Monday, August 13, 2007

Las Vegas Convention Report

The convention appearance could not have gone better where my presentation was concerned. Many thanks to all of you who prayed me through! There was ZERO nervousness before, during or after the presentation (during the book-signing). I know a good part of that was that I was surrounded by angels – the heavenly kind and the earthbound ones: Alison, Angie, Billie Rae, Lissa, Margot and the stage manager, Barb. I think they were nervous for me because I made such a big deal out of being nervous for months… but now, as a result of this experience, I don’t think I’ll ever be nervous again in front of a crowd. Hard to explain, really. (When Barb told me there were about 4000 fans in the auditorium, I should have dropped dead of a heart attack, but my heart didn’t miss a beat or speed up at all. It was truly a miracle!)

Another thing that made it go as well as it did, I think, is that I had met Alison and Billie Rae the day before and we had visited and talked into the night and all morning about De and Carolyn and about many other things, and it occurred to me that I should simply carry this same casual, engaging ambiance onto the stage – the ambiance of a conversation with friends. It worked like a charm – so Alison and Billie Rae blessed me in a major way by being so easy to talk to, responsive and genuine. I wouldn’t have been able to pull off a “presentation” that morning, and I knew it. So I changed it to a visit – and that made all the difference. I will do that from now on!

The show was running late so I has less time to speak than I had planned (without knowing it) so I wasn’t able to tie up the tail-end of the presentation with a nice little bow the way it was intended – had to throw in a quick tag line and then head to the book-signing table in the dealer’s room. Apparently the amputation didn’t occur to the fans because they applauded loudly and with great energy. They were very responsive in all the right places as I read excerpts from my book, too…

At the book booth, many people came by, and many of them already had my book in hand. All were complimentary and appreciative of the appearance. Those who had already read the book were filled with gratitude for my having written it – which warmed the cockles of my heart in a way you may be able to imagine if you try really hard! One was a policeman from Texas, who said he was glad I inserted a little bit about De’s effect on people (I said De truly reflected the love and grace of God to all he met). He told me that while some near him did the eye-rolling thing, he’s sure all spiritual folks in the audience appreciated that I mentioned it.

The entire weekend was a blast because I spent every moment of it with and among people I care about in a visceral way. Meeting Alison and Billie Rae and being able to spend quality time with them (hours and hours and hours of it) was fabulous. I’m sure we were all trying to cram a month’s worth of communication into two short days – and I think we managed it!

After the presentation I was able to connect with Margot Worthington and her best friend Lissa (now a friend of our little group’s as well), even though I was only able to spend “stolen” time with them, as they had other appearances and presentations they wanted to see and were staying at another hotel. So every time we’d pass each other we’d hug and say, “See you soon!”

The whole gang ended up in Quark’s Bar at the Hilton for dinner Saturday night and that’s when I had a somewhat more substantial visit with Margot and Lissa. The Bar was peopled by Klingons, Andorians and other TREK-inspired humanoids, and a great deal of banter with them ensued. It was great fun. (The evening before Angie Solomon has taken Alison, Billie Rae and me to dinner at a Mexican restaurant at the Hilton. THANK YOU AGAIN, ANGIE! What a surprise and a blessing…)

That evening we decided that even though we wouldn’t shell out $43 for the Mission ride at the Star Trek Experience, we would shell out enough for an ensemble photo on the bridge of Enterprise NCC-1701-D. That’s probably the most camaraderie I had with Margot and Lissa during the weekend, and it was grand.

Alison, Billie Rae, Margot and I were outfitted in Next Gen tunics. Alison was in the Captain’s chair with Billie Rae to her left. To her right was Margot. I stood behind the railing just above where Captain Ali sat. The photo we have as keepsake mementos is just priceless. We all look great in it! If I had a scanner I would slap it in here so that when I talk about these people in my blog you can attach a name to a face!

I also met (finally) Tim Gaskill, Senior Content Editor for many things TREK. We had hoped to spend more time together – perhaps during a meal – but that man was working his tail off and it never came to pass. But it will! Somehow we will “make it so” at a future date. We did get together at my book-signing table long enough for Alison to snap a photo of Tim, Billie Rae and me together. (It was Tim who nabbed the first of two amazing interviews with me. P.S. I take little credit for the wonderfulness of the interviews. Billie Rae simply asked the greatest questions imaginable to get my “remembery” going so that I could spill my guts to her.)

Another fan brought me a three page “fan” letter about how much she enjoyed my book because she didn’t know how else she would be able to contact me. It was a beautiful letter. I gave her my business card so she never worries about how to contact me again. I have adopted her and she’s here to stay. A lovely lady!

And we three Musketeers (Billie Rae, Alison and I) also met other people in search of someone to give them encouragement and hope and glommed onto several of them. With us, the “Pay It Forward” rule applies; “blessed to be a blessing.”

My “chauffeur,” Betty Mosher, of course kept me in stitches on the way from the airport to the convention hotel. On the return trip to the airport, Billie Rae was with us. Betty picked us up early enough that we were able to have lunch with her at the Cheescake Factory (we all behaved and had no dessert, more because we were stuffed with fantastic meals already rather than that we had such great self-control) before she dropped us at the airport. Betty is a talker… joy-filled, animated, fast-paced… and we are good listeners and responders. It was a fun time. Please continue to keep Betty in your prayers as she faces serious health challenges without the benefit of thinking there is a God Who can help…

You may think that once I got on the place winging my way home, the convention was over, but if you do, you’d be wrong! As luck would have it, my two seat mates – a young lady attorney and her brother (Alex T Noble is his name) – had been in Vegas for the convention as had a fellow in the window seat in front of the attorney.

Brother and sister started talking about STAR TREK, so I inquired whether they had been to the convention. They said yes. I asked if they had seen my presentation. They said no, but were big De and Original Series fans and were sorry they missed it.

So guess what? I repeated much of the presentation for them (conversationally) -- and then some -- as we flew from Vegas to Reno for a good hour, where they de-planed with my email and blogspot address inside Alex’s notebook. I expect to hear from Alex soon.

Alex is an aspiring writer. I gave him a few pointers (do not edit as you write or you will cripple yourself – turn your creator loose to have fun and lock up your critic and editor until after you’ve written your adventure or they’ll cripple you), and lots of encouragement. He’s going to send me some of his sci-fi stories to look at. Should be fun! He’s a gracious, lovely young man. His sister is great too but the guy ahead of us hijacked her on some legal questions so she and I didn’t share much conversation, unfortunately… Alex can fill her in on what she missed when we were chatting. And Alex can fill me in on his sister’s name, please!

I didn’t get home until midnight and probably didn’t get to sleep until after 1. Aunt Tod called at 6:30 this morning, which was probably a good thing although it didn’t seem so at the time. I might have overslept if she hadn’t. She wants me to bring her a roll of quarters for the shuttle after work tonight. I also have to be sure the condo looks sensational when I leave for work tomorrow so the broker open house goes well.

Then Wednesday night I drive back to the airport to pick up Bobbie Bobstein so I can go into “convention mode” again and extend this wild, wonderful weekend out two weeks! (Usually the mood after a convention is a bit like post-holiday blues. I’m rescued from that by Bobbie! Whee!)

More happened at the convention than I have detailed here, and as I recall it over the next few days I’ll bring it to you. Right now I’m operating on fumes and need to focus on work, helping Aunt Tod, and getting the finishing touches on my condo for the brokers open tomorrow…

But in a nutshell, I’m very happy with the way the convention appearance turned out and I did get a video of it (from two different angles).

Update: Adam Malin just emailed saying thanks and that he really wants me to find a way to transfer my PowerPoint Presentation to a Mac format “because it’s such a waste not to use it during future appearances!” WAHOO!!! Sounds like Creation has me in its sights for future chats with De’s fans!

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Mark in Texas said...


Glad to hear all went well. I am sure among those angels were De and Carolyn grinning with pride.

Kristine M Smith said...


Thanks for this, Mark! Maybe Adam will send me to a Texas convention and we will meet someday so you can see for yourself how I do -- and so I can collect a hug from you and spend some time, perhaps during a meal time...

God bless you!