I had a smashing time at Westercon, despite being either on panels or working my booth for most of the weekend. I admit regret at not getting to meet any of our distinguished guests, including Charles Stross, John Scalzi and Bobak Ferdowski (aka NASA Mohawk Guy), or to attend the end-of-con party in which our guests hung with con members to watch the Juno probe enter Jovian orbit. Mind you, just sharing the con with these distinguished gents is enough for me — who could ask for more than being in the same ballpark as NASA’s leading sex symbol, the guy who is bringing the Cthulhu Mythos (among other things) into the new era, and the Sad Puppies’ Public Enemy Number One?
With kind assistance from my daughter Devon, her bf Bowen, my own sweetie Beth and several other fine folks, my experience at the booth went without a hitch — we didn’t run out of money, the phones and Square credit card app worked flawlessly, and by golly I sold out of She Who Watches. In the end I exceeded my goal, which was to break even, going so far as to make enough extra to actually pay for the Blueray of the MST3K Season 11.
I had a fine time in my spot smack between Clockwork Dragon Publications and Wrigley-Cross Books, so I was in good company, and I also had the opportunity to snag rare copies of both Cinema and Sorcery by my bud Scott Woodard, and the soon-to-be-classic Arabella of Mars by Hugo-winner and also good friend David Levine. I participated in several panels, including one on Violence in Fantasy, where we agreed that there is, indeed, violence in fantasy, and I couldn’t really bring myself to get into any arguments since how much violence is too much is really an individual decision, and if someone else is appalled by Game of Thrones, it’s not really my place to tell them otherwise (I know, it makes for a very uncontroversial panel, but I’m really not as into arguing as I once was). I was likewise on a panel, cleverly titled Are you a Social Justice Warrior? which I was afraid would degenerate into a huge mess, but ended up being calm, respectful and quite informative, since pretty much everyone on the panel was on the same page, and the people who use the term SJW as a pejorative tend to be too shy and retiring to actually show up in person to defend their views. Finally I, Scott Woodard, my ex-love muffin Rhia Louve and my other good friend, mobile game designer Hunter Mayer had a panel on good rpg design, which despite my lack of preparation (I didn’t realize that I was the moderator), went pretty smoothly.
All in all it was a great four-day convention and actually turning a small profit went a long way toward mollifying my sadness at missing out on our cool, awesome other guests. I’ve been home all this week, wrapping up some work for Frog God Games and working on my novella series, which I hope to start putting out online in a couple of weeks. So far I’m about 12k in to Book Two, and once that wraps up will move immediately to Book Three, which I think everyone will love since it’s from Loren Hodges’ POV, and of course includes Beowulf the dog, who I think remains the fans’ favorite.
Finally I got a good number of folks to sign up for my newsletter so I need to get my act together, add them to the list and start publishing… Stay tuned everyone. It’s been a great week and I hope there are more just around the corner.