Susan Speaks: Honey, I’m Home!


I ducked out of the Romantic Times Convention yesterday around 3 and got home a little bit before 4. Those of you who know me or who I freshly met (and I have seen many Google searches for West of Mars already. Whee!) know that I’m a local chick and by the time yesterday afternoon came, when I’d checked out of my hotel SUITE (remind me to tell that story), I was glad. I was itchy to get home.

Anyway, here are some more impressions and things I learned. I want to promise that there will be more of these in the days ahead, but there probably won’t be. The only thing I can promise is that there are yet more winds of change afoot…

1. I’m a proud Pittsburgher, but I was amazed and horrified at the condition of the Pittsburgh Hilton. Others can tell you more about it, but let’s just say that many, many of us were glad we’d been evicted and sent to the Omni William Penn, even if it was a bit of an inconvenience.

This was my third bad experience in a row at a Hilton hotel. I’m done with you, Hilton Hotels. My money now goes elsewhere, even if I wind up spending more. From what I’ve seen (including the promised refund that I’m still waiting on, two years later), the problems exist across the board.

I wonder what the Board of Health would say about the servers who stuck their bare thumbs in the pour spout of the water pitchers when they put them on our table.

Yes, friends, I’ve called the Board of Health for things like that before. Piss me off far enough and I’ll make a point of pushing back.

2. The Mystery Chix and a Rooster are amazing, amazing people. Don’t ask me which is my favorite; I can’t pick. Check out their websites. Tell them I sent you. Read their books. Rave about them with me.

I have lots of promo bookmarks and business cards from this gang. If you’d like some, drop me an e-mail and I’ll mail them out to you.

3. Many of the authors whose blogs appear in my Google Reader are way cool. Rachel Vincent. Shiloh Walker. Megan Hart. Lauren Dane. Anya Bast. Ann Aguirre. Aline de Chevigny. Jennifer Estep. None, however, made me squeal the way I did when Colleen Gleason and I ran into each other (inches from literally) and made the connection. That’s just to say how awesome Colleen is.

I loved how excited she got when I told her I’d seen Rises the Night for sale in my local GROCERY. Yes, folks, I found a copy there and had to show it to my family, all of whom gave me blank stares. Many of the surrounding shoppers were initially curious but my strange and sudden inability to form words upon discovery of the book might have prevented a few sales I otherwise should have pimped for my bud Colleen.

4. I met Judi Fennell in the shuttle back to the Omni and hooked her up with the woman running the SOS mixer/thingie. I hope she had a great time!

5. Of all these cool people, none were cooler than Ann. Let me tell you, I’d have been lost without Ann. She’s the ultimate fan girl, in the perfect sense, because she is a librarian who is also the library’s buyer. It was a LOT of fun to walk up to editors and hear her ask for their list so she can buy their books.

Even better was meeting her cast of characters, her friends. Particularly that moment during the Faery Ball when MaryJanice Davidson came and plunked down on the couch beside me. Why? ’cause she knew Ann, who was on my other side.

Best of all was at the Vampire Ball, when I pretty much dumped Ann in favor of a new bud (who also dumped a friend in order to bond with me). Ann understood, and then some. I still feel bad about it ’cause Ann’s too cool to do that to. But once the whole story behind that comes out, you’ll agree with Ann.

So to make up for it, I played Tour Manager for HER at the huge book signing. While I’m a bit too incapacitated to carry the LOAD of books she’d brought from home to be signed, I did carry her new purchases for her, help the authors spell her name right, and generally have fun.

No, I did NOT tell a single one of those authors to please spell her name S-U-S-A-N. But there were a few times there that I was tempted.

Be sure to become one of Ann’s fan girls. She deserves it.



  1. Julia Smith

    April 20, 2008 8:17 am

    Sounds like it was a hectic and fun conference, Susan. Too bad about the Hilton hotel, but aren’t the Hilton’s responsible for Paris, too?BR/BR/Glad to hear about your fun with Ann! And loads of other writers, too. Some day I’d love to go to one of the conferences.

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 20, 2008 9:52 am

    Oh, Julia, you’ll love being there. I can’t wait to share it with you!

  3. bunnygirl

    April 20, 2008 10:50 am

    Glad you’re back and had such a good time!

  4. Winter

    April 20, 2008 11:51 am

    I’m so envious. But not of the walking. I don’t do that very well. But the Vampire Ball sounds soooo awesome. *sigh* All the fun stuff never makes it to CA.

  5. spyscribbler

    April 20, 2008 6:11 pm

    I wish I could have gone, especially with it being so close! Last time I stayed in a Hilton (a conference in 2001), both my roommate and I got these skin bugs from the sheets. We had to put this insecticide all over our body! It was horrendous.BR/BR/Never, ever, again, will I stay in a Hilton.BR/BR/Thanks for sharing! I love it when people who go blog about all we missed. Then we don’t miss so much!

  6. Thomma Lyn

    April 20, 2008 8:05 pm

    Welcome back, Susan! Sounds like you had a great time. BR/BR/ARGH about the Hilton, but I’m tickled that you got to meet and hang out with so many cool writers! 🙂

  7. Ann

    April 20, 2008 10:27 pm

    Dude! I’m back! I didn’t get in until 9:00 tonight! RT staff totally rocked (and saved my bacon-which is a whole nother story for later), and I had a blast wandering around RT with you and running into people. It seemed strange with you not there. Am totally planning to go next year. Am braindead, more tomorrow. 🙂

  8. Wylie Kinson

    April 21, 2008 9:57 am

    Hey SHG — sounds like you had an absolute BLAST and I can’t wait to hear about more more MORE!BR/One of these days, maybe I’ll get there too 🙂

  9. Aline de Chevigny

    April 21, 2008 10:48 am

    LOL It was a blast and meeting you was fabulous. What a weekend. Theonly saving grace of the hilton was my room. it totally rocked and my chamber maid totally rocked.BR/BR/But the diner waiters need to take lessons in proper etiquette and customer interaction.BR/BR/Can’t wait for next year.BR/BR/Aline

  10. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 21, 2008 11:08 am

    Ain’t that the truth, Aline.BR/BR/Remind me to tell you about Thumb Germs.

  11. Rachel Vincent

    April 21, 2008 12:00 pm

    It was great to meet you!

  12. Lauren

    April 21, 2008 12:31 pm

    It was totally insane! But fun and useful and I’m so glad I got to meet you but I swear I don’t think I saw you again after that first night! (Btw, the awful experience was Tavern 1902 – HORRRRRRIBLE service! good food though if you have hours to wait and you don’t mind being ignored)

  13. Susan Helene Gottfried

    April 21, 2008 4:14 pm

    Yeah, the 1902 is one of the few I wasn’t impressed with the only time I was there. I should have sent you to the Carlton instead. My absolute FAVORITE.

  14. shaunesay

    April 21, 2008 10:09 pm

    I’ve loved Carole Nelson Douglas from way back… I still remember pretending Six of Swords riding my horse in the summer around the fields at my grandparents house… *blush*BR/BR/I would love to have been a little mouse in your pocket getting to see all that stuff and hear the goings on!

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