The bad first news: I had been wanting to re-establish contact with several old friends. I called and left phone messages, texts, and sent FB PMs, etc., hoping to do a day-trip down to Norwescon with at least one of them, but not one of them even responded, so on Thursday and Friday I travelled alone.

I had a horrible time with the "WallyPark", who quoted me $12.95 upon entry and tried to charge me $19.75 on the way out; I am not very polite when I am lied to - I go it cut down to $15.50, but only after a lot of fuss and wasted time.

On Thursday, I arrived at Norwescon 37 early; most of the people already there were standing around, waiting for their hotel rooms to be made available. I spent a delightful lunch with Carol Ann Zebold, talking about old times, her daughter (a ballroom dance instructor), the success of my books, and her recent trip to Mexico. The dealer's room wasn't open, and there were no panels yet, so so we hung around talking with Thom Walls, another old friend that goes back to the days of Starbase 7, discussing everything from dancing to ConCom politics (it was not complimentary!).

Afterwards, since there were tables in the main lobby whose people hadn't arrived, I took over the empty Realm of Chivalry table and set out my books, displaybook, cards, and fliers. Got a lot of attention, talked to a lot of people, and made a paperback sale, plus promises of several sales to come, including Kindle sales.

Fandom has certainly changed since the early days; little fan-groups seem to dominate, and outrageous costuming is far more elaborate, popular, and fantastic - gone are the days when people saw my original-series StarTrek uniform as 'impressive'. A lot of the costuming doesn't seem to be SF or fantasy, just insanely good, but there are still a few young girls wearing mail-bikinis, so I won't complain.

On Saturday I managed to join a couple of ladies in the bar while they ate; they had bought my first book and were anxious to read it. We had a great time and some indepth conversations; a lot of fun!

The Comic Critic, Mark Monlux (formerly Trenor the Lost), bought and had me sign my books (I did the same for him when his book came out!). We discussed writing and marketing books. Mark and I go way back in the SCA, and he has promised to draw a cartoon critique of The VIKINGS! Trilogy when we are done; I can't wait to see it! And as I stopped to say 'good-bye' (as I was headed out the door), I found that he was already reading it.

Left early; Friday night was 'Casanova' at the Eagles Club in Lake City. Casanova is our favorite local 2-piece bands, a husband and wife who play great music and can both sing well; we dance to them often, and they play a lot of our favorite dance music (not just 'oldies').

Also: sold 2 set of books at the dance, including one that I autographed to "Exalted Ruler Ben", which I later learned was his real title in the Elks club .... and I thought that the SCA had some weird titles!

Saturday was a blast; I talked with dozens of old friends I'd hadn't seen in decades, and rekindled several old friendships that I'd thought would never return. Many didn't know about my books, and I proudly told them about my numerous reviews - all 5-stars. This included Tinker, Gannon, Herbie, Roweena, and Sineidin, just to name a few. Also met some new friends, mostly other writers, and got posed some interesting questions:

While telling one man that my SCA fighting experience helped my combat descriptions, he asked me: "How do other writers get fighting wrong?" This explanation went on for some time; many writers just mention that there was a fight and tell who won, not describing terrain, lighting, weapon-types, fighting-styles, body-shapes, mind-sets, etc... all of which affect how every fighter wins a fight, and the differences between duels and fighting on a crowded battlefield. Most wars are described from the viewpoint of the king on the hill, watching his troops march forward; the dust of battle never momentarily blinds them, forcing them to hide (behind their shield) from unseen arrows.

A woman asked me: "Why write about Vikings?". This prompted another brief speech on Norse history, how good weather caused a population explosion, how the invention of the keel gave them a great advantage, and how they discovered a largely-undefended border consisting of the western coast of Europe. "I have always been amazed how a sudden influx of power changes people," I said. "When an entire civilization is suddenly empowered, the result is the Viking Age."

I am eternally grateful to several people, including two of my oldest friends in Aquaterra, Renee and Sherri Morris, who let me share their table in the main hall to display my books - I promise that I will make it to a Realm of Chivalry event soon! Also, to John and Karen Myers, who actually came dressed as (and chose the names of) characters from The VIKINGS! Trilogy (Karl and Eloise!)! I felt greatly honored!!!

The highlight of my con happened in the Hospitality Room: I was complimenting an attractive young girl on her 'Goblin-King' costume (from the movie 'Labyrinth'). She informed me that she also had a costume from the dance-scenes of the movie, and we got to talking about ballroom dancing, which I do every week. Her enthusiasm for learning dance was so strong that I gave her my card and told her to email me; I would send her links to the best local dances and instructors.

Her eyes scanned my card and widened, and she looked shocked: "I read your book!" she exclaimed, and she lavished praise upon me, saying that she loved DeathQuest and could not wait to read the other two. Later I got to present her with my advertisements and show her the other two books, and we took several photos together. I hope that she emails me; I want to stay in touch ... and offer her directions on how to get back into ballroom dancing.

Another highlight was seeing Michael Moorcock - in my opinion one of the founders (gods) of modern fantasy. I was reading Elric, the Corum series, and The Dancers at the End of Time as part of my earliest readings; I owe this Father of Fantasy for much of my love of reading. I wish that I could have talked with him, but like many, I didn't know he was going to be here.

Why was Michael Moorcock there? It turns out that Michael Moorcock was on a book tour and was supposed to be at Elliott Bay Books, doing a reading and signing books, but someone blew it; Elliott Bay Books didn't return his calls, never got back to him on times, dates, etc... and so Michael Moorcock gave up on them and came to Norwescon - THANK YOU ELLIOTT BAY BOOKS!

For me, the only bad part of Saturday was the dance; the DJ did his job: he played the music that kept the dancefloor full and rocking, but it was mostly not what I call dance music - much was too fast even for the hustle, and some songs had nothing but a weird, almost-unheard melody hidden by a droning base-beat. No a bad dance, but not my style ... give me some old Frank Sinatra at least once during every dance.

All in all, #37 was a great Norwescon! And next year, Norwescon 38's guests include George R R Martin and Boris Vallejo; it should be incredible!

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