Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

These words come to you today from the historic city of New Orleans! We had an uneventful flight in last Sunday.  Both of us are delighted to be visiting a city that we’ve long wanted to experience. What we’ve seen so far, we love.

We’ll be taking a bus tour of the city and possibly one in a mule-drawn carriage later in the week. Yes, I said mule. One of the first things I learned here was that apparently those animals are better suited to the heat of summer than are horses.

Perhaps it’s because of this particular locale, but I’ve noticed the conventioneers have been arriving earlier than in years past. My beloved and I have been in the habit of coming several days ahead of the traditional Wednesday start; we like to have some down time before the busyness that is RT.  Generally we have spent either sight-seeing or reading, and for my beloved, enjoying not getting up at four a.m. for the workday. This time, it did surprise us some to see so many checking in on Sunday.

I have, as is my custom, rented a motorized mobility device, and am once more a terror in the corridors of a hotel. I do my best not to be a hazard but sometimes that speed dial gets edged away from the “tortoise” symbol and closer to the “hare”. But I can assure you that it has been several years since I’ve run over anyone.

The room we’re in is a corner room, with nice wide windows and a view of the Mississippi River. So far we’ve only indulged in one tourist experience, and we found it by looking out our window. We couldn’t help but notice a paddle boat docked not far from us. A few times a day, we’ve seen people lined up to get on board. Then, with a loud whistle, that boat pulls out, and returns a couple of hours later.

The Steamboat Natchez hosts three cruises a day leaving from here in the French Quarter and last night, my beloved and I enjoyed their dinner cruise. We booked the event as much for the experience of being on the water as for the meal and the live Jazz Band on board. We thoroughly loved the evening.

My husband particularly enjoyed the fact that he could go and visit the engine room. He told me upon his return that the boat is a “diesel powered steam driven” vessel, and that while docked (which it was when he took this tour) the two large pistons were moving in and out slowly. My beloved has told me more than once that he believes he worked on a ship of some sort in a previous life.

The dining room serves two sittings for the evening meal – an early one while still docked, and a later one, on the water. That made sense, since I imagine there are some who don’t like to eat while in motion. We took the later seating, because we’ve never really been bothered by sea-sickness.

Well, there was that time back in 2011 when we were on a cruise. Returning to port, the ship followed hurricane Ophelia up the coast. I spent the roughest part of that excursion in our cabin. My husband, on the other hand, was sitting out on the bow deck with a few similarly misguided men, as the ship cut deep and the waves splashed high on either side of the vessel.

That time I was, I must admit, a tad “unsettled”.

Of course, the best part of coming to any RT convention, no matter where it is, is seeing fellow authors and meeting face to face with my readers—some of whom came here to New Orleans specifically to meet me.

That humbles me, and honors me—but it really doesn’t surprise me—because I have the very best readers in all the world.


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