LIfe in the Habi-trail.

The habit-trail

So, for those of you who have never been to Kansas City, their two biggest hotels, the Sheraton Crown and the Westin, are connected by a glass covered walkway that extends over a course of two blocks, about two stories off of street level.

We call it the Habi-trail.

The habit-trail from the inside

When I first arrived, I was extremely taken by the habit-trail.  It’s pretty, for one thing– and after Chicago, I’m sort of a sucker for pretty buildings and innovative architecture, and this, to me, seemed extremely innovative.  For one thing, the Westin stands above and connected to an extremely extensive, pretty, high-end mall, and the habi-trail gets you from the Sheraton Crown (where Mary and I are staying) to the Westin (where the shopping is) without ever having to go outside.  And since we have seen snow, fog, and icy rain here in the first week of May in Kansas City, that seemed to be an extremely good idea.  Wonderful!  Especially since the Dreamspinner part of our party was staying at the Westin.  It meant that as our day progressed, Mary and I went back and forth between the two hotels between two and six times a day.

Frickin’ snow in May

As my daughter’s hamster said, the one that lasted one day before it ran out of the cage, out of the house, and out of our lives, “QUEEEEEEEEKKKKEKKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKK!!!”


It’s still a trip, journeying from one hotel to the other, and I still sort of think it’s cool and innovative, but I have to say, I’m feeling sorry for hamsters everywhere.  Unless you change that big habit-trail tube every day, believe me, the hamsters are bored out of their freakin’ skulls.

And I think I might have still loved it, if it hadn’t been for the sneaking suspicion that it made me sick.

I mean, I’ve had allergy attacks before–I have.  I’ve had the slow and the sneaky, and the quick and the brutal, and I think I’ve mentioned that, until recently, I could refuse to admit that I had allergies–I just got a nasty cold once a year, when the wind picked up after the rains.

Okay–my allergies that I used to deny even existed just spent the last four days picking me up by the back of the neck and shaking me like a dog.

They mauled me like a cheetah mauls a nik-nik, they jumped down my throat and my head exploded, they chucked my brains through a blender puree and my logic through a meat grinder they…

Ohmygod, I canNOT remember the last time I felt so incredibly shitty.  Okay.  I can.  Mate, Big T, Chicken and I all had the CRAP, and we had it so bad, none of us moved for a WEEK, and when we were done,  I had to bleach the furniture before I sat on it ever again.

THAT was the last time I felt this bad– except, uhm, I don’t think I had quite the plethora of drugs at my disposal at that time in my life.

Still frickin snowing

Seriously– Claritin, two kinds of Sudafed– I’ve been a walking pharmacy, but I’m TAME compared to what some of the other folks here at RT have been taking.  (Vanessa “The Jeep Diva”– babe, I SO felt for you.  I just wanted to cuddle you and put you to bed someplace that DIDN’T give us all the itchy-stuffy-snots.)  Anyway, I think by now it’s a universally acknowledged truth that something in the hotel has made us all horribly sick, and while my own personal nik-nik-mauling cheetah is finally getting tired and allowing this tuckered widdo nik-nik to toddle around in stoned circles with semi-coherent bleats, there are a couple of days of my life there which will forever be a blur.

A good blur– don’t get me wrong.

The adorable Jessie

The smiles are real– I LOVED meeting people here.  Kat “The Book Tart”, Jessie Potts “The Book Taster” and her cohort in crime Mary Greznik, Katie Lane, Gina Lamm who was my adorable het-peddling pin-up girl neighbor through two signings–I could not have been happier to meet you all.  Fans came up to me and said WONDERFUL things and generally people were as kind and as decent and as funny as I’ve always suspected they could be.  The people have made it worth it (I guess, unlike the hamsters in the habit-trail, who as a whole seem to be pretty anti-social) so I’d call this week a complete success!

I just sort of wish I’d felt better for it, you know?

Of course, there WERE some funny moments, even WITH the drugs (or, sometimes, especially with the drugs!)

Me and Kat the Book Tart

*  As Mary and I were getting ready for the Saturday signing, I put a scarf on with my outfit and Mary said, “That scarf and that shirt?  Are you high?”  And then we both paused and reflected upon the stunning amount of pharmaceuticals I had in my system to even stand up.  “Wait,” she said.  “You very well might be.  The scarf is a mistake, just know that.”

*  One poor woman had the misfortune to sit in and watch BOTH panels I participated in–one on M/M Romance and one on Broken Heroes.  Apparently I came out of my stupor enough to make an impression, because when I met her in a random pass of the habit-trail, she was like, “This girl needs some caffeine!”  Now, I knew she was being SARCASTIC, because she’d already said I had too much energy.  However, the people I was with who had seen me desperately trying to medicate myself out of my phlegm were like, “Oh no– she’s had enough drugs already.”

*  I FINALLY got to meet Marianne Morea who used to head the PRG and who started writing when I encouraged her on the boards.  I loved her.  She was open and up front and funny and acerbic and our lunch with her and Ariel Tachna and T. Lynn Tolles was entirely too short.

*  I got to watch Jesse Potts (who, along with Mary Greznik gave us some lovely mention here and here ) win one of the BEAUTIFUL baskets offered by Dreamspinner Press at the Fan-tastic Day Party on Saturday– Jesse chose the yarn

Belinda, Tara, Z.A.M

one because (and my knitting people will love that I passed this on!) I told her that beautiful yarn helps your knitting rise to the occasion.  It was like perfect karma– Jesse had been so lovely, and so charming– she acted as time-maven during one of the panels because I asked her at the last moment, and she was a delightful companion during an impromptu lunch with Ethan Day, Belinda McBride, Z.A. Maxfield, Tara Lain, Carol Lynn, Mary Calmes and myself, and generally, made mine and Mary’s week brighter with her enthusiasm for all books and her excitement and enthusiasm for all aspects of the convention.  That much contagious goodness deserves to be rewarded, and we were so happy to see her get that gorgeous yarn.

Mary, Ethan, Carol Lynn

*  Gina Lamm got to watch a fan come up to me and say, “Lots of books have made me cry over sadness, but only yours have made me cry for happiness.”  She loved it so much she wrote it down, because she said her goal is to have someone come say that to her.  She’s only at the very beginning of her writing career— but she has so much personality and charm, I have faith that it very much will.  (Okay– not funny, but touching, and I was just so taken with her.  My friends were a little worried that I had “fallen among het peddlers” as it were, being put in alphabetical order at the signings, and I had to reassure them that those who wrote het were really very kind and did not bite at all!)

Gina, who is gorgeous.

* Katie Lane and Kimberly Lang (other het peddlers, but, again, I’m starting to think that might not be a bad thing, and that the world has changed enough for het to be, perhaps, acceptable in the world of GLBTQ lit) were also seat-mates, and Katie was an adorable owner of a Cairn Terrorist… erm, Terrier, and we swapped dog stories in the quite moments.  Kimberly wore a bride’s veil in a spunky reenactment of one of her story’s moments, and they were both fun and kind to me.  We shared things like Sharpies, tape, water, and chocolate, and you forget how much fun it is to make new friends for no other reason than you’re humans in the same space.  Thank you ladies– I had fun.

The train. Delivered. The Food.

*  And, of course, I got to spend time with my Dreamspinner family.  Elizabeth, Ariel Tachna, Nikki Bennett, Nessa Warrin, Connie Bailey, and Tammy May were mine and Mary’s companions for dinner every night, and I can not think of better people with whom to be wholly myself.  They were also unafraid to say, “Oh look!  Amy’s allergy medication just died a violent death and if someone doesn’t cough up some Sudafed, we’re all going to get caught in the forensic phlegm spatter!  Quick everyone, drug her!”  Seriously– you know you’re in the best of comfort and the truest of friends when they’re not afraid to say, “Honey, you look like hell.  Take a pill and go to bed.”  Oh– and we also got to eat at a place where the trains delivered our food.  THE TRAINS.  DELIVERED. OUR FOOD.  I mean, we ate at a place that was so elegant a force field almost slammed down and denied me entrance, but these people are so awesome, they still got excited when the trains delivered our food.  I’m not joking about best company EVER.

And this was so elegant, we
took a picture.
We ALL took pictures.

*  And don’t EVER piss off Tammy May.  Seriously.  There was a hotel snafu, wherein I was told I couldn’t get my books when I SHOULD have been able to get my books and you know something?  Tammy had hits put out on people’s lives until I got my shit.  (Maybe not, but damn.  DAYUM did she take care of that quickly.  I fall at her feet like the goddess she is.)


Anyway– that’s what I’ve got.  I’m tired, I’m still drugged, and I’m looking forward to a quiet lunch.  I’m also really looking forward to going home tomorrow.  I have a Mate and a little dog and two small children and a big son who all need me, and if they don’t, tough.

I need them so badly, I could cry with it.

I mean, this is Zoomboy being Chewbacca with his sister’s belt and a vacuum cleaner part.  Who doesn’t need that?

0 thoughts on “LIfe in the Habi-trail.”

  1. Unknown says:

    So glad you had fun, even though you were in a drugged fog. So been there, done that. Allergies Bleh! And spring has just sprung around here. Sneeze, sneeze, rubs eyes till red.
    O.k so yarn! Have you seen this little cool website with the yarn pet?
    I just came across it and started plotting how much I NEED them, and they are on sale after all. LOL!And well Mother's Day Right?
    Hope you feel better soon, now that you are home and not in the sickness hotel.

  2. Julia says:

    It was good to see you hon. Sorry you felt so blah. Hope the yak yarn helped


  3. Donna Lee says:

    As a person who never suffered from allergies as a kid, I commiserate with you. This has been a bad season around here and evidently they can tell by a blood test (not all the prickly little needles) that your body is fighting the allergy wars. Sudafed and Allegra are my constant companions. Thank all the dieties for modern pharmaceuticals.

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Of course people loved you-you are all out amazing!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Amy!!! It was so great to finally meet you, too, Cali Girl! I snorted coffee out my nose at the "Habitrail" comment about the walkway between hotels! You got that, right! Our lunch was WAY too short, but I wouldn't have traded that hour for the world! I enjoyed meeting your pals, Ariel and Mary, too, and hope we'll all run into each other again soon…love to mate and the kiddies!
    **smootches from NY**

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