Midsouthcon Merriment, Pt. 2


David Tyler joined me on Friday morning to lead me out to Whispering Woods, the northern-Mississippi conference center where the show has been held the last two years. Nothing against the place, but it was really too small - particularly in terms of parking - and the amenities just weren't that great. I won't miss it next year, even though its funky layout was designed by Escher.

Jimmy Gillentine was already on site, so he and David helped me unload the books and set up the booth. You know what's wonderful about having an all-male crew of flunkies? They never criticize my decorations or the color of my draperies or the strings of skulls... it's just, "You want it this way? Got it." And they do it. Of course, they kept going "Yes mistress" because they think they're funny. But they also gerryrigged straps to keep the button cases in place on a table that was really too small for my setup, enabling me to sell the buttons that really pay for the table. Bravo, boys.

Once setup was complete, David left us and I checked into the hotel so I could un-gross myself before the dealer's room was to open. I know you're all just dying to know what I wore, and by "all" I mean "Sara Harvey," because I am her paper doll. Sara, my Friday day outfit was a pair of black harem pants that my stepsister gave me, the black string top you gave me (and I want at least two more, where do I get them?) and the black breast-cup shirt you gave me. Plus the zombie-head necklace and big copper deco earrings, and my gypsy hip scarf. See, I can dress myself even when you're not here.

Jimmy had to open the booth, though, because I had brilliantly neglected to check the cash box for a receipt book. I dashed out to find one, and found that Walgreens, PakMail and the copy shop didn't have them. I got directions to the nearest Wal-mart and ran to it, only to find they only had traditional carbon-paper types. Screw it, I thought, and nabbed one (plus some Starbucks) so I could get back to the booth.

I'd like to point out that Jimmy Gillentine is Mister Manly Man, him with his all-black leather-jacket ensemble, kickass and everything, and drinks a double chocolate frappuccino with an extra shot. It reminds me of the time I did an author dinner with Shane Moore, another Manly Man. When the waitress arrived with our bourbon and amaretto, she tried to give him the bourbon. "I'm the bourbon, he's the girly drink," I said. "Hey!" Shane protested.

Jimmy and I held down the fort - selling rather well for a Friday - until Panya and Michael arrived on the heels of Angelia Sparrow and her minion - er, daughter. This freed us to completely change gears and escape... to Jesse's father's wake.

Jesse, of course, is my gentleman friend and Jimmy's best friend. We wanted to pay our respects and support Jesse. I know he was glad to see us. I don't know how Jimmy felt, but I wished I could do something better than simply stand by his side for a few minutes and think good thoughts. I wanted to make it better, and I couldn't. Such is the unfairness of death. Even when it alleviates suffering at the end of a long, happy life, at peace and surrounded by love... it still hurts.

Jimmy and I returned to the show in time for his first panel, which I stepped in to witness after Panya wrenched me into the leather corset. Poor Jimmy. And poor Allan Gilbreath, moderator of the late-night vampire panel. They were stuck with a trio of utter idiots who had gotten cataclysmically smashed and were in the midst of some kind of homosexual panic episode. Every other question was some slurred version of, "Why're all the vampires so fuckin' gaaayyyy?"

I stood it for about five minutes, and then I had to abandon Allan and Jimmy to their fate. You know, you do these cons over and over again and you have good panels and yawner panels, you have fun panels and okay panels, you have lively conversations and sometimes outright debates and then you have the Panel From Hell, crashed by assholes and idiots and you wonder why the hell you do this thing if these are the people you're writing for. Then you remember - it's not for the asshole in the front row muttering about them damn queers. It's for the girl in the back who isn't saying anything, but wants to hear what you have to say.

I fled from there to a panel on voodoo in real life, featuring the lovely Kalila Smith of New Orleans. I asked Ms. Smith about movies that do it right, and of course there are none, and about books... she recommended THE DIVINE HORSEMEN. Which is now on its way to me via eBay. I know my zombies aren't "real" zombies. But I'd like to have a breath of realism in it. Kalila and I had met in Baton Rouge last year, of course, and I was honored that she remembered me from just that one dinner. A lovely lady and very knowledgeable.

Once the panels were done, I discovered that they had closed the VIP greenroom at 10 p.m. I love MSC, but really, guys? We guests need somewhere to hide, drink wine and kibitz until 2 a.m. Next year: I'm doing a room party. When we're in a hotel that allows them. Did I mention the hotel doesn't allow room parties? They made me sign a paper when I checked in. There may have been parties at the show, but I didn't know the doors on which to knock.

So I wandered aimlessly for a while, until I realized I'd outlasted everyone I knew, and I went fwump.


  1. Anonymous7:38 AM

    They... don't allow room parties? Let me guess, this is the reason MSC is moving to a new hotel next year.

    Any news as to where?

  2. I hear a Hilton on I-240, but have no official information.


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