Boy, I haven’t done one of these since . . . Forever. Let’s just agree on Forever, shall we?
So, this is how it went.
We left home, eh, earlyish on February 16, after a fond farewell to the cats, stopped in Augusta to eat breakfast, and motored the slow way down to Brunswick, still arriving early for our train. I dropped Steve and the luggage off at the Visitors Center/Amtrak Station, parked the car and walked back. Had time to complete a Wordle before the train arrived, and we boarded, business class, or as Amtrak likes it: Businessclass.
An uneventful trip until Haverhill, where we switched out of the train onto the bus, which took us the rest of the way in to North Station, which is Greatly Transformed from Former Days. In all the time I have been going through North Station, I have never seen it without some kind of large or middling construction going on.
The construction is done, and it looked very classy, and completely unfamiliar when we debarked.
Happily, our friend was waiting for us, and we started for his car, when it became apparent that this part of the project would go faster if he went to fetch the car and drove it to us, rather than us going to the car.
As a Plan, it seemed Fine, only . . . the Entrance to the
Underworld Parking Garage — was an entrance only.
We waited long enough to become worried for our friend’s safety, whereupon my cell rang. Our friend was trying to find his way back to us, but — Boston Traffic. He was in front of the CVS.
Of all the things in Boston that have changed, the CVS on the corner across from North Station remains steadfast. Steve and I cut through the station to the other side. As I said — a pristine and constructionless place, this new North Station, with electronic turnstiles that will only allow people with the proper barcode to enter OR exit — met our friend, and we were off.
Arriving at the hotel, we unpacked, took a small walk down Summer Street, went back to the hotel for dinner. The hotel was filling up nicely with familiar faces, and we went to bed, anticipating the morrow.
We were unscheduled for the early part of Friday, which gave Steve scope to solve a Unexpected Problem. The posters for Salvage Right and Scout’s Progress hadn’t arrived, and, as a frantic phone call to the publisher established, weren’t going to arrive, having been mailed by the printer to — well, we actually don’t know where the printer mailed the posters. They’re not here, and they weren’t in Boston. Possibly they were sent to Sherman’s in Topsham, the last place we signed, and where posters were needed.
In any case, Steve marshaled Forces, getting the electronic files from Baen, negotiating with the FedEx Business Center in the Westin, which produced posters in record time.
After the rescue was put in train, we crashed the dealer’s room during set-up, and signed books for Sally Kobee, and for Mind’s Eye, and scored our badges and schedules a little after 2. At 4pm, we attended Reading Your Own Work Out Loud, which managed to be interesting, informative, and entertaining.
At 5:30, Steve had his first panel — Building Fandom and Community; and at 8:30, we read a small scene from Salvage Right, to a full room.
Saturday started with the Friends of Liad Breakfast — surprisingly well-attended. We had told the Sauciety people we were coming, but they no longer take reservations, and — well, they set up a table for 8. And then another table for 6, and another table for 6, and, a third table for 6. It was a lovely catch-up time for everyone, and then we were off — Steve to his first panel of the day, Worldbuilding from the Ground Up.
My first panel was at 4:00 — Writing Romance Across Genres, and it was — lively. Yes. The panelists had a great time, and, judging from the laughter, so did the audience.
Then, it was time to go downstairs to the Book Party, where we signed Even More books. Steve, who keeps track of these things, assures me that we signed at least 100 books during the con.
After the Book Party, I was wanted on my last panel of the day, A Muddle of Mad Scientists. Sadly, I had misunderstood the thrust of this panel, so was not as informative, or as entertaining as I (or, let’s be realistic, someone else) might have been. But my co-panelists, and the audience were very well-informed.
Sunday at 11:30 was my last panel, The Shadow of the City, which was interesting and entertaining, and the audience engaged.
Last event was at 1:00 — Lee and Miller kaffeeklatsch, full table, much hilarity.
Soon after, we retired abovestairs to recuperate and pack for our return to Maine, on Monday.
Wherein lies a tale.
All during the convention, we had been breakfasting at Sauciety, as one does. On Sunday morning, our server was one of the several who had assisted in the Friends of Liad breakfast. We made a pleasant breakfast, signed our meals to the room, and departed on our day.
Monday morning, we were greeted by the hostess with wide smiles, placed at a large table in view of the door. Our server was the person from Sunday, who remembered what we had ordered the day before, down to remembering the tea we had used. She was there the second one of us looked up, and anticipated those things we would need. Honestly, I have never been served so well in a restaurant.
Some time during the meal, it occurred to us that Monday was a holiday, and also that we were going to be traveling at lunchtime. We had intended to get a sandwich from the deli on D Street, but it existed to serve the office building it lived it, which would be closed, see holiday.
We asked our helpful server if the restaurant made sandwiches to go, explaining our problem.
Sauciety does not normally make ham and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat to go. But she made us two sandwiches, threw in a large container of fruit, and was somewhat anxious that this would not be enough to sustain us on our journey. We assured her that we would do well, and thanked her for her care.
Soon after, it was time to leave. The bellman hailed us a cab and we were off through nearly deserted Boston streets, to the door of North Station, where we showed the turnstiles our barcodes and were shortly on the train home to Maine.
Wrapping up: Great con, terrific to see everyone. Hope to do it again, next year.