When last I blogged here, I was about to embark on my first trip away from home that did not involve a hospital stay in over two years. Complicating matters for my nerves was that I had to make my way to the airport with all of the bags on my own as Jon can't get off work until his usual time. Our flight was to leave a little over an hour after that. No pressure! I had the bags and we had boarding passes before leaving home. Jon carried nothing save for his ID and money and the pass. The theory was that he should be able to easily pass through security and make it before the boarding calls began. It was a sound theory. That didn't stop me from being wound up in knots about the entire prospect. And that's on top of my epic anxiety over flying.
But there was nothing that could be done. I decided that I would be at the airport well before the suggested two hours prior to boarding in case dealing the the luggage turned out to be more of an ordeal than anticipated. That meant I had to get my drink on way in advance of the flight. For my newer readers, I have to fly snockered [Hmmm, spellcheck doesn't have the word snockered. How pedestrian]. I have the intense kind of flying anxiety that makes me want to open doors while the plane is in the air. The anxiety is so intense that I am usually really sober by the time I land. Champagne was the drink of choice prior to the cab ride. It wasn't expensive, but it was nice. I suppose sparkling wine is more accurate. This stuff was not from France. Still, it was tasty. I was feeling good during the cab ride. My cabbie remembered me from our days in Playa del Rey. It seems our complex had to stop being condos and go back to rentals because of the downturn. And, I think, because they were evil. That put me in an even better mood.
The baggage thing was easy. I could check them at the curb as I had the boarding pass already. Security was a breeze compared to what we've been through traveling overseas. I was at my gate in minutes. My plan was to have a bite to eat and then more wine. I carefully researched my choices on Yelp.com the night before. I chose the eatery with the most consistent positive reviews. I don't know where these people were eating, but those were the worst nachos I've ever had. I was so annoyed that I didn't stay there to drink at the bar. I went to the spot closest to my gate. I also made some good nachos when I came home. I did not want those to be the last ones I remembered. I still had an hour and a half before Jon arrived. I whiled away the time practicing my Hiragana , the easiest part of written Japanese, while arguing with a mechanic with Air Alaska about the odds of the 49ers getting back to the super Bowl this year. I actually teamed up with a New York Giants fan to debate the man. Oh, and I was still drinking wine. And Jon was on time!
An hour an a half later, Jon and I had arrived at the San Francisco Airport Marriott and Yaoi-con. It is an manga and anime convention primarily though novelists are welcome. Since writing A Solder's Choice, I have been wanting to go to this convention. It is a place where I could find a huge audience for my homoerotica. There was a great deal of networking potential in this trip. Beyond that, we were going to a really great hotel near a city I really like. No matter what went one, I was going to have a nice bit of R&R – perhaps even some room service. Jon and I had a lot to talk about regarding our projects. This would be a great setting away from our every day routines. We were not disappointed. We had all of that and more! We also had travel mascots, Mr. Sizuyki-san, the rubber duckies (from Junjou Romantica, my favorite yaoi anime), the happy Gorn from Craig and Oscar Wilde (who loves all things writing and naughty) to watch over our room. We also had a wine in a small cube. A brilliant invention!
From here on I will be posting photos from the costumes at the convention. One will depict the character being re-created. The other will be the very cool cosplay version. And check out a great video of the costumes and the location HERE.
There are many perceptions that the public has about genre conventions – the costumes, the weirdness. We've all seen in on the news when there is a Comic-con going on. And while that is true, it is no stranger than wearing a foam rubber wedge of cheese on one's head or painting your body and screaming through a football game half naked in the freezing cold. There are even more preconceptions about attendees of conventions like Yaoi-con or slash fiction friendly conventions like Media West or Basecon. Those are that they are mostly socially awkward women who don't have 'real lives.' I can argue about the skewed view of those perceptions, but that is for another day. Yaoi-Con did not even match those. I'm fairly sure that almost half of the attendees were men – and not necessarily gay men. Many seemed to be partnered with female attendees. There was a wide age range from 18 to my age and beyond. They were a very racially mixed group as well. And they there highly social for the most part. There was that one very attractive though sad Legolas clone. I'm not sure what his story was. I went to the convention with networking in mind, but I had also managed to open my yap about a controversial topic and ended up with a panel. While that is an excellent way to introduce myself to a group of writers and potential fans, it could have also been a complete disaster caused by my own arrogance. How did that turn out? You'll have to go to my blog Why Can't No Mean No Panel to find out.IIt also has the only photos of me in this shindig!
Beyond the panel, I had fangirl business. I wanted to meet the people behind two of my favorite web comics. I discovered both of them while I was undergoing chemo and couldn't sleep. I had never read a web comic before, and I didn't think I'd take to them at all. I read both from stem to stern in one sitting. One is Tea House, an adult drama with a gorgeous Art Nouveau design that is based on the lives of people who work in a brothel. The other is the starkly beautiful and compelling Starfighter, I actually spoke about the incredible skill of Starfighter's writing in my panel. I will go more deeply into my attraction to both series in my Yaoi @ Sybpress blog this week. For now, I will say that I met all of the wonderful women behind these works and it was a wonderful experience.
When we weren't in the hotel enjoying the food and the ambiance, we were in lovely nearby Burlingame. It was a really lovely little town that very much reminded us of the quaint but wealthy towns of the Main Line near Philadelphia . We had some great diner food. Sadly, there wasn't time to try one of the six Japanese restaurants there. And Jon and I had some very long discussions about all of the projects on the blocks. I can't say we came to any new decisions, but it was good to at least bring some of the things that had been troubling me for a time to light.
It was a very good weekend though the travel and the walking was hard on me. It took some time to recover, but I'm so relieved that I can travel! And we will be going to Yaoi Con next year – in Los Angeles! I regret not going back to the beautiful Bay Area, but not having to pay air fare means a lot more room service and souvenirs!
Ensnared Volume one is now available as a paperback and ebooks. For details, got to http://sybpressyaoi.com . A Soldier's Destiny is now underway once more. The rest of the projects are in flux. Some things are going on. I'll get into those next time. And, hopefully, I'll have a photo of Craig in Spock ears and a story to go with it.