Back from ConClave!

I had a great time at ConClave over the weekend, participating in four panels, attending a few others, and in general chatting with old friends and new. I neglected to take much in the way of pictures this time around, so words shall have to suffice.

On Friday I was on two back-to-back panels — “The Death of an American Author” (a panel on the impact e-books and e-publishing has had and will have on readers, writers, and the industry) with Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jim C. Hines and Doug Lugthart (a.k.a. L. Warren Douglas), and “Self-Promotion and Networking” (a fairly self-explanatory title) with Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Jim C. Hines. They were the first panels I’d done in fourteen years (since the one panel I did at a con in Virginia in support of the late, lamented Mythic Heroes project of the 90’s, which has nothing to do with the current RPG game of the same name), and happily, thanks to both my preparation before the panels and the welcoming atmosphere created by my co-panelists, I managed to speak up fairly regularly, and managed to sound, much of the time, like my train of thought had actually finished boarding at the station before I let it depart. (This will startle people who know me as either being quiet or as someone who starts sentences with no idea where they’re going to end. There’s a reason I gravitated to being a writer instead of a speaker.)

After that, I got to enjoy part of a wildly entertaining concert by Seanan McGuire, who, in addition to being a very prolific author (both under her own name and as Mira Grant, author of the Hugo-nominated ‘Feed’), is an amazing singer. Some chatting and wandering about rounded out the evening before I headed home (as I live reasonably close to Romulus–the Detroit metro area city, not the Romulan homeworld–I’d decided to skip getting a hotel room for this convention).

Saturday, ordinarly the prime day for any convention, turned out to be a bit truncated for me, as I had to leave mid-afternoon to attend the wedding of two friends. Still, I managed to take a couple spins around the Dealers’ Room, chatted again with Bryan Thomas Schmidt and his publisher (picking up his book, The Worker Prince, in the process), and chatted with more people in the ConSuite. I managed to return late in the evening to be in the audience for a panel on “Michigan’s Most Haunted” locations–of interest more to me as a writer than as a potential believer, but nonetheless fun. And that finished day two.

Sunday got me out early for a panel on “When Should a Series End?” (a panel on that magical time in any book series, movie series, or tv series, when it’s time for a graceful exit, and how it looks when that time goes by without such an exit) with Seanan McGuire, Emmy Jackson, and Jim C. Hines. It was the best attended of the panels I was on, likely because of Seanan’s presence–not just because she was the Guest of Honor, but because she’s a very fun and outgoing person, someone I’d love to listen to in any setting. I managed to get through this panel without actually saying ‘derp derp derp de derp,’ despite the dullness brought on by the truncated sleep I’d gotten. Between that panel and the next, I chatted with folks some, and took one more spin around the Dealer’s room. My last panel, “What Makes a Book Unreadable?” (the varying things that readers might consider to be ‘deal-breakers’ in their enjoyment of a story), with Charles P. Zaglanis and Emmy Jackson. Very sparsely attended, both because it was getting on in the afternoon, when many people had already left, and because we were up against Seanan’s book signing, but also fun, because it went from being a panel to a freewheeling discussion on anything and everything that annoyed us about different books we’d read or movies we’d seen. Once the panel was over, I had to depart right away (to assist with de-walnutting my in-laws’ back yard), so after buying a copy of Emmy Jackson’s book Empty Cradle: the Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson, depart I did.

(Note: Bryan Thomas Schmidt posted his con report earlier today, and it includes a picture of me with the other panelists from the “Death of the American Author” panel. The other panelists were chatting, while I, having noticed the camera, adopted a pose and smile that makes it look like I have a thought balloon with the word ‘derp’ in it–which makes it pretty average for my photos, I’m afraid.)

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