Underwords is at the World Fantasy Convention!
I arrived on Wednesday and visited with Nancy Holder and her awesome daughter after an almost uneventful flight from Boston. The flight was fine, except for that moment where I spilled my hot coffee on the guy sitting next to me. He leg was drenched as was mine, but I still felt pretty bad about it even though he and his wife both turned out to be two of the nicest people I have ever met.
I spent my first day here hanging with the Holders and helping to set up Nancy’s new office. She just had some new flooring put in, which looks terrific and her office is very spiffy! I think many great stories will be coming out of her new work space. We then headed over to the Mysterious Galaxy author event in San Diego. What a fantastic bookstore. Not only are it’s owners amazing people who really know how to connect with authors and readers, they are also genuinely nice. If you live anywhere near the San Diego or Redondo Beach areas, you should check out their stores. You’re going to love it.You don’t get service like that from the big retailers or the online stores. Also, Maryelizabeth had the best story about saving her kittens from a rattlesnake that had found it’s way into their house. She is my new kitty hero!
Yesterday, I checked into the World Fantasy Convention 2011 in San Diego and ran into my10 pal Zak Jarvis and his wife Sharon Mock as well as Barbara Gordon, which was great. I haven’t seen them in almost five years, but it felt like almost no time had passed since we were all hanging out on Martha’s Vineyard talking “story” with the workshop faculty and students. If you’re looking for a great week-long writing workshop, Viable Paradise should be on your list. I also ran into Meghan Sinoff from Stonecoast. I was totally floored to see here. What a great surprise! She’s one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. I also got to see a couple other friends, including Charles Tan and Theodora Goss whose new book is out! I will be posting more info on her book later, but (trust me) you’re going to love it.
However, the crowning jewel of my arrival at WFC was getting a chance to have dinner with my lovely cousin Jennie and her boyfriend Kerry.
We went out to Old Town and had a great meal at a Mexican restaurant that is said to be haunted by a ghost who is not too keen on spoons. Apparently, she is said to throw spoons on the floor for some reason. I guess it’s happened more than once, which led the restaurant to stop putting spoons on the table. You actually have to request a spoon.
We then went walking through Old Town and nearly got run over by a skunk. I probably would have been taking a tomato and vinegar bath if it weren’t for Jennie grabbing my arm. We warned a few people away from the area where the skunk ran, but someone must have scarred it since the whole area smell skunky about 15 minutes later.
We also went to the old graveyard that was just lovely at night. It has tall, white picket fences around many of the graves as well as stones and white crosses marking other graves. The odd thing about the cemetery is that at some point in the past the town paved over many of the graves sites. I’m not sure if they knew the graves were there at the time or not, but the road goes over half of the cemetary. There are more than a dozen small brass plaques in the pavement and the sidewalk that mark the resting place of a body. There is also a superstition associated with this strip of road that says: if you leave your parked car over a grave your battery will get drained.
We also walked around the Whaley House, one the most haunted houses in the U.S. I’m still trying to figure out why anyone in his right mind would build a house on the site of a gallows that was responsible for the death of many people. It just seems like asking for trouble, if you know what I mean. There are tons of old stories about the house and the ghostly residents who live inside. My cousin told me one that her son experienced, and I’m now a believer. I will not be staying in that old house over night anytime soon.
One of the terrific things about World Fantasy is that everyone gets a free bag of terrific books. I have 5-10 books here that I’ll give away on Underwords since I’d like to help promote as many authors as possible, and giving away books is a great way to do that. So, stay tuned for future giveaways! Ironically, I received in my bookbag a 10th anniversary edition of American Gods. While I can’t tell you why that’s ironic right now, I’ll include it in a future update.
For now, Underwords is signing off and heading over to the World Fantasy Convention for Day 2 of interesting panel presentations, reading, and hanging out with good friends.