Dawn Chartier who took such good care of me from the get-go - I truly wouldn't have made it there without her, and huge thanks to the entire conference team for such a pleasant event on all counts. The lovely and talented Kerri Nelson also has a great rundown on her blog.
Here's what was great about the Fantasy on the Bayou: Um. New Orleans, for starters. New Orleans is one of my "magic special places", much like London, a place where the spirits of the city open their arms to me and say "welcome home". I'm going to set a novel there, and have several ideas percolating. It's an inspiring and gorgeous city, a dreamland for a lil' Goth girl like me.
The con: I was SO impressed by the level of programming, there were so many interesting and impressive offerings that the only problem I found was not being able to be in two places at once. I tried to juggle a bit of writing research (I'm going to set a future project there), beignet eating (a crime not to), and catching up with friends amidst wanting to soak up as much conference programming as possible. I enjoyed everything, from a valuable Editor / Agent panel to Terry Spear's discussion of Conflict, to keynote guest Maggie Shayne just being flat out amazing, down-to-earth, talented and kind, to Ursula Whistler explaining the science behind the physical effects of attraction - FASCINATING and brilliantly presented. I wish I could have seen everyone's presentations, but darn that inability to be in two places at once.
I had the joy of presenting Steampunk / Gaslight Fantasy 101 and my Direct Your Book: Theatrical Techniques to a Blockbuster Novel workshops, and as always, presenting and workshopping are some of my favorite parts of being a writer. I get so invigorated by panels and by sharing with and learning from others. I also really appreciated some quality time with the wonderful agents and editors the conference brought in. What wonderful company.
Our ghost / vampire tour ROCKED, we had an amazing tour guide (also a writer) and saw some seriously spine-tingling sights. And as I walked beneath the gaslight in my Neo-Victorian regalia, again, it was magic and I was home.
I adored being able to catch up with some beloved authors who I just never see enough of (*poke poke* Angie, Amanda, Maggie) and we managed to "haunt" a couple of New Orleans famous establishments (and they haunted us). I had the best Absinthe of my life in Pirate's Alley and the next night local brew and local ghosts (seriously, major ghost action) at Lafitte's Blacksmith shop, oldest continually operating bar in the country. (1720).
And the book-signing was an additional blast, I sold lots of copies of DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul and talked up the sequel coming this November from Sourcebooks, THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART. More creepy Gothic goodness with heartfelt characters coming your way soon!
Needless to say, I didn't really want to leave my home away from home, New Orleans, but I was consoled by the fact I'll be back in August for Authors After Dark! Yay!
So kudos, FF and P Board and Conference Committee, for being lovely and charming and making me feel just as at home as New Orleans makes me feel.
Oh, and PS. A Highlight:
So imagine, dear reader, I am walking at dusk along Jackson Square, dressed in a long black velvet coat with capped sleeves and corseting on each side, tall black boots, black corset, my black raven choker and black roses pinning up my hair, all beneath the beautiful gas lit sconces of the French Quarter. I pass a gaggle of teenagers. One elbows another, another claps hands over their mouth, another says as I pass: "Ohmygod. That was a LEGIT vampire!"