The Last of the First

This weekend was my first official promo event of the year and I have come to realize my promo muscles are severely out of shape. See, Norwescon, the Seattle-area SF convention, started Thursday and I had a panel at 4 with Richelle Mead and Loree Parker about Vampire novels, but knowing the way things go at the start of a con, I figured the wise thing to do was show up early. So I left my husband to medicate Taz the ferret and headed down to the SeaTac Doubletree Hotel by the airport. Remarkably, I was not only early, but I managed to get a decent parking space and trot into the hotel with no problems or delays (other than idiots on the freeway doing the usual idiot things.)

Hung out in the bar and discovered a bunch of lovely folk, including Lisa Mantchev and Jenna Waterford and their minion. They graciously let me join their table and soon we were joined by several other early-comers, including the always-delightful Jeremy Lassen of Nightshade Books who had a somewhat disturbing tale about airplanes and white suits and how they don’t mix with queasy seat mates and storms over Denver. While we were being horrible, Richelle arrived with her usual fabulousity and we had drinks (well, Richelle had drinks; I had iced tea because I was already tired and didn’t want to do a face plant on the panel) before we trundled off to be good panelists and talk about whether Vampire novels had “jumped the shark.” Panel consensus: some have; some haven’t; and no, they aren’t going away anytime soon; and you can’t trick or goad us into verbally flaying Famous Vampire Novelists or their books.

Then back to the bar to hook up with Tiffany Trent and others and get a start on the evening with dinner and more drinking followed by a trip to the Small Press party, which was fun and included lots of chattering with friends not seen in a year or so (like Alma Alexander, Kevin Radthorne, and Patrick Swenson) and some seen recently (like Jen and Ken Scholes and the Janna Silverstein) but never often enough.

Trotted home about eleven went to bed no long afterward.

After that it’s all kind of the same: got up earlier than I usually do, did errands on the way to the con (like dropping by Janna’s place to fetch something for her and pet the cat): discover something new (like the audio version of Mean Streets in my mail box); cruise for a parking space after hoodwinking the parking attendents who really didn’t want you to get in; trot into the hotel, meet more people, do more panels, drink more stuff, eat bland food, and forget what time it is and where you are supposed to be.

Writerly Friendship panel went off all right with Jeremy Lassen coming to heckle us and ask if we were all spouse swapping like the Great SF Old Guard of the fifties and sixties reportedly did. It went pretty well (though, I’d somewhat forgotten that when you have Donna Barr on a panel, you have to keep reminding her the topic is not the superiority of self-publishing over the big-publisher model, but that wasn’t my job: it was Richelle’s and she did pretty well without being bitchy about it.)

I got to retain my seat for the next panel, “You’re Done, Now Make It Better” about revision and editing, which was a bit scary initially due to the absence of our moderator, Leah Cutter, who was out sick–and many blessings upon her for deciding the better part of valor is to stay home when you think you might be Con Crud Patient Zero. I like Leah, so while I was disappointed to have no opportunity to see her, I’m glad she got some rest instead.

But I digress. The panel went all right by self-direction. Ted Butler and Lizzy Shannon are both delightful and between the lot of us, and Ted’s worksheet on On How to Write A Novel, we muddled through all right and I hope gave some useful info to the audience-which was gratifyingly large.

Afterward, more drinks and food in the bar, more chatting and hanging out with what swiftly became The Con Crowd of Mantchev, Trent, Mead, Henry, Lassen, and minions. (Alas, my own Thing One minion, Thea Maia, was out sick too. As usual, the Spring Crud had laid a lot of people low.)

Then off to Mark Henry’s reading, which was evil and disgusting as always (and he blamed me for it–win!)

I did manage to literally stumble over Joshua Palmatier twice, once over Warren Hammond, and leave a restaurant just as Micheal Ehart and Rose were coming in, so the usual almost-missed, not-quite-made connections weren’t quite as bad as usual, but still there.

Saturday was reading and signing day for me and that felt kind of rushed and annoying, since the parking nazis were being particularly annoying and I had to leave after a lovely, but too-short lunch with Jen West-Scholes to fetch my hubby down to the con and then cruise for parking.

In between I bought myself a ring from Angelwear so my missing wedding ring didn’t feel so obvious. The ring is really pretty and will definitely be hanging out (though it might need sizing, since my hands were swollen at the time) now that I’ve re-discovered the wedding band under a pile of computer logic boards. I also dropped by Book Universe in the dealers room to see AmyCat (whom I forgot to return to later and sign stock for–bad Kat!)

Because I’ve recently packed my books and archives up for shipment to a better storage location, I couldn’t find my copy of Mean Streets, from which I was supposed to read, so I grabbed the proof of Vanished and sat in the bar with Mr. Kat while he scarfed a burger and I tried to find a part to read. I settled on two sections depending on how many people had read the previous book and then we trotted up to the reading room where the crowd was unexpectedly large. I read the part with the fewest spoilers, then we had a drawing for the proof.

I tend to forget that fans think this stuff is cool: to me it’s paperwork. But they were quite excited about the possibility of getting the proof for their very own (even though some of the pages are copies since the original marked pages have to go to the publisher.) But they put their names into a gorgeous top hat lent for the occasion from a fan in Steampunk regalia and I’ll be mailing that massive sucker out as soon Anne the changes are accepted. (Maybe I should make this a habit….)

Then I totally forgot to sign stock for AmyCat (I’m sorry!) while having fantastic silly conversation with the real Christelle (who appears as a ghost in Vanished), her hubby Jesse, Mr. Kat, and Nicki down in the bar. Eventually we all went off to see what else was happening and got swamped in the start of the Masquerade while waiting to see if the Impala cruise with Caitlin, Cherie and Tiffany would happen. Alas, it didn’t. Or we didn’t hear of it, so we headed off.

Mr. Kat and I were a lot more tired than we’d expected to be and so we went home by way of the video store and spent the evening watching Shoot ‘Em Up and episodes of Sharp’s Revenge. Today, Mr. Kat is feeling sick and staying in bed and I am getting back to work as rain patters on the deck, making sounds like a million tiny bird feet dancing above.

Over all, not a bad Norwescon, but I am definitely out of con-practice. I’ll have to bone up on my social butterflying and public relations stuff before the next one. Meanwhile, I have a dark chocolate bunny to annihilate….


About Kat Richardson

Writer, editor, eccentric pain in the tail, bestselling author of the Greywalker novels.
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5 Responses to The Last of the First

  1. Barb Hendee says:

    Oh, Kat, this is a great report!

    I’m so sad we didn’t make it up. I just adore Lisa Mantchev–she is the coolest!

    J.C. and I were on a panel last year with Donna Barr. Have you ever met J.C.? He ended up being slightly less than pleasant before it was over–but just slightly.

    But those weekends wear us out too! We came home last year and dropped on the couch in a fetal position. I think it’s just a matter of being “on” constantly for three or four days.

  2. I was quite disappointed when I heard you guys weren’t going to make it–I hope the stove adventure went all right.

    I agree: conventions and tours are mentally exhausting as well as physically, since as long as you are in public, you are “on.” I was never a good actress and unlike my sister and father, I never was comfortable on stage for more than a few minutes so putting on my public face and being on my feet can wear me down. I do enjoy it, but I don’t have the stamina to do it all the time. Writing is kind of a hermit-y job. It’s the Author Thing that happens in public.

  3. Elaine says:

    I was going to say the socializing is the fun part, however, reading about other authors socializing is actually the fun part. I get to feel like I’m doing marketing research while hanging out at blogs. ha ha Thanks for contributing to my research. 🙂 I am glad you found something to read. Organizing is definitely a two edged sword.

  4. Inara/Dana says:

    Good lord, I’m exhausted just reading about it! It sounds like it was a blast, though!

    I would have loved to have heard you guys evading the questions re: vampire novels jumping the shark. I admire your self-restraint!

  5. Well… one of the panelists was not a writer, but a professional reader, so she had no problem saying “yup, some of these are way out there!” It was kind of fun to have a non-writer to get a perspective from whose reading base was both deep and broad enough to have some perspective. She was a kick.

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