Don’t expect strict continuity here. I’m still way too jetlagged.
Of course, since our zombie walking tour of Indianapolis has overshadowed the rest of Thursday in my jetlagged brain, I neglected to mention that I also accepted the Crimespree Award for Money Shot, didn’t win the Barry, and nearly fell out of my dress.
So, on to Friday. I had a nine am panel, which after our misadventure the night before seemed particularly cruel. “More Noir Than You Are.” I had no idea what I could possibly say about noir that hasn’t been said before and better, but in the end, I think it went extremely well. We had a packed house, and the sharp, funny and always entertaining Victor Gischler kept things lively. Donna did a fantastic write up of our panel (so I don’t have to) and made me sound like I actually knew what I was talking about. (Must have been the foot massage.) It was also a real pleasure to meet my fellow panelist Charlie Newton. He’s a genuinely fascinating character and I can’t wait to read his novel Calumet City (next on the TBR pile.) I wish I’d gotten more of a chance to hang with him.
After that, I was off the leash. No more responsibilities. I celebrated my freedom by indulging in another miraculous one-on-one lunch, this time with Reed Farrel Coleman. It’s such a rare treat to be able to sneak away from the b-con crowds for a meal with less than 47 people and I’d already gotten away with it once. Of course, I’d pay for my presumption later that night…
I managed to hit Megan’s panel “The Dark Side of the Fair Sex” and met some new kids on the block, including Guthrie stablemate John Rector and fellow vintage shoe whore Carolina Bertrand. I hung in the bar and caught up with old friends, avoiding all the publisher parties and being generally lazy and unmotivated until the dreaded dinner hour rolled around.
Why is going out to eat so damn complicated at conventions? It’s like there’s some form of inescapable particle physics that clusters everyone together at the atomic level, making it impossible to get away from the hotel with less than nine other people. At least two people you meant to include end up getting left behind and the one person you actually wanted to have dinner with ends up at the opposite end of six pushed-together tables while you end up sandwiched between someone you were hoping to avoid and a well-meaning but socially challenged fan who’s already had seventeen beers on an empty stomach.
That night I managed to get sucked into TWO consecutive group dinners, both at the same mediocre chain restaurant, like some weird, culinary version of Groundhog Day. I didn’t actually manage to get anything to eat until nearly 10 pm. Fortunately, I wound up with Sean Chercover on my end of the table, who was still relatively sober, hygienically inoffensive and, as always, great company.