From my cramped observation spot in the Dealers’ Room, a Dalek rolled by while announcing in its static-mechanical voice, “Doc, doc, exterminate!!” Behind the Dalek walked a woman with a remote control in hand, eager to drive the crowds out of the way. Rolling behind her, a masked lady rode on a scooter that had been transformed into a red dragon. On my right stood a row of magical staves and a table offering boob/cleavage ornaments…you get the picture. On my left side danced Mr. Sinister in a hand-crafted steel suit of plate-mail. For the right number of dollars, he’d forge a custom suit of armor for you. His partner, Tracy, wore a knight’s helm complete with nose-guard, and carried a wooden buckler on each arm.
These are my people. Yes, dorks. Don’t bully them, these are my readers.
For a fun and exhaustingly long weekend, I worked side by side with four other ‘local’ authors representing the Northwest Independent Writers’ Association. Lee French, Angela Korra’ti, Connie J. Jasperson, and Madison Keller were the other authors working our table. Each of them has a story to tell, and a voice to be heard.
A giant benefit to being a member of NIWA is that we all chip in a small percentage of the booth cost to have our work shown, and hopefully have our books sold at conventions. Our team this year worked very well together despite the tiny space we had in which to work.
But that’s enough talk about books. No, not really.
I saw George RR Martin, but he didn’t recognize me. I re-met Cat Rambo, but she didn’t remember me. (It is a good thing too—last time I met her I was a word-stumbling idiot.) At one point at NorwesCon, I had the opportunity to give a signed copy of The Wrong Way Down to Steven Barnes, who I’d met twenty years ago through mutual friends in Southern California. He’d been a big influence on my decision to become an author, and it was very cool to come full circle.
Because I was responsible for the NIWA booth, I didn’t leave the dealers’ room too often. I trusted my partners with impunity. Realizing that if someone was interested in one of my stories, I was best suited to answer all their questions, I never strayed for long.
However, in cruising around the room, I met a leatherworker who fashioned belts, tricornes, and several steam-punk necessities. He had a leather hat that held three ½ oz potion bottles. I bought one such hat and filled my bottles with Bushmills—what else would I put in my vials? Now I can smuggle booze into movies, concerts, police stations, churches, hospitals…anywhere!!
I also found an armor smith who made scale-mail bikinis and chain-mail dice bags for gamers. Sadly, I did not sell enough books to buy either. I wouldn’t look so good in a scale-mail bikini, but my wife would rock it like a Valkyrie. She doesn’t know this dream of mine, but seriously, what self-respecting woman doesn’t want to rock the bed like a Norse goddess? Don’t answer that, I wouldn’t date that girl anyway.
Next up is WorldCon in Spokane. NIWA will be joining up with Steampunk storyteller Jeffrey Cook and his team of notorious Seattle authors. It is going to be a beautiful thing. Come see us, I might even share some of my smuggled booze with you.