Thursday, July 27, 2017

Road Trips and Authors in Real Life

When your best friend asks you to take a road trip with her, you say yes. When she tells you it will be a six hour drive... you should fact check her.

Natasha Knight emailed me excitedly a few months ago and asked if I wanted to drive down to North Carolina with her for A Dark and Seductive Affair book event. She got herself a table and she was flying in from Amsterdam. Obviously, she was traveling way farther already than I was, so a short road trip down the east coast through half a dozen states should be nothing!

Her original email said it would be a six hour drive. I was picking her up in Philadelphia and then we would head south. She told me she Google mapped it. 

Me: It's six hours from Philly to Charlotte?

Mr. McKay: More like ten hours.

I rolled my eyes and looked it up myself. So, it would take somewhere between nine and ten hours, my answer didn't change. Actually, ten hours of non-stop talking sounded like a dream. With time zones and families and work our text conversations are usually snippets of crazy random things.

We set out Friday morning and we talked. Straight through. Talked on top of each other, switched topics, changed back. And laughed. I didn't know I could laugh so much in ten hours. We got in later than we intended and we ate a bag of tortilla chips and a jar of salsa for dinner. It was already shaping up to be a great weekend!

We were still chatting three hours later as we were falling into bed.

Me: You should run for president. I would vote for you.

Natasha: I can't be president. I wasn't born here. You be president.

Me: Okay! Be my vice president?

Natasha *giving me a look*: I can't because if you die I would be president. And I can't.

Me: Oh. Want to be my first lady?

Natasha: I will totally be your first lady!

And that is how we made plans to move into the White House together. And also bring our husbands. I'm not really sure how the logistics work, but it's a good plan. At least it was at the moment. 

The next day was the book signing. I won't lie, I was really nervous to meet the other authors. I've talked to most of them on Facebook and I've read a lot of their books. But part of me was worried that maybe it was all an act. That they wouldn't be nice people and I'd wish I hadn't gone. 

I couldn't be more happy about how wrong I was. The first person we bumped into was Sue Lyndon. She seems nice online, right? She's even nicer and sweeter in person. She is also on her book signing event game and she helped us two noobs set up the table and organize things. 

The day was pretty much a whirlwind of meeting authors, hugging, laughing, picture taking: I was exhausted by lunch time. 

I think the highlight was watching people fangirl over Natasha. She is my best friend and I am proud of her and the amazing books she writes. I know she was caught off guard by the gushing but I'm glad I got to sit next to her and say, "Right? I know, she's awesome!" And I was reveling in her embarrassment—because I am that kind of friend.

After the signing, we were toting boxes back to the car in the parking garage and I stopped to pick up my sweater—while struggling with boxes—I tucked the front of my skirt behind the boxes and flashed the parking garage my panties. She stopped to take a picture so she could send it to my husband. She is that kind of friend. (And my husband wasn't even surprised to receive such a picture.)

That night was the masquerade ball. It was all fancy dresses and masks and drinks and twerking. Okay, Renee Rose was ruling the dance floor, I was sweatily gyrating and twerking on people because that's all I know.

I was excited we had some more time to talk to everyone and I think I only marginally came off like a crazy person. Somehow, Natasha convinced Livia Grant and Adaline Raine to venture upstairs with us to crash a wedding. To be fair, I think they may have felt it was their responsibility to come and supervise and ensure we didn't get arrested. We dragged Adaline onto an escalator and it was only after we were a few steps up that she went, "Oh, I really don't like escalators."

Natasha: You're okay. *Pulling Adaline in front of her* Casey's in front of you and I'm behind you. We got you.

Me: We'll flank you! *I crouch down low as the escalator travels up* Don't worry, I have roller derby skills!!

I'm still not sure what I meant by that but it made her laugh and we got her off the escalator in one piece. 

Somehow we ended up not being hungover on Sunday. Because we're adults and we know when to say when. Just kidding, it's because we drank gatorade and had good hotel room snacks.

We convened for breakfast before we trekked off on another million hour journey home. Let me tell you something, if you are going somewhere, you should invite Livia Grant. She organized everyone to meet up for breakfast and I'm pretty sure that was like herding cats. It was no small feat. She's a boss.

I know I didn't mention every single person I met this weekend, but I am overwhelmed with how nice and how real all of these women were. It really does make me feel like I am part of a community and I am proud to know them.

Meeting and hugging Katherine Deane and Renee Rose in real life was surreal because I've been friends with them for so long it was weird we just really met. Lee Savino and her sweet little flirty baby, Sue Lyndon, Adaline RaineAlyssa Hart, Bella Bryce, Jennifer Bene, Measha Stone, Livia Grant, Zoe Blake, Addison Cain, Alta Hensley, and all of their husbands, plus ones, friends, and helpers. Not to mention the readers and event organizers. It's Thursday and I think I might almost be caught up on sleep. 

I definitely had A Dark and Seductive Affair sleep hangover and I'm not even mad about it.