If I could bottle up ConQuesT and take a sip every Monday, my weeks would be filled with dragons, lasers, aliens, and everything else fantastical that makes me happy. The con was that good for all the right reasons – a great staff, solid programming, fun room parties, and amazing guests. Last year, ConQuesT 43 was my 1st science fiction and fantasy convention with my fantasy novel Angst, so it was significant to me that I released the sequel, Buried in Angst, at ConQuesT 44. Best of all, they let me throw a party!
Friday at ConQuesT is always a little slow until we hit the room parties, which seemed especially good this year. I have to admit it was pretty cool seeing George RR Martin sitting around talking with people. It’s also great seeing friends I met at last year’s convention, and making new ones as well. I wrapped up festivities at 3:30am. A harsh reminder that I can drink like I’m young, but I don’t recover like I’m young.
Saturday was really the day. My first panel was at the excruciatingly early hour of 10am (I’m somehow
reminded of college) and we discussed the fun topic of digital comics. I was mostly recovered by my 2nd panel at 3pm to discuss proper etiquette when traveling and promoting your book. My friend Holly attended, and laughed openly at me when the Guest of Honor, Patrick Rothfuss highly advised that authors never drink at cons. (He’s a pretty amazing speaker by the way, he had everyone in stitches during the panel on writing humor.) It was worth a facepalm, but I admittedly go to cons to have fun, make friends, and have fun.
So, the coolest thing ever. I’m always mentioning on my blog about how amazing Cristi is, but I need to throw out some props to her equally awesome boyfriend Brandon. My lovely wife Angie attended the show for the first time to promote her Star Trek Craft book. For weeks she had been teasing me that since Cristi is my “booth babe” Brandon should be hers. What a perfect opportunity for a surprise, and Brandon was game.
I loaned Brandon one of my Captain Kirk shirts and we all followed him into the dealer room. The look on Angie’s face was priceless, and Brandon made it great fun posing with her and with the book. Later on Facebook, Angie’s friend Michael summed it up well “Lt. Biceps, please report for babe duty.”
Everyone wonders why I have Angst, and a great example is the cake. For weeks I’ve been teasingly shouting out on Twitter and Facebook that we will have cake at the book release party. “Come for prizes, come for a dramatic reading, come for cake!” Yeah…so the party is from 6pm to 8pm, it’s 5:45 and I’m frantically situating chairs and tables around the room. My kids are almost passed out from blowing up balloons. I’m receiving texts asking for directions 15 minutes late because we are in the basement. Suddenly it hits me, the cake isn’t here yet. Yeah, panic. Why did I have to make such a big deal of the stoopid cake? I leave the room at 5:55 with the amazing Kat Donovan to find manager #1. Manager #1 brought me to Manager#2. (We aren’t exactly moving at warp.) They tell me ‘we will look into it’ which sounds a LOT to me like ‘we are slipping into our ninja costumes and sneaking out the back never to be seen or heard from again’. As politely as I could, I urged and pleaded and willed them to find it before rushing back to my party, now late. I arrived 10 minutes late to my own party and am greeted by my wife who says, “thanks for texting me back”. Bzzzzt…my phone buzzes in my pocket and it is her text. Yeah, sometimes I have
After shaking off the last minute scramble, and replying to my wife’s text : I enjoyed the party. Honestly, it was great. I didn’t do a head count, but the room was full of family, friends, convention guests, Angst supporters – I was more than a little touched. I promised a dramatic reading, and on a whim turned Chapters 33 and 35 into a script (the chapters upon which the cover is based.) I volunteered friends, my son (who hated me a little), Kat volunteered Nick Seddon (who was absolutely amazing), and without practice we read. The chapters may not have been perfect, way too much narration, but everyone in the room had a good laugh. From my friend Matt reading Crloc in his best bad guy impression, to Nick throwing water in his own face because his character was sweating – it really went perfectly. I can’t thank them all enough, and after we finished, the cake was delivered. (It was damn good too!)
We finished up our evening celebrating at room parties, wrapping it up at 1:30am. I should mention that anything said, not said, or not remembered at these parties should completely be blamed on the Klingons and their blood wine.
Sincere thanks to everyone involved in putting ConQuesT together. A special thanks to Kat for the room party, and Nick for the reading. My Angst team consisted of Angie, James, Joanne, Holly, Brandon and Cristi – you guys are the best. I’ve said it before, but I absolutely couldn’t do these without Cristi – she brings the awesome! I’ve also got to shout out that Holly was quite awesome for showing up in her Rose costume! Finally, I really do appreciate everyone who showed up at the release party; it really meant a lot. What an adventure…now it’s time to write!