Hi there Back Porch followers, visitors, and interweb nomads!
I’ve been back from my first book con for nearly a week, and I am still gripped by the overwhelm.
I’ll be splitting up my recap into several different posts because I HAVE SO MUCH TO SHARE!
GRL was amazing. Honestly, it was far and beyond better than my wildest imaginations conjured in the months and days leading up to the big event. Every one of my pre-trip worries and anxieties, although valid and totally in character for me, were for nothing.
Run-Down of adventures:
(Note: Reader’s names will be kept private by using initials, author names…not so much)
The super early wake-up at 5:30 to be at the airport by 8 AM for two flights and the stress of a tight layover in Atlanta caused some serious mush-brain by the time I arrived in Kansas City. I was exhausted and a little bewildered by late afternoon so.…
I’d coordinated to meet another attendee at the KC airport to split cab fare, and I’m SO GLAD I DID. Mainly, it was a way for me to meet someone before wandering into GRL as a complete unknown, a comforting safety measure. So, I met L. who walked right up to me at baggage claim and wrapped me in a hug like we were long lost pals. We quickly hit it off chatting books, authors, and I don’t know what all randomness — but she is amazing and was the confidence boost I needed that I’d fit right in.
We did UBER from the airport — it was another first for me! It worked out great. Our driver was all about pointing out sites and suggesting BBQ joints. We may have broken him with our answer when he asked why we were in town…we basically gave him a full unabridged rundown of GRL and what it means. Surprisingly, he was full of good questions, and I think L. and I won the prize for most interesting passengers of the day (and possibly week, month, or ever).
Later in the bar area, chillin’ with a beer and burger and other GRL folks along with L. I had the pleasure to meet several other veteran attendees along with author CODY KENNEDY. Everyone was an absolute delight in this casual setting, and I felt immediately welcomed into the fold.
On my way to my room for a quick nap before an evening out I spotted author EDMOND MANNING! Now see…Edmond and I have been emailing a little here and there over the last year, mainly me gushing over the Lost and Founds series, him…humoring me, I think? But I’d recently told him I’d be at GRL so he could prepare himself. I think I played it cool? I did walk right up to him and say: Hi, I’m Katie, the super-sleuth reader who’s been emailing you my theories. His eyes got big, his mouth dropped open, he kinda took a step back but then he opened his arms wide and asked if he could come in for a hug. OF COURSE, I SAID YES! All in all, I think I played it cool. I mean…he asked if he could buy me a drink — and I’m really kicking myself in the ass for declining his invitation in order to take a nap. A NAP, for chrissake. But GOD I was exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open. STILL!!! We caught up a few more times (read: I possibly stalked) over the week, and he was amazingly gracious.
THEN later that night I tagged along with a pack of GRL-ers (including my new pal L. and a BUNCH of other folks I could run the alphabet on M., J., S., A., S., AND MORE) to local hot-spot Missy B’s for a Drag Show (those ladies deserve the caps). Our bunch also included authors ETHAN DAY and DIANNA WADSWORTH (and possibly A FEW MORE) who were also super friendly and a laugh riot.
I was good, didn’t drink too much, and helped to ensure via my new favorite app Uber, that a bunch of us got back to the hotel safe and sound.
I did stick around the lobby and chit-chat in a pod of about eight folks that included authors BRANDON WITT, RHYS FORD and CHRISTIAN BAINES. Brandon wanted food, the bar kitchen was closed, and room service would deliver to the lobby but couldn’t because the server didn’t show up that night and they wouldn’t do pick-up because whatever. He debated ordering a pizza or just going to bed. (I don’t remember what happened but his debate went on a while as the rest of us chatted international politics other things high-brow — then I went to bed so I don’t know if Brandon ever got fed. Though I saw him the next day so fortunately starvation was not as imminent as he believed.) Also, Brandon’s sleeve of tats is TO DIE FOR.
Thursday was purple shirt day for SPIRIT DAY to show support for LGBTQ youth and I’m pretty sure every person attending GRL wore purple. Also, I want to note that in addition to my purple shirt, I sported purple hair all week — purple is my favorite color, yo. It was a fantastic site walking through the hotel, outside the hotel, all over the place and being able to readily spot my people.
I sat in on a reading of Edmond Manning (not bolding/capping because that would just get weird with the number of times I’d need to do that), and ETHAN DAY, and ANNA ZABO that was immensely enjoyable. I’ve read the book Edmond read from, but it was incredible to hear it in his voice with his inflections. Also, gotta say, I was SUPER excited about ETHAN & ANNA because from what they read, there’s some serious goodness headed our way.
For lunch, I escaped the hotel compound with my new friend P. and traversed the skywalk bridge over to the Train Station – God that building is gorgeous! We were headed for a BBQ restaurant another block or so over and had to wend our way through halls, and rooms, and train museum stuff which was wicked cool to another skywalk before getting outside and spotting our destination: local favorite Jack Stack Barbecue. P and I enjoyed a fantastic lunch only made better by spicy Bloody Marys.
Then I walked thru the supporting author signing and met author LYSSA DERING who was super sweet and seemed to know who I was when I introduced myself. Then I flounced right up to author AVON GALE told her Hi!, I’m Katie, I tend to give you shit on Twitter. (Alas, I forgot to mention the bad bird puns I’d launched at her mere weeks ago.) I pointed out my avatar button, and she popped out of her chair to give me a hug and sign her book BREAKAWAY for me. YAY! I’d hoped to catch up with both these lovelies for a drink and/or a gab at a later time but it was madness all around, and I only caught glimpses. NEXT TIME and the drinks are ON ME!
I walked around and introduced myself to a number of other supporting authors (ahem, some I’d never heard of). I asked about their books, asked where I should start reading, etc…. I got some GREAT titles to add to my TBR along with a few I’m excited about that are FAR outside of my comfort zone. WATCH OUT!
This was dress-up-if-you-wanna Grease Movie/Sing-Along Nite. I did get dressed up, made a quick appearance, and grabbed a drink. But I didn’t exactly feel like staying and sitting through a movie, though I heard everyone had a great time. I did stick around long enough to learn that GRL 2017 will be in DENVER. I am soooooo there for that.
I escaped to my room to de-50-tize myself, grabbed my laptop and kindle and headed to the hotel lobby to work on some book reviews. I swear, the energy there with authors all tapping away on their keyboards was one of the most creatively inspiring environments I’d ever found myself; I could almost taste it. So, I sat there, all nerdy like, soaking it up and tapping away on my own laptop amidst some seriously creative genius.
I had a late solo dinner (late, as in 10:45) at the bar, one last beer, then called it a night.
TO BE CONTINUED…The best is yet to come!