Hi, kids.

I kept thinking that I was going to do a giant “here’s what happened at GCLS,” but ultimately, I decided not to. The conference schedule is still available so you can see what panels were offered and who was on them (click HERE). The vendor layout is also available, so you can see where everybody was in the Grand Ballroom, which was the vendor room. I even took photos. You can see those HERE. And you can check out the list of Goldie finalists HERE and then the list of winners HERE.

I will say that the panels I was on included absolutely fab fellow panelists and moderators and I was extremely excited to be on them. I was also one of the awards presenters this year, along with fellow author R.G. Emanuelle. That was a new experience, but I enjoyed it immensely and considered it an honor.

So here, I’ll do a round-up of the crazy that goes into attending a conference. Some of you may remember that I did an earlier post on prepping for one. Well, here’s the bag of controlled chaos that goes into attending a con.

1. Check into hotel. Hopefully you’re able to stay at the conference site hotel, which makes things a lot easier. Lug your bags to your room, and get all the swag n’ crap out of ’em that you brought on the plane with you. In my case, that was bookmarks, postcards, some special doo-dads, and a few office supplies.

2. Go down to vendor room to make sure all your crap arrived if you mailed it to the hotel. Or, if you were lucky like me this last time, you mailed it to a fellow author who lives in the area and she drove it to the hotel. And no, all your crap has NOT arrived because you had to order print copies of your hot-off-the-press release, From the Hat Down at the last freaking minute. It’s Wednesday. Maybe they’ll arrive Thursday. You hope.

Did you get that? From the Hat Down is NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT! 😉

3. Give that fellow author a massive, giant hug and then marvel at the fact that this is the very first time you’ve actually met her in person though you know she’s one of your BFFs and has been for the last eight years. Weird but true.

4. Get your vendor table all set up and sexy. Dance around because you’re totally exhausted and loopy from the flight. Give everybody you see a big hug because why not? Everybody needs a hug now and then. Find the water cooler and chug several plastic cups-full because DAMN you are dehydrated from that flight.

5. Admire the view from the hotel. The mighty Columbia River is RIGHT THERE, people. LOVE. So, too, is the I-5 bridge over it (not so much love) and just east is the Portland Airport (not so much love for the planes flying overhead) but LOVE the river. And Mt. Hood is to the east and it is awesome.

6. Help other vendors set up if they need it. Greet more people. More hugs. More water. Where’s dinner?

7. Scarf down a leftover snack from your backpack that you brought on the plane. I always travel with snacks. More water.

8. Awesome fellow author takes you to the nearby Safeway store where you buy food for the fridge in your room. That’s another LOVE for the fridge. You now have yogurt, fruit, and half-and-half for the not-bad coffee that’s in the room. Oh, and you now have olives. I’m an olive freak. Way stoked to find an olive bar at the store. Oh, and cheese.

9. Awesome fellow author drives you back to the airport to pick up yet another awesome author. You’re so tired you’re punchy as hell and you’re giggling a lot.

10. Back at hotel. Sleep. Sort of. It doesn’t get dark until around 10 PM in Portland.

11. The next day begins the crazy of hanging out at the vendor table, talking to fellow authors and readers, chatting up other vendors, going to sessions as you can (elective) and to the ones you’re scheduled to be part of. You’re ON, people. Meeting and greeting non-stop, fielding requests and questions from several different quarters, grabbing food when you can, and trying to take short breaks as you can. Doesn’t happen often. This continues until you go to your room around 10 PM. Your box of print copies of From the Hat Down arrived that afternoon. You’re relieved.

12. See above. And awesome fellow author brought the box of print copies of From the Hat Down and you’re so stoked and put them out. Today, you’re on 2 back-to-back sessions. The second you have to moderate, and it includes two panelists who ARE NOT ACTUALLY THERE. They are Skyped in via TV screens on the table. You take to calling it your “cyber panel” with your “cyber guests.” Then you do more meet n’ greet, attend a session, squeeze in some food. There’s entertainment that night, but you’re so tired you don’t make it past 11 PM.

13. See number 12. Back-to-back sessions again, but that’s okay. You’ve hit your stride. Able to do that, meet n’ greet, grab a bite, and not break a sweat. Which might be because you’re on autopilot. 😀 Then you have to meet late in the afternoon to prepare for the awards ceremony. You’re a presenter this year, and you don’t want to look like a douchecanoe. You listen carefully, grab dinner, then go and get your “pretties” on for the ceremony.

14. Awards ceremony. Lots of people dressed up and lookin’ great. You’re a little nervous about presenting the award because you’ve not done it before, but you don’t want to tell your fellow presenter that because she’s even more nervous than you are. So you act like you’re fine. You’re not. You’re sweating. Or maybe that’s a hot flash. Who knows? You go up on stage and what do you know, both of you are fine! You do it! WOOOO! WHEW. After that, the dance starts and you tear it up because things are winding down and you feel like you can relax a little. You make it to midnight before dragging yourself up to bed.

15. Last day. Pack up what’s left and make arrangements to get it home (I had to send a box back via USPS — and that’s a story for another day). Then drive over in your rental to your friends’ house and spend the next two days being touristy and acting like you’re on vay-kay. WOOOOO!!!! When you finally fly home, you’re still tired, but it’s okay because it was GREAT seeing everybody and participating in panels and presenting an award. It was freaking GREAT! Writer cons ROCK!

Hope to see you all next year in NEW ORLEANS! Laissez les bons temps rouler! (and no, they don’t actually say it that way in France but New Orleans, friends, is a whole ‘nother story).

Happy Saturday!

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