As a disclaimer, let me say what I've said a hundred times before: I'm totally cool with Twilight. People always think there's a blood feud or that it can't be mentioned around me. Not true at all. And believe me, I don't have any problem going to a con with a bunch of people who love vampire books! And you guys: there were a lot of people who liked vampire books (and vampire name wheels) that were in my signing line. How many people?
Now, after a dramatic statement like that, this is the place in my blog where I would normally put a picture of that line. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in the autograph room, which is standard for cons the more I think about it. Lowly, photo-taking author that I am, I didn't even consider that until a con worker chastised me for posing with a fan. So, it was straight signing, which was probably best since it took almost 3 hours as it was.
I had a lot of fun doing it. I learned a lot about UK geography and accents. The accents get harder for me to understand the farther north they go--until Scotland. Those I understand fine. There were also a ton of people from Europe in line, especially from France. One group of girls are actually using the succubus books to improve their English. They buy the books in both languages, read in English, and use the French if they need to check something. This isn't a use I ever expected for Georgina. Daphnee, another French reader, brought me this beret and assured me that despite my fears that the French hate Americans, I would be welcome in France. Probably because I would look like a native:
Chocolate is showing up a lot lately too. I got Belgium chocolate from real Belgians, as well as this beauty from some chocolatiers:
Of course, there's no way I can actually eat that. It's too perfect.
After that, the Puffin folks and I made a mad dash for the train station since we'd had to stay later than expected. Fortunately, all went well, and we made it back to London according to our schedule. This left me free at the leisurely time of 5pm, allowing me to actually see some of this country! I went out with book reviewer Liz de Jager and author Karen Mahoney, whose novel The Iron Witch you'll all be reading next year.
I've been having a little trouble with food here. I'm not a fan of English breakfasts, and many of the sandwich combinations seem too adventurous for my timid self. I will, however, say that coleslaw and cheese sandwiches are growing on me. Anyway, Karen and Liz took me out to a restaurant that they assured me was both British and good. And indeed, it was both of those things. I loves me some sticky toffee pudding. I learned that part of the British dining experience is that it takes a long time. Like, much longer than a US restaurant experience, where we're out of there in an hour because we have to hurry off and...well, I don't know. Whatever we Americans are always busy doing. Washing our SUVs. Having Super Bowl parties. Treating heartburn.
So, anyway, service that takes a while isn't unusual in these parts, I'm told. What is unusual is being brought the wrong dish (twice) and having your waitress forget about the wine you ordered. Tragic. So, all in all, our dining experience was around four hours, but four hours with Karen and Liz are four hours of awesomeness. So it was all good--and we eventually got the wine.
It just hit me that (aside from my inability to remember the currency exchange rate) I had no wacky cultural mishaps today. No whipped cream on my coffee, no electric power outages. In fact, much to my chagrin, I pronounced 'tomato' the British way when I requested it be left off my salad at dinner (it wasn't). But don't worry, guys. I'm never going to start using 'zed' instead of 'zee,' and I will continue to pronounce Hertfordshire with about ten extraneous syllables.