Monday, July 28, 2014

ArmadilloCon Survival Report

So now ArmadilloCon is done, and it was a lovely time.

Friday was the Writers' Workshop, where we had plenty of good discussion in the morning sessions, and my critique students were an excellent group of people who are all on the verge of breaking through to the next level.  There were some administrative snafus (i.e., mistakes on my end of things), but our astounding volunteers Rebecca, Melissa and Beth helped keep things from flying off track. 

Plus I made sure Stina got a round of applause for all her years running the workshop.  Apparently next year, I'll be in charge.  Still contemplating that.

After the workshop, I swung home briefly* for dinner, and came back for my evening panels.  First was Protecting the Indigenous Tribes, which I had been a bit nervous about, but it went nicely, mostly because my panel-mates had interesting things to say, and we had a small-but-engaged audience.  Next was the raucous 40 Years of D&D, in which we mostly talked about our personal history with playing, favorite characters we played, and how it influenced our writing.  And we had to roll for initiative to talk.  Lots of fun, especially talking about how my love of playing thieves and mages influences the central character of Thorn, and the fun you can have role-playing a character with a terrible stat. (Namely, a Constitution of 5**)  After that, I ended up talking to Mark Finn and Mark Carroll more about gaming.  (Or, more correctly, listening to them, since I was starting to fade out.)

Saturday, I returned for another of my nervous-about-this panel on Aztec mythology in genre fiction.  Again, it went better than I had feared it would.  I didn't make too much of a fool of myself, though we had one audience member who consistently had a light shake of her head and an expression of No, wrong, wrong.  I found out after the fact that she was a PhD in Anthropology specializing in Mezoamerican cultures, so she probably had good reason.  If you're reading this: Sorry.  If I had known, I would have dragged you up with us.

Alcoholic Drinks in Fiction became Alcoholic Drinks in Writers, since a wonderful member of the audience bough drinks for the panel.  I may have prompted that a little.  But it was a very fun panel.   I hung around and did the BarCon thing for a while, mostly talking with Amanda Downum about each others work and alcohol, with Alex Renwick about the Olde Days of South Congress***, and becoming new Best Con Friends with Kat Richardson.  Who is awesome.  Plus many, many, many other people.

My reading went well, where I read the first chapters of both Thorn and Murder of Mages, and I was quite pleased.  And I can fill up an hour, apparently.  Good to know.  After a bit more BarConning, my wife arrived at midnight to sweep me off to her event in a different hotel.

Sunday's panels were early, which was a bit painful (see: swept off at midnight to a different event), but went well.  Best Cons in Genre Fiction was loose and free-form, but Don Webb and Jayme Blaschke are very smart guys to be sitting in a panel with, so it worked quite well.  The coffee had kicked in by the time I did Overhauling a Character, so I got to end my official con duties on a high note, as that was a good, vibrant discussion.

After some more Sunday-Afternoon-Decompression BarCon stuff, I stumbled home and fell down.  But now I'm feeling ready and vital, on the whole a successful con, in as much as one can measure "success".  Plenty of people seemed to be quite excited about Thorn and Murder, and one even said I had already earned a "fan for life".  I'll take that, thank you.   I'm ready to get moving on the rough draft of Murder of Mages II, editing Thorn II and projects beyond.**** 

Looking forward to next year.


*- Personally, I loved having the hotel relatively close to the house this time around.
**- For those unversed in game-speak, that's essentially being quite out-of-shape or otherwise unhealthy.
***- By which I mean the 90s.
****- I actually got an offer for a small Project Beyond, so I need to think about what I might do for that.


Elze said...

"I found out after the fact that she was a PhD in Anthropology specializing in Mezoamerican cultures, so she probably had good reason. If you're reading this: Sorry. If I had known, I would have dragged you up with us."

-- That's why I keep pushing the idea that participation in convention panels should be open to the public, and the panels pitched SXSW-style: that is, a group of panelists puts together a panel proposal, and then members vote on the panels they want to see. All too often people in the audience (at least some of them) know more about the subject than those on stage.

Marshall Ryan Maresca said...

I don't know how well that would work, but I don't look too deeply at how the sausage is made. I don't know you (if anyone yet) is chairing next year, but you could bring it up to them earlier in the process, I suppose.