So this past long-weekend I was at the Dreamspinner Press Author Workshop in Orlando, FL and it was truly amazing. I had a wonderful time. I learned a lot, caught up with friends, made new ones, had fun and….
I went to the hospital! Gosh what an awful beginning for my trip! I woke up Thursday morning feeling…funny. Heavy-chested. I hadn’t slept well. I was worried that it might be an old enemy paying a sneaky visit on the day I was leaving for my trip.
When I was thirty-eight I had a heart attack. I survived obviously and haven’t had one since…but I have gone into atrial fibrillation several times. This would put me in the hospital and after a few days I would snap suddenly back into regular rhythm and go home. But I haven’t had an incident in something like five years.
So what happens? The day I was to leave it happened. So why did I leave? Well, I was lacking one of the biggest symptoms. Pain. There was none. I was tired. I got out of breath. I would walk twenty feet and have to stop. But no pain at all.
I got to Florida, checked into my room and then had a lovely little lunch with fellow authors Rick Reed, Terri Culverwell, Jonathan Treadway and Lucy Marker. Then I went right to the room and crashed for a couple hours…and felt no better.
Made my way down to registration and immediately saw beloved friends and found I couldn’t stand and Elizabeth North, our glorious leader, convinced me to go to the hospital. And what should happen? The wonderful writer Mickie Ashling went with me!
Thank goodness. Far from home and husband and of course the dearly loved event I wanted to be at. I was at the hospital for moments and found out that yes indeedy, I was in afib and my heart was racing like the devil. Right into ER I went and stayed for a fairly miserable time. I don’t know what I would have done without Mickie at the beginning. I would have been worse.
The doctors got me out of dangerous afib and to my surprise, released me with a promise to go to my doctors in KC as soon as I got back. Just to tell you the end (mostly) I go to my GP in a couple hours and my cardiologist on Thursday.
So then the husband of my wonderful editor Andi Byassee came and picked me up and brought me back and when I walked into the huge room to try and catch Poppy Denison’s always fantastic presentations, to my utter shock, the entire room burst into applause.
It was truly astonishing and most wonderful!
From that point on it was just one joy after another. I took it easy, rested, but played playe played as well.
Jamie Fessenden was one of the best room mates I’ve ever had since I began going to conventions way back when dinosaurs walked the Earth. Two nights we stayed up until at least two in the morning. I love this guy! I’ve a feeling we will be friends for a long long time. I just couldn’t believe what a great room mate he was. No fuss. No muss. No offense given or taken. We just got along incredibly! And you know what this amazing guy did? He didn’t charge me for my half of the room for the first night since I was in the hospital. Incredible! What a true and dear heart he has!
The martini party was incredible (taht’s a picture of me and my editor Andi Byassee) and yes, I was good. I had a few chocolaty delights, but that was all and drank soda instead (bought for me by Sam, Andi’s husband!).
I had breakfast one day with Michael Murphy, and several more meals with author and staff friends.
The presentations were awesome. There was one by Damon Suede’s husband, Geoff Symon, on crime scenes and such that blew us all away. Tara Lain did a very good one on branding. Damon was his hilarious self with much advice on story-telling. And much much more.
I had a great one on one with editor in chief Lynn West and we decide on my plans for the next year with DSP.
But one of the highest moments was when Elizabeth North took me to lunch. I’d been wanting ten or fifteen minutes to get caught up on her presentation on DSP, the market, how the company was doing (miraculously by the way), where they were going in the next year, etc. What I got was far more. Company. Friendship. Advice. Spiritual companionship. Love. I am so lifted! So high. I feel like I could climb mountains.
And I believe that this above all else (and there is lots of remarkable elses) that has made Dreamspinner Press such a success. It’s not just money with Elizabeth. She is love and she loves her writers and she treats them well and always puts them first and foremost, no matter what. She is leader and teacher and more. She is moral beyond moral and she is so kind.
That’s karma. What you give out into the Universe comes back to you tenfold. Every religion and philosophy on the Earth teaches this. Elizabeth is a pure example of this in action and in life. She has gotten back, and so has all of her writers and staff, so very much. I love her and Dreamspinner Press with all my heart.
I stayed an extra day in Floriday—thanks Jamie for being willing to do it—and it was a great way to decompress before leaving a world where everyone understands me…
“Yup, I know just what you mean. I Googled two hours the other night to figure out what kind of car my character Joe would drive!”
…and returning to a world where so few do…
“You what? You’re trying to figure out what kind of car your character drives?” Looks at me goggle-eyed. “You are so f*cking weird, Ben. Those characters aren’t real. They can’t drive!”
But I am so happy to be back with my husband and two dogs. I don’t have to work today with doctor’s appointments and I am relaxing relaxing. Hopefully I won’t have to go back into the hospital but I know whatever happens, happens for the best.
Remember that! The Universe conspires for our good…if we let it.
Love and Namasté,
Last moments of the trip, here I am with Jamie Fessenden, best roomie ever and a hell of a writer. Miss him not!
All photographs by or taken by Michael Murphy, Lucy Marker, Connie Bailey, Jamie Fessenden and Serena Yates.