First things first. We had a blast!
Warning: This will be a ridiculously long post. Feel free to ignore it in its entirety.
The basic travel-log:
Thursday * 1430 hours Ranee` leaves snowy Torrington, headed south for Denver. After about an hour of white-knuckle driving, the snow, fog, wind clears up, and she has dry roads all the way to Denver.
1830 hours Ranee` arrives at Merilee's house without getting too lost, which is a surprise to Ranee`. Merilee isn't there. She's out getting Chick-Fil-A (spelling??) which, Ranee` is grateful for because she's hungry.
somewhere around 1900 hours Merilee shows up. She and Ranee` spend the next several hours realizing they were meant to be best friends. Melissa calls and is jealous, as she should be.
2300 hours Ranee` finally goes to bed. She sleeps awful because she keeps having nightmares that she wakes up too late and changes her outfit too many times, causing them to miss their flight to Phoenix.
Friday * 0418 hours Ranee` does wake up too late, has five minutes to throw on clothes, comb her hair and race out the door.
0430 hours Ranee` and Meri pick up Melissa right on time. Immediate bonding takes place. The laughing and giggling commences, despite the ridiculous hour.
0540ish The plane takes off for Phoenix. Ranee, Meri, and Melissa spend the entirety of the flight loudly (and with a lot of laughing) discussing the plot of Ranee's WIP, expecting the guys in front of them to turn around at some point and add their own opinion. Its clear by the time the plane lands in Phoenix at 0700ish that it's going to be a rowdy weekend.
Ranee` can no longer remember exact times.
Meri's parents pick us up and take us to breakfast, which the three ambitious and loud writers seriously need. Because Ranee's a heartless eater, she orders something with a lot of bread, which neither Meri or Melissa can eat, and enjoys it immensely right in front of them. This sort of behavior continues throughout the weekend as Ranee` stuffs her face with chocolate, mostly because the other two can't...
After breakfast, they head off with Meri's mom Cheri to do some shopping and find Melissa new shirt because she's already too skinny for the one she's wearing. They are successful and go to lunch, where Ranee's is forced to eat sprouts, which despite their warm, earthy taste, are disgusting.
They leave Cheri in the hands of Meri's sister Dani, steal Cheri's car for the duration of the weekend, and head up to the Crown Plaza for conference.
It's clear after only a few minutes in Elana Johnson's presentation that they're going to love conference.
1715 hours they head to find some food. Ranee` insists that they go somewhere with grease. Meri and Melissa drool over the large, greasy, cheesy, bacon burger and awesome cheesy-enchilada soup. Their waiter is sure the three girls are crazy. They reach a new level of friendship (an event that happens frequently throughout the weekend).
1900ish They return for another awesome class by Elana Johnson on pitching, at which point Ranee` decides to rewrite her pitch.
They spend about thirty minutes at the author mingle, Meri and Melissa trying to convince Ranee to introduce herself to Kelly Sonnack and Kirk Shaw, whom she'll pitch to the following day. Kelly's amazing outfit and boots intimidate Ranee`. She wishes she would have brought her own boots.
2300 hours After ditching the mingle and crashing in their room, Meri, Melissa and Ranee` spend the next few hours reaching new levels of friendship. They finally go to bed.
Saturday * 0630 The writers are forced to get up so they have time for breakfast and to memorize Ranee's pitch.
More conference speakers, all awesome. Ranee` has to ditch their first class early to go pitch to Kelly. Despite her nervousness, the pitch goes awesome. Kelly requests that Ranee` send her 10 pages of her manuscript. Ranee` also takes a suggestion to rewrite her pitch--again!
More conference, then lunch, where the writers get to sit with Elana Johnson, who's a riot. They shock her, but she still promises to do a book signing for Possession in Denver when it comes out in June. The writers go all fangirl!
More conference, some unfortunate classes that don't pertain to the writers. They volunteer running the pitch sessions and love meeting all the fun people at conference.
1415 Ranee` pitches to Kirk Shaw. After hearing her pitch and asking no questions, he requests she send her full manuscript. Ranee` manages to maintain her composure long enough to get out of the room.
More good conference classes, including some grammar tips from Kelly Mortimer, a great panel discussion.
After closing ceremonies, the writers crash in their room for a little bit before heading for a party at Meri's parents house. They spend the next few hours feeling right at home with Meri's family, eating delicious food (Ranee` had more than her share of great sandwiches) and hanging out. Happy Birthday to Meri's grandma who is 96 today!! :D
2300 hours The writers return to the their room.
0130 hours The writers finally drop off to sleep after a couple hours of giggling.
Sunday * 0700 hours The writers get to 'sleep in' before heading off to church with Meri's family. They spend a little bit of time at Meri's parents house learning about Melissa's awesome book before Meri's parents drop them off at the airport at 1300 hours. The writers get through security in 20 minutes and have to chill at the airport. Some grammar horrifies them--mostly Ranee` though.
1530 hours The writers board the plane and try to convince people to switch seats so they can sit together. Only one person complies. Another gives an emphatic, "No way." Ranee` has to sit alone. She loses herself in Georgette Heyer and eyes her friends jealously throughout the flight.
1700ish They land in Denver, happy to see it isn't snowing. Some more discussion on Melissa's plot ensues as they go to drop her off. Melissa's adorable kids race to the door when they see her. An almost tearful parting takes place between Melissa and Ranee`, but they promise to see each other more often now that they've reached an unknown level of friendship, something akin to sisters.
1900ish Another almost tearful parting at Meri's house. Ranee` drives away without asking how to get to I-25 and for some reason doesn't backtrack the way she came. She manages to find I-15 thirty minutes later and hasn't lost too much time. :D
2200s Ranee` is singing at the top of her lungs between Cheyenne and Torrington in an effort to stay awake.
2230 Ranee` arrives safely home in Torrington, but has to wait until the next morning to see her kids.
2300 Ranee` realizes that her son has school the next day, and she hasn't made the "All About A.J." poster yet...
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I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.