Monday, November 06, 2006

World Fantasy Convention (trip report)

Home from World Fantasy!

For those of you who don't know, the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) is an annual gathering of imaginary beings and mythical creatures. It has a variety of panels on topics such as, "Unicorn Mane Maintenance," "Vegetarian Vampires," and "Best Pumpkin Coaches of 2006." This year's Guests of Honor were Zeus, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Monster Under Your Bed. I had a fabulous time. Got to meet the Monster Under the Bed -- I'm afraid I gushed like a fangirl, but he was really gracious. Had dinner at a great seafood restaurant with some mermaids (they were on a first name basis with their food, which was a bit disturbing, but told some hilarious anecdotes about Neptune -- apparently quite the old letch). Saw a fascinating panel on dragon molting and even captured a leprechaun (no gold, unfortunately, just cereal). Only downer was that the dragons had to stay outside most of the time because it was a non-smoking hotel.

Hee hee hee. OK, I'll stop. Sorry about that. Just trying to keep myself amused as I'm writing this on the plane back from Austin... For those of you who don't know, the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) is a conference for adult and young adult fantasy readers, writers, artists, editors, agents, librarians, and booksellers to meet, greet, and rejoice in our joint geekiness. I love this convention, despite the lack of dragons and griffins.

This year was extra special for me because it was my first convention since I got the Call. In other words, it was my first convention as a published (or soon-to-be-published) writer. It was also my first convention as a program participant. (I had a reading -- more on this later.)

I had been hoping (see prior post) that as a program participant, I would get a ribbon on my nametag that said "participant" or even "please talk to me for I am shy and totally intimidated by your awesome brilliance." But no such luck. I had to be brave on my own -- and dammit, I was brave! I talked to lots and lots of fabulous people and had a fantastic time. Here are some of the highlights:

1) My reading. Such a high. I think this deserves its own blog entry so I'm going to save it for later. :)

2) Jo Whittemore and the Bracelets. The wonderful Jo Whittemore (author of ESCAPE FROM ARYLON) made bracelets for all of us on the Young Adult Reading. Mine says INTO THE WILD (the title of my book) in black-and-white beads. When we held our wrists together before the reading and said "wonder-writer powers, activate!", we all turned into tigers and bears, which was pretty cool. (Understandably, no one wanted to be the Wonder Twin who turned into the bucket of water.)

3) Tiffany Trent and the Cheesecake Factory. When I left the Green Room, sad about no "participant" ribbon and no miniature griffin, the fabulous Tiffany Trent recognized me from my Class of 2k7 picture -- she's a fellow 2k7er and author of the HALLOMERE series. We then embarked on the first of two cross-parking lot adventures to the Cheesecake Factory, which totally made up for the lack of griffin.

4) YA Dinner. The first annual WFC YA Dinner was Friday night. In attendance were: me, Tiffany Trent, Jo Whittemore, Mark London Williams (author of DANGER BOY), Holly Black (author of TITHE and THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES), Cassandra Clare (a fellow 2k7er and author of CITY OF BONES), and Barry Goldblatt (agent-extraordinaire). Awesome, awesome people. I hope we do it again next year so that the word "annual" is actually applicable.

5) Anti-Banquet Dinner. (Are you noticing a food trend here? I thought I noticed you noticing. If I were doing this chronologically, you'd also notice that I actually went to dinner twice on Saturday... Food = good.) Anyway, the anti-banquet dinner is the brainchild of Laura Anne Gilman (author of GRAIL QUEST), who wanted a dressy event that didn't involve $50 to listen to speeches. Attending this year: me, Laura Anne, Lucienne Diver (agent-extraordinaire), Cat (whose last name I didn't catch but is the husband of the writer of the super-cool WEATHER WARDEN series), David Coe (author of CHILDREN OF AMARID), Rosemary Clement-Moore (author of PROM DATES FROM HELL and also a 2k7er -- we're everywhere! Mwah-ha-ha!), and Jay Caselberg (not his real name; name changed to protect the innocent -- author of WALL OF MIRRORS). We went to a fancy steakhouse, and Laura Anne and Lucienne had me laughing my socks off with anecdotes involving very famous authors and substances like green Jell-O. Don't ask. Or at least don't ask me. Go ask them. They'll tell it better.

6) Autograph Session. Best event at WFC is the autograph session. All the writers are corralled into one room to sign books. You can talk to dozens of people and they can't run because they're trapped behind tables. (Cue the evil cackle.) Kidding. Sort of. I did talk to a whole slew of fabulous people in the span of those two hours, including Jane Lindskold (author of the best raised-by-wolves books EVER), Leah Cutter (author of PAPER MAGE), Shanna Swendson (author of ENCHANTED INC.), Sam Enthoven (author of BLACK TATOO and fellow Razorbillian), Michael Jones (reviewer at Realms of Fantasy), etc. If you ever go to WFC, don't miss the autograph session. I'm serious here -- it's the one time when everyone's in the same room.

7) Paranormal Romance Writers. Fairly recently, Harlequin started a new romantic fantasy imprint called Luna. Not only are all their books cool, but every Luna writer I've ever met has been super-nice. On Friday night, I got to hang out with Jeri Smith-Ready (author of EYES OF CROW) and Maria Snyder (author of POISON STUDY).

8) The Nicest Writer Ever. Top contender for the "nicest ever" title is Tim Powers (author of THE DRAWING OF THE DARK), who was kind enough to introduce me to people and let me join him, his wife, and his friends for lunch. Plus he said he wants to read my book. :)

9) Barflies. Always at conventions, you can find many fabulous people at the bar. I was up way past pumpkin time talking to... yes, I am going to name-drop again... Sharyn November (editor-extraordinaire, who already knew about my book -- how cool is that?), Diana Pharoah Francis (author of PATH OF FIRE), Chris Nakashima-Brown (who may win the title Coolest Person at the Con because he actually checked out my website while at the con), Gavin Grant (Small Beer Press), John Picacio (awesome artist), and others.

I am positive that I've missed mentioning someone -- like the three very cool writers (Faith Stencel, Clover, and Heather) that I met at the Cheesecake Factory and had breakfast with on Sunday. Also Shaun Farrell, who does podcast interviews with authors. And John Joseph Adams, reviewer at SCI FI Wire, another contender for Coolest-at-Con because he allowed himself to be dragged to my reading. Ooh, ooh, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. I totally did the fangirl gushing thing to her, and she was really nice about it. (A FISTFUL OF SKY is one of my favorite novels.) And Charles de Lint! His writing is so awesome that I don't know how I managed to talk to him without hyperventilating. I choose to believe my bravery was due to the power of Jo's bracelet. Wonder-writer powers, activate! (See above note on my geekiness.)

OK, that was probably way more detail than you wanted about my weekend. Too bad for you! I've still got lots more to tell! Next entry: my WFC reading!!! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!


At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um...we forgot to deactivate our powers by the way, and I've been getting alot of strange looks at the office. I guess most people aren't accustomed to seeing a unicorn use the telephone.

At 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! I'm a Luna author, too, y'know.... *grin*

Glad you had fun at the anti-banquet. Totally kicked the actual banquet in the keister, IMO.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Greg and Heather: Yes, WFC twas both cool and excellent. And a full 10% of the Class of 2k7 was in attendance!

Jo: I've been having similar problems. I knew I shouldn't have transformed into a manatee...

Laura Anne: Of course I know that you're a Luna author too! And I stand by my statement that "every Luna writer I've ever met has been super-nice." I just didn't want to name-drop you too many times in the same post! Anti-banquet was lots of fun. Thanks for the invite.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

*notices scorpion tail* So that's why everyone's been staring at my bottom strangely! I must still be a manticore...Hehe.

Indeed, very awesome to meet w/you. And, shy? Somehow your post disproves that one, my dear.

Truly lovely to meet you. Next year, I'm following you to the anti-banquet!! ;)

At 12:08 AM, Blogger J m mcdermott said...

It was great meeting you at WFC and having breakfast with you and David Alan Coe!

I'll be sure to pick up your book when I'm through reading the pile of tasty books I lugged home from WFC!

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

JM: So great to meet you too! Hope to see you again at another convention.


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