Hi, everyone. I am home from my day job business trip to Florida. While I was there, the news came out that fully 20 percent of new COVID-19 cases, almost all of them the Delta variant, were coming from Florida. Yikes! While my hotel and conference had a “mask optional” policy for those who, like me, are fully vaccinated, they were not asking for any proof. I wore a mask about 80 percent of the time.
The conference itself was greatly truncated; a number of speakers canceled and there were far fewer attendees than in a normal year. Still, it paid to be cautious.
It wasn’t all work and no play; my hotel had some interesting recreational offerings and, as a result, I managed to do one of my bucket list items and hold an alligator. It was worth every hot, humid moment of the wait. I’ve wanted to do this since my first research trip to Louisiana for Bayou Fire; leave it to me to manage it on a business trip to Florida!
Hi, everyone. I thought it would be fun to share some music related to my books. Believe it or not, I have a play list! Today’s selection is from Bayou Fire.
“Grandmama, Uncle Amos and his toot-toot are here!” The dark-haired little boy who answered the door hollered toward the back of the house as he let them in.
“Jimmy!” Amos picked him up around the waist and swung him into the air. “Pretty soon you’ll be too big for me to do this!”
Once back on the floor, Jimmy looked Diana up and down. “Your toot-toot sure is pretty, Uncle Amos.”
“What’s a toot-toot?” Diana asked, puzzled.
“It means sweetheart. Comes from the French. And Jimmy here is definitely talking out of turn.” Amos actually turned a little red. “Mommy! This is Diana Corbett, the writer I told you about.” He seemed relieved to change the subject.
Amos’ mother, Pauline, was so tiny that it seemed impossible that she’d had ten children before him. Like her sister, Miss Julie, it was impossible to tell her age. Pauline’s white hair was cut short, and she wore comfortable-looking slacks and sneakers on her feet. She wrapped her arms around Diana like she was a long-lost friend.
“Chère, I’m so glad my boy brought you out. I’ve got gumbo on the stove, and we’ll have music and dancing on the deck until the mosquitos chase us inside. Amos, you’re going to play.”
Gang, I feel a little braindead just now. Not gonna lie. These 4 AM wake-ups are *hard.* One more to go, as the conference ends tomorrow.
So, yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed another session with Lisa See. We talked about The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. The book is about the Akha people … and about pu’er tea. A former boss had brought me a brick of it some time ago, and I finally broke the seal yesterday to enjoy some during the talk.
I was also able to take part in a great discussion about book covers first thing in the morning. We all learned a lot from each other.
Hi, everyone. I had only a handful of sessions yesterday. By far the most interesting was the author spotlight on Sadeqa Johnson, whose first historical novel, Yellow Wife, has now gone straight to the top of my TBR. It’s the story of Lumpkin’s Jail, a slave holding facility also known as the Devil’s half-acre, as told by a woman of color. I can’t wait to read it.
I also spent some time in a chat about 19th C. race relations. It’s a difficult subject, particularly as we are now in a much more enlightened age. It really made me glad that I was able to show Alcide Devereaux (Bayou Fire) as an abolitionist; there were people, even in 1830s Louisiana, who did not believe in slavery.
Today will be another long day, with a few more sessions than yesterday; the conference gets into full swing tomorrow.
Hi, everyone. Wow. I’m not even sure where to start. This conference is seriously one of the best I’ve ever attended — including some for which I’ve been on staff or served as a presenter! I have met some amazing people, participated in some great conversations on dual timelines, marketing, and more. I’ve followed some new-to-me blogs, and the $50 gift card I won yesterday has been nearly exhausted as I’ve bought books in the conference’s on-line shop.
It’s a long day, though; I’ll be up at 4 AM every day this week to catch some of the early sessions, and I may wind up going until 8 PM (depending on the day) at least a couple of times. Today, I don’t have anything else in my schedule until 3 PM, so I’m using that break to do household chores like laundry (bleurgh, my least favorite).
Thanks to the new blog followers I’ve acquired already … and thanks in advance to those whom I hope to “meet” soon. More fun to come!