Tag Archives: conventions

SPEED AND DIRECTION: A GUIDE TO WHERE TO FIND US (JAN – MAR, 2017)

The New Year is coming up fast, and after you’ve recovered from the holidays and made all those resolutions that you’ll surely keep this year, your thoughts will doubtlessly drift to wondering where to find some of your favorite authors in the weeks ahead. Here at Novelocity, we want to make it easy for you, so here’s a list
:

JANUARY 2017

E. C. AMBROSE:
* January 13-17 – appearing on programming at Arisia in Boston, MA.

LAWRENCE M. SCHOEN:
* January 6th, noon – will be speaking as part of the WHAT IF lecture series at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
* January 6th, 9pm – will be the featured speaker at WSFA in Washington, DC.


FEBRUARY 2017

E. C. AMBROSE:
* February 7 – Elisha Mancer Book release!! Look for appearances in New Hampshire and Massachusetts
* February 17-19 – appearing on programming at Boskone in Boston, MA.


MARCH 2017

BETH CATO:
* March 12 – appearing on programming at the Tucson Festival of Books in Tucson, Arizona.

J. KATHLEEN CHENEY:
* March 18th – speaking on Historical Research for Fiction Writers at North Texas RWA in DFW, TX.

LAWRENCE M. SCHOEN:
* March 9-12 – will be the Guest of Honor at VancouFur in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

SPEED AND DIRECTION: A GUIDE TO WHERE TO FIND US (OCT – DEC, 2016)

Autumn is just around the corner which means new opportunities for holiday stalking visits with some of your favorite authors. Here’s a list of where you can find us during these hectic times:

OCTOBER 2016

LAWRENCE M. SCHOEN:
* Oct 7th – 9th – appearing on programming at Capclave in Gaithersburg, MD.
* Oct 27th – 30th – appearing on programming at World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, OH.

E. C. AMBROSE:
* Oct 27th – 30th – appearing on programming at World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, OH.

FRAN WILDE:
* Oct 7th – signing at New York Comic Con in New York, NY.
* Oct 7th – signing at Books of Wonder in New York, NY, 6pm.
* Oct 27th – 30th – appearing on programming at World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, OH.

DAVID WALTON:
* Oct 7th – 9th – appearing on programming at Capclave in Gaithersburg, MD.

NOVEMBER 2016

TINA CONNOLLY:
*Nov 5th – Book Tour – appearing on programming at Wordstock in Portland, OR
*Nov 7th – Book Tour –  Seriously Shifted at Powell’s Cedar Hills in Beaverton, OR, 7pm
*Nov 14th –  Book Tour – Seriously Shifted at U Books in Seattle, WA, 7pm
*Nov 15th – Book Tour – Seriously Shifted at the Corvallis Library in Corvallis, OR, 4pm
*Nov 16th – Book Tour – Seriously Shifted at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, CA, 7:30pm
*Nov 18th – 20th – appearing on programming at Orycon in Portland, OR.

DAVID WALTON:
* Nov 18th – 20th – appearing on programming at Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ.

LAWRENCE M. SCHOEN:
* Nov 11th – reading at Mighty Writers West in Philadelphia, PA, 7pm.
* Nov 18th – 20th – appearing on programming at Philcon in Cherry Hill, NJ.

DECEMBER 2016

BETH CATO:
* Dec 10th – appearing on programming at LibCon in Glendale, AZ.

LAWRENCE M. SCHOEN:
* DEC 6th – guest lecture at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC.

TINA CONNOLLY:
* Dec 3rd – appearing at Another Read Through in Portland, OR, time TBD.

Beyond the Farthest Con

The day after this posts, I’ll be boarding a plane for Lithuania where I get to be the Guest of Honor at Lituanicon XXVIII, a one day convention in historic Vilnius. It’s not the farthest I’ve traveled for a con (that would be Best of Both Worlds in Sydney, Australia, where I shared billing with William Shatner!), but it got me to wondering how far other authors had traveled.

On the off chance that you might be curious too, I reached out and asked a bunch of them. Here’s what they had to say:

David Mack was the first to respond. His most distant trip was to Düsseldorf, Germany for FedCon XX. His next convention will be New York Comic Con in his city of residence.

Ada Palmer‘s farthest bit of convention travel took her to Boston, MA. Mind you, she started out in Florence, Italy, where she’d been spending the year for research. Her next event will be in Worthington, OH.

Recent first time novelist (Arabella of Mars) and red planet pseudo-resident, David D. Levine has been to Melbourne, Australia, but reports that Yokohama, Japan — or maybe Champaign-Urbana, Illinois — was his strangest convention. His next con will probably be OryCon, right there in his home town of Portland, OR.

David Brin went all the way to Chengdu, China in 2007. He tells me that since he was bringing his family along to the Yokohama Worldcon (where he was Guest of Honor) anyway he suggested the Chinese SF community they should hold their events in the preceding week.

Adam Rakunas also claims Chengdu, China as his most distant convention. His next con is Confusion in Detroit, Michigan, possibly the only convention that touts an Indian restaurant tucked inside a gas station across the street.

Winner of more Ursa Major awards than any other anthropomorphic author, Kyell Gold points out that the furthest he’s gone for a convention was Melbourne, Australia, but the oddest was a hotel in former East Germany atop a hill over the small town of Suhl. Next month will find him attending Gaylaxicon in Minneapolis, MN.

L. E. Modesitt Jr., one of the most prolific writers in the business, says his farthest convention trip was a dual visit to Dublin, Ireland for OctoCon before going on to attend World Fantasy in London. And speaking of World Fantasy, that’s his next stop, where he’s also the Guest of Honor, in Columbus, OH.

And speaking of Dublin, Todd McCaffrey admits that generally speaking he hasn’t traveled all that far from his home base. Of course, home base for many years was Ireland. Nowadays he’s in Los Angeles. He points to Stucon in Stuttgart Germany as the furthest afield he’s been.

Canadian resident Claire McCague‘s most distant convention was MediaWest*Con in East Lansing, MI, but since she’s coming from Vancouver it’s a bit of a trek (and don’t get her started on traveling east to an event in a town with “East” in its name for a convention that has “West” in its name). Sensibly, her next con is VCON, right there in Vancouver.

Michael Jan Friedman didn’t have to travel far for his oddest convention location. He reports that the 2015 Long Island Geek Con occurred at Long Island’s MacArthur Airport, where he had table in the baggage claim area, some fifty feet from the carousels. His next convention will be in Albany, NY.

Marie Brennan recently visited the French town of Épinal, near the Swiss border, for Les Imaginales, which she describes as “somebody ran a convention into a Renaissance festival at high speed.”

That’s all I have for you this month (I still have to pack!), but for those of you thinking a Helsinki Worldcon is too far to go, now you know better!


Lawrence M. SchoenLawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology; has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, Nebula, WSFS awards; recently won the Cóyotl award for Best Novel of 2015; is a world authority on the Klingon language; operates the small press Paper Golem; and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.

His previous science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. His most recent book, Barsk, takes a very different tone, exploring issues of intolerance, friendship, conspiracy, and loyalty, and redefines the continua between life and death. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog.

You can follow him at his website at LawrenceMSchoen.com and on Twitter at @klingonguy, or you can even subscribe to his quarterly Newsletter.

Don’t let the program get in the way of your convention

Back in another life, during the decade I spent as a college professor, I often told students, “don’t let your classes get in the way of your education.” Which isn’t to say that coursework isn’t a critical part of the college experience, but rather to stress that it’s not the only part.

The same can be said of a convention and its program items. Panels are great (and thanks in advance for coming to mine!). Readings are one of my favorite things. Kaffeeklatsches, Literary Beers, Signings, Workshops, Masquerades, Dances, all of these things have their appeal and allure. Do them, certainly, sample them with wild abandon.

But don’t stop there.

Particularly if you’re attending a convention that moves from city to city (e.g., the Worldcon, WFC, Nebulas). I’ve lost track of how many people I see at these events who fly in for the convention, check into the hotel, then fly home after checking out — all without bothering to experience the place they’ve inhabited during the span of the event.

Before you head off to your next con, go online and do a little research. Find out what kinds of activities, local sites of interest, special events, and so forth are happening in that city. Many of these options will be free or quite low cost. Often your hotel will have a free shuttle to take you hither and yon.

Best of all, these are things you can do with other people from the convention, folks with whom you already share a passionate interest. Imagine expanding those relationships to include other areas! Crazy talk, right?

Here are some of the you-won’t-find-them-in-the-program things I like to do:

  • Go to Restaurants – I’m not talking about hitting the Kansas City incarnation of your favorite chain restaurant. Go to a place that’s unique to the venue and sample the local cuisine! Every night of a convention I put together a different group of people to break bread with, old friends and new.
  • Visit Used Bookstores – I’ve long since mined out the ones near me, but who knows what treasures you may be able to bring home while visiting other cities (hint: go early, other con attendees might beat you to that autographed copy of Venus on the Half Shell
  • Walking / Hiking / Geocaching – Weather permitting, get out of the damn hotel and move! I don’t manage it every day of a convention, but when possible, I like to start the morning with a brief walk around, check out the sky, breathe the local air, maybe find a hidden cache if I can. Getting a bit of physical exercise in the midst of a con makes me feel righteous and can be used to justify subsequent acts of excess. No, really.
  • Hit A Museum – Major conventions are typically in major cities. These cities are prone to having specialty museums/exhibits that you just can get at home, even if home is a different major city. Seriously, you’ve come all this way, take some time to soak up a bit of culture. Plus, if you like, wear a fannish t-shirt and causally freak out the mundanes. Just because.

Now I know what you’re going to say in response to this. Conventions are expensive. They consume vast amounts of our limited resources. Naturally, you want to squeeze as much out of the experience as you can, so shouldn’t that mean staying at the convention and sucking every ounce out of that program book?

Thanks for asking. The answer is: No!

And here’s why. Taking a break from the convention to do other things will cause you to enjoy the con that much more. It’s just the way we’re wired. Breaking up activities, creating a little contrast, enhances the experience on both sides of the divide. The panels you attend will be more interesting for having taken a walk, that masquerade more intriguing after an hour at the museum, a reading more scintillating because of a conversation that came up the night before over a shared bowl of vegetarian yak stew.

So here’s your challenge for your next con. Pick one thing from the above list (or make up something else of your own). Choose your moment, somewhere in the span of the convention. Take a deep breath and walk out of your hotel. Better still, bring another con attendee with you. If I’m right, the two of you will enhance your convention experience. And if I’m wrong, well, at least you’ll have someone to complain with.


Lawrence M. SchoenLawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, Nebula, WSFS, and Cóyotl awards, is a world authority on the Klingon language, operates the small press Paper Golem, and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.

His previous science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. His most recent book, Barsk, takes a very different tone, exploring issues of intolerance, friendship, conspiracy, and loyalty, and redefines the continua between life and death. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog.

Follow him at LawrenceMSchoen.com and on Twitter at @klingonguy.

Vectors: What’s Your Dream Convention?

Most authors go to conventions. We love some, others, not so much. So what’s our dream convention?

Ken Liu

KenLiuHiResI’m going to go a bit geeky here and say that my dream convention would be one that never ends — it might have in-person sessions, but the rest of it would go on permanently in the ether. I’m particularly enamored of Vannevar Bush’s vision in _As We May Think_ in which he imagines “a mesh of associative trails” created by readers and writers running through texts, the entire literary community engaged in a permanent conversation that involves crawling through each other’s brains. (People sometimes claim that Vannevar Bush “envisioned” the web — sorry, Bush’s vision is much, much cooler than wikis and hyperlinks.) I don’t think we’ll fully get there until we achieve the Singularity.

Beth Cato

BethCato-steampunk-headshotWhen I was a teenager, I subscribed to Writer’s Digest. I used to get their mailings for the Maui Writers’ Conference and daydream about how that amazing would be. I still haven’t made it to Hawaii, but I have a very different idea of what I want from a con.

I say that, because I had the time of my life at World Con in San Antonio last year. Friends galore! The Riverwalk! Meeting my favorite authors! The night parties–the glorious cheese! I’m envious of everyone going to London this year–not simply the con, but LONDON. A place I’ve always wanted to go. A place with even more amazing cheese. Sigh.

I am attending World Fantasy Con in D.C. this November. I have high hopes that it will be an amazing experience–I’m even bringing along my husband and son. Maybe I’ll become hooked on both World Con and World Fantasy. Maybe I should win the lottery…

Lawrence M. Schoen

Lawrence SchoenYou have to understand that I started going to conventions more than forty years ago. And honestly, I didn’t realize I’d been attending cons that long until I sat down to respond to this question. Damn.

My tastes have changed over the years, as has my status, and likewise my needs. Which actually makes this an easy question to answer.

My dream convention is the Worldcon, for so many reasons. Typically I get to travel to a venue I’ve never (or seldom) visited before: Denver, Montreal, Toronto, Yokohama, London, just to name a few. Nowhere else can I meet up with so many friends that I have come to know from reading their books or from online correspondence.

I spend my days, sitting on panel after panel with some of the authors who shaped my own career. I can’t properly describe how much I enjoy engaging in discussion and debate with colleagues, both old and new, as we vie to entertain and inform an audience, even as we amuse ourselves. It’s also a chance to learn from those who have gone much further than me, and to mentor those who are coming up fast.

And if my wife has any say in the matter, each night is an adventure as we schedule small dinner parties with people I may not see again for years. She does her research, makes the reservations, and puts together groups of six or eight and then we venture out to explore each city’s fine dining in marvelous company.

After each dinner, if I’m not already worn out (and as the Worldcon runs five days, it’s a certainty that I’ll be dead before the last night) there are parties to flitter from, people to mingle with, witty bon mots to dispense and receive, deals and opportunities you didn’t even know existed to capture and run away with (my last GoH gig started as a casual invitation at a party at the Reno Worldcon). By the end of the night, the day feels very much like a dream, and a few hours of sleep later it starts all over again.

Other conventions have their charms, but the combination and sheer exhausting magnitude of the Worldcon makes it my ideal convention. Each is different, each is wonderful, each leaves me with a tired smile on my face.

Michael R. Underwood

Michael R. UnderwoodTo be honest, WisCon is pretty close to my dream convention, as is. The concom does an incredible job the three years I went. They bring in great speakers, foster a strong moderating culture, and cultivate interdisciplinary programming that ranges from scholarly papers to writing technique through many strands of diverse fandom, all in a lovely hotel at the heart of a beautiful city (Madison, WI).

If I was designing a convention with an infinite budget, I’d take lessons from WisCon, WorldCon, BaltiCon, ConFusion, and most every con I’ve been to and try to take it even further.

Mike’s priorities for a perfect convention:

1) Strong moderating culture – Moderators would be cultivated and valued, making sure that every panel was as high-quality as possible.

2) Good local food options – I’d choose a site with accessible and delicious food options within a short walk of the convention.

3) A fabulous BarCon bar – So much of the action of many conventions happens at the bar, that finding a site with a good one is all but essential.

Fran Wilde

Fran2014I’ve been very lucky to enjoy some amazing conventions so far, and I’m looking forward to LonCon this year and my first World Fantasy Con in the fall.

As I experience more conventions, I love seeing how they differ based on region and focus – and how I can learn so much from all of them.

FarthingParty was one of the most amazing single-track conventions I’ve attended, and I’d like to see more of those too — including 4th Street.

That said, I would also love to someday go to Dragoncon, because I’ve heard so much about it, and to a ComicCon.

And I agree with Mike about those priorities. Places where people can talk and eat comfortably are hugely important, as are panels that allow for a great exchange of ideas.

What’s your ideal Con?