I'm back from Wiscon!

I. I barely know where to begin. And I'm bound to leave things out. But. But. Wow. Wiscon. It was my first of its kind, and quite probably the best of any kind I've ever been to. I sat in on more panels, met more people, and had more fun than any woman ought to be able to fit into 3-1/2 days. I can't even begin to begin to know where to begin to write the thing up.

So I think first up goes this: my unending thanks to 2muchexposition, John Scalzi, and my dad - without whom the pieces would not have come together and I could not have attended. And this having been established, the rest you shall receive piecemeal, in no particular order. Because I can't scare up enough brain cells right now to do it any better, that's why.
    Word to the wise - I am not very tall. I was reminded of this by about half a dozen people - most exuberantly (and, I believe, first) by Justine Larbalestier who greeted me with, "Wow, you're much shorter than I expected!" It charmed and amused me - because yeah, I know, and I get it all the time. In shoes I'm about 5 ft. 5 in. tall; though for some reason, people who know me from the internet think I'm bigger. As I keep saying, I'd like to think that I take up a lot of psychic space. Justine, on the other hand, is somewhat taller and way, way cuter than I had any right to expect (since she almost never posts pictures of herself). Her husband, Scott Westerfeld, looks and talks rather shockingly like one of my favorite professors in grad school, so I was absolutely enthralled by him, too.

    Good lookin' crazies - Actually, this was my primary reaction to a lot of people. Since I was running around doing the 100x100 pixel instant facial recognition thing (you people need more icons with your faces in them, dammit!), I kept running into LJ folks and not knowing them because the photos I've seen haven't done them justice. Likewise, the irrepressible Mr. Scalzi - who tends to look a bit dour and a tad cranky in some of his self portraits - was not remotely dour or cranky. In fact, he was funny, charming, and everything this set of pictures would have you expect. Also, his wife Krissy is a total babe. I'm just sayin'.

    Speaking of internet pictures - I can't believe how many people recognized me from my icons. Truth is, those are cropped, shined, photoshopped ... and originally came via very good photographers. I don't actually, in my really real life, believe for a second that I ever look anything like them. So when people recognize me, it flatters me like you wouldn't believe - since usually, I look more like this than like any given icon in my repertoire (save possibly the tongue-lolling gorilla). (pic courtesy of lsanderson, who is tres groovy himself.)

    Con food - The consuite was marvelous. Excellent hot dogs with onions, mustard, ketchup, and hey some of that spicy sauce stuff over there I don't care what it it dump some on and woo-hoo. However, I do not recommend that - in the course of a long weekend - you eat as many of them as you've had hours of sleep. Hypothetically. I'm just saying.

    Finally I get to meet Liz - Sometimes I've felt like I was the last person on earth to meet the mighty and powerful Liz. Checking my friends list is sometimes like scanning for sightings of 'Nessie - everybody's spotted her but me. But now I've met her! I've squished her in a short-person bear hug! I've borrowed her clothes! [:: insert flailing Kermit icon of "yay!" here ::] She's everything I knew she'd be and more, and I just can't get the heck over how lucky I am to have her in my corner.

    I babble and twitch - As some of you are aware, I started writing horror novels (really. really. BAD. horror novels.) back when I was about fifteen or sixteen. Since I was young, dumb, and believed in aiming high, Patrick Nielsen Hayden was one of the first people I ever queried; and in fact, his was one of the first form rejections I ever received. For years, I cherished that rejection. One of my very first! "I'm a real writer, now!" ... or so I told myself while I picked food out of my braces and shopped for a prom dress. So as you might expect, when I actually ended up in the same room with PNH, I exploded all over him like a fistful of fangirl confetti. Naturally, he was completely, totally, cool.

    Speaking of fangirl confetti ... - Okay, it's entirely possible that I squeaked, babbled, and bounced my way into meeting a whole slew of people who probably perceived it as the weirdest drive-by greeting they'd ever seen. But. But. I was SO excited. And SO wound up. And SO happy to meet everyone. I hope that my enthusiasm was received in the spirit in which it was intended, i.e., My GOD I am so happy to be here and to meet you, whoever you are.

    I don my stalker shoes - I managed to track down, hug, harass, and squee towards so many fantastic folks that if I tried to list them all here, I'd be here all day - and I'd almost certainly feel idiotic for leaving someone out. But suffice it to say, I felt like the big kids had invited me out to play ... and I learned that they were the nicest big kids in town. In state. In the world, possibly.

    So I'll keep the list "short" - blackholly was preposterously, uncommonly cute, though I only recognized her by deduction (Liz said she might be joining us with a group for supper). I was disappointed when she came down a bit ill midway through the con; she was a lot of fun, and I wish I'd gotten to see more of her than I did. I was lucky enough to snare naomikritzer and get lunch at a groovy little Nepal restaurant, which was wonderful. I met the superlatively bouncy and fun ellen_kushner (on an elevator? the first time) and yea verily, she was a hoot too. Later, I caught up with truepenny in the ladies room, which was perfectly awesome since I'm a new fan of hers and she was kind enough to read/respond to Wings to the Kingdom's ARC. Was delighted to meet Gregory Frost - who may or may not have an LJ - but who was absolutely fantastic. After stopping two incorrect Amandas, I finally nabbed stillsostrange with the funny, supa-fly, indefatiguable matociquala during karaoke in the ballroom.

    Redefining 'Indefatigable' with flair and bootyshaking - As an aside, if you put matociquala, Scalzi, and jlassen on a hamster wheel and turned up the jukebox, you could power the entire city of Madison for about a year.

    Why yes, I said 'karaoke' - I can't sing for crap, and I can't dance for worse ... but matociquala is strong, and she whipped me onto the floor to join herself and stillsostrange as backup singers/dancers/all-round goofs for jlassen's rendition of "Big Balls." AND I WOULD DO IT AGAIN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Next year: redux, with "Back in Black" in our Night Shade Books Has a Posse t-shirts. I am there baby.

    Up-and-coming, so to speak - Also caught up with the irrepressible catvalente, which was quite a hoot. We were both sort of in the same boat there - neither established authors, nor newbies - so we got to hang out and exchange stories about the publishing learning curve and oh yes, our respective religious upbringings. We ended up camping on the couch at the LJ party (here's another embarrassing pic of me/partial pic of her together), with justbeast and his wife (forgot LJ! sorry!), plus jlundberg and his wife (also forgot LJ!). 'Twas good in all possible ways.

    Bling, baby - Went to the haiku earring party thrown by elisem, and scored a gorgeous bobbly pair that matched the necklace saraphina_marie made for my wedding. I wore them together later than night to the LJ party, and was stylin' in my Minnie Mouse ear bunlets. People kept commenting on the bunlets, but the truth was less glamourous than fashion. I was one of five people in a hotel room, and I tried to keep my showers quick. Basically, ye olde mane needed a bad washing, that's all. :)

    Gettin' down and gettin' sore - My right arm aches a bit from the pole dancing, for which I must thank matociquala, who invited me out to go gothercizing at the Inferno. The party consisted of me, her, tltrent, stillsostrange, and jlassen - dressed in full pinstripe zoot suit with red feathery pimp hat glory. We wore OUT that dance floor, baby. I hadn't really brought anything to wear goth dancing, but 2muchexposition came through for me - loaning out a kicky front-clasp corset shirt. I can't tell you how swell it was to have a tall, gorgeous editor to share a room with.

    Keeping me company - Here's where I shout out to diatryma - whose name is Catherine, but who goes by Cassie ... and I kept introducing her as Cathy, Katie, Carrie, Candy, and God knows what else. Her nametag said "Catherine!" I'm a visual learner! But after awhile it got just plain embarrassing the way I couldn't get it straight. This having been said, she was gracious and funny, and she didn't seem to hold my scatterbrainedness against me. Also in my "people I kept running into and hanging around with" list I must mention batwrangler, who was a blast to sit around and gossip with. By the way - when her name/username came up in conversation last night, moriarty6 laughed himself silly until I told him that yeah, she actually handles/removes/rescues bats. He thought maybe she ran a vampire larp.

I'm leaving things out. I know I'm leaving people out. But. God. I'm so tired, still. I slept nearly 13 hours last night, but it wasn't enough to catch up and there were so. many. people. And there was so. much. stuff. I've spent nearly an hour writing even this much out. I'll try to start taking notes as I remember things and make another post later, maybe tomorrow.

If you've got links to pictures, feel free to post them here in the comments. I didn't take any, but I seem to appear in a few really goofy ones here and there. Here are just a few sets that I've stumbled upon this morning:

Night Shade Books/Jeremy Lassen's Flickr Stream
The Wiscon 30 Flickr photo stream
Larry Sanderson's pictures

For now, I've got my Night Shade Press t-shirt on and I'm ready to rock. Or at least, I'm ready to go get some food and maybe collapse back into bed for a nap - so if you've commented or sent email in the last 4 days, I'm waaaay behind, and I'm sorry. But to sum up, and to repeat myself - My God, I was glad to be there, and I was happy to meet you. All of you. Whoever you were. You made me feel welcome, special, and surrounded by friends. You were the best.

~w_w~



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