June 29th, 2005

Free at last, free at last...!

The Stoker weekend is over.

To my tremendous relief, it came off flawlessly. Really - there was only one odd happening all weekend, but no conflicts, no complaints, no guests who didn't show up, no problems with the hotel...I'm still stunned at how well it all went. Just for the record: I owe 1) a TREMENDOUS debt of gratitude to my corps of volunteers who performed with tireless efficiency and grace; and 2) to all my guests, some of whom came from as far as San Diego and Northern California.

Here are a few moments that really made the weekend for me:

- Clive Barker telling me about the young man, Justin, whom he'd brought to the dinner; Justin was a soldier on leave from Iraq who'd been corresponding with Clive for several years, and Clive wanted to treat him to the Stoker Awards (Justin looked a little awestruck!);

- The two prominent female authors who came up to me after the dinner, when Clive dedicated his award for Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War to his husband David, and blurted out, "I didn't know Clive was married to a man!" I really had to bite my tongue on that one...

- Gary Braunbeck's very moving reading of "We Now Pause for Station Identification";

- Ferrying Chuck Palahniuk and Nancy Etchemendy from Dark Delicacies to the Burbank Hilton, and asking the two Short Fiction nominees if they wanted to just duke it out right there in the alley behind Dark Delicacies.

- Accepting the trophies for my friends Ellen Datlow (for Anthology) and Tom Piccirilli (Alternative Forms), and especially reading Tom's...uh...well, extraordinary acceptance speech.

And now...onto Lisa's writing career again. Nephilim beckons. I heed the call.