Wiscon Day One: Governor’s Club and Stuff

As usual, most of Day One was spent in travel from Iowa to Wisconsin. This year, Dan, Lisa, and I were joined by my friend Yolanda, who traveled up from Texas for the convention. When we arrived at the hotel, we hunted down Yolanda, registered for the convention, and headed for lunch.

But, before lunch, let’s talk about the Governor’s Club. This year, we three had decided to stay at the Governor’s Club because we’d never done it. I had heard that the floors were lined with gold, and that you received a personal assistant during the time of your stay. Imagine my disappointment when the hallway was carpeted like usual.

Still, if you are a curious attendee, and you wonder if this option is for you, well, I’m going to give you the skinny.

First of all, it’s much more expensive: $111 for a double, versus $183 for a double. Now, you do get a free breakfast, free hor d’ouvres, free dessert, and free booze. Also, you can visit the Governor’s Club lounge all day for soda, coffee, and the occasional snack.

From a purely fiscal viewpoint, do I eat and drink $72 dollars worth of extra amenities a day? Nope. Maybe on a hungry or boozy day I could pull off $30. So, you’re really paying for around $40 extra.

Are there any other reasons, then, to pay the extra? At this point, the rooms are nicer, but that is changing as the rest of the hotel remodels. I approve of the bathroom showers, and the Bath and Body shop complimentary soaps (one of my favorite scenes is the fresh grass after rain scent). Also, you get chocolates at night.

It is reputed that the elite stay at the Club, and you will encounter more writers, agents and so on upstairs. I found this to not be true. I found that upstairs, just like downstairs, is a nice mix of people to hang out with, both fans and pros. I had just as many good conversations in the hotel bar as I did in the Governor’s Club. I’ll admit that I probably wouldn’t have had a nice conversation with Ellen Klages about her writing in a journal if I’d seen her doing it across a crowded restaurant. There were groups of writers hanging out and being social during happy hour talking, but that happened a lot downstairs too.

The view of the Capitol and the view of the Lake from the Upper Floors is very pretty, so there’s that.

I’m gonna say that the elitism myth is busted, and that the only thing that’s happening when you stay upstairs is you are paying for complimentary treats which you may or may not imbibe, and a bit nicer of a room.

There. Now you know the rest of the story. Oh, and the floors? They are made of gold under the carpet. I just know this. Dan, Lisa, and I, being old people now, liked some of the comforts. We’ll be doing it again next year, although we all like rooming together as well, so we’ll see if we stay. Only two to a room at the Governors Club…


Digression aside, the rest of day one marched forward. A pleasant and traditional lunch at Noodles and Company, and we were off to the races. Yolanda and I hit the Gathering hard. We were gonna get all those stamps so we could get the prizes! And we did. We wrote magazine clip art poetry. If you want me to share mine, let me know, and I’ll post it. It involves Santa. We made awesome fridge magnets. We ate cookies, looked at clothes, hunted galleys, and released our childlike spirits, almost so much that I forgot that I had a reading to get to over at Michelangelo’s.

Since Yo was on task, however, we made it over there. Tiffany Trent read from The Unnaturalists, coming out soon (August!), Franny Billingsley read from Chime, and Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer read from their short story, soon to be published in Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells. It was awesome to hear two of my friends read–both Tiffany and Caroline were great.

A quick dinner at Brocach’s Pub and then opening ceremonies, which this year was mostly announcements and Broadway tunes, and then some party hopping. Alas, no karaoke this year. Julia Rios and Catherine Lundoff hosted the Outer Alliance party, and I picked up each of their latest offerings. I got my live journal sticker, and I wandered about.

I hit the Taboo reading. Charlie Jane Anders read from her Nebula nominated story. Fantastic. I’m hunting that down. Vylar Kaftan and Jennifer Pelland also read. Jennifer’s work disturbed me. So I went out and bought her book. And I went to bed. Wouldn’t want to totally kill yourself on Day One. That could wait until Day Two.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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