Having left my camera at my mother's, I don't have a picture of Dusty and I at the Steampunk Ball. I know. I has a sad, too. But my friend PJ Schnyder has promised that once she's done at the Evil Day Job she'll send me the picture she took of us. As soon as I get it I'll post it for you.
My last day at Authors After Dark, and I overslept. I managed to drag my butt out of my lovely Murphy bed a full hour after I'd planned to get up, so when Robert Roman, a friend, my brother-in-law and an author, came to pick me up to attend the Blog Fail panel I was barely functional. In a way, he's lucky, because I was just short of butting in on a panel I wasn't sitting on. I kept thinking "Oh, I do that too!", but before I could open my mouth someone else was already saying it. Damn you, lack of caffeine! I could have totally ruled that panel.
Off to the book signing after a quick yet delicious lunch of a mushroom pizza steak (GOD I love Philly food!) I honestly thought I'd give away more Bear Necessities posters than I did, but people took one look at Artistic Vision and wanted Akane! Kudos to Kendra Egert for a beautiful cover; everyone near me had cover envy.
Back to the room for a much needed rest while I wait for Dusty to arrive. By now I've got a bit of a sore throat from yelling to be heard over three hundred other people who were also yelling to be heard over three hundred people, but it was worth it. I met Jess Haines, who took one look at me and said, "You're the vampire cactus lady! Oh my God, I laughed so hard!" Apparently, she'd really enjoyed Blood of the Maple, and I will forever be the Vampire Cactus Lady in her mind.
Robert asked to borrow my room to change into his outfit for the Steampunk Ball, and he arrived shortly after Dusty did. (By the way, Dusty took one look at the Murphy bed and declared we were going home right after the ball.) So Bob changes into his kilt-and-mad-scientist outfit (don't ask, you had to be there; it involved a long explanation in a Scottish accent about engineers) and Dusty and I go out to dinner since he's not allowed in the Steampunk Dinner. We enjoyed a nice, leisurely meal at the hotel's bistro/bar, then head back to our room to pack and change.
Off to the ball, where some of the vendors had set up their wares. We grabbed plenty of business cards. A lot of the steampunk jewelry was absolutely gorgeous and we plan on doing some shopping. We wandered, got our picture taken, and had a good time. Then the Olde City Sideshow arrived, and I became really familiar with the brim of my hat.
Eating earthworms? EW! But the sword swallowing act was rather neat.
We were changed, checked out and on our way home by 11:30, thus ending my very first Authors After Dark. Honestly, it was such a mixed bag of good and bad that I'm not sure how I felt about it. On the one hand, none of the problems I encountered were the fault of the event coordinators. Most of the issues had to do with the hotel changing things at the last minute, moving wipe-away boards so the attendees couldn't figure out what had been changed to where, and other pleasant things like that. Add in the horrible room I was in, and I think my memory will be a mixed bag of awesome (the con itself) and angry (Doubletree Hotel).
I don't think I've ever done this before, but I'm doing it now: if you're planning a convention, especially a romance-centric one like AAD, DO NOT book the Doubletree in Philadelphia. I have no idea what bug flew up their butt and started munching, but it was not pretty. And for the record, I in no way blame Authors After Dark for any of it. I blame the venue.
UPDATE: Found my camera! Here are the pics from the Steampunk Ball I asked a friend to take:
Someone said, "Lift her skirt!" So he did.
Me and my cowboy.
They're doing what on the stage?
Oh, no they didn't!