Day 1- The Arrivining

Monday morning, we got up early. GW, Eldest daughter and I piled onto the bus in the dark and were whisked on our way to O’Hare. GW and the kid were going to be staying with some relative she had in the area, so once we dragged ourselves through security we split up. Miraculously, the flight was on time and went perfectly smoothly.

LAX was as I remembered it from the last time I had visited-crowded, grimey and strange. It reminded me of a Futureworld exhibit gone seedy. I kept expecting to see George Jetson sacked out in one of the chairs, looking ragged and complaining about treacherous domestic robots while sneaking sips from a flask. But I found the baggage area eventually and claimed my suitcase. Then the hunt was on for my ride.


I went out the door and wandered for a bit, struggling through the crowds of nicophiliacs and dazed travelers waiting for taxis. Luckily it wasn’t long until I saw the someone carrying a blue sign with ‘Writers of the Future’ on it. Emily was one of the Author Services reps who had the lovely task of tracking down and hauling in wandering contest winners.

She introduced me to Donald Mead, another winner who happened to be on the same flight I was on, but further ahead in the airplanes crumple zone. I also met Meliva, our photographer. I have to say, now, after the fact, I am thrilled with all the pictures she has sent me. (I’m using her pictures for these posts) I brought my camera but barely used it. At the time though, it was weird. I’m not used to someone following me around, taking pictures.

We piled into the van, and drove into Hollywood. At the hotel, we met Joni, the contest coordinator. She was very nice and helped us check in. Turns out Don and I were to be roommates, and so we got our keys and hauled ourselves up to the room.

The hotel was nice- one of those trendy places with cool photos and decorations, but dimly lit and oddly laid out, so you had the feeling you were in an art gallery designed by Clive Barker. But the room was nice, it overlooked the pool, and it had more closest space than my house.

Me and Don chatted, then went out looking for food. We ran into Jordan, another winner, and wandered up and down Hollywood talking and gawking. Food was acquired, and Jordan showed us the Blossom room, where the ceremony was to take place. Other than being chased out by hotel security (large men who would materialize at odd times throughout the week, giving you that hey, how you doin’ look), it was a nice afternoon. I passed out for a little while, then we headed down to the lobby to meet up with everyone else and our workshop instructors down in the lobby.

So here we were, finally, all the winners together. Except not really, as Cheryl, from the UK, wasn’t going to be arriving until 10. But close. And here was K.D. Wentworth and Tim Powers. Real, live authors. Good ones. Who would be teaching us. Very cool.


Jodi broke down our schedule, showed us around the hotel a little and pointed out the Author Services building (which was literally a block from the hotel) where we’d be having our workshop. Then we just hung out and talked. With Tim Powers and K.D. Wentworth. On Hollywood Boulevard. Which was all sorts of weird, but in a good way.

Me and Heather split off for awhile, grabbing dinner at a nearby mall/theatre thing attached to Grauman’s (yeah Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was across the street. That night they were doing the premiere of Halloween II. Did not see Rob Zombie, which was unfortunate. I would have invited him to the book signing.) Then it was back to the hotel, to hang out in the hospitality suite and talk with the other contest winners. Jordan introduced us to the game, Thing, which is played at cons and workshops and other fine geek venues. Finally, things wound down and I wandered off to bed.

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