Fun With Fandom

programThe last weekend in May, Jeanne and I did something new to both of us.  We were guests at a science fiction convention, ConCarolinas.  We were both on several panel discussions, and the Duchesse presented her fabulous workshop on body disposal.  On top of all that, we participated in a reading and did some work on a joint project for next year. It was a fun weekend!

Today, we’re sharing some of our experiences.

Jeanne, this was your first science fiction convention (or con), wasn’t it?  How was it different from the romance conventions you’ve been to?

Yes, and I loved every minute of it.  OMGosh, what a difference!  First of all, at a SciFi con, no one expects you to be up and in a session at 8 am.  You and I have commiserated about that many times, Nancy.  There are none of the 7:30 breakfast meetings like at RWA.  I LOVED that aspect of this kind of Con!  I may not be as much of a nightwalker as Bandita Cassondra, but I’m surely a night owl and this worked SO much better for me.  Grins.

Also, the costumes.  Wow!  What a hugely fun aspect of fandom.  From Star Wars to Arrow to League of SuperHeroes to Dr. Who and so much more.  I know you and Trish have talked about all that, but to walk around with people who’re just there, being Magneto, or Scarlet Witch, well…that was fun.  Last but not least, the Con was a lot more casual.  More jeans and t-shirts than dress pants of “business casual” stuff.  The only dresses I saw were costumes.

I do have to say that it was distracting too, though.  Teaching that body disposal workshop can be pretty intense.  I discovered its a LOT harder to do when there are aliens sitting in the session, and a person with blue hair and multiple rubber snakes (no idea what it was supposed to mean) kept coming in and out and taking pictures.  Grins.

LOL!  Yes, cosplay adds a whole new dimension to the experience.

You know my preferences on starting times well!  It was so nice to get up about 8, go downstairs and have breakfast, and wander to our panels. Much as I enjoy RWA, packing for ConCarolinas, as with DragonCon, is just so much simpler!  I’d never been a panelist before, so that was a change for me.  Not having to prepare formal remarks for the panels I was on was great.  The moderators come up with questions for the panel, and that keeps the discussion going.  Coming up with those questions when I was moderator took a bit of thinking but not as much as writing a presentation would’ve.

Which panels were you on, Jeanne? What were some of the highlights?hen

I was privileged to be on several panels.  One, called Southern Ghouls Do It Better, is the one you and I were both on, Nancy.  That was FUN.  It dealt with the South as a backdrop and how that’s different than virtually any other part of the United States.  (And how some Jeanne-1-CC2015people shouldn’t EVER try to write as if they’ve been there if they haven’t…)

I was also on a panel about Futuristic Law Enforcement, postulating how cops and law enforcement would change in the future, or be different on other planets.  That elicited some really great discussion!  So did a panel called Secret Squirrels and Danger Girls.  Grins.  I think I ended up on this one because I also write suspense.  Bwahahahah!!  One of the hightlights of that one was the moderator, Faith Hunter.  Her Jane Yellowrock detective series is highly regarded, and I was so delughted to meet her!

The picture to the left is Alexandra Christian, with Little Red Hen Press.  She moderated one of the panels I was on, and was total fun.  She did confess, however, that carrying the Red Hen around all day wore her out.  (It was ceramic and quite substantial – but a great conversation starter!)

The picture to the right is me on the Law Enforcement panel.  I’m wearing one of my OCEARCH shirts – the shark tagging group.  Funny story…so people at cons wear a LOT of funny and/or fantasy-themed t-shirts.  This one, the OCEARCH one, isn’t particularly funny.  Nor is it science-fiction-y.  So a gentleman came up to me, he was in his 60s or 70s.  He stopped me and said, “You’re wearing a shark shirt.”  I allowed as how I was indeed wearing a shark shirt.  “But it’s a shark shirt,” he reiterated.  “Yep.”  And that was it.  I never could decide if he was actually interested in the sharks too, or if he was somehow offended that I didn’t have on some kind of cool convention/fantasy/sci-fi shirt.  Grins.

YOU were on some interesting panels, Nancy, tell us about that!!  (I especially enjoyed the one about Agents of SHIELD but the one pictured is one where Nancy moderated a panel about Nature as a Character.  I thought that was so appropriate, given that her Mages are nature-based, and so freakin’ hot.  Grins.)

Panel

Thanks, Duchesse! And thanks for supplying the photo.  That’s me second from right.  It was interesting to hear about the ways people’s involvement with nature influenced their writing.  For me, as many of you know, the writing drew me into nature.  I kind of picked the Okefenokee Swamp out of vague childhood memories, only to fall totally in love with it when I finally got to see it again.

The Secret Squirrels and Danger Girls panel was fun, too, because it was about strong heroines and the panel was all women.  Seeing a panel that’s all women is rarer than one with all men, though most panels have a gender mix at most cons.

The Southern Ghouls Do It Better panel morphed into a discussion of how southern culture is used (nor not) in books set in the South.  I had no idea so many other people were paying such close attention, but the discussion was lively, both on the panel and with the audience.

The SHIELD panel was fun because it tapped into my comic book interests, and there was a lively exchange about the ways the series has evolved from being just filler between movies.

By virtue of having a son who’s a gamer, I was on a panel about Getting Your Kids into Gaming.  I was surprised to see the boy come in and take a seat at the back as the moderator asked the panel whether there was anything about letting our kids move into gaming we would do differently.  He just sat there with a little smile on his face.

GailToward the end of the day on Sunday, Nancy and I both participated in a “panel” put on by a group called Broad Universe.  This group supports and promotes women writing speculative fiction.  What a wonderful, welcoming group of women!  And some amazing writers too.  

Anyway, this panel was hosted by a marvelous, award winning fantasy author, Gail Z. Martin.  I hope y’all have read her work.  It’s wonderful.  

So, we participated in what’s called a Rapid Fire Reading.  In the Rapid Fire Reading, each person had 7 minutes to introduce and read an excerpt from either a current book, or a forthcoming one.  (we had to talk FAST!)

The+Herald+of+Day+finalHow did you prepare for that, Nancy? What did you read?

I read the (highly edited for time constraints) opening of my forthcoming historical fantasy, The Herald of Day.  It’s the first book in a trilogy about the descendants of a mage who unwittingly helped murder Richard III’s nephews, the Princes in the Tower.  Here’s the strapline for the trilogy: A knight’s misplaced trust. A king wrongly blamed for murder. A bloodline cursed until they clear the king’s name.

What did you read, Jeanne?  

Well, mine was TRULY speculative fiction!  Grins.  I’ve been working on a really, really BIG series – all romantic fantasy, set on another world – and I read an excerpt from one of the books in that series.  It’s not ready for prime time, or I’d share it here.  Rest assured, you, my Bandita Buddies, will be among the first to know when it’s ready to rock and roll.  Grins.  There are a LOT of books in this series and I want all (or most) of them done before I release book 1.

Did you find anything interesting in the dealer’s room?read

Well, that’s a great question!  First, let me say that the concept of a dealers room is so great!  I have to say that the fantasy/sci fi cons are AWESOME for t-shirts and jewelry and fannish items of all sorts.  I got this great bracelet that was all about how Dangerous Women Read.  Grins.  Don’t we though?  It has little books and charms and all that.  I got them to add the Dalmatian just for fun.

I have a similar bracelet, but with the theme Reading Books is What Keeps Me Sane.  From the same dealer, I got a round, blue pin with a gold Eye of Horus on it. If you’ve read Renegade, you know Griff and his team use lapis lazuli Eye of Horus pendants to ward off scrying.  It’s how they keep the Collegium from finding them.  So I have my own Eye of Horus now.

What else stands out about the weekend for you, Jeanne?

Well, one of the fun things was seeing a full sized working Ghostbusters Ghostmobile.  That was ranking right up there in the “FUN” department.  Seeing a guy who looked JUST like the guy who plays Arrow.  Pretty fun.

And meeting “DB Jackson” – aka David Coe.  I have loved his series which starts with The Thieftaker.  It’s set in colonial America, and has a bit of magic, and a lot of history and its a murder mystery set just as the Revolution is starting to rise.  I read it when it first came out and recommended it to all sorts of people.  Dragon con c(Anyone who’d listen…) and then voila, there he was, the author!  I got to have a fan girl moment.  Grins.

Last but not least…I got a dragon shirt.  Ermingarde may not be pleased, but I was.

What stands out for you, Nancy?

I rode down in the elevator Saturday morning with the media special guest, actor Michael Hogan of Battlestar Galactica.  He was friendly, and we chatted one-on-one for about three floors before some other people got on.

The biggest highlight for me was being on the other side of the table.  I’ve wanted to be a con guest for a long time, and it was a thrill to do it at last and have it go so well.

I also enjoyed seeing my other out-of-town friends.  I usually meet up with them at DragonCon, so it was nice not to have to wait a year to see them again.

What’s your most fun weekend event?  Have you ever gotten to do something you’d wanted to do for a long time?  If you’re into fandom, which of the panels our two banditas described would you most like to either be on or to attend?

Posted in , ,

Comments

19 Comments

  • flchen1 says:

    So VERY cool, Jeanne and Nancy!! One of these days I do hope to meeting some of you all in person at a conference! I think the one on Futuristic Law Enforcement sounds fascinating! I do love the whole scifi genre, so woohooo! Glad you both had such a great experience!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Fedora! The Wandering Rooster appears to have landed on YOUR doorstep this morning! Grins. Make sure he actually earns his keep doing something today. He’s been a mite lazy these last couple of months. He’s put on weight. Grins.

      It will be SO FUN if we get to meet you at any of the cons – sci-fi, or 8-am-loving-RWA. Grins. May that happen soon!

      The futuristic Law Enforcement was really fascinating because people were positing that the “shape” of policing wouldn’t change from planet to planet, but that it would morph with the actual need of law. That is, if the planet needed you to NOT be out after 9 pm because critters would get you, then you would have enforcement for THAT, whereas public drunkeness might be excused. Grins.

      I really found it interesting that everyone thought that the policing methodology would be similar. I’m not so sure about that….

    • Oops! I messed up my reply. It’s #3 below. And congrats on snagging the GR!

  • Amy Herring says:

    Enjoyed seeing you at ConCarolinas, Nancy. Kept missing Jeanne, but so glad you enjoyed the Con. I am also a D. B. Jackson/David Coe fan. Pleased to see his work praised! Nancy, you made a great moderator for the Nature panel. Can’t wait to read Herald.

    • Thanks, Amy. It was great to get together between DragonCons! I bought Thieftaker and had David sign it for me. Am looking forward to reading it. You know American history is one of my things.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      HI Amy! *Waves madly* So sorry we didn’t connect. :> Glad to hear someone else was a DB Jackson fan as well. Grins.

  • Thanks, Fedora! It would be great fun to go to a con with you.

    I think we read some of the same authors. I’m waiting for August and Ann Aguirre’s Breakout.

  • Pissenlit says:

    WHOOAA whoa whoa! First thing’s first…It’s the Ectomobile or Ecto-1(unless it’s one of the other variations), not Ghostmobile.

    Okay, I’m okay now. 😀

    The body disposal workshop and the futuristic law enforcement panel sound super fun!

    Pretty dangly bracelet! Dealer rooms at sci-fi/comic book conventions are always full of all sorts of fun and pretty things. Unfortunately/lucky for me, I don’t have the money to buy everything. I showed SO much restraint this past March when I managed to leave Toronto Comicon with a single small button of the most adorable chibi Jack Frost(from Rise of the Guardians). I NEARLY bought oh so many other things that I didn’t really need.

    I’ve read Gail Z. Martin’s Deadly Curiosities and though I don’t tend to read American history-ish books, D.B. Jackson’s The Thieftaker has been on my TBR list for awhile!

    Oooh, love the colours on that cover, Nancy!

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Pissenlit…I KNEW that! Grins. I have a pic of it, but it wouldn’t fit on the blog. Grins.

      And I too showed considerable restraint in the dealer room. Grins.

      LOVE Rise of the Guardians!

    • Thanks, Pissenlit! I love that cover.

      The dealer’s room is really hard for me. There’s so much cool stuff, but we’re pretty much out of space now.

      Have you tried Gail’s epic fantasy series? You might enjoy those if you like the big sagas.

  • Jane says:

    I haven’t had a chance to attend one of these cons, but I’ve been itching to go to Comic Con, especially the big one in San Diego. There’s a NY Comic Con, but even that is super expensive and the lines are unbearable.

  • Cassondra says:

    Hey y’all.

    What a fun event! The truth is I would love to have the romance cons be more like the fantasy cons as far as the relaxed atmosphere and the costumes. I just LOVE looking at the costumes. My favorite are the steampunk costumes and of course, the Middle Earth costumes.

    Even though RWA has gotten more casual in the years I’ve been attending (used to be strictly business suits) in the past few years I’ve bucked even that standard, and live in my jeans most of the time. I take a few dress clothes for special occasions, but really, who wants to schlepp a suitcase full of dress clothes across the country? Not me.

    I’m all about the business casual, especially when I’m on my feet all day anyhow. It’s HARD to find cute shoes with low heels or flats that go with dressy clothes.

    Anyway, I’ve been to DragonCon, but was overwhelmed by the crowds. I don’t do well in that kind of crush. I want to see the people in costume, and I want to see the trade show. But I don’t want to deal with that kind of crowd to do it. So alas, I go only when I’m working at those events. :0(

    • Cassondra, I’m glad RWA has relaxed the dress standards. I really prefer to pack light. Now if they would only start later, that would be great!

      The crowds at DragonCon are getting worse, but I can deal with it. What’s really a pain is the mad scramble for hotel rooms, with host hotels literally selling out in minutes.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Hey Cassondra! I’m with you about going more casual at RWA. I like dressing up, don’t get me wrong, but to have to do that and walk for miles thorugh a convention hotel? Not so much.

      I really want to go to Dragon Con someday, but I really liked Con Caronlinas because it was “small” enough to see the costumes and have space in the workshops, but big enough to really have a LOT of costumes, dealers and so forth. Grins.

      I really don’t love crowds, even though I’m an extrovert. I do love it maybe once at Christmas, but not for every shopping day. Grins.

  • Helen says:

    Oh Nancy and Jeanne

    This looks like los of fun we had Supernova here in Sydney last weekend but I didn’t go although I have been to lots of romance author and reader events which I really love maybe one day I will get over to The States and be at some of these with you 🙂

    Have Fun
    Helen

  • Deb says:

    What fun! I really can imagine the trouble Jeanne could have if her body disposal notes were ever confiscated, hahaha!
    Thank you for the review of your conference, Nancy and Jeanne. I think it would be fun to be a participant as well as an audience member.

  • Oh I know you two had a blast ! I would love to go to one of the big SCI FI Cons.

    I have lots of urban fantasy, paranormal and sci fi books in my library. Big fan of the Dresden Files.

    Nancy, I love that cover and can’t wait to read the book!

    And I can just imagine the kind of trouble La Duchesse is going to cook up with her series on another world.

    I recently bought Jupiter Rising and I really loved it. Had to have the CD of the soundtrack because the music is amazing!

    RWA is the one big conference I attend every year and I hope to add at least one smaller conference every year. SO looking forward to seeing everyone at RWA (even the GR, if he manages to stow away in someone’s luggage.)