Well, I have returned from Houston and ApolloCon. I have to say it turned out to be one of the best and most enjoyable cons I have attended. Many things went right.
Last Wednesday I was beginning to get worried. The web page was very out of date, and no programming had been posted. I was starting to wonder whether it had fallen apart at the last minute. I planned to rent a car for the trip (my 'town car' is a 1982 Chevrolet Celebrity, so I always rent a car when I travel outside the immediate area) and I was reluctant to schedule the rental if the con was going to fizzle.
It seems now that there were some problems, but they were specific to the web page, and everything otherwise was on track. I received my itinerary late Wednesday and it was reassuring. As it happened I couldn't leave Mount Pleasant early enough to make my first panel at 6 p.m. Friday, but otherwise I made all my assignments.
Another good thing was the rental itself, I was upgraded to a Chrysler 200, a very nice and new car. I left Mount Pleasant Friday afternoon and after checking into my motel (to save money, I did not stay at the con hotel) arrived at the con in plenty of time for my 10 p.m. panel.
Normally, you would think a 10 p.m. panel would struggle for attendance, but the panel on "Zombies, Werewolves and Vampires (Oh, My!) had at least 30 people. I was the moderator, and all the panelists made it, including Derly Ramirez, Gabrielle Faust, Julia Mandala and O.M. Grey.
The large and attentive audience seemed to motivate the panelists, and what ensued was one of the most interesting panels I have ever seen. The panelists were all at their very best, and fed off the audience's enthusiasm. I even made that observation, that everyone seemed to be putting out their best effort. The enjoyment and enthusiasm seemed to be contagious.
By 11 p.m. everyone had had a very good evening. We all - panelists and audience members -left very satisfied.
It was a very good start to the con for me, and a great ending of the first day for many people.
I attended some of the room parties, and also met and visited with old chums Jayme Blaschke and John DeNardo. Jayme Blaschke has always spoken well of ApolloCon, and it was in part due to his testimony that I attended for the first time last year. Then, ironically, he couldn't attend last year due to family commitments. But he made it this year.
I also met Guest Editor Ann Vandermeer Friday night, for the first time in person. We have communicated a number of times over the years, but this was the first time we were able to "shake and howdy". We met and chatted a number of times over the weekend.
I was in bed by about 2 p.m. ready for my first full day at the con.