1) Being on a panel with Jay Lake. Okay, it was the Google books settlement panel, so I didn't know as much about the main thrust of the topic as the other panelists, but still, I got to be on a panel with Jay Lake! I mean, when you look "class act" up in the dictionary, they have his picture. -)
2) Watching John Picacio's presentation on how he creates book covers. In a previous life, I used to work in visual arts, and this presentation brought back some memories at the same time it showed me how much everything changed. John uses so many tools in his work, some traditional and some hi-tech; it was fascinating. Plus, his covers are beautiful!
3) Reconnecting with other writers. My "usual suspects" for this con includes a whole gang of (mostly) writers I generally see only at WFC, including John Eccker, Brad Beaulieu, Brenda Carre, (here's where I lose the last names) Lori, Naiomi, Dee, and Susan (got to meet Susan and Lori's husbands this time, too!). I can also count on seeing Carol Berg, too, although she's sometimes at Wordlcon or other conventions, as is scottedelman.
4) Meeting people from around the world. It's great that people come to WFC from around the world. It really puts the W in WFC. That's how I met Rani Graff; this year Graff Publishing also sent editor and translator Gili Bar-Hillel Semo, so I got to meet her, too. And thanks to scottedelman, we also met Australian author (and one of this year's WFC judges) Jenny Blackford and her husband Russell.
5) Watching Kij Johnson win the best short story award for "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss." I loved that story, and I was disappointed when it didn't win a Hugo, so it was great to see it win at WFC. Go Kij Johnson!
6) Staying at the Fairmont. This was a fantastic hotel for this con. Our room was great, and they had space for all the programming. Even the elevator service was up to it, which is practically unheard of for a con. The con suite and most of the parties were on the 20th floor, and I never had a long wait.
7) Tweeting the con and seeing other people's tweets! The use of a hashtag (#wfc2009) made it easy to see what other folks had to say about what was going on, pretty much in real time. Plus, the Con Reporter site run by webmasters Kevin Standlee and Cheryl Morgan had tons of info. (Bonus: You get to see Kevin and Cheryl in person at WFC!)
8) Con serendipity. Year ago, before I got an offer of representation from my agent Susan Gleason, an agent named Ricia Mainhardt had asked to see one of my manuscripts and had given me some encouragement on my writing. I saw her name on the membership list and was looking out for her, but had given up. Guess who sat down at our table at the banquet on Sunday? You guessed it! It was good to see she was still in the biz.
9) Having my husband there. A lot of writers go to cons solo, but I am lucky in that my husband enjoys cons, too. Sometimes he hangs with me, but other times he wanders off on his own. He knows a lot of folks now, and, of course, there's always new beer to try. Having him there is a lot more fun than being there on my own.
10) Writerly/speculative fiction atmosphere. I love that when you sit down in the lobby, the bar, or at a panel, there's a good chance the person on either side of you is a writer (possibly even someone whose name you might know), an editor, or an agent who works in the field. There's an even better chance that they're someone who loves speculative fiction as much as you do.