An epic five day adventure launched on Wednesday, April 16 as my canine lifeline Marshall and I pulled into Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center with boxes of books and giveaway items. This was Marshall’s first trip to any city bigger than Boise. In fact, he experienced a number of firsts- first ride in an elevator, first stay in a hotel, first visit to a nightclub, and- of course- his first comic book convention. I like to think he did pretty well, although he did not like the Dr. Strange we met in the lobby, but more on that later.
The convention itself started on the 17th with a minor misadventure. My table’s original location- which was okay at unloading the previous day- had been so thoroughly blocked off on both sides, the only way in or out would have been to move the table. With my issues and my tablemates including a dog and a fellow writer who’s been through a lot worse than me, I found the sudden lack of access disconcerting. Thankfully, the convention staff very graciously helped me relocate to a table in a less crowded, more accessible aisle. I’m also thankful to Jeff Balke, who suggested I not settle for an inaccessible table.
My friend Tammy Godfrey arrived with her own books, and that’s when the fun really began. Her books cater to a demographic I have to admit I’ve pretty consistently neglected- the romance fan. Welcome to Jade’s Inn is a paranormal romance for people who think that, as James Marsters wrote in the autograph he gave Tammy, “Edward has no taste.” Tammy also drew from her many years as a veteran and a military wife in writing Combat Boots and Mistletoe, part of the proceeds from which go to Toys for Tots. Thanks to her, I could safely say that our table’s literary selection, with its superheroes, spies, zombies, vampires, military romance, and nonfiction war stories, had something for everybody.
We also provided a variety of giveaway items. Tammy brought book lights. I handed out post cards promoting a variety of comic book creators, cosplayers, and other creative types. Most importantly, of the few hundred wristbands, stickers, and such we had to raise awareness on behalf of POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, I returned with only one.
The wristbands proved especially popular, sported by the likes of Paul Bradford from Ghost Hunters International, Steve Gonsalves, Marina Sirtis, Kelly Hu, Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines (who were also kind enough to sign all my copies of Amazing X-Men), Spencer Douglas (who drew a silly piece inspired by Marshall’s apparent dislike for Dr. Strange), Peter David, Shelby Robertson (from whom I got a beautiful Nightcrawler print), and many more, including the Unstoppable Feet Jensen.
Of course no convention recap is complete without cosplay pictures. Here’s a sample of who came to visit Tammy and me. Some of them even showed support for our books.