Saturday, March 29, 2014

Countdown to RainbowCon: Guest Post by Rory Ni Coileain

Can You Get Your Virginity Back?

You sure can. Your convention virginity, anyway. Or so it would appear, based (until recently) on my panic level as Rainbow Con approaches!
My first convention was Minicon – the Minnesota Science Fiction Association Convention – in 1979. I was in utero. Kidding – I was 16. It was definitely memorable. I met my first husband that weekend. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the date at the time (Friday the 13th). I first saw people walking around in costumes in April like it was a totally normal thing to do. And I met my first pro author, Theodore Sturgeon.
Once I’d had the gateway drug, I was primed and ready for the next step, a Star Trek convention in Kansas City to following year. It, too, was memorable. I learned what happens when you go without sleep for longer than 48 hours. (The words “Air Control”, next to a knob on your hotel room wall, become hysterically funny.) I added DeForest Kelley to my list of ST:TOS cast members whom I’ve hugged. (The only ones still missing from that list are James Doohan, whom I will now never get to meet, and William Shatner, whom I’m not quite up for paying $100 for the privilege of meeting.) I also learned how to cry on cue, when either my boyfriend (see Minicon, above) or my friend’s boyfriend accidentally kicked a Klingon security guard in the mouth during a rather vigorous costume contest presentation. (We were kidnapping Grace Lee Whitney, for the record.)
The best year for Minicon was probably 1988, when I got to talk to Diane Duane and Jane Yolen within minutes of each other. Fortunately, I managed to save the hyperventilating and passing out until I was around the corner and out of sight. Kidding, again – I carry oxygen to cons in case of emergencies like these.
And three years ago, I took my son to his first convention. He was a little younger than I’d been at my first, and he loved it – he thought he was off the leash, but what he didn’t realize was that Mom knew the whole staff and the whole staff had Mom’s cell phone number. This has been a fruitful working relationship ever since.
The point of this whole historical sketch has been to illustrate my point – I’m a hoary old convention veteran. (I was going to leave out the “hoary old”, but my son thinks it belongs there. I’m not sure he knew about the whole Mom’s-cell-phone thing until he read that over my shoulder just now.) I’ve done it all – stood in line for autographs, competed in the Masquerade, sat on panels, been the subject of unauthorized art in the art show. (Let’s just say that I appreciated the artist thinking I looked that good naked, but it still came as something of a startlement.)
Yet when it came to getting ready for my first convention as a capital-A Author, all of a sudden I was in a panic. What should I bring? How much of it should I bring? What should I wear? What am I going to do if I run out of books? What should I pick to read? What does a Lady of a Certain Age wear to a nightclub?
Boom! – virgin once more.
Fortunately, thanks to some sage advice from my friends at Rainbow Romance Writers – thank you, Damon and Kate! – and after listening to some of my fellow authors chatting about what they’re expecting, I got a little perspective back. (And it’s only slighty disappointing that I didn’t get my virginity back after all.) I was very surprised, although maybe I shouldn’t have been, to discover how many of the people I’m looking forward to meeting consider themselves introverts. Me, after *ahem* 35 years of convention-going, I have that part down pat, and I can’t wait to put faces to the names I’ve been chatting with online, some of them for years. I’m looking forward to the panels, too, both the ones I’m on and the ones I can sneak away from my table to get to. I have to admit, doing a public reading from my books is going to be a new experience (but in a good way – I used to be a nightclub singer in New York City, getting up and reading my own lovely randy Fae should be a breeze) and a book signing is going to feel weird, given that until now I’ve always been the one queuing up.
It’s not that different, really, from what I grew up with. (To the extent I’m grown up, which is debatable.) Fun panels, dressing up, late night pizza in the con suite, passionate conversations about books. And great people. People who speak my language. This is going to be fun – see you all in Tampa! (And if anyone knows what filksinging is, and feels like doing some, I’ll bet we can find a room…)

(By the way, if you’d like to come celebrate with me – the second novella in the Tales of the Grove, Tempted from the Oak, just released yesterday, from Ellora’s Cave! As of this writing, here’s the link I have -- And the latest will be on my Facebook page, at !)

About Tempted from the Oak

With his blue eyes and heart-melting smile, Gavin could have been made-to-order to entice Tearlach, a lonely tree spirit. But the human has been enticed—stolen from snow-buried Minneapolis to the Scottish Highlands by Tearlach’s darag, the ancient oak tree of which he is the living spirit.

Tearlach is trapped within the darag by the terrible memory of his own death—hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago, but as recent to him as his last heartbeat. And if desire for the handsome human fails to tempt him out, spirit and oak are both doomed.

Gavin is more than willing to be Tearlach’s temptation. But Gavin has a history of his own—a hopeless dream, one impossible relationship after another. Surely a perfect lover, a sensual tree spirit living in the shadow of a holy mountain half a world away, is another unattainable dream. Can he expect Tearlach to trust his heart when he doesn’t trust it himself?

Rory Ni Coileain can be found on Wordpress, Twitter and Facebook!

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