Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I genuinely believe I have given up flying forever...

I will take "alternate" transportation from now on...

This Romanticon was the first time I have ever flown Frontier Airlines...and the first time in over 20 airplane trips that I have had nearly more trouble than the plane trip was worth. My trip had been planned since July. Reservations made. Hotel all set up. Electronic tickets...the works. In all the times I have flown before, the planes have been on time...the connecting flights have been on time...and the whole ball of wax.

I should have realized that things would go haywire when we were informed that the plane that I expected to fly out to Denver on was nearly an hour late. Because they had to switch planes in Seattle. Because of mechanical problems.  But it would be just fine, they said, "because the connecting flight I was to catch in Denver would be an hour and a half late." Because they had to switch out planes. Because of mechanical problems.

That made me feel safe and secure as all git out. 

Well, That put me two and a half hours behind schedule to catch the last hotel shuttle from the airport to the McKinley Grand Hotel, which was a free service. The result? I had to find a cab at 1:45 a.m. and pay $70.00 to get myself to the hotel. Instead of getting a good eight hours of sleep before having to get up and start motivating, I got exactly three.

Dragging my fanny out of bed and crawling downstairs to breakfast was a real joy. Ahhhh...the free breakfast buffet. I was hungry enough to eat a cardboard horse that morning, so it tasted fantastic.  Of course, nobody told me that I could order anything off the hotel breakfast menu that I wanted (for free) so I settled for the reconstituted scrambled eggs and hashbrowns, some cut up cantaloupe and tons of crisp bacon or sausage every morning. When I could have had eggs benedict...or waffles...or....sigh.

LOL! I guess I should have asked, right? No big deal, because it was free food and I was on a budget (especially after that $70 taxi ride). Besides...I'm used to my own cooking, and can't say that I'm a gourmet chef.

The hotel was great...the convention was fabulous. A wonderful time was had by all. I hated to leave. Then I took the free hotel shuttle back to the airport...only to find that my plane was late.  Because they had to switch out the planes. Because of mechanical problems.


Because my connecting flight in Denver would be taking off about an hour BEFORE my delayed flight would land, they scrambled to find me another flight from Denver to Utah. They got me on a United Airlines flight that was to leave Denver at 10:05 p.m....making it necessary to call my son to pick me up four hours later than I had asked at first. So I looked at the scrolling flight boards in Denver to find my flight out, and it said that flight 6314 would leave from gate 33A at exactly 10:05 p.m.

YAY!  I had time to get a bite to eat and I found a McDonald's about one football field away from gate 33A and had a leisurely meal. After gobbling my meal and dragging my 70 pounds of carry-on luggage back to gate 33A, figuring that I would relax until the flight boarded at 9:39 p.m., I opened a book and read for a couple of hours.  After a while I began to notice that there was no one joining me for the next flight from gate 33A, and the scrolling sign over the podium said "Montreal 11:15 p.m."


So I got up and walked over (dragging my friggin' two-ton luggage filled with books and junk from the convention) and found a gate attendant and asked if I was in the right place for flight 6314 to SLC. She hit a few dozen keys and replied laconically, "You are at the wrong gate. Flight 6314 has been changed...uh-huh...because we had to switch out the plane." Because of mechanical problems. Uh-huh. So where was I suppose to be to catch flight 6314 now? Ummm...where the hell is gate 90B? Ummm...whatdya mean, it's about five miles that-a-way?

 Thank God there were four people movers that covered 40 of the gates in between...but that left this tired, frustrated, old lady humping her five-ton luggage through two full concourses, over the river and through the woods, down to another level, then back up and back down again. I finally sank into a chair at gate 85A because I was about to fall on my face. (The altitude change from 1100 feet to 5600 feet didn't help my blood pressure).

After huffing and puffing until my heart rate lowered to a safe 120 bpm, and getting my second wind, I crawled out of that lovely chair and managed to drag the ten-ton luggage to gate 90A, where I collapsed and waited anxiously for them to announce that my gate had been changed back to 33B!

Then came the ominous announcement that they were asking for "volunteers" to take a flight the following morning because the smaller plane was seriously friggin' way! I am WILL take me home TONIGHT!!!

I was fully ready to fight my way into the damn plane if need be, and didn't mind one damn bit having to check my carry on bag at the gate because the overhead area was "too small" for roll alongs. I was finally on the plane...the oversold one...when a commotion broke out at the front. There was a slightly over-Xantaxed passenger who was talking too loudly about the last time she flew and how she had started screaming "OH GOD WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!"

The flight attendants asked her take a later flight that wasn't so crowded, and her two adult kids (who shared my three-seat row) decided they would not fly out without Mom.  So I was able to stretch out over three seats and watch a free in-flight movie because...uh huh...the flight was so late.

So next year I believe I will drive...or take a train...or maybe catch a ride on Shadowfax. Any of those options seems to be better than flying the friendly skies.  

Tell me...have you ever had this type of travel nightmares?  Please share.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The best Romanticon ever!

No...this is not an Ellora's Cave cover model...

This is the inimitable Fran Lee. Inimitable, you ask? How so? Well...I am the ONLY person who DROPPED her Super Star Award...four times. Snort! I am seriously thinking about having it framed in a shadow box to protect it from myself. Thank God they are made of sterner stuff than glass...they are made of heavy, strong, crystal-clear Lucite.

A wonderful time was had by all. Including Yours-Truly, who doesn't usually do well in large crowds. This was my third Romanticon Convention, and was the best yet. I met many wonderful new friends, and came together with many wonderful already-friends. Hmmm...did I just coin another phrase?

My SWAG was an apparent success. I gave away 800 Zombie and Debil Duckies. The funniest part was, I put stickers on the bottom of about 600 (I ran out of stickers the third day) and on 30 of the Duckies I placed "prize" stickers. I was told that people were taking several at a time, but only 15 people claimed their prizes.

 Zombie Duckies and Debil Duckies!

These little items went like crazy. I took gold-embossed "Fran Lee Romance" pencils and some darling tiny flip-flop erasers that were quite a hit, as well. You can always use pencils and erasers...right? I never knew so many women collected flip-flop collectibles. Good thing I brought about a thousand...

Like I said in an earlier post...UACC...Useful, Attractive, Creative, and Cheap. 

Please check out my Facebook pages and albums to see my Romanticon photos. I took nearly 200! 

Tomorrow I will tell you all about my trip...and how I really wanted to cash in my flight tickets and rent a  car after my arrival in Denver...only two hours late. My connecting flight was also late (thank heavens!) or I would have been in deep duckie doo-doo. 

Hugs to everyone!  I must be off...I have an alumni association meeting to get to.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Packing for a trip is arduous activity...

Packing all I need to take in ONE medium-sized carry on bag.
(It's tougher than it sounds...)
Um...socks go in the bottom, laid out flat. Underwear next, again laid out flat. My dress slacks. Four dressy tops. (One nice set of dressy slacks can work with any number of tops.) Two pairs of nice casual slacks. A couple of my book-cover T-shirts. My Pajama Party PJs (I sleep in a T-shirt). The two big leather belts that are to be my Zombie-night costume. (I am simply wearing a black T-shirt and my Zombie-Killer belt and a leather bandolier of bullets). My dress shoes. 

I will not be lugging my lap-top along this trip.  It's fairly big and heavy, and I hate having to unpack it, open it, turn it on, etc. just to get on the plane. I almost missed my flight last time because it took almost an extra hour to go through the garbage to get my bags through the xray machine, etc.  Oh, and having a titanium hip makes it even more of a joy. 

Of course, without my lap-top, I will be unable to get my e-mail, check my Facebook page (oh, woe is me!) and so on.  But then, maybe I can use someone else's computer.  Or buy one of those slimline, tiny, 7-inch thingys that can fit in your purse.

And my "purse". The piece de 24-inch long, 18-inch deep, 8-inch wide shoulder bag that carries my "real" purse, plus all my ziplock-bagged cosmetics, prescriptions, herbs, Alka-Seltzer,  allergy pills, tubes of Airborne, etc.  Can't leave home on a trip in a crowded plane with everyone around you coughing and sneezing without your tubes of Airborne.

If I could find a way to pack it, I would also take my car so that I could tour the area. 

I will NEVER take luggage that has to be checked. Too many ugly things happen to luggage.  (Just ask Laurann.)  After one trip where we took luggage that had to be checked (A Disneyland trip for my family) and coming up missing the bags with the most important stuff like cameras, tickets, etc.  I learned my lesson.

So, tell me how YOU pack for trips. What are your methods? Can you manage to get everything into a carry-on bag? Tell me about YOUR nightmares with luggage.  Have fun!

And if your comment strikes my fancy, you might win a copy of one of my back list books. 

(I's sad to have to bribe people to come to your blog, but authors can be totally shameless that way!)



Friday, October 5, 2012

On my way to Romanticon!

This is Ellora's Cave's fabulous Romance Readers and authors convention! 
If you are in the Akron Ohio area next week, and want to get books signed by your favorite Ellora's Cave authors, drop into the book signing between noon and 4:00 p.m. on October 14, 2012.  All your favorites will be there. Including moi. LOL! It is being held at the McKinley Grand Hotel, 320 Market Avenue South, Canton OH 44702.

I will be signing a brand new print book that will not be released formally until November 23, 2012, but will be made available at the book signing. Check it out...

 November 23, 2012

Double Your Pleasure

Helen is working a latte shop just outside an upscale high-rise apartment in Manhattan. Switching shifts with her boss, she finds herself face-to-face with the most delicious, maddeningly arrogant men she’s ever met. He’s hot and sexy as hell, but the fact that he can’t lift his eyes from her chest is a strike against him.  Too bad he’s such a jerk…she would have loved to get to know him better. But as soon as he’s out of sight, she turns around to find another one, just like him, but this one looks her in the eye, and has a smile that takes her breath away. Dear Lord, there are two of them?

Jason and Jonathon Blackstone have the same taste in clothes, cars and women. Identical twins, they often trade clothes…and sometimes they even share their women. Jon may have seen her first, but Jace intends to be the man who gets her. Unfortunately, he may just end up having to share again, since the sexy coffee girl seems to want them both.

Her Own Set of Rules

Bored with her sex life with a husband she still loves, but who has the Saturday-night, three-minute orgasm—his—down to a fine art, Haley takes the first step on a journey of sexual discovery when Josh, younger brother of her closest friend, expresses a decidedly carnal interest in her. The result is more than she imagined in her raunchiest fantasies.

Josh has had a crush on Haley since he was a kid, gangly and too damn tall for his weight. But he isn’t a kid anymore, and he grew into his six foot five inches, plus some. He’s come back home for one thing only—for a shot at the girl he fell for when he was too damn young to do much about it.

But Harry’s not done with his wife—not when he finds out that inside that prim, repressed shell, she’s been hiding the sexual temptress he’s always hungered for. Now all Haley has to do is ask, and two men are ready to give her everything she wants.

See you there!


Fran Lee