Wed April 30
Day one of the Romance Slam Jam in Chicago.
I’ve only recently become a comfortable flyer. This flight didn’t make me freak out once more. It was smooth and only two hours long in a direct flight. Southwest, thank you!
The seating was a bit filled, and I sat next to the nicest man on his way to Chicago for a day’s business. He loves romance writing! There are actually quite a few men who enjoy romance writing and aren’t ashamed to admit it. He was fascinated with the idea of a conference for readers to meet their favorite authors of multi-cultural fiction. He was also interested in my work. Glenn, I hope you aren’t disappointed when you read my books.
From Midway airport, I took a shuttle to O’Hare and from there a free shuttle to the hotel. The shuttle was the beginning of the fun and camaraderie of the conference. There were several authors on the shuttle. One guy. Everyone who came on greeted him by name. “Hi, Wayne!” It was like Norm on Cheers. 🙂 Male romance writers are scarce. And one as nice and prolific as Wayne Jordan is even rarer. There were also a couple of readers, clearly excited to be with their favorite authors. Hi, Harriet! She spent some time with me and my friends quite a bit.
The Wyndham was beautiful and the staff excellent. The whole stay was outstanding as far as maid service, meals, logistics of meeting rooms etc.
The Slam Jam planning group outdid themselves and previous years in this year’s conference. Everyone I heard said so.
I arrived at the hotel to meet my friends from Virginia who had arrived the day before. They let me put down my bags and then we went sightseeing! Chicago is an exciting, dynamic city. I love big cities anyway. So much to see on the streets, places to go. We bought tickets and rode on the train, an adventure in itself for me. Then we walked. Boy, did we walk. I walked more that day than I had in the last two weeks. Chicago weather was blustery, in the 40’s and 50’s. Chilling for Virginia girls, but we were with Wayne Jordan who had come directly from Barbados and didn’t have a jacket. Our first stop was an Old Navy store where he purchased a sweat jacket. A couple of readers (one was Harriet :P) were with us- nice ladies, voracious readers. At this point they decided to split and see the Sears Tower. The rest of us went on because one of us had been told that a meal at Gino’s Pizza was a must. Wayne broke off for his own plans before we reached the Chicago Cultural Center. Impulsively, we decided to take the tour of the building that was just starting. What an impressive place with a history to fuel a writer’s imagination. I’m going to use that building as a model for one of my futuristic castles. Also you can almost feel the swirl of knowledge and exploration from those meticulously finished walls. Much of the building of the structure is a mystery but they created a priceless monument, to last and be used.
Onward to Gino’s. We got conflicting directions from almost everyone we asked, but after a stroll down the Magnificent Mile and off to other streets we found Gino’s. A little building, shadowed and busy inside with graffiti covered walls. And the pizza! Wow is all I have to say.