Con Stories–Day 1

Okay– so I’ll admit it. I was not in great shape when I arrived in Tampa.

The plan was for Karen and her husband Martin to pick me up and then take me to their house. Karen and I would spend a day chilling and yarn shopping on Tuesday and then drive from Tampa to Daytona on Wednesday.  But Karen had a book signing in a tiny boutique book store Tuesday–and it was fun!  She had a group of readers gather around her–there were probably fifteen or so–and we sat in a small book store, surrounded by pictures of other authors who had enjoyed a book chat there.

It was pretty awesome. And her fans were the best! They very graciously asked me for my card, and I gave them over–it would be great if I got new readers, but they were just so charming to my friend that it’s just fine if I’m not their cup of tea.

Anyway, Karen, being the most gracious and amazing hostess ever, offered to do a yarn crawl the next day. It took a while but we hit two stores and a really great restaurant for lunch. We arrived in Daytona around eight, and were both so tired we just got room service and went to bed. I’d been trying to finish edits, and honestly, I hadn’t kicked being sick yet.

Thursday was a quiet day. There were people to see and meetings to be had, but I have to admit, I did a lot of quiet sitting and talking, and I slept late and went to bed early. I knew Friday would be bananas, and if I hadn’t just taken a day to chill, I wouldn’t have been up for it. As it was, I enjoyed every conversation I had on Thursday, including the one with my roommate, Kayla.

Kayla is a reader-turned-writer. She’s super-genius level smart and charming and hilarious and her stories about helping with hurricane relief on St. Thomas were hysterical and wonderful and even though the roommate request came in late and I volunteered because I wanted her to be able to come, it turned out to be one of the best moments about the entire con. Kayla, if you’re out there reading this, I will room with you any time, if you don’t mind rooming with me.

Friday was registration–and Friday was the deadline for having a basket into their charity raffle.

Now I’m usually good for a decent basket–but, remember, sick!–so I had some swag and some books, and, well, a scarf I was mostly done with. I stayed up late Thursday after Kayla went to sleep trying to finish the scarf, and I managed it. I still felt bad, like my basket was sort of weak shit–but apparently the Amy-knit scarf was a big attraction. Melinda, who won it, I hope you stay warm!

Friday was a blur of panels and events and Flash Fiction and Cinema Craptastique. I loved it. Cinema Craptastique was featured probably the worst movie ever–Vikingdom, don’t watch it without alcohol–and Flash Fiction had a change in order. I was seated between Lucienne Diver and Kiernan Kelly, and I hope I kept up with both those ladies because they were hilarious and sharp and I’m always afraid of being the weak link in the chain. Eric Asher and Kathy Lyons were in the beginning, Damon Suede was, as always, the anchor, and the result was, as Eric (who hosts these events a lot) “like regular Flash Fiction on steroids!”

I’ll take that as a compliment!

And I’m going to leave the rest of the stories for tomorrow–because it’s late and #amwriting too–but this convention remains one of the highlights of my year!

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