Conestoga Convention Report

Every year, Tulsa, Ok holds a Science Fiction and Fantasy convention called Conestoga Con. One of my three publishers has always had a huge presence there and since I got included in attendee lists for the publisher two or three times last year when I was NOT going, I figured it was fate giving me a hint I should go. So I did!

The con was held on 7/20 thru 7/22/07. Guests of Honor were Laurell K Hamilton and Eric Flint. John Picacio was the Artist Guest of Honor (His stuff rocks!). Elizabeth Moon was the Toastmistress.(She sings!):P

The dealer’s room is rather small, so no individual tables were being sold to authors. Luckily, Yard Dog Press buys two tables, one which they use to rent space to their authors to show other books by them, so I was able to squeeze a spot.

As I understand it, there were less programming tracks than in previous years, but the ones I was part of always had plenty of folks attending and looked to be well received.

Got to meet several people I know online but had not met face to face – Jim Burke, Robin Bailey, Glenn Sixbury, Mel Tatum, Allison Stein (All Yard Doggies!), as well as Carol Hightshoe (Who runs the Lorelei Signal and is also a fellow Broad from Broad Universe). (I have a story in their July-Sept issue! Go check it out! Plug Plug!):P

Yard Dog had a big party on Friday night. The Theme was Ho’s Through the Ages – as in famous people who pushed their work or art. I did mine on Weird Al! Heh heh heh. Puns and jokes abounded as well as posters to all these Ho’s. Hurtling Monkeys were the drink of the evening.

The hotel had all sorts of problems – I think it was their jinx weekend. Friday – their entire phone system was down. Friday thru Sunday – Major air conditioning issues down in the convention area – dealer’s room was a sauna! (I’ve never been as grateful for a hand fan as I was during this thing! :P) Sunday the hot water went from hot to cold to hot again – the cold lasting a minute or more. (Was I surprised!) Then down in the breakfast buffet restaurant the lights in the seating area went out. Jinxed I tell ya! Luckily everything else seemed to work okay (aside from the elevator car that tried to eat me…)

Con Staff was very friendly and all seemed to have everything well in hand and running pretty smoothly. Utterly loved their guest packets. They had a program grid, a personalized paper just for my stuff, a sticker with room and times on the back of the badge, and the con program book, and not one but two name cards for the tables! Yay for organization!

Yard Dog Press released “Houston, We’ve Got Bubbas” at the convention and they flew off the shelves. Think Bubbas in SPACE! This is the 4th installment in the Bubba Comedy anthology series dealing with a post apocalyptic earth where the Yuppie 2025 virus wiped out all of mankind except for two types of people. Bubbas, as they proved immune due to their consumption of large quantities of BBQ sauce, and Yuppies, who due to their constant exposure to CRT screens, mutated the virus and got turned into zombies, known as Yumbies. Lots of fun!

I bailed on the con and all on Saturday evening after sitting in the sauna of the dealer’s room most of the day. (Stupidly didn’t look at the schedule to realize the masquerade and other things were on. Doh! You’d think I’d know better by now…sigh…) But to be honest I was not feeling too good and thought retiring early would be best. Felt loads better Sunday!

Got to ride with pilots on the way to the hotel and airport, so had some interesting conversations going on in the hotel shuttle. So that was fun too.

Trouble hit on the way home though. We’re almost to Dallas on the short 45 min airplane ride when the plane is made to circle due to severe weather. Now, I’ve never had issues on a plane, but I almost had to avail myself of the handy dandy barf bag. Though we were circling in a big circle, it still got to me. I was so glad I had had that coke before! Made sure to locate the barf bag just in case. Luckily about the time I thought I could take no more, we were running out of fuel and so got sent on to Oklahoma City to refuel. When we got there, the weather had eased, so we were able to fill up and go back. A 45 minute flight turned into 3 hours. Felt bad for my daughter who sat at the airport for over 2 hours waiting for me! Eek!

Overall though, I had a good time, even sold a few books on Sunday (yay!), and it was fab to meet all those new peeps, both writers and fans. Hope to get invited again next year.

MidSouthCon 2006

At the Holiday Inn Select in Memphis, TN March 24-26th I had the pleasure once again to be a guest at MidSouthCon.

I did couple of anime panels as well as the Yard Dog Road Show, a reading, and the ever popular “Dark and Stormy Night” panel.

The “Dark and Stormy Night” panel is a last day panel for the enjoyment of the fans and torture of the panelists (but it is still a lot of fun as you can make your fellow panelists cringe in horror! Bwahahaha). The premise is that throughout the con, the fans have been putting quotes from movies, TV, commercials, books, whatever on pieces of paper and piling them in a bucket. On the day of the panel, a setting is chosen by the audience, then the panelists must take one of the pieces of papers and incorporate whatever is there into the tale being spun. Makes for a lot of hilarity and comedic faces. Add in Selina Rosen, Lee Martindale, myself and the two other writers (I am ashamed to say I forgot their names! Argh!) and it was a ball! If you ever get a chance to go to one of those – don’t miss it!!!

Made a number of new friends like Joy Ward and Haley Elizabeth Garwood and Kara who were a total hoot and definitely made the hours pass quickly in the dealer’s room. Also had some great conversations with some of the dealers as we sat around and pushed our wares.

To my pleased surprise Order of the Stick was at the con! It’s a comic strip on the web that is a total hoot. It’s done by Rich Burlew. The art is done in a funky style, but the wit is razro sharp. A must for anyone who has ever gamed. Too darn funny!

Great guests, great panels, great friends – not much more could be asked for! I had a very good time. Thanks all!

EPICon 2006

From Thursday to Sunday I was in san Antonio attending EPICon 2006.

A con mostly for writers and publishers interested in e-books, it is still a great venue for anyone interested in the craft, with lots of panels and demonstrations.

What makes this convention even more fun are the extras that come with it. Admission gets you fed most of the weekend for one. We also got a private tour of the Alamo (which was a lot smaller than I thought it would be), and a ride on the canal on one of the riverboats. Because we were considered a tour group, we even got taken to places people do not get to see on the regular rides. Yay! Our boat driver was awesome too, had a ton of information.

Of course the con is also a great place for networking and talking one on one with e-book/print publishers. The highlight of the con is the EPPIES, awards for fine writing in e-publishing, presented by the MC for Life – Jeff Strand. Normally a very shy individual, he out does himself every year causing audiences to roll on the floor. He is a hoot! (His horror mysteries splashed with a little comedy are not half bad either!) 😛

The location for 2007 will be Virginia Beach, Va and looks to be shaping up to a fab time! We get to take over a beach hotel! Oh yeah!

For more info on EPICON, the EPPIES, or EPIC check out http://www.epicauthors.com/