It rained the whole damn way. Four and a half hours driving through truck mist. I think I saw the arch through the rain for the split second before I had one of my patented oh crap, my exit moments and cut two people off so I wouldn’t miss the bridge into the city.
As predicted, I gave myself a circular tour of St. Louis . . . twice . . . to find the entrance to the hotel.
After that, things got better.
The Renaissance Grand is a gorgeous hotel that doubles as a labyrinth, so I flagged a few people down to ask where to register for the conference, and then asked another man if he knew how to get back to the lobby or the bar. He knew where the bar was and led the way. I sat down and began this post, as it turns out that floor has free Wifi—score!
I had no sooner flamingoed, when my guide was back and said, “I’ve been abandoned, would you mind if I pretended I know you?”
I didn’t and we introduced ourselves. His name seemed awfully familiar, but before I could figure it out, he asked me, “Author, writer, agent, or editor?”
“Librarian and wannabe,” I said.
“Great! Which library?”
I told him and he stared at me. “That’s my library!”
What are the odds?
Matt Clemens co-wrote most of the CSI tie-ins, as well as some stand alones, with or without Max Allan Collins. He’s also a great guy with great stories—we appear to have compatible senses of humor and cynicism, God help us.
We talked for a while and he introduced me to a couple of people (including Val McDermid, who is stunning, gracious, and has a beautiful accent, sorry, gushing) and we took the discussion of which panels we wanted to attend to a great Italian place about three blocks farther than I should have walked in the shoes I was wearing. But it was worth it—he’s a font of information and was very kind to this newbie.
So I found someone to hang with for the evening and now I’m in a corner of an increasingly loud and happy bar writing this up before I go upstairs and write a bit where I can’t get Wifi.
And there’s a Starbucks around the corner—or so I just heard—so that’s breakfast sorted.