Friday, August 31, 2012

My First Day at Chicon

Getting to the Hotel

Having lived in Chicago I didn't think much about taking the train and finding my own way to the hotel, but I quickly realized lugging a bag full of books across seven city blocks was not the best idea I ever had. I arrived at the Hyatt sunburned and sweating and stood in lines for some time. Teresa Frohock of Miserere fame arrived and together we went over an overwhelming amount of program information while the hotel went from full to packed. At last room keys became available and there was somewhere to hide from the crowds.

After a few hours my memories of walking under the hot sun faded to pleasant and I decided to do it again, taking a turn around the city looking for Treasure Island (a grocery store), and some vaguely healthy snacks. I dragged T. Frohock along with me, and luckily she loves walking circles in cities and has an amiable nature, because "I know about where it is" is a far cry from "I can take you right to it."

If you haven't met Teresa Frohock this is what you might not know: she is wicked smart and hilariously funny.


Courtney Schafer (The Whitefire Crossing) arrived with her brother Matt and friend Karen and I'm glad to have met all of them. Courtney is like a tiny ball of intense energy. Now I understand why she is in charge of things. Naturally the conversation turned to writing and the publishing biz. We talked about editing a book to its bones, working with schedules, and character-driven versus plot-driven stories.

While standing around in the hotel entrance (not very politely, I realize in retrospect), we were approached by Anne Lyle (The Alchemist of Souls) who is not in the least bit shy and will be doing 10,000 panels from what I can tell. From there we progressed to some actual seats and then, in an unexpected bit of luck, Courtney introduced us to Carol Berg who is a warm and engaging person. She talked to us about her own first Worldcon while I stood there like a teenager, not sure what to do with my hands. I mean, it was Carol Berg! I have every one of her books and you should, too.

We ended in the bar talking about biscuits versus cookies and bills versus checks. Anne sang the praises of Scrivener, and it sounds as if I will be an adherent before long myself. Then it was time to return to my little room, which is not quite a peaceful room (any time anybody in the hotel turns on the water, it sounds as if someone is screaming).

Now day 2 begins, and it's time to hit some panels. Hopefully I'll have some intelligent thoughts to post tomorrow morning.