Thursday, November 4, 2010

A VERY LONG (kinda like our nights) WFC POST

I survived my first World Fantasy Convention. I say first because after attending one, you will want to attend ALL future WFCs.

I've been to other conferences like RWA, SCBWI, and Pikes Peak (loved all of them) but WFC was um, er...different.

WFC had lots of great panels, but they were offered as an alternative place to go if/when the hotel bar or parties were lacking in conversation and/or people to meet and drink with. The problem: social opportunities were never lacking. Not even at 5am. (5am as in the end of the night, not the beginning of the day.)

You might be thinking, no way could I stay up that late.
I assure you, you can and you would.
Here's why:

Because you'd hate to miss famous authors throwing down drinks and chatting with you like you're an equal instead of a wannabe. You'd stay up because Tor and Del Ray were hosting parties, and you had a legitimate invite (aka no-crashing-necessary) to both. When 2am rolled around and your body begged you to sleep, you'd tell it to shut up and order another vodka & Redbull (or in my case a White Russian, but I was the minority) because it would be rude to turn down the editor and/or agent who invited you to the book release party.

In the morning ? (days kinda blur together) after 3 or 4 hours of sleep, you'd get coffee and drag yourself to a panel or two, or maybe an author reading because, after all, you paid to attend these things. You really should TRY to learn something.

Then, a friend peer pressures you into "checking out what's going on at the bar."
Your inner voice chides, No, be responsible and attend another panel.
But you're severely dehydrated so your lips and tongue are too dry to form actual words, so instead, you nod. And, as if on autopilot, your feet carry you to the bar where that really funny guy (you can't remember if he's of literary importance but you did officially become friends yesterday) walks up and hands you a White Russian.

At this point you can't decline because let's face it, the drink contains milk and everyone knows milk does a body good; and then, of course, there's that hair of the dog that bit ya wisdom, so you take a sip. Within minutes your mouth is moist enough to make conversation again and someone is handing you a second drink because yours is magically empty.

You almost say, no thanks, I should go back to the panels and learn something, but then three more people from yesterday (who you're almost certain are of literary importance but you can't confirm it because WFC name badges only state names and not titles) join you and start chatting about nothing book or writing related but you're all cracking up and "bonding" and you think, screw the panels. (You mean it in the nicest way.) The liquid courage has provided you the much-needed belief that you CAN indeed carry on a conversation with all these people of literary importance.

Before you realize what's happening there are more introductions, invites, elevator rides, parties, toothpicks holding your eyelids open, friends handing you drinks, cameras flashing in your face, and lots of laughing. You're pretty sure all the panels have ended but you can't be positive because you lost track of time, until someone suggests going clubbing and everyone is all for it until someone else points out that it's 1am in Columbus, Ohio and we'd have better luck finding periwinkle unicorns and sparkling butterflies in a Neil Gaiman novel.

Clubbing idea gets redacted, people continue mingling, and you keep meaning to say goodnight and go to bed but you're distracted by meeting more cool people until finally, someone asks, "Should we order pizza from that delivery joint? It's the only place open at 4am."

Crap. You did it again. Panels and author readings start in like 5 hours but you're rattling around the ice in your empty White Russian glass and thinking how horribly good pizza would taste, so you say yes, knowing the meal puts you at a 5am bedtime minimum.

Hours (not many) later--as much as you don't want to--you force yourself out of bed and go to the Urban Fantasy panel because since day 1 you've said you were going to attend it, and by gods, you will. But halfway through it the conversation turns to...wait for it...vampires. You moan into your coffee while catching eyes with Holly Black. You telepathically ask her why all UF panels end up being about vampires, and she grabs the mic and says, "I've been told all panels end up being about vampires and now I see it's true."

And you think, Cool. Me and Holly just had a telepathic connection. Which is impressive, but you still wish you would've stayed in bed because the conversation in the room now sounds like the adults in Charlie Brown. "Wah-wha-whu-whuh-whu-whah-vampires-whah-whu-wha-whu-wu."

Then--and maybe it's because you're in an Urban Fantasy panel--your bionic senses kick in and you hear (out the ballroom, down the hall, across the lobby, and into the bar) a bartender drop ice into a glass followed by the gug-gug-gug of a creamy White Russian being poured. You can't ignore your newly obtained superpowers (because you've read novels where the MC tries to deny an ability and it never bodes well) so you return to home base where, of course, sit a bunch of familiar faces raising their glasses and beginning the long road to 5am.

You join them, cheers to screwing the panels (meaning it in the nicest way), and enjoy your final hours with all your new-found friends of literary importance. You realize the most important thing you learned all weekend is that everyone at WFC--no matter where they are on their writing/publishing/editing/agenting journey--is important.

And you can't wait to see them again next year.

See, I told you you would do it.

5am will be here before you know it. Hope to see you there.


  1. And here I have spent the last few days working. What is wrong with me, I mean I could have been there instead. To think I missed out on such a fun. I'm Glad you had such a great time.

  2. Would it be totally inappropriate to say you all look really lovely in that first photo? Yeah, probably. Oh well.

    Sounds like an amazing time. I look forward to being able to afford stuff like this some day.

  3. OK, you made the WFC sound really, really amazing.

    And I think I might have to go next year. :)

  4. I loved your sentence, "authors talking to you like you're an equal and not just a wannabe." I had to laugh at that because I know exactly how it feels - from a wannabe point of view!

    I need a lie down after reading that; 5am? Not worth going to bed!

    CJ xx

  5. Aww, that sounds so fun... All the conferences I went to in college went about like that. Except there was less guilt not attending panels, because the school paid for it. :D

  6. The only part that sucked was leaving the WFC. It was truly a fantastic time and I'm fortunate that I got to share some of that with you! I loved meeting you and look forward to reading your blogs.

  7. You had me at late night pizza.

  8. *snarf* You write like a charm when sleep-deprived! Great read. :)

  9. "...and we'd have better luck finding periwinkle unicorns and sparkling butterflies in a Neil Gaiman novel."


    Ahem. You're not wrong. O.O

    (Soooo nice to meet you!)

  10. Must I don my periwinkle unicorn outfit and parade before the UFGirlz?

    Oh, and the pizza was the suck. Even sparking butterflies thought as much.

    And your post was worth the wait, Karen.

  11. Sounds absolutely AWESOME! I want to go.

  12. It sounds like it was an awesome time. I am going to make sure I go to the next one. Thanks for the fabulous post...and I didn't think I could do the 5 a.m., but you have convinced me otherwise.

  13. Sounds INCREDIBLE! So jealous of your trip. Must go to the next one!

  14. Then, a friend peer pressures you into "checking out what's going on at the bar."

    Who me? *bats eyes innocently*

    I need to write my post on this, but there's NO way I can top yours! I miss you guys too much, I think that's why I'm still sick. I need you and C to make me healthy! (And shove another red bull vodka in my hand, ha)

  15. Sounds like you guys had SO MUCH FUN! I definitely need to go next year. It'll be right in San Diego! :)

  16. It sounds like such a wonderful and fun experience!

  17. Yeah...the things I miss by staying in a different hotel. Like, 5am, not-so-good pizza.

    And those early morning panels? Whoa. Those were hard work to sit through sometimes.

    Great to meet you there, Karen. Say hi to your mum for me! :D

  18. Hahaaa! Hope you're guzzling some water. I'm thinking you need it. LOL

  19. Sounds like you had an awesome time- love the comment about how "everyone knows milk is good for you!" Love your reasoning on that one. Have a great weekend! ;)

  20. Sounds fantastic and something I must attend! Thanks for sharing.

  21. I do believe I'm still in revocery...

    i mean ercovery

    Err...I need a nap.

    It was good to see you guys again. Next time, I'm sticking with water...

  22. WFC sounds like an amazing time.

  23. Sounds like an awesome time! You have a really captivating way of writing; I felt like I was there. Maybe next year!

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  25. Sounds awesome!! Love the post, sounds like you had a great time ;o)

  26. I don't think Sara or Carol can possibly top this recap. Well done. :)

    And, that pretty how much every conference I've ever attended went.
    My drink of choice is also the uber-fattening white russian. It's totes worth the calories (and fat...'cause it aint 'milk' it's half and half), because that cream lines my tummy. I've never barfed from mass intake of white russians. Plus, they're yummy. :)

    Glad you all had fun and made it home in one piece.

  27. This was such a good post! I really like your style of writing. I am glad you had a great time!Thanks for making it come to life for all of us.

  28. Sounds like fun! I went to Pikes Peak one year and loved it. I just think writing conferences are a blast.

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