I fought the hebejebes and forced myself onto the huge ship. Thank God for Pearl Wolf, or I woulda never made it.Quick moving lines and showing my ID got me a what they called, a Fun Pass. You used it for everything. Tons and I mean tons of people followed the walkway to the ship. The first thing I saw was a huge bar. And at 11:30am people danced to the music with
fancy drinks in their hands. At 11:30 in the morning! Imagine. The party starts the minute you step on board.
The bar was in a huge open area and a large room opened all the way to the top of the ship. Elevators encased in glass and colorfully decorated lights, brought cruisers up and down from the bar to all ten floors! It was overwhelming.With my mouth still hanging open we made our way to our room. I expected a closet, but it was pretty big to me. I chose the bed next to the balcony. Of which I intended to make a lot of use. Pearl opted for the other bed, that way she could beat me to the bathroom when we had to use it in the middle of
My really comfy bed and the balcony where I sat often to gather my thoughts, I so loved to watch the moon over the vast ocean. I sent vibes out to people, wonder if they felt them?
the night. I loved the little towel animals and a mint on my bed. If only I could train Chris to do some of these things for me.Well a girl can dream.The shower was larger then the one I have in our main bathroom at home.We left our carry-ons and made our way to the main deck. A fairly good sized pool, jacuzzi, and dozens of chairs filled it. Right next to it was a buffet restaurant where we ate most of our meals except for dinner. Still in shock and awe I stood and watched as the ship left dock in Miami. My heart was pounding and I hoped I could handle the cacophony all around me. If I didn't hate the taste of alcohol I'd have had a few to bolster my courage. To the loud horn of the cruise ship people stood on deck and waved goodbye to the Port and we were on our way. My stomach flipped several times. And I told myself, "You can do this, you can do this!"
And somehow I knew I could! I had my fellow authors to keep me company. I'd wouldn't be a wallflower, I swore to myself.
Amid the thousands of people there we found our FRW co-cruisers. And the conference began.
Then the boat docked at Cosumel, Mexico. I never saw so many jewelry stores in my life. The glass bottom boat tour was canceled due the heavy winds and it was cold. You could tell the people who live there were not used to it. Not interested in a Sombrero we made our way to the infamous Three Amigo's Bar, where Pearl showed me how to have fun.The woman is just amazing, I should be as active as she is. I wish the pictures I took of her dancing and singing on stage to Ride Sally Ride had come out.Darn it! And you know what? I plum forgot to be nervous or scared! Cathy Maxwell, has this wonderful laugh that just makes everyone around her laugh. She was a pistol and everyone loves her. Could be her wonderful personality? I don't know, but I loved her too!.
The wonderful workshops were informative and I learned a lot. I loved listening to Heather Graham, Sally Schoeneweiss ,and Joan Johnson, the founding mothers of FRW. And Kathy Pickering, Aleka Nakis and Traci Hall, were hysterical as they did a skit imitating them.I can't get the picture of Piks, holding five baby dolls and singing, as she imitated the talented Heather Graham, out of my head. It's stuck there! I wanna publish three books too Sally! Honest I do!
Every night the waiters and waitresses would put on a bit of entertainment. If they could dance on pedestals why couldn't Piks to it too?All too soon it was over. I didn't want to go home. Imagine that!
Only missing Sharon Donovan, who couldn't make it due to illness, was sad for me. I thought about her a lot.
One last time we sat and talked with more FRW authors and we were off the ship. The thing about a cruise is that all the editors and agents are captives. They are human, honest, and they are just such wonderful people. I couldn't post Erika Tsang's picture in her balloon hat. I promised to burn the picture. Hmmm. maybe not...
So there you have it. I did it! I even talked to strangers. I don't know what it was. Maybe my Muse took over my body? Everyone on a cruise is happy and friendly, it's like an alternate world. But I'll tell you this in all honesty. I never had so much fun in my entire life! I can't wait to do it again! And one last piece of advise. Take the Florida Romance Writers Conference, and you too can have your agoraphobia stifled as you Cruise With Your Muse.
Oh and one last picture of the life of the party, Greg Hall, husband of Traci Hall as he parties with Heather Graham's husband, Dennis Pozzessere. What would a cruise be without them?