Friday, August 1, 2008
Day Four - Dinner with The Cherries
I went to a great workshop yesterday given by the incomparable Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She divulged the six secret words to writing a Fabulous book (or something like that). Basically, it boils down to "Keep The Reader In The Story". Sounds simple, doesn't it? It does when she tells it. Not being SEP though, I'm wondering if I'll ever reach that level. Here's to hoping.
After that, the roomie went off to do drinks with her agent, and I went off in search of a pure and unhurried place in which to read one of my new treasures. I found it here, at the Yerba Buena Gardens, conveniently located just across the street from the hotel. I sat on a bench, drank my mocha java chip frap, and read that new Karen White book I picked up the other night, The Memory of Water. It's wonderful so far, and I can't wait to have enough time to finish it! I expect that I will be dishing about it in the very near future.
Part of the draw for me at this conference was the location. I don't just mean the hotel, though it is lovely, or the city, though San Francisco couldn't be better. I mean that it's on the West Coast, and that means... a whole bunch of Cherries and CherryBombs that I haven't met yet.
Last night, I went to dinner with The Cherries. We went to Buca di Beppo, right down the street. As I understand it, the first ever Cherry meet was done in a Buca in Ohio. The setting was fun, the food was out of this world (especially the chicken marsala!), and the company was too good to be true.
I finally got to meet Cherry Red and Michelle. As some of you may know from my personal blog, Michelle is a Pink Warrior. She battled and survived breast cancer. The Cherries did a little e-bay thing for her a few years back to help raise money for her treatments, and I was honored to be able to help out with that. We've exchanged e-mails since then, and I've kept up with her through her blog and her friends (like Cherry Red). I've since wanted to meet this amazing woman that inspired a group like The Cherries to come together and in an effort like The Michelle Fund. I have to tell you, she's even more amazing in person. She is truly gracious and kind, and I just wanted to sit with her and be near her and listen to her soft, strong voice all night. It was such an amazing gift to be able to meet her, to wrap my arms around her, to walk down the street next to her.
Her best friend Cherry Red is just as special. And I have to tell you, regardless of what the year on her birth certificate says, she is one Hot Chick! She was also funny, bright, and such a blast! This is a picture of both of them.
Ever wondered what a SuperHero looked like? Well, take a look at one of my own personal SuperHeroes - Robin LaFevers. (She's not so fond of the camera, so I had to do a sneak attack with my cell phone!)
Robin has more than earned her cape in my book. She is the woman who is responsible for turning three of my beloved wee ones into Readers. Yes, that is a BIG "R". With her phenomenal books Werewolf Rising, the Lowthar's Blade trilogy, and Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, she captivated the hearts, minds and imaginations of the children in my life. (click the links to see pics of my kids and read reviews of the books.) Her writing is breathtaking, and this woman can create a world like nobody's business. I had the pleasure of telling the story of how three of my children came to really enjoy reading, through Robin's books. She made some comment about how I was telling her what all children's book authors dreamed of hearing. But really, it's what all moms want to be able to say - "Hey lady, my kid loves to READ!!" And if you lead the charmed life, like I do, then one day you actually get to meet the lovely creature that spins the yarns that captivate your children.
admittedly, before the dinner, I was a little nervous. I'd never met ANY of these women before. Most of them had previously existing bonds that were stronger than steel. I don't do the Cherry Forums very often. I was basically an outsider, a sort of pretender - Almost a Cherry. To them though, I was just another woman that shared a love of Jennifer Crusie books, someone whose name they recognized through blog posts or e-mails, and I was most assuredly welcome. I didn't feel out of place, or like a pretender at all. They just introduced themselves, hugged me, and made me feel as if I'd been there all along. Plus, they all said that I looked YOUNG, which is something that I never get to hear at home, seeing as how how I have more than a few teenagers that live under my roof.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Cherry Gathering - take it. It was an experience that I am so glad to have had, and it's something that is not to be missed!
Oh, and as a side note, if you happen to see any crazy pictures floating around blogger land of some silly looking woman with a flask, I just want it stated for the record that I am vehemently denying any knowledge of, or participation in, such blatantly hedonistic activities. And it's not me. No matter what they might say.
More to come on today's activities, including *squeak* my agent meeting.
I'll Keep You Posted!