Saturday, October 19, 2013

On the road again: CONtraflow, New Orleans, day 2

Saturday is meant for sleeping, but today it was all about the con.

My first activity, which started at the almost sane hour of 11:00 a.m., found me moderating a panel on law-enforcement and SF/F. My fellow panelists--Diana Rowland, Alistair Kimble, and Griffin Barber--all have extensive law-enforcement experience, more than 30 years of it among them. After I'd plugged the panel the night before, I'd asked different interested audience members what they'd most like to hear from such a panel. The overwhelming consensus was that they'd like to learn how aspects of law enforcement really work, not how most books or movies or TV shows portray them. So, we focused on the real-world stuff and saved the SF/F angles for another day. The small room filled and then kept overfilling, and we ran past the fifty-minute stopping point all the way to the full hour we had the room. I asked questions but otherwise stayed out of it and let the experts talk. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and we all learned at least a little.

From there I headed down the hall one room to catch Publisher Toni's always interesting Baen Traveling Roadshow.  I saw a lot of good art, talked a bit about my books, and enjoyed the show.

I had only an hour available for lunch, so the hotel restaurant seemed like the best option. Unfortunately, the folks at the register there said it was closed and redirected us to the bar. By the time my food came, I had just enough time to eat three bites, pay the bill, and head to the charity auction. Given my weight, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it also wasn't what I wanted at the time.

The auction was a benefit for the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library. Over the next ninety minutes, I auctioned off all forty-four lots, some for as little as a couple of bucks and others for nearly a hundred, and we raised money for a worthy cause.

I chatted with a few friends and then worked for a while in my room.

Next up was the costume contest, at which I was the MC. With twelve entries, two young-fan and ten adult, we had a nice selection of costumes. The packed house gave plenty of applause to the deserving contestants, the judges picked winners, we awarded prizes, and everyone had a good time.

After a short break, a group of folks related to Baen headed to a dinner to which Publisher Toni treated us. We spent several fun hours at Restaurant Cypress, which Zagat's had rated highly, enjoying a tasty meal and a lot of laughter.

More work followed for me, of course.

A very full day.

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