Fun (And Horror) Was Had at Fandom Fest

My cool undead cameo
So last weekend I was speaking at Fandom Fest in Louisville, KY with fellow author pals James R. Tuck, Delilah S. Dawson, and book reviewer Carol Malcolm. Delilah and I drove over together, and I swear that seven-hour trip took about an hour. I have no idea where the time went. She must have superpowers. I might never take another long car trip without her again. It was my first time at this convention, and I had a blast (the return trip was a nightmare, but I'll get to that in a minute).

The convention started out with a quest for brains. My very first panel was on the zombie apocalypse, a subject I just can't get enough of. I chatted with my fellow panelists and guests about the different types of zombies, why zombies scare us so, and what draws zombie writers to zombie fiction. Serious discussions about zombies. How cool is that?

Me and John Scalzi
There was an author meet and greet that night, and I got to hang with some amazing writers. Most notably, John Scalzi (I'm a fan), Kaylana Price (who shares my love of color), Jim C. Hines (who is a funny guy and writes about goblins and princess who kick butt), and Gail Z Martin, (whose first book I bought after hearing her talk about it, along with soooo many other books). It's a little hard not to go all fangirl in a crowd like that but I managed.

Saturday was a blur of fun, with panels and authors and guests and great discussions about books and writing. And shopping of course. Where else can you find an undead cameo?

Me & Amber Evans
Sunday started off well with some shop talk about agents, and I got a ukulele lesson from John Scalzi during my book signing (two chords, but apparently you can play a U2 song with just that), and got to hang with fellow YA author Amber Evans. Then we were off. A bigger carload on the return trip, as James and Carol joined us for the ride back.

And I'm so glad they did.

We left Louisville around 3pm, had a yummy lunch, bought some fireworks from a roadside gorilla, and puttered happily down the road. Until 8:15. Then we came to a halt.

And waited.

And waited.

And, you got it, waited.

The highway was shut down, though we had no idea why at first. Carol volunteered to venture into the 105 degree temperature to see if she could find out what was going on. I think the oven-like conditions made the rest of us decide if we were there much longer, we were going to eat Carol. (Carol was not amused and tried to save herself with snacks when she got back. We gave her a reprieve)

Me, Delilah, & Carol making the best of being stuck on I-65

I was just about to brave the median and turn around when traffic started moving again.

And then stopped.


And we waited.


By then the median was full of trees and we were on an overpass, so there's was no way we were turning around now.

Just after midnight (yes, we were on that highway for four hours) the police diverted us off the highway and onto a small, two-lane road in the middle of nowhere. Did I mention we had only 41 miles of gas left at this point?

Naturally we hit the first has station we found, but so did everyone else who'd been diverted.

It reminded me of my hurricane days growing up in Florida. (Delilah compared it to the zombie apocalypse) No gas. No food on the shelves. No toilet paper in the bathrooms (thanks goodness for that box of tissues we had in the car). We pushed onward, praying my GPS was taking us to a station with gas.

Luckily, we found gas and snacks and set out again, this time with James driving. (After nine hours I couldn't take it anymore)

About an hour later James asked, "Is anyone hungry? Should we try to find a McDonald's or something that's still open?"

From the back seat we heard Delilah's quivering, desperate voice, "French friiiieeesss..."

Delilah Dawson & Kaylana Price
That did it. We HAD to have French fries. The world would end WITHOUT French fries. The only thing that would possibly SUSTAIN us was French fires. It was almost 1am and the odds of finding an open restaurant were slim, let along one that serves French fries.

But we had a quest. And fantasy writers can do a lot with a quest.

We found a truck stop Wendy's that was still open. We did a little time traveling there, and they were sure it was 12:15, even though our watches said 1:15. There was talk of crossing over into a central time zone, but we were too hungry to care. Food revitalized us and we continued on.

That's when the rain hit.

Thunder. Lightning. Sideways hail.

James and Delilah swear they saw bright lights and possibly exploding trees, the early stages of an alien invasion, but I was napping and can't confirm this.

We made it back to Georgia, I dropped everyone off, and stumbled into my own home around 5am. The cats were happy to see me, the hubby even more so. I was just glad to be home.

It's fitting that a weekend at a science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention should end with a horror story.

I'd totally do it again, too.

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