The café was already packed. Tif and some of her other friends had already got seats up front (in the back where all the writers and the mic and speakers were). I was lucky enough to be near an empty seat at a table in the back (the front, with the tables, baristas, and PEOPLE WHO WOULDN'T SHUT THE HELL UP), so I sat myself down and waited until the crowd thinned to get something. (The "something" I'd wanted was hot chocolate and a cream puff; due to the reading, steam was out, and they hadn't changed the sign to reflect the lack of cream puffs, so I wound up with iced coffee and a Danish.)
The quiet guy with the amazingly long black hair who's often at the parties wound up in the chair next to me, and we "chatted" a bit (I commented on the relative dearth of inappropriate yay-ing on one of my notecards, and we shared a few amused looks at several points), and that was fun.
It approaches NaNo season, so I made sure to bring notecards and pens with me. I got some outlining for When Lilith Attacks (working title) done while we were waiting for stuff to start up, and then when the first guy up reading was not loud enough to be heard over the chattering in the peanut gallery even with the mic, I got some more done, so my head was immersed in Story. I did not even fully emerge while Seanan read the first chapter of FEED, which is how deep I was in. That was great fun. (When Mira Grant advises you that she will be fully amplified, this is perhaps the time to run screaming.) She was plenty loud enough. More reading authors also need to be theatre-trained and singers.
At the last of Seanan's book parties, she'd talked about an urban fantasy trope that she had been irritated by and decided to consciously avoid in the Toby Daye books. The trope is where there's this couple who are OBVIOUSLY DESTINED TO BE TOGETHER, and they hook up in the first few chapters, but that's not sufficiently dramatic, so they break up, get back together, break up again, ad nauseam. At which point she imitated the fight: "OMG YOU SLEPT WITH HER!" "Yes. She was Lilith, Queen of Fucking Everything In Sight. Your point is?" "YOU SLEPT WITH HER." Naturally, her saying this made things in my head start clicking and whirring, and Raven and Amber* stepped up, with Amber saying, "No, but she really was Lilith..." *groan* Oh, Amber, honey.
* Yeah, so sometimes it's deuced inconvenient to have friends and characters named the same thing. amberfox is my IRL friend. Amber of Amber-and-Raven is from the Cracked Phoenix series, and looks vaguely like smmc with a personality that's a composite of too many wholesomely smutty awesome pagan women for me to actually be able to count them or figure out what element comes from whom.
The third author read poetry, and that was awesome, because they were awesome poems and I could actually hear most of them, as the crowd had both thinned out and piped down.
After the readings were over, there was general social. I spotted handler and waved hello. Tif and party approached, and I realized that ... actually, while they'd already met online and bonded over the horrible horrible customer service and business practices in the late great Clipper card fuckery (at least, I hope it's "late", and that more people haven't wound up basically fucked), perhaps they needed an in-person introduction. If there are things more surreal than saying "Hi, you two already know each other, please meet each other", then I haven't actually done them within the last two hours. I think.
While Tif caught up with some other friends, I heard about Handler's latest fun (homeownership!) and caught him up on the Current State of Delicious. Good times. I have to say that the reaction when you take someone who hasn't heard about all this fuckery, but does know thing 1 about fandom, and tell them that the first version of the new beta Delicious did not allow the '/' character in tags ... oh my god. That reaction is AMAZING.
The café cleared out after the readings were over. When people clear out when it's a crowd like that, enough of them don't bus their tables so that there are cups all over. I grabbed two mugs and put them where they belonged, went back, and picked up the entire contents of another abandoned table: two glasses, a coffee mug, and a nearly-untouched cup of tea complete with bag. The discerning reader may note that this is four vessels plus saucer, and both of the glasses had not-insignificant amounts of liquid remaining within, and Lunatics come standard with two hands. Alan, the owner and chief wrangler of the entire bookstore + café + flying circus operation, intercepted me on my way to the bus bin and took the cups off my hands. He made a comment to the effect of being impressed with my crockery-handling skills, and did I need a job. Was he hiring? I perked right back. Alas, no, but he would keep me in mind. Fun for the whole family!
Eventually Tif and I headed back to her place. We watched Fringe and part of the Formula 1 race. I was intermittently incoherent because a few things had just clicked like changing gears in a manual transmission car without using the clutch, and I was waiting for the engine to get to the right speed again so I could change into the next gear.
This year's book is Raven and Amber backstory, which means about a decade into the "past" of the continuity.
Last year's book was actually Star's book, but I was telling it from Connie's perspective, which is why things did not go so well after a certain point. (Connie has a part of the story! But Star's story is from Star's perspective. There is too much telling otherwise.)
Raven's past and Star's present have a lot of alarming parallels.
OH GOD PLEH PLEH PLEH LILITH PLEH PLEH.
So after dinner I headed off to BART, but unfortunately I'd waited a little too long to leave what with how slowly I was walking on account of heavy shoes and having burned out my endurance earlier, and it had stopped running by the time I got there. So I took the 14 Mission home, and we saw how that worked out already. (The trip downhill from the bus stop there to the BART parking lot is getting shorter and shorter, though.)
Oh, god, my characters. My chaaaracters.
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