(This will be full of annoying half-anecdotes, in-jokes, and other hobnobbery. If I left out your name, I didn’t mean to. I’m still very tired and I’m old)
I landed in Austin at 12:30ish, jumped in a cab, watched him circle the city at least five times before dropping me at the hotel. Once there, I forced Jordan Hamessley, Chesya Burke, and John Langan to have a late lunch with me. Despite my “pickles are cucumbers soaked in evil” tee shirt that no one has ever seen me wear before, the waiter ignored my query of “is there anything on the sliders?” and brought me a plate full of pickles. I swore and threw the offending gherkins on the table. There was much laughter at my expense for the rest of the weekend.
I attended the horror in the academy panel (horror lit and critical analysis), which was very well done despite my having pickles on my lunch plate. Helen Marshall talked of the horror of the manlette (man-omlette). Liv Llewellyn then threw one on my face.
Later I met all of my Canadian friends. They spoke with words like “colour” and “centre” all the time. Simon Strantzas and Ian Rogers were wearing parkas and wool hats even though we were in Texas. Brett Savory’s beardthulu was impressive and inappropriately prehensile.
At the WHC carnival were blue free drink tickets and the kind folks of Snutch lab planning unspeakable things with Crisco.
Later was the Chizine party, which was fantastic. I gave everyone (including a very grateful Peter Straub) orange peanut butter crackers, and everyone loved me and my pickle tee shirt.
I crashed breakfast and watched Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, and Nick Mamatas eat. Then I watched rommie John Langan wait for oatmeal and Jordan eat breakfast tacos. Then, friend M. Thomas stuffed myself, Mamatas, Langan, and Kurt Dinan in her compact car and took us into Austin for lunch, an indie-bookstore, and a quick drive-by tour.
I attended my Genre mash-up panel (which might have set the record for number of panelists). It went pretty well, though I would’ve prefered we spend more time talking about genre-bending/mixing than the tired +zombies mash-up stuff. Nick Kaufmann yelled at me during the panel. I showed him what’s what by stealing some of his lifeforce when he wasn’t looking.
After haunting the dealer’s room for a bit, it was dinner with John, Jordan, Gemma Files and hubby, Stephen Graham Jones (who heroically crutched around the con despite wild hallucinations), and Liv at a seafood place. Liv still threw manlettes on my face. No pickles. Jordan hated her salad and everyone knew about it.
Saturday night was more subdued (no handing out of the crackers) with the big mass signing and various hotel room parties. Plus an unexpected second round at the seafood place with Steve Niles, Orin Grey, Joe Hill, Langan, Jordan, and Selena Chambers. We agreed that marsupial Howling is underrated.
Lots of folks split early so I spent most of the day with the usual crew, haunting the dealer’s room, sitting at the Chizine table, and the like. As the day wound down, Stephen and I watched some NBA playoffs at the seafood place and then at the airport before leaving.
The short version: had a blast and it was very cool getting to meet so many folks that I’ve only known online. Let’s do it again soon!
*because Paul is a tool addendum*
Biggest thanks must go to Lee Thomas, Nate Southard, and the rest of the con organizers. Nary a complaint from the crowd, and Lee and Nate made time to chat with whomever wanted to do so. I was watching them. Okay, I was stalking them.