A Real Live CIA Assassin

Barbara Vey -- September 29th, 2007

Well, made it here safe and sound and it’s nice and toasty warm here.  I can tell I’m going to like Atlanta.  On the plane I was fortunate enough to sit next to Bostonian, John.  He was flying to Atlanta from Boston and through Milwaukee.  Not exactly as the crow flies.  Anyway, John is visiting his cousin and we talk about the things to see and do in Atlanta, but apparently his cousin is content to sit by the yard fire at night and just visit.  I let John know that I plan to pass the Atlanta Braves stadium and give them the chop because Atlanta stole the Braves from Milwaukee.  John turned to me and said, "Yeah, but Milwaukee stole the Braves from Boston."  Oops…guess I forgot about that.  But I quickly got a flight attendant to take our picture and John was smiling again.

Dianna Love Snell, the mastermind of this magnificent event, introduces me to Heidi, the lovely lady who worked so hard to publicize this conference.  Because of unforeseen circumstances, someone has cancelled and they are short a speaker for a panel on publicity and marketing.  And they ask moi to fill in!  Yikes!!  But with an absolutely straight face showing no emotion, I say, "Of course…anything I can do to help."  And all the while I’m thinking, "Who the heck wants to hear what I have to say?"  Heidi and I had a delicious lunch of creamy, seafood soup in a restaurant that has obviously never heard of acoustics, but still manage to decide to do a Q&A for our session in the morning.  

I spent the next hour catching up with Sherrilyn Kenyon who has been on tour with her bestselling Devil May Cry.  She’s in a lovely dress that shimmers dark red and black as she moves with an intricate corset that looks stunning on her.  I love it that she dresses for her fans and herself.  It reminds me of the terrific swan hat she wore at the RWA signing that had her table swarming with fans.  She’s getting so popular that they’re going to have to give her a special table to sign autographs like they do with Nora Roberts.  It was so crowded where she was that it was causing a traffic jam.  Next month Sherri is sponsoring K-Con in New Orleans which is her own convention.  When the sign up started on her site, it sold out in 20 minutes and crashed 4 servers.  That’s some fan loyalty.

We snagged front row seats to hear Roland Haas talk about his book Enter the Past Tense:  My Secret Life as a CIA Assassin.   Roland is a soft spoken, articulate man who speaks fluent German, Russian and English, but he started his talk relating a story about crossing the border from Afghanistan to Iran, being attacked from behind, receiving kidney blows and sent to an Iranian prision and thinking, "Oh crap."  He went on to admit that he was having those same feelings speaking to a group of romance writers which immediately endeared him to all in attendance.  He spoke of being recruited at the age of 19 because the CIA wanted someone who could pass as a hippie traveling overseas.  Roland told of having to get himself kicked out of the military so he could go undercover and his greatest regret was that he could not tell his parents the truth before they died.   While Roland admits there are critics out there disavowing him and the book, the CIA has not said anything about it.  This sounds like a facsinating read that I can’t wait to dive into.  I can’t believe that Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert haven’t snatched him up yet for their shows.  BTW, he did say that Jake Gyllenhaal is reading the book and has expressed an interest in it, so maybe we’ll someday see it on the big screen.  I’d go see it.

At the welcome reception, I caught up with Kate Duffy, big shot editor at Kensington, and talked about the great time we had on the Author’s at Sea cruise.  In the group picture is Jacquie D’AlessandroWendy Etherington and Karen White, all dressed to the nines.

Then on to dinner at the Hi Life, a great restaurant with a wonderful band offering background music.  Since our group didn’t all know each other, we had to say our name and then something that would help others remember our names.  I started by telling them all that the Beach Boys wrote Barbara Ann about me (really…they did),  then we had "Wombat" Celia from Austrailia, Emily (with an E), Carmen (Miranda), Berta (I thought of Alberto VO5), Marilyn (Monroe, of course), (unique) Monique, (darling) Nicki and (I’d love to marry) Sherri.  I’ll sure remember these women.  Their stories of cheap dates, horror movies, how children (and men) find farting hilarious and traumas of childhood kept us rolling with laughter.  Of course, the desert was a nice touch.  
Top picture is Nicki, Monique Patterson (Sherrilyn’s editor), Marilyn Baron and Berta Platas.  Bottom picture is Carmen Green, Emily Sewell, Celia May Hart, me and
Sherrilyn Kenyon. 
Busy day tomorrow…I’m doing Q&As.  

Bottom Line:  Maybe I’ll try the old Jeopardy switch and give an answer and have the audience figure out the question.  And besides, I’m really good at humming the theme song.

90 thoughts on “A Real Live CIA Assassin

  1. mary s

    Thanks Barb for the update from Atlanta! Even though the Brewers are out of the playoffs, we still love them! I envy you there networking while I am at work reading & typing reports–yes that is what I am “reading”! Great reference to the Beach Boys too–the “Barbara Ann” song!

  2. Berta Platas

    Barbara, you are one fun gal. Thanks for remembering me as Alberto VO5. That shampoo is better than some of the other stuff that might rhyme with Berta! This convention is a blast, and it’s not over yet. The dance floor beckons…

  3. mary s

    Thanks Barb–the “Assassin” blog was great, especially in my line of work! You are so brave & charming in your real-life encounters, on the plane(s), on the convention panel, etc. Keep up the good work!

  4. Christy

    Oh, Barb, I thought of you all weekend while you were in Hotlanta and I was at work!!! I can’t wait to read the rest of your blogs about your weekend! (And, btw, please don’t do any chopin’ on my Braves…love those boys, and love that stadium!!!)

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