Westercon – Day 1

Melissa and I completed our first real day of the Westercon experience.

If I adhere to adage, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” then this will be a somewhat short post.  I do have some nice things to say, though, so I’ll start with this.

We started off meeting up with Jim Doty.  Jim is the guy that gave me the words I needed at Westercon last year, which led to me creating this blog.  He’s a really great guy, and it was a pleasure introducing him to Melissa.

As we were talking with Jim, Melissa and I noticed that people appeared to have programs for the convention.  I acquired some, and they had some detailed information about the different panels and events.  They didn’t have a map or schedule, however.

We had some time to kill, so Melissa and I wandered around the hotel so that we could find where all the rooms were.  One of the hotel staff saw us meandering and printed us a couple of maps.  She was very helpful, and the maps were useful.  The hotel staff have been absolutely fantastic.

Melissa and I entered the room for opening ceremony a little bit early and got seats towards the front.  They wound up being front row, when the chairs in front of us were snatched up and put next to stage for guests.

I’d warned Melissa that opening ceremony and closing ceremony are two of the events of a convention that are usually skippable.  This opening ceremony was no exception.  It wasn’t bad.  The chair of the event did a good job with introductions and had a good sense of humor.  The honored guests are all fantastic.

The next event Melissa and I attended was the Writing Excuses anthology release party.  Each of the members of Writing Excuses spoke a little about the project, and then snuck the presentation of an award to Dan Wells.  I had a pretty huge smile on my face the whole time.  When presentation was finished, they had books for sale, and they provided some fruit and cheese for snacks.  I bought a book for Melissa and I and had all of the members of Writing Excuses sign it.

With the anthology presentation completed, the next event was live taping of several Writing Excuses episodes.  I’ve listened to the first few seasons of the podcast.  I highly recommend listening to them.  I also attending a live recording if you get a chance.  If you do, be sure and sit towards the front, as they set their volumes for best recording quality, which means it’s a little quiet for a large, crowded room.

After the Writing Excuses recordings, Melissa and I followed Mary Robinette Kowal to a panel on schmoozing at conventions.  Also on the panel was Sandra Tayler and David Doering.  They didn’t present a lot of information I didn’t already know, but it was interesting, and I took lots of notes.  When the convention is completed, I’ll post my notes in a new section at the top of this blog.

That was the last panel Melissa and I attended.  We had dinner, then went to the ice cream social for an hour.  We sat with Richard Crawford and his wife.  I’ve run into them at conventions many times, and they are integral in the NaNoWriMo chapter I’ve attended the last two years.  We had a great visit.

After the ice cream social, I went to the game room and participated in a Magic: the Gathering draft, hosted by Brandon Sanderson.  I was nervous, because I’ve been out of the game for quite a while.  Thankfully, Brandon kept it low pressure, and I wound up doing well and having a lot of fun.

The convention itself has been a bit disorganized, from my perspective.  But Melissa has been having a great time, and I think it’s been a great first convention for her.  And, really, these things are about the people, and all of the people have been wonderful.  The organization of the convention has been a bit of a mess, but I would have to declare Day 1 a success.

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