roh morgon

~world fantasy con – part 2

As promised, here’s Part 2 of my 2011 World Fantasy Con adventures:

Saturday – Day 3

One of the events in which I’d hoped to participate was an Author Reading, but the half-hour reading slots were filled by the time I found out about it. However, once the con started, there were a number of cancellations, so I was able to pick up a spot. Since I hadn’t planned on doing a reading, I needed to spend time figuring out what passages to read and practicing to be sure they fit within the allotted 30 minutes.

Which meant I missed most of the morning sessions.

There was one panel session I had no intention of missing, though. It was called ‘Founders of Steampunk,’ and included John Berlyne, K.W. Jeter (he coined the term ’steampunk’), James Blaylock, and Tim Powers.

The panel was awesome. I laughed as former college buddies, Jeter, Blaylock, and Powers recounted the escapades of their younger years and how they carved their own paths outside of the literary norm. They were a kick.

Founders of Steampunk panel at 2011 World Fantasy Convention 

That evening I sat in on a reading by Connie Willis (her session immediately preceded mine). She read from a light-hearted sci-fi piece about a dysfunctional family – it was pretty funny. The room was full, and as her session ended and attendees filed out, I wondered if I was going to be reading to an empty room.

I was prepared for that because I was a late addition. Besides, who knows me anyway, right?

But to my surprise, two women stayed and were soon joined by a third. We chatted for a moment, and I asked them why they were at my session, since I’m an unknown. They said that’s precisely why they were there, and they liked listening to new authors they hadn’t heard of.

I was pleased that they chose my session to sit in on, and I think they enjoyed the excerpts I read from Watcher. They all thanked me, and I thanked them for making sure I didn’t have to read to an empty room!

After the dinner break, I hung out for a little while with Stephanie and Elena, then headed to the art show reception which ran from 8:00pm – 10:00pm. There were poetry readings and more panel sessions that lasted until 11:00pm, and by then the half-dozen or so parties were in full swing.

Publishers use conventions like WFC to host launch parties for their authors, and it was interesting to circulate through the different suites to catch a little bit of everyone’s excitement.

I finally headed to bed around 2:00am (again).

Sunday – Day 4

I didn’t attend any of the Sunday morning panels, preferring to sleep in and get my stuff packed up and out of the room (my checkout was noon).

View from my balcony on the tenth floor

The awards banquet started at 1:00pm, and as I wandered around the room looking for an empty seat, I stopped by the Ace/ROC table. I was told half of the table was open to anyone, and as I debated on taking a chair, I spotted the name tag of one of the folks sitting there smiling at me.

Patricia McKillip.

OMG. She only wrote my favorite fantasy series, The Riddle-Master Trilogy, starring one of my all-time favorite characters named Morgon.

I sat down.

Of course, I had to tell her this and she smiled and nodded her head. I felt very fangirl (though not for the first time at this con!). Her husband, poet David Lunde, sat between us and smiled as we talked – what a doll, and so supportive of her.

Afterwards, they graciously consented to have their picture taken with me.

Patricia and John McKillip

As I was leaving the banquet, I ran into Nancy Holder again and we chatted a bit. She’s so cool!

Nancy Holder

All-in-all I had a great time and met some awesome people. Next year’s World Fantasy Convention will be in Toronto.

I recommend going.

roh morgon @ Thursday, 10 November 2011 1:47 pm
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~world fantasy con – part 1

I recently attended the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego (Oct 27 – 39) and thought I’d share a few of my experiences with you. First of all, I learned the difference between business-oriented conferences (8:00am to 5:00pm) and network-oriented conventions (10:00am to 2:00am+).

Yeah. I prefer conventions – those are my kinda hours!  And the parties… :)  

I also met up with fellow writers and bloggers Stephanie Loree and Elena Sodolow. We ran around the con together off and on, attending some of the same sessions and parties. It was nice to have someone to hang out with. 

Anyhow, here’s what my first couple of days at WFC entailed: 

Thursday – Day 1 

WFC didn’t officially start until 3:00pm on Thursday. I attended several evening sessions, including one called, “How to Survive the Coming Zombie War.” One of the panel members was Nancy Holder, an author I recently met at a Yosemite Romance Writers meeting. Nancy is the co-author of Wicked and author of many novels and book projects set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Saving Grace, Hellboy, and Smallville universes. 

As you might guess from the title of the session, the discussion was lively and we all laughed a lot. 

Friday – Day 2 

One of the more interesting sessions I attended was called, “The Crystal Ceiling.” Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series (aka ‘True Blood’) and Nancy Kilpatrick, horror writer and editor of multiple dark fantasy anthologies, were part of the panel. The topic addressed the bias that still prevails in publishing toward women in everything from pay to promotion dollars. It was a bit shocking to listen to evidence of this archaic attitude in an industry where value should be placed on the written word and not on the gender/race/beliefs of who writes it.

The highlight of the day (well, one of several, actually) was listening to bestselling author Neil Gaiman read selections from his poetry and short stories. His voice is mesmerizing – in fact, he sounds very similar to British actor Alan Rickman (though not quite as deep-voiced), even down to the cadence with which he speaks. He’s like the rock star of literature. Yeah. Wish I had a tenth of his brilliance.

I missed the later session with Neil and the very funny Connie Willis (hopefully someone taped it). Connie has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards (in fact, she may possibly have won more awards than any other sci-fi writer). She was the toastmaster for WFC as well, and kept us entertained any time she was on the stage.

A most amazing thing – to me, anyways – happened Friday afternoon. I had planned to meet with Suzy McKee Charnas (author of one of my favorite vampire stories, The Vampire Tapestry) after her scheduled reading, but the reading ended up being cancelled. I wandered into Neil’s reading, and just as I took a seat, I looked down the row and sitting just a few chairs away was Suzy. Now, you have to understand this was a huge hall, filled with several hundred people. The chances I’d sit in the same row just three seats away from the person I’d most hoped to meet were pretty astronomical.

I’d like to think Fate might’ve had a hand in that. Or maybe it was a couple of vampires from the ether-world stepping in to make sure we met. Either way, it was pretty cool!

After Neil’s reading, Suzy graciously spent the next half-hour talking with me. She offered very helpful advice on the industry and writing in general when I asked her, and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. Writers who’ve spent decades in the publishing trenches are an amazing resource, and she was one of several with whom I was fortunate enough to spend time at this convention.

Friday evening was devoted to the autograph session, a WFC tradition in which everyone can participate – even indie authors like me!

So I unexpectedly had my first book signing event for Watcher! Sure wish I’d known about it in advance…

Fortunately, I’d brought flyers to hand out and a few copies of Watcher with me. I enjoyed talking with the folks who stopped by and did actually sign a few things – flyers, programs, and a copy of my novel a fellow insisted on buying (I wasn’t registered as a vendor and wasn’t allowed to sell any books at the signing – but we managed it anyways). It was pretty cool to sit there with my stuff and my little placard with my name on it. I almost felt like a real author!

I shared my autograph table with writers Sherwood Smith and Diana L. Paxson. Diana’s known for her Westria series and for her collaborations with Marion Zimmer Bradley in the Avalon series and it was awesome to spend time chatting with her.

Sherwood Smith and Diana L. Paxson

At one point I managed to slip away a few times to gather autographs and have pictures taken with a few of my favorite authors in attendance: Suzy McKee Charnas, Steven Erikson, and Neil Gaiman – no pic w/ Neil, though :(   .

Suzy McKee Charnas

Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont

 

When I found Tim Powers at his signing table, I told him that his novel The Stress of Her Regard was one of my favorite vampire stories and that I write vampires as well. We had a few very silly moments when he insisted on getting MY autograph. I, of course, completely blanked out and couldn’t think of what to say when he requested I personalize my autograph, and he kept teasing me which made it only worse. I had trouble keeping a straight face while his wife took our photo together.

It was one of several memorable experiences I had at WFC, and I still chuckle when I think about how my mind went blank when he said, “Now, don’t just write ‘best wishes!’

Tim Powers

The day ended with several parties that went into the wee hours of the night. I finally crawled into bed around 2:00am.

Part 2 tomorrow…

roh morgon @ Monday, 7 November 2011 2:04 pm
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