Starfest 2009: Con report.

Still playing catch-up, but here’s a rundown of our trip to Denver for Starfest 2009.

This was our seventh consecutive visit to this con, which has long since become an annual tradition for Kevin and me.  We hit the road early Thursday morning and arrived in Denver around 4pm. We spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening relaxing after the 9-hour drive. As always seems to be the case, you could already see the initial signs of activity as the con was starting to take over the place. We hung out for a bit with  and a couple of his friends in the hotel bar before deciding to call it an early evening.

Friday

Unlike last year, the weather gods hovering over Denver opted to dump an assload of snow on us this time around. Undeterred by their rancor, we flipped outstretched middle fingers to the sky and set out to the nearby Barnes & Noble for our scheduled book signing. Despite an impressive selection from our backlist as well as the brand-spankin’ new Space Grunts anthology, the weather gods chose to smite us, delivering unto us a grand total of ZERO visitors. We did sign a bunch of books for a couple of the bookstore employees, one of whom is a big fan and who brought with him a big bag containing a second assload of our titles. That accomplished, we slipped and slid our way back to the hotel.

Once there, we began the process of setting up our tables. As they did last year, the con established "Author’s Alley" just outside the dealer’s room. In addition to friend and fellow Starfester Christie Golden and us, also returning this year was local author Julia Phillips. Things kicked off at 6pm Friday night, and stayed hopping from then until closing at 10pm. We exchanged "Howdys!" and such with friends old and new, many of whom stopped by to check out our wares, of which we were quite proud as, between the two of us, Kevin and I had seven titles which were new since last year’s con. 

Saturday

Saturday moved by at near-light speed. We had two panels, the first being the inaugural edition of "Kevin and Dayton’s Bleeding Ear Theater," in which we read a brief doohickey we put together just for the con, and adapted from a thing I’d written a couple of years ago for kicks. Those who attended managed to fake interest throughout the entire hour. The other panel was one I did with authors David Boop and Derek Tyler Attico, as we "launched" the aforementioned Space Grunts anthology for Flying Pen Press. That panel went very well, and interest in the book was pretty good. Derek and David read from their respective stories, but the cold I was harboring was already beginning to have an effect on my voice by this time, so I opted to save everyone that bit of cat-scratching.

Like last year, Kevin and I were judges for the annual costume contest. The winners of last year’s "Best in Show" award defended their title, winning over the crowd with a slew of costumes based on The Chronicles of Narnia. After the contest, it was back to the hotel bar, where we enjoyed a few beers as well as the company of author Julia Phillips and her friend, Lee. With brews in hand, we watched the "Federation Ball" unfold in all its glory. Good times. Good times.

Sunday

Sunday also was busy. The day started with a talent show, for which Kevin acted as emcee and I carried out the duties of one of the judges. For reasons surpassing understanding, one contestant thought that his pretend-drunken ramblings and half-hearted attempts to drop his own pants were entertaining, but we ended up yanking him in short order. I’ve already mentioned the adorable brother and sister singing act in a previous entry, and the winner was a young man who channeled more than a bit of Harry Connick, Jr. as he belted out a solo. The dude had some serious pipes.

Our second panel was our version of the "Pocket Books Preview Show," using info provided to me by editor Margaret Clark. Our info-sharing session included previews of forthcoming releases from the various Star Trek fiction lines as well as other tie-in properties like The 4400, Warcraft and Starcraft, and so on.

Once the  con wound down around 6pm, we packed out our trash and then we, along with Derek Attico, hot-footed it out of the hotel in order to meet  friend and writer Kevin J. Anderson and his lovely wife Rebecca Moesta for dinner. We met at a nearby Indian restaurant, where I proceeded to torture my innards as we enjoyed a relaxing evening to bring the day to a close. After dinner, it was back to the hotel in time to crash the con staff/volunteer after party, as we have a standing invitation to join the festivities. After offering our last rounds of good-byes, it was back to the room and packing for the next day’s trip home.

Starfest 2009 went off in fine fashion in spite of the crappy weather. Once again, we offer our sincere thanks to the Walker family — Stephen, KathE, Steve, and Mike — along with Susan, Kelley, Treecy, Phil, Cynthia, Carol, Judy, Jeremy, Kevin Atkins, David and Debby, and everyone else for taking care of us just like they do every year. We’re already counting the days until Starfest 2010. Bring it on!

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About Dayton Ward

Freelance word pusher. Husband. Dad. Trekkie. Rush fan (the band). Tampa Bay Bucs fan. Observer/derider of human behavior. I know where my towel is.
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