A Sudden Intake of Breath

I was part of the Shore Leave contingent that attended Balticon over Memorial Day weekend. We weren’t expecting to sell many memberships – Balticon has more of a literary tilt versus Shore Leave’s leaning toward TV and Movies – but there is some crossover between the two sets of attendees plus the opportunity for networking.
Melissa brought along some old program books and other materials so people could get an idea of what the convention was like. She also brought some T-shirts from previous years as giveaways to anyone who registered that weekend.
By noon on Saturday although we hadn’t sold any memberships, we did talk to a number of people, at least a few of whom were considering attending. Somewhere along the line I borrowed an idea from a friend and started offering a free convention membership to anyone who would buy a T-shirt for $60. Nobody took me up on it, but it was a great ice-breaker and allowed me to get a little way out of my shell.
In the early afternoon, a small group was walking past our table when one of the guys stopped and pointed out to one of the girls that Dean Haglund (evidently one of her favorites) would be at Shore Leave. That definitely got her interest, but then she noticed who else was on the list.
“OMIGOD! They have Claudia Christian!”
Heads were already turning when I jumped to my feet and cried, “That’s the reaction we’re looking for!”
It turned out Michelle had never been to Shore Leave before, so we quickly explained what the event was like and that it would be in the same hotel during the second weekend in July. In the end, she declared that she wanted to attend but had to wait until payday before registering.
In the meantime, she’d been eyeing the stack of old T-shirts and asked if she could have one of the shirts from a few years earlier when Bruce Boxleitner had been a guest. Without meaning to, she’d done a great job of drawing attention to our table; we couldn’t have planned anything better. Melissa and I quickly agreed that this was a no-brainer and helped her find one in her size.
As I handed her the shirt, I laughed and said, “Now you know, there’s a condition to this. You have to come back every hour and have that same reaction to our poster.”
An hour later, she came by and did it again!