What an amazing weekend I had. In fact amazing is quite the understatement. I have to confess I did have concerns as the morning prior to my departure I discover that the location changed. No longer was it to be held at the Palace Station but at the Stratosphere. Now bear in mind that many folks were traveling from distant parts. A quick phone call resulted in my money back from the Palace and within ten minutes a new reservation was made. I will state this from the outset. Wrath James White did a stellar job of pulling it together and saving his convention after some dirty tricks were played on him. I always knew Wrath was a gentleman- but when he had his back to the wall, and all seemed lost, he (and his lovely better half) managed to save the weekend. And in many ways I suspect it improved it. The Stratosphere stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park for us.
Okay….The drive up was exhilarating in the rented little sports car (thanks sweetheart!) and the check in was smooth as silk. Now, those who read my report last year know that I found myself in a dire situation that night and ended up in the seediest part of town. (for that blog click here).
The first night was spent carousing my usual haunts. We are not talking the glitzy new Multi trillion dollar hotels and casinos here- no I am on about O’Sheas (with its fabulous beer pong and dollar frozen Baileys shots), Slots O fun (with cheap beer and the best foot long hot dogs on the planet for mere chump change) and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaretville. Okay I admit, not the cheapest bar on the strip- but certainly one of the most entertaining to people watch.
Next morning we roll into the convention’s registration to be greeted by Wrath. I spy Gord Rollo, John Paliasano and a few other old friends in the process. I shall be forgetting some names as I go here…Some might be deliberate to avoid embarrassing you- so please do not be offended.
Then more mingling and meeting old friends (and making some new ones began) John Skipp, Cody Goodfellow, Gene O’Neil, Hal Bodner, R.J. Cavender, Mercedes M. Yardley, Bill Gagliani and numerous others.
This was not the largest convention I have ever been to. But it certainly was the most intimate. Everyone felt like extended family.
That evening things picked up. I was fortunate to be in the crowd for a Q & A with the guests of honor. That is when I first encountered Brian Lumley. After a highly entertaining hour and discovering how everyone broke into the business, I decided as the guests ambled away to approach Mr. Lumley. Those who have been unfortunate top meet me know that I am not known for my shyness. But, I found myself tongue tied. However luck was on my side as that event slid into the mass book signing which had a bar. I heard myself saying “Can I buy you a drink sir.” Now being from the Northern part of England he naturally said yes. Half an hour later I found myself attempting to sell my latest book sat next to Brian (as he now insisted I called him) on a five top round table. Unbelievable. But here is the kicker he asked for one of my books- and asked me to sign it for him. That was one of those perfect moments that life rarely serves out. We ended up chatting, and drinking for about ninety minutes or so. He was so gracious and offered some wonderful advice.
To be continued….