On June 26, when Fresno was topping 107 degrees, Cora Ramos and I headed out to the American Library Association Convention for a weekend in 69 degree San Francisco weather. Cora has received the invite online. The offer? Agree to man the SinC booth for 1 hour and the $400 convention was our playground for the day.
It was touch-and-go as to whether we would make it when I caught bronchitis and Cora dealt with several deaths in the family. However, we both realized what we needed was a road trip. We are pros at traveling together: she drives and I talk non-stop.
After much searching on the Internet, Cora found the Utah Hotel for only $200 a night—a bargain since it was right downtown and near the Moscone Convention Center. It was very Victorian and we had to “share” a bathroom and shower with everyone on our floor. Quaint, but honestly, I never saw another person. I did expect to run into a ghost or two on the narrow corridors, but no such luck.
I loved the venue of the convention. It was spread across two huge buildings, but crossing the street didn't involve traffic. Everything was laid out with numbers on each aisle and booth numbers on the floor. I snagged a coupon book and filled out info for all sorts of drawings. I learned to ask at the booths “Are you giving away any free books?” I got 6 for my 9 yr old godson and 9 for myself.
The highlight of the day was attending Gloria Steinem's talk. She was the feminist influence in our younger years and has remained an inspiration to this very day. She announced that she's finally gotten around to writing her memoirs and it will be on sale in late October.
We did our stint at the booth. While we couldn't sell our books, we had a ball giving away copies to librarians who stopped by. They are the ones who might recommend our mysteries to their library book buyers. I enjoyed the convention so much that I'm considering volunteering for the Chicago convention in 2017.
The only snag was that San Francisco picked THAT weekend to have their Gay Pride parade. Only one day after the Supreme Court ruling, the Bay Area population was in the mood to party. Apparently there are no indecent exposure laws in the city; I saw things I will never erase from my brain. We got caught in traffic and it took two hours to go 5 miles, mostly in circles. History was made on many levels that weekend, and we were a part of it.