Midsouthcon Report

• Let's get the award out of the way: It's an honor just to be nominated. No, seriously. I was in fine, fine company. In fact, the woman sitting next to me had a stellar novella, at least what I could tell from her reading, and I was proud to come in behind her. Her name is Tracy S. Morris, her novella TRANQUILITY appeared in DOUBLE DOG #2 by Yard Dog Press. Go forth and buy.

My dad texted me: "It was fixed. Blow up Memphis again." I laughed out loud. But in all seriousness, A MORE PERFECT UNION is both an extremely sexual book and a violent serial-killer mystery dealing with dark aspects of obsession, sexual hypocrisy and madness. It's not for everyone, particularly the sexuality. A few members of the committee let me know they didn't hate it, and that's enough for me.

And by losing, I did not have to arm-wrestle Selina Rosen. I may be nuts, but I'm not fuckin' crazy.

• I love hotels. I always sleep well, stretching out on clean sheets that someone else washed and made up without me having to do anything. Happiness is using two towels when you get out of the shower - one for your hair and one for your body. Hotels rock.

The Holiday Inn on Democrat, however, is getting a letter from me again this year. I sincerely doubt that Midsouthcon is the only convention they have every year, with a large number of people checking in at roughly the same time. This is the second year in a row I have been forced to stand in a line that stretches to Spain, then told I have to stand in another line that stretches to Tibet. I don't mind waiting a few minutes, and I would only mind a bit if if I had to wait in a fairly lengthy line. I DO mind being forced to stand in line TWICE. Every year. Also, there was mold in the shower. AGAIN.

It's too bad, because this is a really great hotel, attractive, reasonably priced with nice rooms and plenty of amenities. They just need a real kick in the ass in terms of service.

• Chocolate martinis taste very good and intoxicate well. They do not, however, sit well in my stomach. Odd, considering how much chocolate and alcohol I consume (separately) at cons.

• Carlin and Renee Stuart ran a great Party Where the Guests Go To Hide, a.k.a. the Chocolate Martini Party. There is always a Party Where the Guests Go to Hide, and I've often found that's the best party at the show. Terrific hosts and friendly folks. And I'm not just saying that because they bought my book.

• My reading went very well. Thanks to the shills, as well as the strangers who wandered in. I read "Sisyphus," because it's the best advertisement for SETTING SUNS. Then I read "Gauntlet," which is a difficult read and being basically a long action scene, I wasn't sure how well it would read. Responses were positive, so I'll practice it a few more times before the next con.

Then I realized I had fifteen minutes left. The lovely Sabrina Hunt sprang a surprise on me - she requested I read "the demon bear." Yikes! So I read "Jesus Loves Me," and came in just in time. Writing "Jeeeeeesus looooooves meeee" looks nicely creepy. Saying it out loud? A hell of a lot harder. Reports were positive, however, and hopefully they weren't just being nice.

And, of course, I served Dove dark chocolates. I believe in bribery.

• I met a fine gentleman who has practiced the art of knot-tying since he was ten years old. He was an artist in the show and demonstrated his work at the con. He is a member of the International Guild of Knot-Tyers - yes, there really is such a thing, and it's often popular with older seamen who grew up in the old Navy learning intricate knots none of us will ever understand.

This gentleman wound a lovely cuff bracelet on my wrist at the Chocolate Martini party. He showed me how to make the knots, and I lost track after the first two turns, considering how long it took me to learn to tie my shoes as a youngster. His "knots" are more like intricate weaves, weaving a pattern without loom or needle, just his own fingers. It was fascinating to watch.

He recently got into knot-tying with metal wire. He is able to create an entire cuff bracelet out of a double strand of silver wire, and solder it only once. He can make full chain mail that's really knot-mail, light and comfortable, all simply "tied" together.

His name is Loren Damewood. His web site is www.golden-knots.com. Go forth and... look, at least, if you can't afford to buy. He let me keep the cotton bracelet. He doesn't know it, but he is SO going to be in a story someday.

• Speaking of parties, the Hypericon Party was happening, folks. But then, we knew those folks can throw down. Fred and Stephania Grimm were, as always, charming hosts who sat and chatted with me for... what was it, HOURS? People were flowing in and out, and hopefully many of them will realize what a great time Hypericon is and will hie themselves to Nashville in June. I'm looking forward to it!

• Sold nine books in hand sales, everything I was carrying with me. The five in the dealer's room, alas, did not sell. But then I did wait until Saturday to approach a bookseller about it. Dumb me. Next time, find booksellers on Friday. At any rate, I sold enough books to make the trip more than worth it, and maybe those folks will read it and like it and tell others about it.

• I think all cons should do autographs the way Midsouthcon does. Instead of scattering autograph sessions throughout the weekend, forcing you to miss some of them and run about like a chicken with its head blown off by a rock-salt shotgun, Midsouthcon sets an hour in which we all set up shop for autographs. Yes, most of them were there to see David Weber, but we got some pity shoppers, and at least two of my sales were impulse buys from people waiting to see Weber. It's a lot less bruising to the ego than, say, being paired with Ben Bova at Archon and watching the line that stretches to Iraq while the only folks waiting to see me are my relatives. It's time-efficient and lets us set up shop for an hour. Pretty please?

• Special thanks to Tim Gatewood of the Darrell Awards committee; to Fred and Stephania Grimm; to Carlin and Renee Stuart; to Mike Kingsley; to fellow panelists Glen Cook, Selina Rosen, Rickey Mallory (Rickey, were we stapled together on the panels or what?), Lee Killough, Annie Windsor, Haley Elizabeth Garwood, Alan Rodgers, and anyone else I forgot.

• To whoever the guy was who greeted me, "Hey, sexy," as I walked through a party: I apologize for laughing in your face. Way uncool. And to the nice guy who offered me his jacket when the room got icy cold from the open window - thank you, that was very nice of you and I forgot to say it in the hubbub. They closed the window anyway, so it didn't matter. I have such bad manners.

• A thank-you and big hug to David and Kori Tyler, for being terrific hosts, and for having adorable spawn. It was great to see Carla Jones, Andy Winemiller, Jon Flanigan, Patrick Stubblefield (sans his wife, whom I now believe to be IMAGINARY until I get to meet this woman), and Jesse Morris. Hopefully it will not be another year before I wander back into town.

I also find it hilarious that almost every one of the above had presents for my son. He made out like a bandit. You can thank the Tylers for the Battlestar Galactica: Season One recaps that will wend their way to you this summer - they bought me the DVDs!!!

• May I just say that Angelia Sparrow and her daughter are TERRIFIC roomies. It was practically a slumber party, complete with carb-fest junk food. Fred hit up Angelia for Hypericon, so let's all go pressure her to join us! It'll be a blast.

Angelia read "Cake Under the Mistletoe," her Darrell-finalist short story easily described as "gay werewolves at Christmas." It's available at Torquere Press. Go forth and buy. C'mon, it's only two bucks, and from the reading, it's worth far more. I reiterated my belief that Angelia needs to write for EC but yesterday.

• Finally: I need to be more careful what I say on this journal. I mentioned that I was looking forward to picking up some Corky's barbecue while in town. Sure enough, David and I had a great lunch on Thursday. Mmm, barbecue. He kindly bought me two bottles of sauce to take back home. Then Angelia shows up at the room with a GALLON JUG of Corky's sauce.

I am now the proud possessor of a metric fuckton of barbecue sauce. I have to buy a grill. You twerps haul your asses up to St. Louis and we'll have ourselves a nice cookout. As it seems I'll be barbecuing.... until the next time I go to Memphis.


  1. Anonymous10:02 PM


    Thank you for your gracious comments, both about the results of the Darrell Awards and about Midsouthcon itself. As you readily admit, your story is not for everyone. Some folks said your story had too much sex and not enough plot, to which I reply, there is NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH SEX !! (grins)

    Seriously, you were up against some stiff competition and you may have suffered from sequel-itis (your story being judged as less original because "it's been done before" -- in your own earlier story).

    I am not sure how much a "metric fuckton" of BBQ sauce would be (ILOL!), but it does sound about right for anyone foolish enough to let folks know that they want such before coming to Memphis, where the BBQ joints are thicker than fleas on a junkyard dog.
    -- Tim Gatewood, memphissf@cs.com

  2. Anonymous6:40 AM

    I'm trying to write for EC, I promise. I just keep writing the kind of characters who show up for dinner not with flowers, but with the corpse of their lover's enemy as a gift.

    It was a good con, and I enjoyed rooming with you. Let me survive training, and we'll talk about doing it for Hypericon.


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