(Excellent photo by Warren Schultz)
I had one hell of a weekend.
Got to Reno on Thursday night and proceeded to walk the distance from the Peppermill to the convention center as the bus never showed. Apparently, the driver refused to clean up vomit from an earlier passenger. Carrying a large load of SFWA t-shirts, I was a bit flustered when I got there, only because of the heat and the higher altitude. I could not breathe but as I found out on Saturday night, high altitude and a stuffy nose isn’t the only thing to draw away your breath.
After a badge mishap was rectified and a new one created, I was able to finally settle in. I wandered to the SFWA table where I dropped off the shirts and hugged Steven H. Silver. If you ever get a chance to hang around this man in a non-stalker type way, please do. He is wonderful, charming and a great conversationalist.
I headed over to the Chesley Awards and met Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace. Although none of our artists won the magazine category that Clarkesworld was in, Julie Dillon who offered up a magnificent piece for one of our covers won in another category. She is an extraordinarily talented person and I highly recommend you check her out.
I am pretty sure I crashed a bit early that night.
The rest of the weekend is kind of blurry. I know I ended up taking multiple taxis to and from the hotel only because the bus service was non-existent. I also remember having mild seizures in the Peppermill buffet due to the “lightning effects” or due to the food. Not sure which.
My one panel on creating a successful podcast was a blast. I started off the hour really nervous then finally settled in. In the very excellent company of Howard Tayler, Rachel Bloom, Mur Lafferty, Eric Zuckerman, we had some really great things to say about getting started in a field that continues to explode in popularity. Also, if you are lucky to get Howard Tayler as your moderator, you will have an awesome panel. He’s one of the best out there. He kept the conversation focused, asked all the right questions and was extremely interesting. You should definitely check out Writing Excuses and his excellent graphic novel, Schlock Mercenary.
I know I met and hung out with a ton of wonderful people, which I will now name drop because it was totally awesome and really, how often do you get to name drop like this? Mur Lafferty, Patrick Hester, Jeff Macfee, Warren Schultz, Christie Yant, Christopher Kastensmidt, Peggy Rae Sapienza, Steven H. Silver, Steven Gould, George R.R. Martin, John Scalzi, Kim Stanley Robinson, Paul Cornell, Sheila Williams, Stu Segal, Steven Segal, Rachel Swirsky, Nora Jemisin, Mary Robinette Kowal, Yanni Kuznia, Jake Lake, Lynne Thomas, Tara O’Shea, Howard Tayler, Rachel Bloom, Eric Zuckerman, Aliette de Bodard, Saladin Ahmed, Rajan Khanna, Jaym Gates, Wendy Wagner, Lawrence Schoen, Taylor Anderson, Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, Nick Mamatas, Jeremy Tolbert, Bud Sparhawk, Chris Hansen, Lee Martindale, Bob Howe, Jim Fiscus and Doug Cohen. (forgive me if in my jet-lagged state I missed a name!)
Special thanks to Vylar Kaftan who went shopping for a Hugo Awards necklace with me. Although we didn’t find one on that trip, Vylar has a amazing eye for beautiful things.
Speaking of Hugo Awards, you might have heard that Clarkesworld won for best semi-prozine. Before the ceremony, Sean Wallace asked me if I wanted to say anything if we won. I had a speech all set to go in my head.
“Are you sure you don’t want to write it down?” Sean asked incredulously.
“Nah. I’ve got it right here,” I say as I point to my addled brain. “Besides, we’re not going to win anyway. ”
As David Hartwell was announcing the winner, Neil, Sean and I looked at each other and were convinced it was going to someone else. They had mentioned in the practice that they were only going to bring one on stage, but hell, I got caught up in the moment and forgot.
I will tell you one thing about winning something you’re not expecting. Reality sort of fades as adrenaline starts flowing through your excited body. I had to keep whatever wits I had left to manage coherent thought. I don’t remember practically shaking with glee and saying “Oh My God!” on stage. I don’t remember how just only a few the words snaked their way out of my memory to the microphone.
What I truly wanted to say was this:
Let me tell you a story of thanks. To my children who were my first and most critical audience in their pajamas as the sun was setting, thank you. To my best friend in the entire world, James Seals who allowed me to narrate some of his works into a $12 microphone, I wouldn’t be standing here without your encouragement. To the wonderful Mary Robinette Kowal who offered my name to Neil Clarke as a reader, I am forever in your debt. To Neil, Sean Wallace, Cheryl Morgan, and the rest of the staff at Clarkesworld, I could ask for no better friends and colleagues. I wish you were here to celebrate with us, Cheryl. You are missed. To the nominees in the category, you have set the bar in excellence and I am extremely proud to stand with you. Finally, to the fans who voted for us — thank you so very much for allowing me to be the voice of Clarkesworld Magazine. It is truly an honor and a privilege to narrate some of the finest stories by some of the best authors in the field every single month.
Instead, as I stood upon the stage looking into the utter blackness of the room with my heart leaping out of my chest, I got only the gist. But one thing remains true as I type this recap. I am truly thankful for every single moment in this community and for the votes we received. You have made me a very humbled woman.
Now — onto next year.