ChessieCon Day Two Wrap-up

Today (well, technically yesterday since it’s 0001 by my computer’s clock), was day two of ChessieCon. Let’s see how things went.

Sat in on a panel called “How Not To Get Published” (Hmm, that sounds familiar). Three writers and one editor discussing how to write good queries, how to be gracious about edits, how to (and how not to) respond to reviews, how important deadlines were, and basically how to avoid being “that author” who is a pain in the neck to work with. It was interesting seeing the view through someone else’s eyes and while it didn’t overlap much with my Writer Beware panel, there was some useful information there.

My reading went pretty well at 11. I read the opening scene from “Skin the Cat” and after some discussion, I read “The Wisp Hunter”. Two very different stories, but I got some good feedback and hopefully a new reader or two.

The “Maps and Your Story” panel at 12 was entertaining. My other two panelists were quick on their feet and we riffed off of each other rather than having a designated moderator and worked questions from the crowd into our talk. I saw a lot of note taking going on from some of the people who had stated they were working on their own stories, so, I’d like to think the talk was useful.

Did a little shopping and caught lunch before going to the next thing. Sat through the “Fashion in the Future” panel. It was good, but one of the panelists was a little overeager to get their points out, going so far as to talk over the person whom the question was directed toward. The moderator tried to rein them in, but some panelists seem to forget it’s all about putting out information for the audience to use, not making it all about “see how cool I am”.

My last panel was “World Creation: Tips, Techniques, and Pitfalls” at 5pm. Again, there were three of us on the panel and there was no moderator designated, but I think we did a pretty good job at both respecting each others turns to speak, but we were “reasonably” entertaining. There were a few areas about world creation we could have spent some more time on and maybe a few we spent too much time on, but we definitely tried to give out links for good web sites and books they should review when they try to build their own worlds, whether they’re doing cozy murder mysteries, epic fantasy, or gritty urban fantasy.

Also we repeatedly reminded them, research is for the author, the readers want to know about the characters in the story, not the fancy world you created. Don’t try to tell the readers every detail about the world. Let them discover it in the background.

After that, a group of us went out for dinner and I called it a day. I could have probably gone back for a few more panels or a room party or two, but my wife wasn’t feeling 100% and I didn’t want to keep her at the show if she wasn’t going to enjoy it. Quality not quantity applies even to conventions. *grin*

No panels tomorrow, but I’ll probably be going back to hit the art show and the dealer’s room one more time. Then it’s time to start getting ready to do this all over again in 2015.

Writing, Conventions, and Stuff

Fired what I hope will be the final set of edits on “Sword of Fate” to my editor the other night. Took a bit longer with this set than I had anticipated, but life is funny that way. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the line edits and it’ll be coming out in December. As I said before, it’s going to be strange not writing about my Rogue with no name, but I have a feeling I’m not done with him forever.

With that done, I’m back to work on the other two short stories with deadlines looming as well. I’m doing final (personal) edits on it before submitting it to the editor and then I have to finish writing my other story by the end of December. Time is flying this year.

I really enjoyed World Fantasy Fair a couple of weekends ago. It was an adventure given the state of affairs for the Washington D.C. metro, but once I could get to the convention, the panels were well run and highly interesting, plus just getting to hang out and visit with some old friends and getting to meet some new ones was worth the price of admission.


Today was the start of an older, yet new, convention. The old “Darkover” Con has now become ChessieCon and they’re holding it at the North Baltimore Crown Plaza – the same hotel that Farpoint Convention is held at.

It’s my first time attending and there were good things and bad thing, probably mostly driven by the fact it was my first time. I checked in at the Con, only to find out I’d checked in at the wrong place. Guest check-in was not located with regular check-in, but there was nothing to say where guests were to check in. The good part was it was a “no harm, no foul” situation. I just had to check in twice, but both were pretty darn painless. so we’ll call that a wash.

I checked out the room I was going to do the Writer Beware panel in and noticed there was no A/V support. Luckily, because this has happened before, I had brought my little mini-projector and was ready to hook it up to my computer except for one thing . . . the cord was just a bit too short and I hadn’t brought an extension. Luckily, one of the staffers had a spare extension in his trunk and it worked out well. So, we’ll score that a wash too (no A/V support, but good ad-lib support to get me up and operational).

Unfortunately, a guest in a motorized wheelchair decided to use the room I was about to present in for a private phone call between panels. I was happy to let him use the room since no one had showed up yet, but on his way out, his chair caught the door stopper and partially ripped it out of the door, so I couldn’t prop the door open to let people know there was a panel ready to begin – (door was tinted) – but luckily some people had come specifically for the panel, so I wound up with an audience anyway. We’ll call this wash #3.

After my panel, I met Joni Kouvelis White and Kashi Tan at the dealers area. Joni has put several pieces of chain mail and steampunk jewelery into the ChessieCon art show. We’re hoping she gets as much attention here as she got at Balticon earlier this year. There are some very nice things in the art show here, and Kashi wants me to pick up something when I get to the show tomorrow since they weren’t doing “quick sales” tonight.

Tomorrow I have a reading at 11 and then my panels on using maps in your work at 12 as well as “World Creation” at 5pm. Nothing scheduled for Sunday, so that’ll be my day for shopping.

So, we survived Thanksgiving and the first day of a convention. Not a bad start to the holiday season.