There comes a time in every author’s life when they hear themselves say under their breath, “This book needs a lot of work.” That time has come. I hear the echos of my friends who encourage me by saying, “it’s a process.” and “don’t get discouraged.” It is a process and I’m not discouraged, but I do have a tendency to get overwhelmed. That’s where I’ve been living for quite a bit of time where this novel is concerned. Well, that’s over. I’m taking it paragraph by paragraph and I’m crushing it…in a good way.
This novel is so fun and breathless (again in a good way) that I simply can’t wait to share it with all of you. Here’s a short excerpt to get you excited:
Because this isn’t the first time I’ve organized and managed this particular conference, I know the drill. There are eight lines, seven for main registration and one for speakers. The hotel provides all the food and drink that we coordinate into menus well before the event, and in the case of this San Francisco hotel, the Oasis, they also have staff hired and trained especially for conference hosting. I’ve become very familiar with all the registration staff. They are swift and thorough, and keep the hiccups to a minimum. But as I approach I see a dire look on the faces of two of the eight registrations clerks. When I pass through the door to the office, Cammy, one of the Oasis staff, hands me a clipboard and my nametag attached to a lanyard.
“Cammy. How’s it going?” I ask tentatively as I slide the lanyard over my head.
“Well, there’s a group from Seattle that isn’t coming up in the system. They’re over there.” She glances at the group tentatively.
“And it looks like you made a last minute change to the lineup…today’s lineup?” She sounds panicked and uncomfortable.
“Yes, I did. We had a last-minute cancellation. Here’s his information.” I pull a packet from the back of the stand-up file and hand it to Cammy.” She visibly relaxes. “Now go ahead and check on all the registration stations. I’ll take care of Seattle over there. I think they might be miscategorized.”
“Oh, and Roger…,” I call.
“Yeah. I can see he needs something. I’m heading that way.” I dismiss Cammy with a smile and head toward Roger. He’s moving people through the line smoothly but I still notice the pensive and slightly confused look on his face. “What’s up, Roger?”
“Hey, Alex. Did Cammy mention the keynote change…today?” He doesn’t move from the registrant when he addresses me but keeps moving smoothly. I do love that about Roger.
“She did. I gave his registration packet to Cammy.” I pause. “Was that it? Everything else going smoothly?”
“Yeah, except for…” He nods in the direction of the Seattle group. Well, well, Roger and Cammy. They’re little leaders in training, those two.
“On my way.” I head out and he’s back with the next registrant.
The Seattle group is huddled off to the side of the line. I approach, all smiles, expecting to encounter either panic or anger but I get something else. Five guys, three definitely in their twenties. Their too tight button up shirts, too skinny ties, and hair swimming in product gave them away. Two seemed a little older, somewhere between thirty-five and forty, professionally dressed and sporting wedding bands. They stand before me and they’re eyeing me…smiling as if they have me all figured out.
“Hi.” I extend my hand to Mr. Wedding Band in the front. “I’m Alex Connor. I understand we’re having some problems locating your registration information.” Lesson number one: always assume it’s your fault. He takes my hand–less firm than I’d like–and looks me up and down before he responds.
“It’s a pleasure, Ms. Connor. Dante Williams.” The others observe as if I’m a pawn in an interesting chess game. I pause, expecting a rant or something similar; instead, they all look at me with very entertained expressions on their faces. I drop my hand, wanting to rub the creepy off and begin again.
“If you have your registration confirmation I can get this taken care of right away.” I look each of them in the eyes hoping they’ll focus. They look to their apparent leader, Mr. Wedding Band number one, and smirk with some kind of inside joke in mind, I’m sure. Then each produces papers with separate confirmation numbers. “You don’t have to wait in line again. I’ll be right back with your packets.” I grasp five sheets of paper, and spin on my heel, headed back to the registration office. It takes me a few minutes to discover they were miscategorized. Not speakers, not general registrants, but a host company. With a few strokes of the keys, two screens later with new name tags printed; we’re in business.
The Seattle group has changed location so I don’t find them immediately, but when I do they’ve joined a group of girls looking ever-so-zealous. I try not to grin, and clear my throat as I approach.
“Mr. Williams, gentlemen, ladies.” I nod to each. “Everything is in order. Here are your registration packets. I hope you enjoy the conference.” Quick and to the point, I turn to retreat.
“Ms. Connor?” Mr. Williams clasps my upper arm before I complete my turn. My eyes go to his very inappropriate grab before I answer.
“Was there something else?” I’m as pleasant as I can be, considering he’s manhandling me.
“Maybe you’d like to join us for a drink later?” He releases my arm. The remaining four in his group look on as if cheering his efforts.
“Thank you for the invitation, Mr. Williams. If there was any way I could possibly break away from my work I’d be happy to join you. But I’m unable to.” I’m so disappointed, I think, sarcastically. “But you have a great time. The reception immediately follows the last session today.” I impart one last smile and get the hell out of there.