In a word, AMAZING.
But, allow me to gush a bit anyway.
I had quite a bit of anxiety leading up to this convention, actually.
I've been a part of the m/m community since 2008, and I've made a lot of friends online, but I still didn't know what I was going to find when I met my comminity in real life for the first time. I mean, what if it turned out to be something other than what thought it was? What if it was cliquey and I got left on the outside? What if I met someone I really liked and they turned out to be an asshole?
None of that happened.
What I found was the most welcoming, fun group of people I've ever met in my life. People were even more interesting and kind than they'd seemed online. And it didn't matter where I was or who I was with, because I was always with friends. As Damon said, "This is real."
Something else, too. I've never been around that many people all of whom like what I like. There was no need to explain. And I found myself being more outgoing than I usually am at cons, because there was nothing I had to filter out or set aside.
I made so many wonderful new friends, got to know existing friends better, and learned so many valuable things from authors and readers alike. I can't wait until next year, (and I'm wishing we had more than one gathering a year.)
A few highlights that, for all their glory, still do not do justice to the weekend:
• The cute stripper grinding on me at the Gentleman's Juke Joint. Hellooo Cowboy!
• Talking craft and marketing with the ineffable Tara Lain.
• Hanging with Belinda McBride and Lynn Lorenz in their palatial digs.
• Singing Tom Jones at kareoke.
• Dancing with Brenda.
• Watching the Native American dance performance with Michelle.
• The hilarious mayhem that was the Loose Id Piñata. (We need a bigger stick next time.)
• Katie's theories of the booksigning setup.
• Sharing pet pictures in the limo to Old Town.
• Having bad coffee drinks with Treva Harte and Chrsty Lockhart.
• Readers, readers, readers!