My Friends in HD

Last week my wife and I went on vacation and part of our week off was attending Fandrew Con. Now having a convention named after you is exciting enough, but this was my chance to meet Susan, Kait and Lauralynn. That was the real excitement of this con.

I’d been getting to know these ladies for the past year through their blogs and IM, but surprisingly was still not ready to meet them. It wasn’t nerves. When I stepped out of the rental car, the realization hit that my friends were right there in front of me . . . for real.  So rather than say “Hi” in a chat window, I got to give my friends a hug. These were glorious hugs and they came with smiles.

After the hellos, we took the fun into Susan’s place and because I was still adjusting to talking to faces rather than avatars, I missed this:

Which was set up to be the first thing I saw walking in. Oops.

Next up was the unveiling of the Fandrew Con Cookies! Boy, do my Fandrews know me. They were made with M&Ms that had “Fandrew Con” inscribed on each one. Unfortunately the inscription didn’t survive baking in the oven, but even if they did, they wouldn’t have survived the acid in my stomach. Many cookies ended up there. Check out the coolness:

So, I’m at my convention with good friends and cookies. Can’t get any better, right?

Enter Susan’s daughter.

She’s seven and has so much energy, it could be turned into an alternative fuel source. I got a tour of her room, her gallery of artwork and before the end of my visit, she declared me her best friend. All that and she gave me some valuable advice: “Hugs warm the heart.” She then gave me one to prove it and she was right.

I also got to meet Susan’s husband and even though we didn’t get much time to talk, the fun for me was seeing how he and Susan interacted. They’re a great couple and being high school sweethearts, it’s awesome to see the greatness still going.

By day two of Fandrew Con, most of my shyness had worn off and I was more comfortable talking with everyone. Unfortunately, Lauralynn had to go home the night before, so not much talking. It was still enough time to see how awesome she was. Next time I’ll make sure she can’t leave for a few days.

We chatted for the whole day and many of the topics had nothing to do with writing. Things got intense when Star Wars came up, prompting Kait to stop what she was doing to make sure we all knew which three movies were superior. Now when I read an impassioned post or tweet, I’ll totally be able to picture it.

As I predicted, Kait and my wife had lots in common which gave me a chance to have some one on ones with Susan. Among other similarities we share, we tend to get more chatty one on one. This lead to a fantastic brainstorming session for her next book. We naturally think in character arc so it was fun tossing ideas back and forth. It was even more fun to see Susan’s reaction when she heard an idea she liked.

So, this was just a snapshot of the awesome of Fandrew Con. It’s something I want to do again and often. I guess you could say meeting them was like reading a book where the author paints the picture using all five senses. Virtually, I’m limited, but in real life I can hear my friends talk, see them smile and give them a hug or a hearty handshake. It’d be a little weird to start smelling or tasting them, but hey, still using more senses. Win. And sure, with tech like Skpe and a phone, I could experience these things, but for me, it doesn’t replace real life interaction.

It’s been a while since I’ve made a friend that I could physically hang out with and Fandrew Con reminded me how important that is. At this point I’m friends with enough people that just about anywhere I go in the US or abroad, I’ll know a local. I’d definitely like for us to meet.

Anyone else ever get the opportunity to meet a social media friend for real? How did it go? Did you get a cookie with your name on it?

9 comments on “My Friends in HD

  1. Wow, I have read Susan’s and Kait’s accounts of Fandrewcon and you all seem to agree on what a great time it was. It must be great to meet people face to face, especially after getting to know them so well online.

    I have never met a social media friend. Most of my contacts are in the States, so I doubt I ever will, but the thought of it is nice.

  2. I remember the first time I met Susan. She met me in the town where I live, and then we went to meet Kait at a halfway point. I felt like I really got to know Susan on the way down. Then there was Kait. Susan and Kait were so different, but both were wonderful. I got to meet Susan another time after that. When Susan invited me to Fandrew Con, I was so excited! I was not only going to get to see Susan and Kait again, but I was finally going to meet you! I had so much fun that Saturday. It was just too short. I didn’t get to talk to you as much as I wanted to, but it was great when you, your wife, and I got to experience the fun that was Susan’s daughter! What a precocious child! I wish dinner had been at a restaurant that was quieter so we all could have talked together, but we all forgot about it being football game night. LOL.

    Hopefully, someday, I’ll get to spend more time with you guys. I was really sad on the way home because I felt like I was missing out on so much more fun! You all are the best!

  3. Wow, Andrew! So glad you and the girls had so much fun! I asked Lauralynn about it as soon as she got back. I could tell she really wanted to be able to stay longer. Hopefully you guys can get back together soon.

    It’s great when you get to meet up close and personal with people you have become close friends with electronically (as long as they’re not serial killers or anything that is). 😀

    I hope this has helped you want to dig into your book and get it out there so the world can see what you can do! I know you have a story to tell. Stick with these ladies and you’ll have one of the best books out there…just wait and see!

  4. I knew you met Susan and Kait, but Lauralynn too? I’m so jealous, Mr. Mocete! I hope to attend a FANDrew one day. Seriously. Are any of you attending conferences anytime soon? How about DFWcon 2012 in May? Quite a few travelers are coming in for that (Piper Bayard, Donna Newton, Ellie Soderstrom, and I’m working on Amber West and Jen Kirchner). Okay, enough about that…

    I just met social media friend Ellie Soderstrom this weekend and I adore her! I hope to have coffee with her every time I visit my parents. She is gorgeous, adorable, smart and easy/fun to talk to. To add to her appeal, she is generous – she brought me a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing. I can’t wait to read it!

  5. Aww this is awesome! I’m so glad you had a wonderful time. It is indeed wonderful to meet people whom you’ve had such strong digital interactions with. Um, those cookies… they’re freaking awesome! I was hoping to meet some people at Readercon this past summer, but the day job got in the way and I didn’t make it. I’m hoping to catch up with several folks this year and meet a few abroad next. And I second Tiffany’s comments, I’m so jealous you got to meet the totally fab Kait, Susan and Lauralynn!! And seriously… those cookies – gonna have a hard time getting over how incredible they are.

  6. @Alex That’s too bad, but never say never. Who knows where you’ll be down the line.

    @LL I was talking with Kait and Susan about the need for more Fandrew Cons. We will definitely find a way to make it happen. It was a blast.

    @Anya Ha, I was reasonably sure none of them would chop me up. It was fun and went too fast.

    I’m still doing the homework the girls gave me. There’s a lot and it’s a slow process, but I keep learning. Wish I could say when it will produce a book.

    @Tiffany It’d be awesome to meet you.

    Ellie sounds just as sweet in person. That’s so cool you got to meet her.

    Depending on the finances I might go to a con in NY because it’s local, but unfortunately the DFWcon would be too much for me. Sounds like fun. You’ll have to take lots of pictures.

    @Lisa Sounds like you’re gearing up for the Lisa world tour. I hope things work out so you can meet people. If your travels land you in NY, be sure to let me know.

    I miss the cookies too. Now they’ll have to make them for every visit. I’ve been spoiled.

  7. How lovely that you got to meet those folks in person! I totally get the nerves… I feel that way every time I go to the Willamette Writers Conference. I always think I’m going to be the goob who can’t write. Because in a hotel full of 1,000 writers, there can only be one goob who can’t write, and it will be me. 😛 I’m like the Highlander of not being able to write…

    I’ve met some writers online who I would really love to meet in person, but most of them live in the UK! I’d love to visit the UK again someday and meet my editor at Fantasy Faction and a couple of ladies who live in London. Do you think I could write it off as a business expense? 😉

    This is not to say there aren’t writers in the states I would like to meet… There definitely are… Oddly, living in Oregon, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a writer. I think I even read once that Oregon has the highest number of writers per capita of any state… Or close to the highest… We’re an artsy bunch here…

    And now I just want to have a convention named after me… You’ve set a new goal for me!

    • Well, in that room, I know I’m the goob who can’t write. At least not as well as them, but I’m working on that. Good thing they still love me enough to make cookies.

      Whenever you get the chance to meet a social media friend, take it! So worth it.

      I’m glad I could provide you with a new goal.

  8. […] between all that and an impromptu episode during Fandrew Con, I decided to give it another […]

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