I've been home from Slam Jam over a week, and I'm still getting my bearings. There is so much going on in my little world, but I wanted to stop by and give you a little taste my Slam Jam experience. I'm just giving you the highlights, because there are parts I can't recall, and parts where you had to be there...you get it.
First of all, I got there via an epic road trip. By epic, I mean four women in a Kia traveled overnight from North Carolina, through the Deep South, to get there. The car was driven by none other than Hot MAMA Cheris Hodges. I won't go into the details, because that would take a very long post, but suffice it to say the journey included stops at various and sundry gas stations crawling with strange looking men, some mighty fancy driving on the part of Ms. Hodges, and there may or may not have been a sing-along of the 90's H-Town hit, "Knockin' the Boots."
We arrived around 6:30 Thursday morning, went to our rooms to shower and nap, and jumped in headfirst when the conference activities began at 9 AM that morning. As a matter of fact, I was photographed the first time before 10 AM- Keith Thomas Walker stepped off the elevator, saw me, and his wife took a picture of us together in the hotel lobby. I knew this was coming- the picture taking happens every year- so I'd already put my "face" on for the day, LOL. Part of why I go to Slam Jam is because I'm somewhat well known there- I need the ego stroke so I don't throw my manuscripts into the fireplace in frustration.
Either Thursday or Friday, I enjoyed lunch with a group of writers at the Dooky Chase Restaurant inside Louis Armstrong International Airport. I had a catfish po boy that can only be described as heavenly. There with me were some new writers I met for the first time, like Lena Hart and K.M. Jackson, as well as my good buddies Piper Huguley and Kaia Alderson-Tyson, my crit partner. During the meal a lot was said, I'm not about to repeat all of it, but I will tell you I coined the phrase "Fine Readables" to describe my books while we enjoyed our lunch. Think of the alleyway salesman in Coming to America, displaying his coat full of solid gold toiletries stolen from Prince Akeem and Semi's baggage. I imagine myself that way, with an open coat displaying my books, saying, "Psst! I got some fine readables over here! Some mighty fine readables!"
Other highlights of my trip include giving two workshops with Beverly Jenkins, spending some time with Hot MAMA's Bridget Midway, Angie Daniels, and Yvette Hines, and meeting so many awesome new readers. Friday night, we were bused down to Canal Street to explore the city- unfortunately this happened to be the night the sky opened up for a torrential downpour. Canal Street looked much like an actual canal, and there I was without my gondola. So we hid out in Harrah's Casino- Kaia, my assistant Kai, and I, hoping the rain would pass while we stuffed ourselves with seafood from the buffet. The rain continued, but we swam, I mean, ran back to the bus when it was time to go back.
The Emma awards were fabulous as ever, and I admit to shedding a few tears during the Francis Ray tribute. I also thought of Marylin Tyner, who I'm sure was on a lot of minds though she was not officially included in the ceremony. After the awards, I enjoyed the group photo that the readers requested of all the authors. I was flattered to be a part of such and illustrious group. By the time the second line started, I was tired out of my mind. I went into the courtyard for a bit of hanky waving and hip shaking, then I went upstairs to bed. Around 4 Sunday morning, we were on the road again.
It was a whirlwind trip, but I had such a fantastic time. I know what you're thinking, where are the pictures? They're on my Facebook page. If you're "link-lazy" I'm sorry, but I took photos on my phone and uploaded them directly to my page. Just click the link and you can see my shenanigans.Oh, and while you're there, give my page a like if you haven't already.
Until Next Time