I apologize for having such a long gap between entries, but available time to post was extremely rare. The week was long and intense and incredible… and totally worth it! I apologize if any part of this is incoherent, but I’m just a tetch sleep-deprived!

This has been an absolutely amazing week. It wasn’t even a bummer that I didn’t win the Grand Prize, because, to be honest, after getting to know all of the other writers and the other first placers, none of us really cared who won the grand prize other than the fact that it came with $5000.00. And while I can always use an extra 5K, I don’t NEED 5K.

Friday night, and the day leading up to it were a total blast. It started with a breakfast in the morning with all of the other workshoppers and all of the judges, then all of the winners piled into vans and went down to the San Diego Aerospace Museum for our rehearsal. We had about an hour to wander the museum first, then we did a quick run through of where we had to sit and where we had to walk and stand and how to accept the awards and we had a chance to stand at the podium and get used to the sound system. Then we piled back into the vans and headed back to the hotel to relax a trifle and get ready for the evening.

My “appointment” to have my hair and makeup done was at 3, so I spent the 3 or so free hours that I had in getting the creases out of my dress, pressing Jack’s tux, and fixing my toenails (the polish, that is!) At 3 I trotted over to the room where the hair and makeup stations were and submitted my person to Beautification. The lady who did my hair did a really excellent job and managed to somehow gather my wild tresses into an updo that looked elegant and awesome! Another woman did my makeup, and at about 4 I made my way back to my room and slipped on my dress, stuck some earrings on my lobes, slipped on the shoes, and then waited for Jack to do the 2 minutes of prep that he needed to do.

Then it was time to head down to the lobby to wait for the limos. The limo ride was made a trifle uncomfortable simply because we got stuck in some horrendous traffic and it took over an hour to get to the restaurant, but it was still a blast. I went to the restroom as soon as I got there, and when I got back to my table, I discovered that Anne McCaffrey was sitting at our table, next to my husband. Squeeeee! Somehow I managed to NOT become squealing Fan Girl, and instead had an utterly delightful conversation with her and her son, Todd.

Then it was time for the ceremony itself. I think I had to go to the bathroom five times before the event started, just from nerves! I also had to find someone with some duct tape to stuff into the back of my shoes because it seemed that they were just a touch too big and I kept walking out of them. But the ceremony was just terrific and classy and real fun to be a part of. I managed to give my first place acceptance speech without falling on my face (and even got some laughs when I thanked my personal trainer for making it possible for me to fit into my dress.) Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven were given Lifetime Achievement awards and then it was time for the announcements of the grand prize winners for Illustrator and Writer. I had my little piece of paper with my second acceptance speech in my hand just in case, but when Brandon’s name was called, there was a feeling of, “Thank god that’s over!” I mean, he’s such a friggin nice guy that there’s no way to be jealous. And, really, everyone was so nice and they’re all so talented that there’s not an iota of, “I deserved that more than he did.” Although, I did think I had a better shot at it since I was the only one of the four who didn’t wear glasses, and so my reasoning was that obviously I could SEE the future better then they… but, hey, it all worked out! [g]

After the awards were over we had to have our pictures taken a zillion times, and at one point during the picture taking Jerry Pournelle came up to me and told me how much he’d liked my story, so that was a pretty big thrill!

Finally it was time to make our way to the big row of tables for the signing. I lost track of how many books I signed, but we were there until well after midnight. Jack took some terrific pictures which I’ll post once I get the chance to upload them. The signing was a ton of fun, everyone loved my dress, and it only took about a half hour to get back to the hotel which was a relief to all of us!

And then the next day was the big bookstore signing at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego. I ended up seated at a table with Steve Saville on one side, Brian Herbert on the other, and Kevin J. Anderson next to him, so, needless to say, we had the funnest table there. Most of the signing was a blur, but I remember thinking, “Okay, this is totally cool, and I want to do more of these, with my own books!”

There was a dinner on the patio for everyone Saturday evening, and then everyone stuck around for hours just talking and socializing. I still can’t get over what a great group of people we had, without a single jerk-ish person in the whole lot. I can tell that we’re going to be staying in touch with each other for a very long time.

Then it was Sunday, and time for everyone to part ways. Everyone agreed that the week flew by just way too quickly, and there was a lot of goodbye hugging and kissing going around. It’s amazing that I got to be such good friends with these people in just one week! The flight back for us was long… made much longer by the fact that the last leg of our flight, Atlanta to New Orleans, was delayed by more than two hours due to bad weather in Atlanta, and so we didn’t get home until 2am. Ugh! Jack and I were so tired and so wiped out (I don’t think I got more than 6 hours sleep any night I was out there) that we fell asleep on the plane to New Orleans before it even pushed back out of the gate. We fell into bed as soon as we got home, and then this morning I got up at 6:30 to shower and go meet my sister to retrieve my Child, who was appropriately delighted to see me.

So now, I’m exhausted, delighted, motivated, and I have a horking big piece of Lucite as well!

I’ll post more detailed entries as soon as I catch up on sleep and can go through my notes. There was so much incredible information given to us that it’s going to take me time to distill it all. :)