Balticon!

May. 30th, 2010 10:06 am
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Random impressions of the con so far---

"Is that muppet canon?" -- Shay

Benshua* raises pbray from the dead, just in time for the necromancy panel.

Visiting wine shop with Laura Anne is unique experience-- part educational, part watching kid in candy shop.

My minion status confirmed as I spend Saturday evening chained to the wine table for the BookPushers launch party--which apparently was the best party of the con, though my perspective was limited due to shackles.

Now packed, caffeinated, and ready to get on with the day.

Benshua = Benjamin Tate + Joshua Palmatier.
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Balticon was a fun time, as always, and it was great to catch up with friends. If I were more organized I'd post a list here, but instead please accept a general wave.

Attendance on Friday and Sunday seemed a bit light-- I met several folks on Saturday who said they were only coming in for the day. Traffic in the dealers' room also seemed light, though I did my bit by buying a shopping bag full of books plus a pair of earrings with dangling handcuffs.

As far as panels, the Compton Crook panel is always fun, though this year I was the oldest past winner there, having won in 2003. The Liars Panel raised a nice chunk of change for R.I.F., where the majority of the audience believed me when I confessed that my secret celebrity crush was Optimus Prime (truth) but also believed me that the oddest group I'd joined was Friends of Bob (while I am a past member of FoB, the oddest organization I've joined is SFWA.)

The Bheer panel also went well, but it was in Salon B, which started off hot and then got warmer. It grew so warm, in fact, that when I came back later to watch a panel with Gene Wolfe, as soon as the door opened to let us in a wall of heat came out, and I knew I would never be able to last in the audience. Instead I sat in on one of Josh's panels, and then we adjourned to the bar.

Met many old friends, and made new ones including my fellow Bheer panelists.

The most interesting panel I attended was High Noon in Fantasyland, discussing whether the rise of the fantasy genre was responsible for killing off westerns (consensus of the panelists was yes.)

Heading home from Balticon, Josh and I stopped at a shopping center for lunch. While checking for parking spaces, Josh said "Look, there's one there, by the Porsche."

"I see one, by a Jeep," I said, and pulled into the empty space.

"And here's the Porsche," he said.

Sure enough, there was a Jeep Wrangler to the left of the space, and a Porsche to the right. I'd completely skipped over the Porsche as uninteresting, while Josh hadn't seen the Jeep. Pretty much sums us up right there.

Got home Sunday night, which left Monday free for errands, including a trip up to the semi-annual library booksale in Ithaca, and catching the new Terminator movie Monday night.

And now, alas, it's back to the daily grind.

Balticon

May. 19th, 2009 02:11 pm
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I'll be at Balticon this weekend. Look for me at one of the following panels, or find me in the dealer's room or bar.

Saturday, 1PM
A Cheat of Crooks: Patricia Bray, Hal Haag, 2009 Compton Crook Winner, Maria V. Snyder, Mark L. Van Name

Saturday, 2PM
Liars Panel: Charles Stross, Patricia Bray, Mark L. Van Name, Jonathan Maberry. (Come, see if you can tell when I'm lying. The better you are at guessing, the more I'll have to donate to charity.)

Saturday, 4PM
Bheer and Other Libations in SF: Patricia Bray, Joshua Palmatier, Patrick Thomas, Brian Koscienski, Chris Pisano
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The multi-talented [livejournal.com profile] jlawrenceperry has a new installment of his podcast The Adventures of Indiana Jim, which contains the interview he did with me at Balticon. It's a perfect reflection of my mental state on Sunday night at a con--my first word is "Um" and to me, at least, I sound like an earnest squirrel, which is my normal reaction to hearing a recording of my voice. Other than that, I'm very happy with how it turned out :-)

You can listen to the podcast here, and the interview with me that starts around 12.5 minutes into the show. And be sure to check out the rest of Jim's podcasts.
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Less than 24 hours ago I was at Balticon, getting ready for my final panel at the con, but already it seems like it was weeks ago. Such are the perils of getting sucked back in to the day job and the daily routine.

[livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow and I drove down Friday afternoon, and arrived in good time after being slowed by a few construction delays. After registering for the con, we grabbed a quick dinner at Wegman's food court, then returned in time for Josh's 7PM panel.

There we met up with [livejournal.com profile] davidjwilliams whose first book THE MIRRORED HEAVENS was just released by Bantam Spectra. The three of us wandered over to the opening ceremonies, then spent a while in the bar (quelle suprise) before dropping by [livejournal.com profile] elaine_brennan's for Maltcon.

Saturday started off with the Compton Crook winners panel, where past winners [livejournal.com profile] naominovik, Daniel Graham, Michael Flynn, Maria Snyder and myself, joined this year's winner Mark L. Van Name to talk about our experiences. I then dashed off to the Women Warrior's panel moderated by John Hemry (aka Jack Campbell), which was also great fun--audience member [livejournal.com profile] shaysdays gave her unique perspective on the topic, which immediately sparked story ideas. Shay graciously followed me from the panel to my autographing, so we could chat some more.

The autographing was shared with [livejournal.com profile] suricattus who demonstrated the utility of her tiny laptop by using it to purchase movie tickets while we were signing. Enough folks dropped by to get their books signed to make us feel loved, and [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow performed ably as a minion.

Sunday I had no official events scheduled, but as previously reported managed to sneak out to see Indiana Jones, then made it back in time to hear David Williams give a fantastic reading from THE MIRRORED HEAVENS. It's no surprise that I've already set aside the book I had been reading in order to start reading his.

Sunday night Indiana Jim (aka [livejournal.com profile] jlawrenceperry) interviewed me for a podcast. After two full days at the con both of us were dragging a bit, but Jim is an excellent interviewer, so I'm hopeful for the results. Getting a chance to know him at this con was definitely one of the highlights.

Other folks I saw included the usual suspects-- Tee Morris who looked fantastic and was his high energy self, [livejournal.com profile] nightwolfwriter who was proudly displaying his author copy of the new Doctor Who anthology, Sue Wheeler whom I managed to wave at in passing, since each time I saw her she was troubleshooting or riding herd on volunteers. Plus I managed to meet a bunch of new folks, always one of the best parts of Balticon.

Monday morning I finished up with a panel on "Why do you keep reading an author after the first book?" which turned into a very interesting discussion as we talked about the difference between wanting to read the next book of a series versus standalone titles.

Then it was time to say our goodbyes and jump in the car. The trip home was significantly quicker than the trip down :-) and after a brief period to decompress it was time to get ready for the day job.
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Best moment of the con so far-- entering the room where [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow's noon panel was running late and informing the audience that while I apologized for the necessity, I needed to take Joshua with me since he was committed elsewhere at 1 o'clock.

As [livejournal.com profile] suricattus and I left the room with Joshua in tow, I told him "Come on, hurry up. I'm renting you by the hour and I want my money's worth." Hopefully that will start the right kind of rumors.

The engagement, btw, was a 1:15 showing of Indiana Jones at the theaters just down the road. Joshua and I were seeing it for the second time, while it was the first for Laura Anne. The movie held up to a second viewing, so a good time was had by all, and then it was time to pin our con badges back on* and go back to work.

*Except for Josh, who'd worn his badge throughout the movie.
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I'd glanced at the Balticon schedule before leaving work, so it's only now sinking in that I'm now scheduled 3 straight hours on Saturday. At least the last event is an autographing rather than another panel.

Friday 8PM -- Opening Reception

Saturday 3PM -- Chat with the the Compton Crook Winners (ask us anything!)

Saturday 4PM -- Real Women Warriors: Tell us about characters that look, sound and feel realistic - and real women who are warriors

Saturday 5PM -- Autograph table (I can haz lizards! U can 2!)

Monday 11AM -- Readers: You've Read the First Novel. What determines whether you want to read more by this author?

Note that my Sunday is entirely free.
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Pocket program is now up on the web here http://www.balticon.org/b42_pocket_program.pdf. Appears to have been minor changes since the prelim schedule-- for instance [livejournal.com profile] suricattus and I are now autographing at 5PM on Saturday.
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I have my preliminary Balticon schedule. I keep forgetting how close it is, since Memorial Day weekend is early this year, but it's only 9 days away (yikes!)

Friday 8PM -- Opening Reception (assuming I don't run into too many traffic jams)

Saturday 11AM -- Autograph table (I can haz lizards! U can 2!)

Saturday 3PM -- Chat with the Crooks (ask us anything, we may even answer)

Saturday 4PM -- Real Women Warriors: Tell us about characters that look, sound and feel realistic - and real women who are warriors

Monday 11AM -- Readers: You've Read the First Novel. What determines whether you want to read more by this author?

The Monday panel is a great topic, but the time is problematic given how many people will be ready to hit the road, so we'll see how it goes. Looking forward to the usual fun time at Balticon, plus traveling companion [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow can't wait to get back to his favorite Italian restaurant (Carrabba's, at the mall just down the road).
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A followup to my earlier Balticon post.

Under an LJ cut tag to spare the friends list, click here to read )

Overall I had a good time. The difficulties with programming aside, it was great to catch up with old friends, and I made several new ones. I'm not going to name drop here, since I'm bound to leave someone out, so please just accept a general wave.
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Back from Balticon. The long weekend and drive back drained all functioning brain cells, so expect a longer post on this later in the week. For now, here's a quick recap.

The Good: met old friends and made new ones. Most of the panels I was on were very good, and today's reading from TFB was all I could hope for. I was intrigued to meet several students from Seton Hill University's Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. Maria Snyder, this year's Compton Crook winner, is currently in that program.

The Bad: programming was disorganized, to put it charitably. Among other issues--the pocket program only listed program titles, not descriptions, so both panelists and con attendees were left guessing as to the purpose of some of the panels. For the most part they'd also failed to identify moderators, which left panelists scrambling to choose a moderator as they were sitting down.

The Odd: there were actually two cons going on. The Neil Gaiman con, with a large contingent of his fans only interested in going to his events, and then the con for the rest of us. Preregistration was over 2,000 with many more registering at the con, yet when I was in the public spaces it had the feel of a much smaller con.


In other news, The First Betrayal goes on sale tomorrow. Which completely explains why BN.COM just sent me an email saying that my preorder would be delayed since the publisher had changed the publication date. I called the Ingram's stock line to confirm that the books were in the warehouses, and they are, so BN.COM appears to be experiencing the electronic version of a brain fart. It wouldn't be the first time. I always preorder copies of my titles from the online bookstores, just to check to make sure they are in the channel and shipping, and about half the time I run into a problem with at least one preorder being arbitrarily cancelled, outright lost, or receiving strange status messages.

Anyway, that's all the news that fits to print. More later this weekend, after I recover!

Balticon

May. 23rd, 2006 10:40 am
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Balticon has finally released a schedule for this weekend, and here's where I'll be when I'm not in the dealer's room or bar:

Friday 10:00PM: Arrrr, Matey! It Be A Pirate Panel
Saturday 11:00AM: Strong Female Characters
Saturday Noon: Separating Villains from Heroes
Sunday 11:00 AM: What Kind of Life Does an Immortal Really Have?
Sunday 2:00 PM: Beyond Mansquito & Frankenfish
Sunday 6:00 PM: Meet the Crook Winners
Monday 10:30 AM: Reading from THE FIRST BETRAYAL







Looks like a fun time, though a tad disappointed that the "Writing about Beer & Ale" panel didn't make the final schedule :-)

If anyone is going to Balticon, stop by my reading on Monday morning, where I'll be giving away chocolate and copies of THE FIRST BETRAYAL.

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