(This has been written in spurts with spotty Internet, which I keep getting knocked off of, so forgive the wording, spelling, boringness, etc :))
I’ve had an exhausting few weeks. First, my mother was hospitalized, then I came down with the flu, and now I’m on a trip where I attended an author event in Nashville (after a 12 hour drive). It was my first time at this event, and I had a fantastic time. I met up with some authors I hadn’t seen in a very long time and met face to face some of my author friends I’d only known online up to that point. Some of my ‘buddies’ who were in attendance:
My friend, Kathy L Wheeler, who moved to Seattle a year ago, and who I’ve only seen a few times since. I miss her and it was so great to see her. Marie Tuhart, who I met years ago at a Wild Rose Press retreat, Darcy Flynn, who many of you know. She is so lovely and fun. I’ve edited for Darcy and she has referred others to me, with whom I’ve developed a friendship and who were also in attendance; Jeanne Hardt, a wonderful author and friend, and Jennifer Gatlin. The event, A Weekend with the Authors, was lots of fun and the coordinators worked hard to put together a fun, interactive event for authors and readers. The only downside was that it appeared to be attended by as many, or more, authors than readers. However, the readers I met there were awesome. They were loyal, voracious, enthusiastic readers. And, isn’t that the best kind? Other than making connections and meeting up with author friends, two of the highlights of the event were the ‘speed dating’ where readers sat down with authors to get to know us. Each reader had 3 minutes. It was really a great way for readers to get a sampling of what we write and who we are. Another fun thing was the charms. Each author had the opportunity to order charms representative of their brand. (I chose a skull, is anyone shocked? 😊) At the event, readers collected charms from each of the authors and put them on a charm bracelet. We authors ended up collecting from each other as well, and I have a nice little keepsake from the event. This pic is a group of us who had dinner at The Cascades restaurant at The Opryland Hotel in Nashville. Left to Right: Jennifer Gatlin, Kathy L Wheeler, Alicia Dean, Jeanne Hardt, Darcy Flynn, and Krysta Scott.
My friend, Krysta Scott, and I drove to Nashville together. On the way, we were passing over the highway bridge through Memphis and I had an epiphany. I suggested that, instead of staying in Nashville through Sunday night, we cancel our last night there and spend Sunday night in Memphis. She was all for it. She’s not a super fan like I am, but she does like Elvis and she’s never toured Graceland. So, the next morning, I got on the computer and, even though I figured the rooms were outrageous, I checked into staying at the new The Guesthouse at Graceland, a gorgeous new hotel right next to Graceland, that opened last October. To my surprise, the rooms were very reasonable. $151, which was slightly cheaper than the Airport Marriott where we were staying in Nashville. (The hotel was fantastic, btw, the staff was great, it was lovely an d wonderful). I booked a room for us in Memphis and bought Graceland tour tickets for Monday morning at 10 a.m.
We arrived at the hotel in Memphis and it by far exceeded both our expectations. It is GORGEOUS. The staff is friendly and helpful. The hotel has a theater where Elvis movies are shown, and we watched most of Viva Las Vegas on the big screen.
This nice lady from the U.K. took mine and Krysta's picture on the gorgeous grand staircase at The Guesthouse at Graceland:
This is our TV in our room:
We met some adorable Tribute artists from Australia. Stuey V is an Elvis Tribute artist and JR is a Johnny Cash tribute artist. I recorded them saying hello to my son, Presley: (Doesn't look like the video went through, sorry ;))
So…not only does staying in Memphis allow us to break up our 12 hour drive into a 3 ½ hour and 8 ish hour drive, we have the added bonus of staying at this glorious hotel and touring Graceland. I’ve been here half a dozen times and I can never get enough. Krysta, as I mentioned, has never toured the mansion, and while she doesn’t think of herself as a ‘super fan’, she’s been getting a tad emotional and excited, suspiciously like a super fan might. I think I might be bringing her out of the closet…
Here's a fun fact, Disney is no longer the Happiest Place on Earth. :)