Friday, August 7, 2009

Travel Hell

Today we welcome Blaze author Kathleen O'Reilly back to the lair. Kathleen's latest book, Hot Under Pressure, was inspired by a travel problem she's going to describe for us, so today's topic is travel disasters. She's also going to give us a peek into the book, which is not only hot but funny. Welcome, Kathleen!

Hello, Banditas, and thanks to Nancy for giving me the opportunity to pull up a keyboard and chat for a bit. I love to be in the company of romance readers, and this blog seems to draw in the best.

When I first came up with the idea for HOT UNDER PRESSURE, I was stuck on the tarmac at LaGuardia. For about five hours. Now, this was the fall of 2007, and it wasn’t a pretty time in the airline service industry. It seemed like every day, there was some new delay, some new travel-atrocity and I shouldn’t have been surprised to be stuck – but you never expect it until it happens to you.

What happened to the social dynamic within the plane was fascinating. The cabin was abuzz with rumors regarding the actual cause, (I learned that airlines are reluctant to admit that the plan is being delayed because of maintenance reasons), but the flight attendant in the back would let us know when she knew something from the front cabin attendant who apparently had a hot line into the maintenance crew. People would wander from group to group, casually eavesdropping to see if they could learn something new. After two hours, they did let us off the plane (it was November, so heat wasn’t too much of a problem, but it still got uncomfortable), and some passengers left to find another flight, and some of us stuck it out, playing airline roulette, hoping that the part that they were waiting on would arrive.

I’m happy to say that the part did arrive, the plane took off about six hours late, and I pulled my not-spring-chicken parents out of bed at 2am to pick me from at the airport, instead of the completely respectable 7pm (I love you, Mom and Dad, and someday I’ll repay this one).

These days, everyone has their travel horror stories. A flight delay, a surly gate-keeper, the practical-joker bus-driver who likes to fool the passengers about the vehicle’s actual destination. The TSA officer who thinks that your accidental corkscrew brands you a terrorist. My favorite story is the one where I nearly got arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia. All because of Prince Charles.

So, how about it? Travel horror stories? Trips from hell? Feel free to share. To one lucky commenter, I have a copy of my newest release, HOT UNDER PRESSURE, a Harlequin Blaze that answers that long-suffering question: If air travel is going to be such a huge pain to deal with these days, can a single woman please sit next to a hot, single man who’s you know, nice? Sometimes (usually only in fiction), the answer is *yes*.

Two hours later they were still at the gate. They were waiting on either a part, or a new plane, the pilots weren’t sure which would arrive first, but they had high (ludicrously delusional) hopes for getting away tonight. In the face of such facts, Ashley had long abandoned her fear of flying. It was obvious they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Instead she was thigh-locked with David, who had very nice thighs, too. Hard. His arms were fab as well. Thirty minutes ago, he’d pushed up his sleeves, and her gaze kept stalling out on the biceps, which were bigger than most, an odd incongruity for khakis and a button-down, and she wondered why. He wasn’t bulky enough to be a weight-lifter, but his arms were too big for a swimmer or a runner, definitely too big for a tiny airplane seat. They kept brushing against hers, casually, which didn’t explain the electric shock to her system.

Not that he was making it any easier. Conversation had ceased about half an hour ago when she caught him staring at her chest, and they both looked politely away.

Damn.

She crossed her legs, uncrossed her legs, and had a harebrained urge to ask him to join her in the bathroom. She’d pulled out Vogue and Harpers and Lucky, but even the lure of the sloe-eyed models in their daring designs hadn’t dimmed the awareness that simmered in the air.

The bright spot in the tension was Junior, which said a lot about her feelings of desperation. Junior wrote on David’s hand with a pen, and David laughed, sounding more relieved than amused. Junior ran up and down the aisle, and Ashley counted the laps, rather than fixate on the discreetly covered ridge in David’s khaki slacks.

Do not go there.

Go there, Ashley.

Oh, yeah, good of you to talk. You can’t have sex on a plane, Valerie.

People do.

Not me.


There was a momentary pause in her thoughts, because right now, given readily available options, she could so have sex on this plane.

Another thirty minutes passed, and the flight attendants were passing out drinks. Yes, alcohol, the world’s most potent aphrodisiac. When the flight attendant stopped at their row, David shook his head, Ashley shook her head, and Junior’s mother and father opted for double vodka tonics.

Outside the window, the lights of the airport started to dim. If she lowered her hand one inch, just one tiny inch, she would be touching his thigh. If she were careful, it would look like an accident.

Junior spilled a glass of orange juice on those khakis that she was not looking at, and David shot sideways, and there was a momentary barrage of touches. His hand, her breast. Her hand, his thigh. She jumped back, arching toward the aisle, and he moved away, hugging the far armrest. Junior’s mother apologized, and Ashley’s nipples were powered by a thousand jet-engines, ready for take-off.

It was shortly after her breasts had recovered from the shock that the captain came on the speaker and announced that moment they had all been expecting.

“Ladies and gentleman, we tried. But there’s bad weather in New York, and we couldn’t get the plane that we were hoping for, and they can’t get the part here until the morning, so I’m sorry to say, we won’t be going anywhere. If any of you need hotel accommodations at the airport, there’s a flight attendant waiting to give you the details.”

A hotel. Suddenly the word took on new connotations and images. A hotel implied a bed, privacy, something much more comfortable than a 1x1 bathroom designed by Boeing. A hotel implied sex.

The cabin lights went on, and people around them began to move, moaning, complaining, and in general, were not in their happy place. However, Ashley’s happy place was getting happier by the second. She didn’t want to look at him, didn’t want to assume, most of all, she didn’t want to act as if she didn’t know what she was doing. After all, she was mature, she was an adult, and after eight hours of sitting thigh to thigh with this man, she was primed to explode with only a touch.

He turned, a slight inclination of his head, and she met his eyes. It was ESP of the most carnal kind. She licked her lips, his gaze tracked her tongue, and she knew that he knew.

He leaned down, his mouth near her ear. “You should know that right now, I’m a very happy man.”

For more about Kathleen, visit her website. For a bigger peek at Hot Under Pressure, click here. And to don't forget to leave her a comment about your own travel trials.

109 comments:

Virginia said...

Is he coming home with me today?

Virginia said...

Hi Kathleen, nice to see you here. I really don't have any bad travel stories other then when my son was young and we went on vacation. He had to set in a car seat all the way. He was about three and all we heard the whole trip was his butt hurt. We would try to stop about every two hours. That how it goes with road trips and kids.

Lynz Pickles said...

Hi, Kathleen! Whew, that was a hot excerpt! I've been dying to read your book since STBT reviewed it, and the DA review and Save the Contemporary campaign just made me want it more. So, yay for visiting the lair! Travel horror stories, eh? Mine generally involve my father, like the time when I was eight, had overripe strawberries for breakfast, and ws then stuck on the backroads when he decided he didn't want to take the highway... ugh, that's not a fun memory at all. Even less so for my mother, because we all know who cleans up in those situations.

My all-time worst travel story, though, is from when he and I picked up the dog. Not the dog in the picture; that's Niko, he came from the pet shop at the mall five minutes from my house by car. No, this was from when we picked Max up. My mother has MS, and she wanted a dog to cuddle when she was sick and Dad and I were at work/school. The daughter of one of my grandparents' friends was a dog breeder, and one day we went to see her new puppies. We saw Max and - bam! - love at first sight! He was adorable and seemed perfect for us, so we bought him and decided that Dad and I would pick him up and bring him home the next weekend.

The breeder lived about 1 1/2 hours away from the city, so we got up early on the appointed Saturday and drove up. We got Max, he was just as cute as we remembered, and we were happy that we'd be back in time to watch the hockey game. About fifteen minutes into the trip, Max - who was sitting on my lap at the time - got carsick, and, since I was surprised. I screeched, and Dad turned around to see what was wrong. Just as he did that, a deer darted in front of the van and - bam! version 2.0 - we hit it! We didn't actually hurt it or anything, though.

So for the first five or so minutes after we started driving again everything was fine, but then our engine started overheating. It turned out that the collision had broken something in the engine, and it couldn't stay cool. The nearest garage was in Orangeville, which was normally about forty minutes from where we were at the time. Except that with the engine overheating, we had to stop every couple of minutes to pour water over it - thank goodness the farmers in the area were nice enough to supply us with it! The trip to Orangeville ended up taking about five hours, and Max threw up twice more along the way, though I'd taken him off my lap by then. We met my mother there and she took us home, but we missed the hockey game! Though we ended up with an adorable puppy, and the Leafs probably lost, so it wasn't really the end of the world.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kathleen, welcome to the lair! Nancy, thanks for bringing Kathleen to us today.

Kathleen, I love your books, so I'm really looking forward to this one, especially after that excerpt.

My bad travel story involves 4 postponements and eventual cancellation of a flight to Norfolk Island due to cyclonic weather. With all the packing and unpacking small children, it was a nightmare. We decided not to go and then proceeded to have the holiday from hell on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. That was one holiday that still hurts to think about:)

Congrats on the rooster, Virginia!

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia enjoy your day with him

What a story Kathleen and what an excerpt WOW this book sounds excellent.

I have only flown a couple of times and only very short distances and the couple of times I did all went well I must be one of the lucky people. I am going to enjoy everyones travel stories though.

Thank you Nancy for inviting Kathleen today

Have Fun
Helen

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

Hi Kathleen,
Congrats on the new release. We have the worst airports in terms of delays. I can't say how many times I've been delayed flying in or out of LaGuardia due to congestion or weather. I don't have any travel horror stories, but I have been bumped a couple of times and it's a very nerve wracking.

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Yay Kathleen! Congrats on your release!! Yummy!

When I went to Puerto Rico my luggage never came. Ever. Good thing my one skirt I had on was reversible. *sigh*

Pissenlit said...
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Pissenlit said...

Okay, this will probably be really long, possible convoluted and with messed up tenses but I hope it makes some sort of sense. I'm tired and having a bout of insomnia right now.

From Toronto to Long Island, NY by new discount coach company, last summer, for a cousin's wedding...
-border custom's people loses driver's...uh...driver's license
-after license is found, back door wouldn't seal properly which causes the fail-safe to kick in so the engine won't start
-takes 3 people to seal the door, driver at the controls, one outside person pushing, one inside person pulling
-*insert changing to a connecting bus at Buffalo and one or two instances of engine stalling being remedied by resealing the doors and restarting the engine*
-make it to NY, 15 min. away from the station, on a one lane bottlenecked turnoff or something after a toll booth...or something...right as we're getting off the highway, the engine stalls and then the door won't seal
-one giant tow truck is useless, two giant tow trucks(one pulling, one pushing) don't work because the unsealing door fail-safe also includes an emergency break that won't disengage
-a second bus is called and a whole double-decker's busload of passengers tramp to the new one with all the luggage
-we get to the station super duper waaaaaaay after our proposed arrival time and after finding and inhaling some Mickey D's, there's still the train ride to Long Island and then calling relatives for a pick-up from the train station to the hotel
Worst. Trip. Ever.

Angie said...

I love this excerpt! Makes me want to read the rest of it NOW :)

I really haven't travelled much. My first real travelling holiday was my honeymoon, where my new husband and I went to the glorious Whitsunday Islands in Australia.
Ahh, paradise.
But I got food poisoning, and was sick for a few days. What made it worse was a day trip we had organised to one of the islands earlier. We travelled there by boat and the sea was choppy, so we were both seasick. Then we spent the whole day on this island just sitting around, both feeling sick. Waiting until the boat returned to pick us up at the end of the day.

Not to mention it was also 'Schoolies Week'. Imagine a thousand rowdy partying teenagers who have just graduated high school (just in a small coastal town of the Whitsundays where we were staying). There was loud music into the early hours of the morning and crowds everywhere.

Okay, that's enough from me. At least the second week of our honeymoon was better :)

Barbara Monajem said...

LOL! I love excerpts that are funny AND hot. Thanks, Kathleen!

I think I've blocked all my travel nightmares, because I can't recall a single one right now.

fengfk2008 said...
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Maureen said...

Hi Kathleen,
I like your solution to travel delays. Our biggest travel trouble is that every time we travel somewhere we seem to find some kind of construction.

Marie Force said...

Enjoyed the book very much, Kathleen. My new one, Love at First Flight, opens in an airport, too! Fertile ground for ideas!

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Kathleen! What a great excerpt, wow! I'm sad to report that most of my airport experiences involve me playing the role of Junior's mom, not the lucky woman seated next to the hot single guy. And I'm even sadder to report there aren't usually double vodka tonics involved, either. Boy would that take the edge off flying with kids. :-)

I love how real life provided the starting point for your book, & your imagination filled in a much better ending than you probably experienced. Do most of your book ideas start that way, or do some of them pop fully formed from your imagination?

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hello Virginia!

Oh, I remember those long cartrip days (my kids are now 14 and 10 -- THANK GOD!).... Laughing about the butt-ache. Kids do say the darndest things.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Lynz -- oh, my.... Dog sickness, deer-hitting, engine-overeating?? All you need is a kitchen-sink to come flying out of nowhere! Sorry about missing the hockey game, but I'm glad to hear Max became a fixture in the family...

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hello Christine, and thank you for the nice words....

A cyclone and small children? Ouch. I hope you packed lots of aspirin.

Autumn Jordon said...

Hi, Kathleen. Wow. I want to read more.

I've never travel flew much. My travel story happened on a bus trip. The bus stopped at a resturant, you know grab something quick use the faculities. While coming out of the ladies room, entering a long dimly light hallway the bus driver who thought himself to be Elvis's twin backed me up against the wall. His intentions were clear. Thankfully, his moves were stopped by a guy coming out of the men's room. Later a few years later that guy and I married. ;>)

So things worked out.

Autumn
www.autumnjordon.com

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Kathleen, welcome back to the lair! Your new book sounds great.

What a timely topic! It took us forvever to get home from Rome this week. Our plane left Rome 50 minutes late because they were waiting for 5 people. When we got to Madrid to catch our connecting flight, that plane wouldn't wait the extra five minutes for us and left without us (and about 12 other people).

We couldn't get out of Madrid until the next day and then had to fly to Chicago instead of any of the international airports on the East Coast where I live. Then, of course, that same airline messed up our connecting ticket so United couldn't get us on their plane to DC.

We should have been home by 8pm Sunday and it was 1:15 Tuesday morning before we were home. I really hate air travel anymore.

Gannon Carr said...

Hi Kathleen! That is one very hot excerpt. I'm definitely getting your book ASAP!

I haven't had any hideous travel delays, in spite of the fact I have traveled a lot. My husband spent 21 years on active duty in the Navy, and we lived overseas twice, so my kids spent loads of time flying.

I do remember when my boys (ages 4 and 1 at the time) and I flew from Bahrain, where we were stationed at the time, to Florida to see my family. It was about a 24 hour trip with connections and layovers. The boys were great, but I was so exhausted that when we greeted my parents I said, "I hope you enjoy this visit, because I'm not making this trip again." LOL

Congrats on the GR, Virginia.

EilisFlynn said...

My favorite bad travel story is still about my aunt, who on a trip from Tokyo to Seattle (that's nine hours or so) was so appalled by an NWO bathroom that she refused to use it. She also spent some time trying to CLEAN it. I keep hoping she'd live with us, but I'm afraid of this tiny little old lady using a toothbrush to scrub my floors!

Travel used to be fun. Not anymore.

Nancy said...

Virginia, congrats on taking home the rooster!

I had to laugh at your son's complaint. Car seats are not beloved of their occupants, I think. When the boy was a baby, his first long car trip was to a beach about five hours away. Before we were out of the city, he was squalling to get out of that seat, which was so not going to happen.

Coming back was better. He lasted three hours before he threw a fit, then screamed the rest of the way home.

It's hard when they don't speak English yet.

Nancy said...

Lynz, what a nightmare trip! A carsick dog and an accident in one fell swoop.

The words we dreaded hearing from my father in the car were, "We'll take this shortcut." It was never short, and we were almost always lost. And he was one of those guys who just would NOT ask for directions. Put him on a boat, and his sense of direction was unerring, maybe as a result of his naval experience. Land travel, however, was an altogether different case.

I have read Hot Under Pressure, and I loved it. The heroine's internals are hilarious.

Nancy said...

Christine, travel delays are bad enough in themselves. Travel delays with children--ouch! We never ran into those when the boy was small, and we were very grateful for that.

Didn't your trip to the US for RWA last year take forever and a day or something like that?

Nancy said...

Hi, Helen--congratulations on your history of smooth travel. We've been generally lucky, too, though there've been a few hiccoughs.

One trip to Denver to see the dh's family was delayed for several hours. We turned around in the air and came back here because of mechanical problems. There was an identical plane in the hangar, which meant no need for seating changes, but prepping it to go took ages. We were finally airborne again after we should've landed in Denver.

We got to Denver after midnight, local time, and were upgraded in our rental car because all the smaller ones were gone, and then we couldn't figure out how to work the dashboard controls, an important problem because the lights for the speedometer and other gauges weren't on until the headlights were. The exit attendant at the rental place had to help us.

On the way to the motel, a trip of about an hour, the boy fell asleep in the back seat with gum in his mouth. He was in grade school then. We had to wake him up get the gum and again when we reached the motel. I've seldom been so glad to fall into a bed.

Nancy said...

Hi, Jane--We usually fly through LaGuardia when we visit NYC, and I've noticed it has frequent delays. It must be a very busy airport.

Nancy said...

Leanna, what a nuisance! Did you ever get back your luggage?

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, that is, indeed, a nightmare of a trip. From bad to worse to worse. Yikes!

Sorry for the insomnia. I hope it goes away soon.

Nancy said...

Angie, food poisoning on your honeymoon? And then raucous, partying teenagers? You two really dived into "for better or worse" and "in sickness and health," didn't you?

I'm glad the second week was better. At least you got to go home on a high note.

Nancy said...

Barbara, if you're blocking, those memories must be really bad!

Nancy said...

Hi, Maureen--

Ah, construction delays. I've been driving the boy to his volunteer stints at the public library, and it seems every road into the central business district ("uptown" as the Chamber of Commerce insists we call it instead of the apparently declassé "downtown" of my youth) involves closed lanes, cones, and sometimes flagmen. And they wonder why no one comes "uptown."

The dh and I once hit an interstate highway construction zone in Hartford, CT, at rush hour. No actual rushing was then taking place, believe me. Getting through Hartford took us almost 2 hours.

Nancy said...

Hi, Marie. Airports are great for people-watching, aren't they?

Nancy said...

Hi, Susan--I suspect you don't let your kids emulate Kathleen's "Junior" character, who is much, much worse in other parts of the book.

I don't drink on planes. The one time I had a glass of wine was also the one time I ever got sick on a plane. I think it dehydrated me or something, but that was so not fun.

Getting back to Junior, I have to confess that the boy once accidentally flung Curious George into the lap of a woman seated behind us. She was pretty nice about it, which was lucky for us.

Nancy said...

Autumn, what a cool story! The bus driver part is icky, but the bit about the future dh coming to the rescue is fabulous.

Nancy said...

Christie, welcome home! Come to think of it, I love hearing that phrase from Customs officials, though I haven't had occasion to in quite a few years. I'll bet you were really, really, REALLY glad to hear it!

I hope the trip was fabulous enough to make up for the hassles and that you'll be blogging about it soon.

Nancy said...

Hi, Gannon. A 24-hr. trip is bad enough. Toss in kids, and it sounds like a nightmare, no matter how well behaved they are.

Nancy said...

Gannon's reference to her Navy husband reminded me of an encounter I had on the way home from RWA.

Baggage check at the USAirways counter at Reagan Airport was horrible. They had multiple kiosks, each next to a scale, but they were actually weighing and accepting baggage at only one scale. There was, however, nothing to explain that to passengers, who were waiting (and being ignored) with their luggage on other scales.

The person who explained this to me was not an airline employee but a passenger, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy on his way home for summer leave. He was explaining to and assisting everyone around him as well as letting people go ahead of him. He'd been bumped from a flight to Dulles, sent to Baltimore by mistake for a flight departing from Reagan, and finally reached Reagan, and he seemed totally unruffled by the experience.

Nancy said...

Eilis, your aunt's fortitude impresses me. And no, travel isn't fun anymore. The actual process of going from Point A to Point B is a series of stresses one hopes will culminate in a happy experience before one has to repeat the process.

The toothbrush reference reminds me of my parents. They believed toothbrushes were essential to bathroom cleanliness, and I'm not talking teeth here. I spent many a Saturday morning when I was growing up peering under the rim of a toilet with a toothbrush in my hand. That toilet had to meet the cleanliness standards instilled in my folks by the U.S. Navy.

Joan said...

Kathleen, welcome to The Lair...

I've not had {knock on wood} too many BAD experieces but one that comes to mind was a trip to Disneyworld about 9 years ago.

My BFF, her daughter and myself were going to go down for 5 days. Our flight was due to leave Louisville at 1 pm. Mechanical trouble.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

4pm announcement made that part is being flown in from Atlanta on next Delta flight. It arrives.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

5:30 pm Announcement made that part didn't fit. Another one coming.

Wait. Wait. Coma. Wait.

8pm. Announcement that new part arrived and admonishment "Wouldn't want anything to go wrong up in the air would you? Har har?"

This from the gate guy who was total stereotype of a geek who we nicknamed Fred. HE was having the time of his life all giddy passing out the pizza the airline had delivered to us.

10 pm Finally, the last flight in from Orlando had enough fly time left and agreed to turn around and take us.

We file onto the plane where the flight attendent announces "WE should have been in our hotel beds by now" To where EVERY passenger on the plane shouted out "Us too!"

We take off. My BFF has fallen asleep. They bring the beverage cart down and LOB a pkg of peanuts AT her!!!!

WE get to Orlando, to the Disney resort by 1:30 am. Very nice young man zips us to our room in a cart, takes out luggage to the second level room. I'm squinting trying to find the river for the water view room I'd paid for. Horror dawns on me. "Please tell me that the POOL is NOT the water view?!!!!"

His sheepish look in the glow of a lamp post just caps off the day.

Oh, and then at 8 am the next morning, with us all still sleeping the phone rings. It's the maid asking "YOu check out today?"

Sigh

Kathleen said...

Helen, I'm glad to hear you experiences have gone well and thanks for liking the excerpt. The book was a lot of fun to write. Please keep your rabbit's foot with you next time you travel; I don't want your luck to change. :)

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hi Jane -- You're a NYer, too? My DH travels a ton and he's learned to take the first flight out, less chance for bumpage. He says that LaGuardia is better than EWR, but I like EWR. I've been luckier there...

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Oh, Leanna!! No luggage! I hope you got some pretty Puerto Rican clothes. We got luggage rerouted from Finland to Kiev. Had to explain to surly Ukranian babushka that English spelling looks different from Russian. Eventually she gave it to us when we had the key. Those wacky Ukranians!

jo robertson said...

Delightfully hot excerpt, Valerie. Welcome to the Romance Bandits!

Yay, Virginia, and congrats!

Travel disasters. Oy vey! So many. Flying used to be lots of fun until they started routing passengers the long-and-horrible way from coast to coast.

My worst experience was probably going from Israel to Jordan. Arab countries, even back in the day, were universally suspicious of people coming from Israel, so we all got the go-in-a-booth and get-a-pat-down. Better than a strip search, but not much LOL.

Hey, I wanna hear about the near Russian arrest. 'Fess up!

jo robertson said...

OMG, so sorry!! I picked up that "Valerie" name from the excerpt apparently.

WELCOME TO THE LAIR, KATHLEEN!!!!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hello Pissenlit --

Oh, my! Did you see Little Miss Sunshine? This is what this sounds like without the dead body... :) Were all these people family? I don't think I'd want to go through travel-disaster with my kin. Immediate family OK, but I've some cousins... well, that's another story....

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Angie, thank you!

Food poisoning on your honeymoon? That's just wrong. At least you got that "for better, for worse" part of the vows out of the way right there...

Glad to hear there was a second week. I think you both had earned it. :)

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Thank you, Barbara and I wish you much smooth sailing in the future. :)

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Marie,

Thank you! Love at First Flight? Awesome title! The NY Post had listed airports as the second most common destination for hookups about 18 mos ago. Thought it was interesting how delays had started affected social aspects of airline travel. :)

Nancy said...

Joan, that doesn't sound like Disney's service standard. I hope you complained about the "water view." And the early maid check.

When there's an airline delay, I think it helps if the airline personnel at least act as though they care that you're inconvenienced. As opposed to their own issues.

My flight back from DC was supposed to be delayed 3 hours, but USAirways shuffled planes around and cut that to 30 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised, having once waited 5 hours for a flight home from Philadelphia.

Nancy said...

Jo, I'd like to hear about Kathleen's Russia incident, too.

Donna MacMeans said...

LOl Travel stories? I have travel stories...

Like this past January when I was stuck on the tarmac for 9 hours. No hunky guy next to me though (darn). Still had a great - long - conversation with the guy, so it wasn't such a bad delay.

Or there's the time my luggage was lost when I was going to my first business conference. Everyone else arrived the first day of sessions in business suits. I sort of stood out in jeans.

Or there's the time the hotel put me in the wrong room. Walked in on some strange guy in the shower (walked into the hotel room, not the bathroom. That poor guy must have panicked though to hear my voice on the phone saying "I think there's been a mistake...") Good thing he liked to sing in the shower or I might not have recognized the problem quite so early (grin).

I do love to travel though. I've come to be open to the unexpected.

Great excerpt. I'll be looking for this one.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Susan, ROFL about being Junior's Mom. The part of Junior evolved from my ed's experience on a flight from Toronto to Denver. She was next to Junior and was. not. happy. As you can see, most of my stuff comes from all over the place, but a lot comes from stuff I hear or read. My friends know that any story is fair game (the names are changed to protect the innocent). But I like to think of my brain as sort of this giant pinball machine, where the ball of the idea bounces around from place to place until it starts going ding-ding-ding.... As to your last part of the question, I get very few *fully-formed* ideas. Mainly a character, or a scene or a conflict, and then I play from there. I know some people have that whole *book-movie* in their head, but I'm not that lucky. I get like the opening, the end, or some big dramatic moment, and I have to work to come up with the rest.

flchen1 said...

Wow--what an excerpt! Thanks, Kathleen!

Not too many travel horror stories here, either, thankfully! The worst was probably traveling last year to Korea. Our youngest was still too young to sleep easily on the plane and got overtired. He spent a fair amount of the flight crying and kicking our neighbor who was thankfully extremely understanding and gracious. So glad we survived that, but wouldn't recommend international travel with young kids just for yuks...

Congrats on the GR, Virginia!

Nancy said...

Donna, I once had a hotel put me in the wrong room at a business conference. Lucky for me, the guy (judging by the clothes) first assigned to it wasn't there, so I doubt he ever knew. That was kind of freaky, though.

Nancy said...

Kathleen, I get snippets, too. I so wish the idea would spring from my brain fully formed, like Athena emerging from the head of Zeus, but no such luck thus far.

Minna said...

Bad travel story? Well, most of us who were studying Japanese in the university and our teacher decided to go to Sweden to visit the Asian museum and some Japanese shops. Now, on the bus, on the way to Helsinki and back to Savonlinna again, there were people who obviously weren't going to the ferry because of museums and culture and unfortunately one of them had an accordion. It might not have been so bad, if he wouldn't have played the same songs over and over again. And the ferry, well, it wasn't one of the better ones of Viking Line's ships.


Eve did it again: this time she swam around the both lakes and the pond between them and scared all the birds. And I might not have any voice left tomorrow.

Beth said...

Hi, Kathleen! Loved your excerpt and can't wait to read the whole book!

I don't have any bad travel stories but your post is timely because last night I caught a few minutes of National Lampoons Vacation. Now THAT'S a bad travel story ;-)

And it reminds me of the road trips we took when I was a kid when I'd be stuck in the back of our station wagon with my two sisters. Not always fun but definitely memorable *g*

Joan said...

unfortunately one of them had an accordion. It might not have been so bad, if he wouldn't have played the same songs over and over again.

OMG, Minna...this sounds like an episode from I Love Lucy!

And the pup is still giving you fits? Your brother owes you...BIG time..

kim h said...

congrats ont he hot book
and great reviews
i never sit by a hot man lol only noisy babies lol

kh

Anna Campbell said...

Kathleen, as you know, you're one of my favorite writers EVAH!!! You know this because I keep telling you ;-)

Can't wait to read HOT UNDER PRESSURE. Although I have to because I have a book due in a couple of weeks and once I pick up a Kathleen O'Reilly book, I'm toast until I finish it. It sounds absolutely wonderful! Like all your stuff.

Yeah, I know, I sound like a fan girl. So shoot me. And if any Bandita or Bandita Buddy hasn't picked up Kathleen's stuff, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, PEOPLE????!!! I love how she makes everything so vivid and real in her stories - oh, and they're pretty sexy too!

As a lot of you know, my trip to Washington for RWA was littered with really annoying stuff to do with travel. The flight on both ends was delayed thanks to mucking around in LAX. Which is horrible as it's already nearly 24 hours if everything works smoothly. Honestly, I wondered if I wanted to go anywhere ever again by the time I finally got home after conference! I think that will die away - after all, the lure of the Banditas and BBs is too strong - but man, it was like being tortured!

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, congratulations on the chook!

Nancy said...

Minna, I feel for you about that dog! I know you can't wait to turn her back over to her family.

An accordion? Oh, no! How awful.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Lovely post, Nancy and Kathleen. At this point, I've not had any harrowing, (please God let the trend continue), experiences, although my hubby has had a few.

I did however, have plane tickets for my son and I to fly to Ohio about 2 weeks after 9-11. He was all of about 16 at the time and concerned about the situation. I assured him it was probably the safest time in the world to get ON a plane.

Apparently, only about 20 other people agreed. Son got to stretch out in an entire row of seats and sleep the whole way, AND got two meals...

The return home trip a week later...Packed!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Virginia! You got the chook! Is he having a good day?

Hi Kathleen! Great to have you on! Love the excerpt. Our own Tawny (ahem) turned me on to Blazes. I'll look forward to picking yours up. :>

Christine, I remember hearing about that holiday. I winced then, I'm wincing now. :>

I've been incredibly lucky on travel stuff, but mostly because I usually have a good book to read or can get one at an airport. Ha!

I did get delayed coming back from Hawaii, and had to do a layover in DC because my home at the time, in NC, had a hurricane plowing through it. Grins. Not a disaster though becasue my h ouse was okay and I had friends who put me up, fed me, provided cocktails, etc. What's not to love! :>

I am wincing in sympathy over several of these though.

Nancy said...

Beth, I'm glad your travel experiences have been smooth. There were two of us kids in the family when I was growing up, so the back seat wasn't bad. Later, though, I used to have to sit in the back between my sister and then-brother-in-law. As the shortest (yes, really!) of the three, I got to sit on the hump. So not fun.

Nancy said...

Hi, Kim--

I've been mostly lucky in the noisy babies department. They're usually a few rows away. Better luck on your next trip!

Nancy said...

Suz, glad you haven't had travel troubles. Yeah, after 9-11, a lot of people weren't traveling.

Coming home from RWA in San Francisco, I was on a plane out of Phoenix that was only about 2/3 full, which was great. No bathroom line!

Not enough room to stretch out like that, though. That'd be great.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, far better to be in DC during a hurricane than here, especially if the hurricane was Floyd or Hugo.

Becke Davis said...

So, whew, sorry I'm late, but when I excerpt I had to go to Kathleen's website and read the bigger excerpt and then I had to go order the book. Wow -- what a voice! I know I'm going to totally love this book!

Nancy said...

Becke, I totally loved it. And you're not late. It's not anywhere close to midnight yet! :-)

PJ said...

Hi Kathleen! Welcome to the lair. Hot Under Pressure sounds terrific. I'm looking forward to reading it.

I've been very lucky when it comes to travel. In 45 years of domestic and international travel I've never had what I would consider a horror story. Sure, I've had a few inconveniences but nothing really horrendous...or maybe it's just that they happened when I was young enough to laugh them off. Only three really stick out in my mind.

I was 16 and flying to Europe for six weeks of study and travel. Flight from Michigan to Philadelphia was fine but flight from Philly to Brussels was cancelled when our plane (Capitol Airlines) was claimed by the military. Guess that happened a lot in those days. We had to sleep on the terminal floor and and were put on a different plane the next morning. Returning from Europe, our flight out of Rome was delayed several hours so when we arrived in Philly we had missed our connecting flight. We finally got a flight on another airline but got into Chicago too late to catch the last flight of the day to Benton Harbor. My two girlfriends and I had a combined total of $15, enough to get something to drink and call my dad from a pay phone. He drove into Chicago to get us and five hours later we arrived home. We all thought it was a grand adventure. Can't say I'd think the same way if it happened to me today.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hi, Autumn, I love the dh story! That's so heroic, and romantic. Love those guys that are willing to come to the rescue.

PJ said...

Btw, my travel adventures that summer were nothing compared to the US students who had chosen Czechoslovakia for their six weeks of study. They had to leave all of their possessions behind and sneak out of Prague in the middle of the night when the Russians invaded. In comparison, my airline woes were but a slight bump in the road.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hi Christine! I hope Rome was worth it! I would be a nutcase if I was home two days late. The more connections you have, it seems to increase the disaster-potential exponentially.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Gannon, thanks for the book interest. Bahrain? How was that? And tell your DH, thank you. We owe the service guys a lot.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hi Ellis, the aunt story is cracking me up. If you uh, happy to see a fastidious old aunt character in one of my books someday... you'll know where it came from. :))

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Nancy, my son HATED car seats, too. I was so glad when he outgrew them.

Pat Cochran said...

I'm going to go back as soon as I finish this note to find out if the Prince Charles story is explained!

I mentioned my travel story recently here, so I will give
a brief version. It includes DeGaulle airport & a race across it with aid from two lovely young college men from DC, & a near heart attack for a rather rotund me!!

Thanks for visiting today!

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

PJ, I thought British roundabouts were fabulous when I was in college. Now they scare the bejabbers out of me. Time changes perspectives, doesn't it?

I can't imagine how scary being in Prague when the Russians invaded was. Maybe it's the kind of thing that seems like a grand adventure later, but I'll bet it was nerve-wracking for those kids.

Nancy said...

Kathleen, what about Prince Charles? Inquiring minds, etc.!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

LOL! Okay, the Russia story. So, here's the deal. DH and I were on second trip to St. Petersburg (he grew up there), and we had an appt at the Grand Hotel at 2pm with this jeweler dude who does enameled eggs. It was our last day, and it was going to be an anniversary present for me. There was a huge tourist group outside the hotel, a couple of tour buses, and everybody had cameras. DH and I were running late, so we started pushing and making our way through the crowd to the front of the hotel. Russian lady cop (let's just call her Boris), grabs us and tells us we can't go inside. DH (pretending to be ignorant American tourist) explains that we're staying there (a slight fib) and we need to get in. Boris scowls and says, "No." DH doesn't take no well, tries to get past her. Boris, cursing all American tourists in surly Russian explains that no one is to be admitted. By now, we're late and the jeweler had these crazy hours, so we were getting antsy, so DH tries again. Boris grabs his arm and stares him down (she's not tall, but she's bulky). "We have laws in this country. You must respect our laws."
DH tried again. "We have to get inside."
Boris eventually got a civil service labotomy and explained that it would only be a few more minutes and we needed to wait. DH was not happy, but she no longer had her hand on her gun. We agreed and stood there and waited. About ten minutes later, the doors open, and yes, it's Prince Charles who brushes past us, complete with big ears (he's very short in person). Cameras were clicking, but DH and I ran inside, made the appointment, and I have two enameled eggs. :) I haven't been a fan of Prince Charles ever since.

Nancy said...

Kathleen, what a story! Now, aren't those eggs just that much more special because of all that? *g*

I love the way you describe y'all's interactions with "Boris." I knew this story would be good.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Nancy, the eggs are very precious and will always remind me to behave in a foreign country, because "there are laws." :))

Nancy said...

Kathleen wrote: Nancy, the eggs are very precious and will always remind me to behave in a foreign country, because "there are laws." :))

As opposed to here, where we have no police officers. Sheesh.

I somehow doubt that "there are laws" about going into a hotel when short British royalty is visiting. About obeying the police, in Russia, oh, yeah, I'm sure there are many, many, many laws, but if she'd just told you why you had to wait, I'm sure all would've gone much more smoothly.

Except for Charles, for whom things already seem to have been going quite smoothly indeed.

I knew your dh was Russian but did not realize he'd grown up there. How cool!

Gannon Carr said...

Nancy, my husband is a Naval Academy grad--class of '86. I think all of the crap they go through at the Academy makes them more adaptable. :)

Kathleen, I loved living in Bahrain. The people are very friendly, and we really enjoyed that tour of duty. I will pass your thanks on to my hubby. He retired 2 years ago, and we know how hard our military members work, as well as their families.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Joan, Would love to have been there to watch the peanuts fly at the attendants... too funny. I hope the trip ended up well. I adore Disneyworld!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Thanks for the nice welcome, Jo! I don't think I realized there was quite so many banditas!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Donna, love the shower story. I thought about doing something like that for a Blaze once, but everybody said that nobody would believe it. :) I like how sometimes reality is actually so much livlier than the constrains of fiction.

Nancy said...

Gannon, that's cool about your husband being an Annapolis graduate. I guess part of being a military officer is adaptability. What's that old saying--"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy?"

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hello, flchen and thanks for the welcome. I bet the flight seemed to go on forever! When we used to travel on long flights, DH used to bring these little finger puppets with him. At that point in time, we didn't have kids, but he'd already discovered the wisdom of helping out with bored/tired kids when stuck in the plane.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Oh, Minna! I love the accordian.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hello, Beth, and thanks for the welcome. Those long road trips are great for family bonding. :)

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Thank you, Kim!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Anna, Anna, Anna.....
(can you see my blush??) I'm very happy to hear that you're hard on work on the next AC masterpiece, because I'm already salivating for the October one....

Actually, I did think about you when I was writing this post. It was just WRONG! Wrong, I say. :)

Joan said...

Oh, yes Kathleen...there are 20 Banditas and about 6,000 BB's (Bandita Buddies)...6,100 if you count PJ's turtles :-)

Nancy said...

Joan wrote: 6,100 if you count PJ's turtles :-)

I don't think you can count those, JT. They don't "live" very long, *g*

limecello said...

Oooo great excerpt - loved this post. Thanks for visiting with us, Kathleen!

And congrats on the GR, Virginia!

Nancy said...

Limecello, glad you liked Kathleen's post.

Anna Campbell said...

Hmm, let's make it 100 comments for Ms O'Reilly! ;-)

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hi, Suzanne and thanks for the welcome. Knock wood your good luck holds!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hi, Jeanne!

Tawny writes some AWESOME Blazes. I can see why you're a fan. As for the hurricane, oh, noe! So glad that it wasn't damaged. (And you have great friends).

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Hi, Becke! Late? You're not late! I'm the one who's REALLY behind (story of my life). Thank you for ordering the book. I hope you enjoy it.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

PJ, I bet your parents got a few gray hairs that day! But at 16, it is a grand adventure. Glad it all turned out well.

And I feel for the students in Czech. Not something you expect on a normal study abroad program.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

LOL, Pat. Now I want to know YOUR story.... I'm going to search it out on the archives....

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Gannon, thanks for the info on Bahrain; I like hearing about experiences with other countries. And also, thanks for passing along the thanks.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Joan, 6000???? Holy cow! That's awesome, and now I can see why. This place is great and very welcoming.

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

Thank you, Limecello!

Kathleen O'Reilly said...

hehehe Anna... Yup. Over a hundred. Thank you! I ADORED Tempt the Devil and can't wait for CAPTIVE of SIN!