I did forget to mention one thing about Thursday, which was my panel (SF and CSI.) This was the first time I’ve ever been privileged enough to be on a panel, and I think it went really well. The panel was gifted with an excellent moderator (Colin Harvey) who made sure that everyone had a chance to speak and give input and who also deftly steered the conversation back on topic when it drifted. Several people came up to me afterwards and said that they’d enjoyed what I’d had to say, so I guess I did all right. Anyway, it was fun and I hope to get the chance to do it again.

Saturday (which already feels like a million years ago!) started with breakfast with Mary Robinette Kowal and John Moore. I was scheduled for a reading and a signing that day, so I’d dressed in a nice skirt and blouse with some low-heeled MaryJanes. I had assumed that we were going to eat in the hotel restaurant, but then John said that he knew of a terrific restaurant that was about eight blocks away. I didn’t think I’d have any problems with 8 blocks since my heels were fairly low, so we set off walking.

73,236 blocks later we finally made it to the restaurant. My little toes had been lost somehow around 23rd street. I will say, however, that the food was terrific, and if it hadn’t been for the fact that my reading was at 10am and I was beginning to worry about making it back in time I probably would have enjoyed it even more. As it was, I hoofed it back down to 16th street (and where was a taxi when I needed it??) and snagged the free mall ride bus and then jumped on the rail line to get back to the convention center with about five minutes to spare before my reading.

I didn’t expect anyone to show for my reading, so I was incredibly pleased to have about a half-dozen people come in, including a couple of people I didn’t know. I read the first chapter of Mark of the Demon, and then read a portion of a later chapter (since I had the full 45 minutes to myself.) About halfway through the later chapter I realized that it wasn’t the chapter that I’d intended to read, which wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except that it had more sexual content that I’d wanted to read aloud. But, I couldn’t exactly stop reading in the middle of it, so I forged ahead, trying to feel comfortable reading aloud about nipples and wetness and the like and hoping that none of my audience members were uncomfortable listening to it. [grimace] Oh well. I finished up my reading session by reading my Writers of the Future winning story, “Schroedinger’s Hummingbird,” which was met with very positive reaction. I wasn’t sure how that would work as a read-aloud story (since it was a bit of a wonky structure) but apparently it worked pretty well.

My signing went well, especially considering that I had nothing to sign. But, I seeded the table with chocolates, and chatted with Jeanne Stein, and actually signed a few things (mostly Denvention programs) so it was fairly enjoyable. After that was the Hugo ceremony. Two out of four of the people for whom I was rooting snagged awards, but the two who lost did so by a shockingly small number of votes and both seemed pretty cool about the whole thing, so it was a pretty good evening overall. After it was over I snagged a taxi (because, damn, my feet were hurting!) and headed over to the Sheraton with some others to find Parties. We were successful in our quest for Party, but I am SO not a night-owl, and by about 11 I was fading badly. I made my excuses and ducked out, and grabbed yet another taxi and returned to my own hotel.

Sunday was far more relaxed. I snagged some breakfast at Einstein’s bagels, and then headed to the convention center to catch Daniel Abraham’s reading. Holy crap, but that man is talented. I would have to hate him, except that he’s awfully nice. After his reading I made a few rounds of the dealer’s room, picking up gifts for various people and starting to make goodbyes. By noon things were starting to definitely wind down, and I went over to the Hyatt Regency where I hooked up with Mary Robinette Kowal and the Australian contingent. A short while later Pat Cadigan and Ellen Klages joined us, and we had an eye-opening conversation about how every single one of us had at some point during the convention experienced an episode of insecure neediness, i.e. “Oh my god, no one wants to hang out with me, I don’t know anybody, these people are just talking to me to be polite, I should just go back to my hotel room.” Considering that some of the people making this confession were People made me feel a lot better about my own bouts of utter craziness wherein I became convinced that I was the most uncool person at the convention and my presence was tolerated at best.

I have never claimed to be sane.

By mid-afternoon people were starting to trickle off to catch flights. A group of us who were staying until Monday decided to go on a pub crawl which ended up being more fun that should ever be legal. (At one point I had to convince a few of the guys that dropping trou in the middle of 16th ave was perhaps not a good idea.) We spent most of our time at the first bar we stopped at, which had a truly spectacular selection of brews, including several varieties of cider which I enjoyed (since I’m not much of a beer drinker.) After a while, though, I expressed a desire for some form of chocolatey dessert, so Jim Minz led us down the street to another restaurant where we obtained chocolatey desserts and more drinks. I’m really not doing the evening justice, because I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. Truly awesome fun.

Monday morning was fairly uneventful with breakfast, checking out, and getting to the airport. By this time I was at the point where I was aching to get home, and missing my daughter and husband so much that it hurt. Fortunately my journey home was uneventful, and my family was delighted to have me home again. I know I’m not naming all of the people who need to be named, but I’m almost afraid to because I am certain to leave someone out. However, I’ll get some pics posted soon and hopefully apply some names at that time.