen price to charge, in my view. The presidential debate was on television, which I would have been watching if I'd been home. Might have been less stressful to miss the whole thing anyway.
The topic of conversation this morning was that our bookseller Don Longmuir from St. Catharines got stopped at the border for nine hours and U.S. Customs refused to let him take all the books across. He was the only one who was to sell our books so it's somewhat grim. A lot of books normally get sold at these events as these are the diehard readers who are eager to try new authors. I'd brought eight books and was able to give them to Don to sell. Other authors had a few as well but others have none.
Anyhow, I attended a few panels this morning - the first on 'The Writing Life" - Halifax author Anne Emery was on the panel and we'd corresponded beforehand; and "Murder in the Great Outdoors" with Robin Harlick. Afterwards, five of us headed out on foot to a street of restaurants where we sat outside and enjoyed the 75 degree afternoon with a glass of wine (or beer) and a bit of lunch. I indulged in the bread pudding doused in bourbon and caramel sauce.
I just came from watching an interview with Robin Cook - remember Coma? - and he was articulate and scathing about the American medical insurance and the large pharmaceutical companies. He also didn't have much comforting to say about the quality of medicine and care, especially in hospitals, especially at night.
So, I'm still looking to run into Elizabeth George and Michael Connelly . . . . maybe, I'll see them tonight at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reception. Wish me luck.