Con Wrap-Up & Other Nonsense

Hello, my lovelies.

It is so good to be home again!  You never realize how much you miss your home until you’re away from it for days at a time.  The furry little beasts still haven’t quite forgiven me for deserting them, but I’m sure that once I pull out the catnip treats, all will be well in their worlds.

Sort of.

So.

I think I promised daily updates from FandomFest, but sadly this weekend has been one of complete and utter chaos.  Unfortunately for us literary types, the majority of the internet connections in the hotel were rerouted to serve the gamers and the media people, so I was left without a reliable connection.  Don’t think you’ve been ignored, or that I’ve been too busy and too important to remember my peoples… Oh, no.   I have stories to tell… I just haven’t been able to tell them.

Where to start… how about at the beginning?

THURSDAY

Thursday afternoon, Rooster and I pulled out of Chester and embarked on the longest car trip of the century.  Not really, but after eight hours in the car, in the mountains, in the blazing heat, it certainly felt that way.  No sooner had we gotten past Spartanburg than we ended up slamming on brakes.  The cooler, which I had stupidly placed on the seat so it was easily accessible yet not well-secured, turned over and every bit of water that had once been ice went gushing out.

Right into my swag box.

My beautiful postcards and bookmarks got soaked.  The bookmarks dried and were for the most part okay.  The postcards?  Not so much.  They were all wrinkly and warped and I was so upset that Rooster threatened to put me out of the car.  (IN MY DEFENSE…this was my first con, so I was a basketcase anyway.)  The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, except for the hilarity of getting on I-64 at Lexington and having Rooster discover that we were still about 60 miles out.  He was not a happy Rooster at that point.

Once we actually managed to get out of the car, we had a lovely dinner at Texas Roadhouse in Louisville with a fantastic group of friends.  It was my first time meeting some of my online friends (and fellow Warcrack addicts), Dale, Mary, and Anthony.  Our friends Chad and Kim were there too, having surprised Mary earlier with their sudden appearance.

Let me pause here and tell everyone that Dale and Mary are the most wonderful people in the world.  I love them both absolutely to death, and I owe them cookies every day for the rest of the year for opening their home to a set of virtual strangers.  I stepped out of the car into a bear hug and the brightest smile I’d seen in weeks.  More hugs came inside, and we were welcomed like family.  It was a great comfort after such a long drive.  Rooster and I cannot speak highly enough of these two beautiful people, and I miss them so much already.

FRIDAY

Ahem.

Let me preface the rest of this post by stating that I am in absolute awe of Stephen Zimmer and his endless patience and graciousness.  Never have I seen a man so harried, yet still continue to smile.  He’s amazing, and I think everyone needs to know that.

Moving on.

Friday morning was fun, because we had the whole crew with us.  After early lunch at Golden Corral and the fun of watching a robbery take place in Best Buy, Rooster and I descended on the hotel to find absolute chaos.

Check-in was smooth and our room was nice, and registration for the con itself went smoothly… then we were told that there was a problem with getting schedules.

Hmmm.

So I said okay… and we went up to the room.  I laid down to take a nap (because being pregnant makes you do that), and when Tally and Lexxx got there, we discovered that their room was not as it had been reserved.  Not fun.

Then we find out that there will be no comprehensive schedule.

Then we find out that the air conditioning isn’t all the best.

Then we find out that nobody has a clue what’s going on.

Then we get over it and go to Lexxx’s first panel.  And have an absolute ball.  Despite the ungodly heat, the lack of communication and organization, and the general headache of being stuffy and uncomfortable, we managed to have a great time.

Lexxx’s panels were fun, and then we switched sides of the table.  For the first half of my first panel, I didn’t say much… mostly because I couldn’t get a word in.  And then they let me talk, and I ran away with it.  We had an absolute blast talking about sex, toys, and everything in between.

The midnight readings were a bust, but I was okay with that.

Oh yeah, Rooster bought me books.

[Intermission – otherwise entitled “The Pregnant Lady Pees Again”]

SATURDAY

Started promptly at 9am for me with the Point of View panel.  It was wonderful to find people who don’t have a problem with First Person POV.  Personally, I love to write in it (as should be obvious by the rabid way in which I blog).  In addition to talking A LOT, I also learned a lot, including some interesting pointers on Third Person Omniscient.

Seminar to follow.

The majority of the day was spent running around Louisville with the WOW gang, Lexxx, and Tally.  We toured the Louisville Slugger factory, which was cool has hell (BASEBALL NERD MECCA!!!!), and had a fantabulous dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

Oh, how we all wish Charlotte still had one.

We were going to go through the military history museum (they had a Da Vinci exhibit… *sigh*), but it was expensive.  Instead, we went into the gift shop, and Rooster bought me a coffee mug, picked out by Dale and Mary, covered in Shakespearean insults.  It’s so going on my desk at work.

They let me look at the Ohio River too, so that made me smile.

This led us to Lexxx’s book signing, meeting the voice of Pizzazz from Jem (oh, the geekery!!!), and calling it quits early to go to the bar with Bethany Halle and her husband.  I think we had more fun in that hour sitting in the bar than we did the entire weekend.  Bethany is an absolute hoot, and every single time I talk to her, I learn SO MUCH.

Note to self:  Definitely look into Rebel Ink Press.  They sound awesome.

Then it was on to a night of panels for Lexxx, in which we had a ball.    (Did I mention that it was hot as Hell in Louisville this weekend?  Did I also mention that the air wasn’t working properly in the hotel?  Did I mention that there were hundreds of confused people milling around without a clue as to where they were going or what they were doing?  Okay…just checking.)  We had a whole cast of interesting author-characters parading through these panels, and it was an absolute riot.

Tally’s ghost stories got nixed in favor of him having an opportunity to fanboy all over the place about Harlan Ellison.  We got to go to bed early, and he got to talk.  All was well.

SUNDAY

It was a bit bittersweet.  Breakfast with the WOW contingent, then a 10AM panel on Fan Fiction with Lexxx.

Big fun.  We shared the table with a group of ladies (and a gentleman) that actually got it.   They understood the fanfic thing.  They all started out writing it. That made me feel so much better about myself, and even gave me some ideas on how to redo some of my old fanfic into original stuff.

Now, don’t forget… it’s still hot. There’s still no air.

And I spent too much money.  After all this time I FINALLY got my Bookwyrm t-shirt, and picked up a book of short stories by William Levy at the same time.  He was so much fun to talk to, and even signed the book for me.  If you don’t know him, look him up.  He’s a fantastic artist, and loves to tell stories.

After the last round in the literary dealer room, we went back across to the media side.

And I got to fangirl my silly little heart out.

Y’all, I’m still kinda giddy, even two days later.  Before all this started, I’d told Rooster that I only had one item on my wish list – one of Henry Winkler’s books, autographed.

I GOT IT!!!

All I can say is… WOW.  Henry Winkler… The Fonz.  DUDE.

He’s a genuinely nice guy.  Wonderful, wonderful man.  He takes the time to actually talk to people.  He picked a book for me, and even rubbed my stomach when I told him that it would be a keepsake for my little one.  Then he shook my hand again, and kissed my cheek.

Talk about a fangirl moment.  I know I walked around the dealer room, grinning like a moron.  I still grin like a moron when I think about it.  I can’t help it… that… that was probably one of the best experiences of my life.  It was the icing on this weekend’s cake.  And it more than made up for all of the heat and discomfort and general blahs of the rest of the weekend.  I have new respect for him, and of course, his sweetness melted me a little.  It was such a small thing, but it made me so happy.

So, to recap:

It was hot.  It was a bit confusing.  HOWEVER.  I met some amazing people – finally got to really talk to Crymsyn Hart in person, caught up with Bethany Halle, and met so, so many more wonderful, wonderful men and women… I can’t even begin to name all of them, but as Lexxx would say, I have added them to my menagerie of friends.

Dale, Mary, and Anthony are awesome.  Must send more cookies.  Though, I have to say I’m a little sad at having to leave them.  I do miss them already.

Overall, a fun weekend, filled with interesting conversation and even more interesting props.  Let’s see if we can’t keep the motivation from the weekend going.

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