Where to begin? I had a bug. I actually missed two days of work before leaving for Horrorfind, and on Friday I wasn’t feeling all that well. But, of course that wasn’t going to keep me at home! So Kim and I boarded the plane at some unholy dark hour and a small child screamed all the way from OKC to Dallas. We changed planes and I sat beside a soldier between Dallas and Baltimore. I have nothing but respect for our troops. We’re lucky to have this guy in our military. Why? Because he knew it all, and was willing to share. He talked — and fidgeted — the entire flight. This despite the fact I was holding a book in my hands even before he sat down. Oh well.
I did not get lost on the drive from BWI to the Hunt Valley Marriott this year. Kim assures me that is because of her excellent navigation skills. I dare not argue.
The weather was spectacular! Last year was insufferably hot and humid, but this year it was actually a bit cool, especially in the evenings. Maybe that’s relative. We left Oklahoma’s 105 F temperatures.
We arrived in the hotel bar around 4 p.m. or so on Friday. Damn! It was good to see folks again — Mike Roden, Jim and Bonnie Moore, Brian Keene, Marcy and G Italiano, Laurie and Erik Alkenbrack, Susan Taylor and Dan Fox, Horror Wench, Bloody Mary, Mark Justice, Matt and Deena Warner … Well, lots and lots of people. One more notable I’d met before — Garrett Peck. He’d seemingly vanished for a long time. The first thing he did upon seeing me was apologize for not writing the intro to the new Shara. This despite the many personal issues he’s dealt with over the past couple of years. A real class act!
And, of course, there were many new people to meet. Among the most anticipated was Ron Dickie. Yeah, yeah, for all the Brokeback jokes between us, we’d never actually met in person. He proved to be as much in the flesh as he is online. I also met Sephera Giron for the first time, along with … many others. I’d forget some, so I won’t try to list them all.
Two surprises were Di Barron and Matt Schwartz. (Really, three surprises because Di’s husband Phil was with her.) I just got to talk to Matt for a minute before he dashed away, but it was great to finally meet the man behind Shocklines. Di … Di has been such a supportive, kind person in e-mail for so many years. Meeting her and Phil were definite highlights of this year’s con.
We waited in line for three hours to meet George A. Romero on Friday. Kim and I were the last people in line that day. Romero is fantastic. He’ll talk to you for as long as you want and is more gracious than anyone should have a right to expect. Of course, that’s wonderful once you get to him. When you’re at the back of the line waiting, well … Remember, I wasn’t feeling as well as I’d have liked, so when we finally got to him, I was too run down to gush, which is probably a good thing. And hell, he’s heard it all before, anyway. I bought a mini-poster for Night of the Living Dead and he signed it. I look forward to having it framed and hung soon.
I guess the big thing Saturday was my reading of “Noodlers Nab Nekkid Nymphs.” I think I was able to mostly disguise my nervousness and deliver a decent reading. People seemed to laugh at the right places, so that was good. I’d have liked to see a higher butt to chair ratio, but many thanks to everyone who did attend.
While on the subject of the readings, special thanks to Nikki Reinhardt for all the work she put into the scheduling. And for the excellent goodie-bags she gave the authors. She really went above and beyond.
Went to another party Saturday evening, then watched After Therapy play. The concert was the one thing Kim wanted to do, and I was somewhat reluctant. I wasn’t there for a concert, ya know. But it was really a helluva good show. I’m pretty sure the first part of their set was their own material, then they did a tribute to Black Sabbath. Good stuff.
Saturday ended with us in the Italiano’s room with Ron, Blooky Blook and Adarkfascination. We looked at online photo albums, talked about pap smears, CPAP machines, and Googled ourselves until Marcy about fell asleep. Gettin’ old, girl!
Sunday’s always the downer day. People are kinda hungover and getting ready to leave. We went to see Marcy and Tom Monteleone do their readings, then ate lunch in the bar. It sucks to say good-bye, but after lots of hugs and handshakes we did it and flew home without anything noteworthy happening.
Odds and ends … I gave away hundreds of bookmarks and 50 sample CDs; the stuff really flew off the freebie tables this year. The girl dressed as a 19th century insane asylum inmate kinda creeped Kim out once by getting on the elevator with us and hunkering down in a corner. She got off the elevator with us and I was going to invite her to our room, but Kim wouldn’t let me. The girl was really into her character. Kenneth Ward’s absence was sorely felt. The food at that grocery/deli thing we chose Saturday evening really sucked. Kim and I paid $29 for food we then had to microwave. WTF? There were lots of people at Horrorfind I would have liked to have met, but for one reason or another never did. The Drew and Lu Show was freakin’ hilarious. JF Gonzalas and Brian Keene made Kim interested in reading Clickers and the upcoming Clickers 2.
Coming home wasn’t so hard this year. A lot of that had to do with a certain precious little girl who said, “Daddy, I miss you” when I talked to her on Saturday. That’d be my little Mandy. It was very nice to scoop her up in my arms this afternoon and look into her huge blue eyes as she told me about her adventures with the grandparents. Sara got reconnected with her cousin Kelsey, and Jacob … well, Jacob was quite excited to tell us about the stuff he got. Alex was with friends here around the house while we were gone. We came home to a stack of empty pizza boxes and pop cans.
I can’t say enough good stuff about Horrorfind, the people who put it on and the folks who make it so much fun. I miss you all and look forward to getting together again next time, and meeting more people.
Still reading? Here’s a little slideshow of photos I took at the con.