Nebula Weekend Day 4 (Sunday): Or, my most embarrassing moment

I didn’t sleep much on Saturday night. I wasn’t home from the Nebula Award banquet until about 10:30pm, and then I spent another hour or so writing up my Nebula Weekend Day 3 post before the cream of the memories had been skimmed away by sleep. That was followed up by another hour of finishing up research I was doing in preparation for an interview on Day 4. It was well after midnight when I got to sleep and it was 6am when the Little Man woke me up. For the first time in a very long time, I woke up feeling utterly exhausted.

I was supposed to have breakfast with Jack McDevitt at 9am. So I left for the hotel at 8am, and I was in the lobby 20 minutes later. I found Jack sitting there as well. “I was just about to call you,” Jack said. At first I thought it might have been to reschedule breakfast, but it turns out, though I wrote down 9am, we were supposed to meet at 8am. I was horrified and apologized to Jack, but he shrugged it off with a smile. And if you are thinking that is the embarrassing moment to which I referred in the title, it is not. Just wait.

Jack had wanted to go to a nearby deli, but it was closed on Sunday morning, so he, Mary Horton and I went to the hotel restaurant. We must have been seated right about 8:30 and I don’t think we finally emerged until after 10am. It was a wonderful breakfast. The three of us talked and talked and talked and I think I pretty much lost myself in it all. We talked about comic books and other books and what got us started in science fiction. The conversation roamed all over the place and it was just so much fun. And, of course, we ate. I was completely captivated and the time just flew by. We finally finished breakfast around 10am. Jack had to head off somewhere and so did I. I thanked Jack and we went our separate ways, he up the elevator and me, down the escalator.

I was halfway down the escalator when I realized I had forgotten to do the interview.

You see, I was supposed to be interviewing Jack, after breakfast, and my exhaustion and my starstruck awe combined to make me completely forget about it. This, after I’d been preparing for weeks. By the time I reached the bottom of the elevator I was somewhat shaken. There was no way I could go find Jack and pull him from whatever he was doing to do the interview. It was embarrassing in the extreme. But I decided to not let it spoil the last few hours of the weekend. I tried my best to put it out of my mind.

Besides, Ken Liu’s Nebula was still weighing down my backpack and I needed to unload it. I found Steven Silver in the hotel lobby, chatting with Adam-Troy and Judi Castro. I’d never met Adam or Judi in person, but Steven waved me over and I sat down to join the conversation. I was able to successfully offload the Nebula to Steven who was going to arrange for it to be shipped to its rightful owner. People came and went as I sat there chatting. Eventually, Adam and Judi were heading up to the restaurant for breakfast and asked if I wanted to join them. Well, I’d already eaten but as anyone who has ever met Adam must know, he’s pretty hilarious, so I went along with them and sat with both of them while the conversation continued. They were both delightful.

After breakfast, dashed out to the front of the hotel to say hello to Michael Sullivan, who had texted me to tell me he was there to have lunch with Joe Haldeman. I then returned to the hotel lobby where I met up with Damien Walters Grintalis. Eventually, Lawrence and Valerie Schoen joined us there, as did Rachel Swirsky and her husband. We all sat around chatting until 1pm, when I decided that it was time for me to head home.

When I got home, the first thing Kelly asked me was, “How was the interview?”

I explained, rather ashamed, what had happened and she asked me the same thing that I imagine everyone else is wondering: “How could you forget the interview?” Well, all I can say is that I did. I was tired, and I was rather starstruck, and perhaps neither of those are particularly good excuses, but that’s the way it happened.

But all is not lost, I was in touch with Jack this morning and confessed my failure to him and we have arranged to do the interview. If nothing else, it makes for a good story.

I had a blast at the Nebula Weekend. I was so much fun getting to hang out with such wonderful, talented people. It was good to see some friends and make new friends. It was particularly nice to meet in person several people whom I’ve gotten to know online. And I must say that I was completely impressed and blown away by the effort that goes into making the weekend run so smoothly. I know there are a lot of people working behind the scenes, but two who I witnessed directly were Bill Lawhorn and Steven H Silver. By the end of the weekend, both of them looked half-dead, but that is because they left nothing on the table. They made the weekend run smoothly for everyone else and we were all lucky to have them working behind the scenes.


  1. If you get a chance to ask Jack McDevitt about how he views working with new writers at workshops, I would love to hear that.

    At Jim Gunn’s workshop at the University of Kansas, Jack was by far my favorite of the authors-in-residence. He was gracious, encouraging and insightful–and made a fan of me for life.


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