Usually, I try to post at least once-- I even have a backlist bump saved for this week (which I will put up in a couple of days, promise!)
But not this time.
There are no words to express the size of this venue. None.
I mean, I know I'm old and sort of slow and fat, and yes-- the walking was getting to me, even in the comfy shoes. But you'd expect that from old and slow and fat.
It was getting to the young and spry and skinny too.
Hell, on Friday, there was a service dog that was just so fucking over the walking, he wasn't getting up. The last I saw that dog moving, he was on one of the electric golf carts that came and went periodically. The carts didn't really help an appreciable number of people (although I got two lifts when my arms were full, for which I was thankful) but what they did was give us hope. They were sort of the walking lottery when our feet were about frickin' over themselves. We'd dream about catching a people mover until we'd actually walked past where they operated, and then we could make it to the elevators or some place to eat.
Each hallway had a different name, and I had a variety events out in the Amazon hallway. It was officially Amazon S or Amazon T or something, but I started calling it Amazon BFE--and so did other people.
I had thirteen events on my roster, and was active in eleven of them. (The publisher's spotlights I attended as support.) I mean, not bad for old and slow and fat, yeah?
We started with watching Chris Rice's fun and hilarious America's Top Cover Model contest--I was rooting for the everyday average guy, but the guy with the rock-hard abs who sang country music won. I was not as disappointed as I should have been. After that came Cinema Craptastique, and I manned the DVD player--and knitted. I was actually pleased-- I was working on a shawl for Tere Michaels, our inspired event coordinator, and it turned out lovely. She adored it and yes, I had knitter's pride. What can I say?
The other events all went well-- the LGBTQ event got intense, but it was a good dialog and kudos to Amelia Vaughn for excellent panel mediation. A.J. Cousins, Damon Suede, and Heidi Cullinan had such awesome things to say--I felt superfluous, although I was apparently quoted as saying, "You know, werewolves or something normal," so I wasn't silent for the WHOLE thing. ZAM's Agony to Ecstasy panel on craft was amazing-- I loved her coal-car/engine example at the beginning, and she had some wonderful people there-- Belinda McBride, Tara Lain, Eli Easton, Kelly Collins-- all of whom had some awesome, useful things to say. Eli Easton had a panel on damaged heroes, and Heidi Cullinan, Eli herself, Pamela Morsi, ZAM and I all obviously love our broken boys. It was especially inspiring to hear Pamela Morsi who wrote Simple Jess in the 90's, talk about how she could look into the heart of a "simple" man and find a hero.
Denise Milano Sprung's benefit for Mental Health Awareness had a few glitches, but everyone there had the best of hearts, and it was nice to mingle. Denise and her husband Larry were gracious hosts, and hopefully she can continue to do the good work she does every year in the name of mental health awareness and suicide prevention. (I participate every year-- usually by giving a percentage of a book, but this year I'm just giving a flat rate. I get confused with math, and I hate waiting for my August returns to give to a benefit that happened in May.) At the end of that, I gathered the wonderful Melanie Jayne, a romantic romance writer, and her assistant, David Panak, and made them eat with me, and then we had the most lovely of conversations. David and Melanie are from a small town in Indiana, and they are such warm and lovely people. I have David a copy of Selfie because he was gracious enough to take one, and I count myself lucky to have made some new friends.
Damon Suede's Wheel of Romance event was, of course, fabulous and amazing-- and so well organized that even last minute venue shifts didn't interfere with fan enjoyment. It's such a clever idea, and the people loved it. Even though I was mostly one of MANY well qualified Vanna Whites, I was so honored to be even a tiny part of bringing the whole thing off.
And, of course, the DSP FAN-Tastic Day Party was awesome-- great prizes, good food (as I understand-- this is my fourth year of going, "Hey, that looks good... and it's gone...") and lovely authors. It's always the climactic capper to the event for me, and it was lovely.
There were other things, of course-- Kim Fielding and I drove down together, and I know I gush a lot about Kim, but I can't imagine more entertaining company. It's a good thing we can talk forever though, because seriously? There was NOTHING else exciting happening on that road. We made a list of the top five exciting things we noted on the way to Vegas.
#1-- Butt-ugly furniture on a flatbed on the way to Nevada.
#2--Pickled frog balls in a farm place out of Barstow. We're going back there btw.
#3-- A VERY peculiar conversation overheard in the bathroom.
#4--Some speculation as to an empty strip of land behind a sad little tourist attraction whereupon we think the lazy mobsters might stow their dead bodies.
#5-the sunset over Vegas.
There were lunches with friends and the fact that Chicken showed up in time for the last two days and was a delight not just to me but to her OWN friends that she's made in the last couple of years.
And, of course, there was knowing that my family at home was doing okay-- first we see Mate without his beard, then we see Zoomboy camping with my parents.
And I DO miss the crap out of them.
So tomorrow, we're making our way home. Wish us godspeed-- I know both Kim and I are anxious to return to our families. Vegas, you've been... well, hectic.
But there is no place like home.