Category Archives: Conventions

I’m Back!

Did anybody miss me?

Seriously though, one of the reasons I was gone so long was that I was feeling depressed about my writing. I felt that nobody cared about anything I was doing and all the blog posts I wrote were simply masturbating out into the web, ejaculating my thoughts and ideas into a dark corner of the Internet where all they left was a sticky little stain and a funky smell.

Another of the reasons was that I was pouring all of my energy into my day job. A job that, sometimes, felt like no matter how much of my effort went into it, nobody cared much about it there, either. I was getting in long before anyone else showed up, 90 minutes before I was scheduled to be there, and staying late to make sure that everything got done. Nobody asked me to do this, but I was raised by a workaholic and that work ethic stuck with me, no matter how destructive it might be to my health and sanity.

So, combine depression with continually putting all of my energy into something other than writing, and that makes a sure-fire recipe for being completely burnt out. I didn’t feel like I had any time to write before work, and by the time I got home I was too tired to do anything more than crawl into bed. The only thing left was a feeling of failure as the days passed one after the other without anything getting on the page.

Which, of course, simply fed the cycle.

But now, dear reader(s) (if I have any of you left), I am going to try to start over. I am going to try to focus less on my job in order to save more of my energy for writing. My goals for the year have shifted as a result of this collapse, and I will no longer be trying to write a new novel this year. My main focus is not to simply continue to write, on whatever project I feel deserves the limited energy and attention I can give it. I can’t promise anything, but I will try to post whenever I can and give you an update on how things are moving along.

Speaking of projects, I thought of a new one over this last weekend. It was the opening day of WisCon, which, if you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you will remember I attend regularly. I was there in a last-ditch effort to regain my writing mojo, and, since I am currently blogging about it, I was successful in that effort. There were actually a few panels that I attended that helped me in this, from the Joy of Failure to Taking Care of the Writer’s Body. From Social Isolation to How to Not Give a &#@! All of these panels helped me to refocus my thinking on stuff that doesn’t really matter to the things that make me WANT to get out of bed in the morning.

Anyway, back to the project. There was a sign in the lobby with a title of “We All Met In A Tavern”. I’m not really sure what it was all about, but it reminded me of the old Thieves’ World anthologies, where several different writers all wrote stories set in the same world. It seemed like a good idea, and so, of course, that meant it was worth stealing. Not completely, mind you, but the general idea. So here it is:

The Liars Club

Let me explain. I want to get submissions from writers around the world (or, more specifically, the Internet) to send me stories that are essentially their favorite characters telling a lie. And not just any lie, but a big one. A profound prevarication. An immense insincerity. A fabulous falsehood.

Depending on the submissions, this could either be something simply posted online to the world for everyone to enjoy, or the tales could be collected into an anthology for sale to the gullible public. For now, I’m not sure if I would have the skills or energy to physically publish anything, and I have no idea whether or not anyone will even submit anything, so it will probably just be going online. We can revisit the publication aspect in the future if there is enough interest.

If YOU are interested, here are the rules:

  1. Use your own character. I’m not interested in fan fic or slash fic, so don’t kidnap another author’s brain child
  2. The story has to be told in the first person
  3. The story has to be something outlandish and/or outrageous. Something fantastic that really makes it hard to believe, but told in such a way that it maybe, possibly, could have potentially happened
  4. The story should be told as if it actually happened to the main character, and they should state why they are unloading this load of bullpuckey onto the listener. Whether they are telling the story to explain why they were late to their own wedding or why they have a terrible fear of wheelchairs doesn’t matter, but the story should start with a lead-in
  5. The story should end with the listener’s reaction. Do they believe this nonsense? Or were they smart enough to catch something in the story that revealed the lie?

That’s my idea. I would be interested to know what you think about it (if there are any of you still out there). And, like I said, if you want to participate, send me a story and spread the word!

I won’t bother telling you when I’ll be back with another post, as I don’t know myself. I have only turned on my laptop a few times in the last four months, and that was mostly just to check my e-mail before my inbox exploded. But I am going to try to be better at that starting this week, so hopefully I’ll have another post soon.

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WisCon Loot

WisCon was great. I learned a lot and had a great time. It was also exhausting. I actually skipped a couple of panels for the sole reason that my butt was getting sore. Instead, I found a comfy chair or couch to rest my laurels on for a while, and then it was back at it!

My wife gave me an allowance of $200 for the convention, but I went way over. I took that much in cash with me, and ended up getting another $100 on Sunday, but that didn’t last either. I also used plastic for some of my spending, so yeah, way over my limit.

Here’s a list of most of the things I bought this weekend (I won’t count food, although that was a big part of it):

  • Pocket watch – this is for the steampunk outfit I am trying to put together. It’s a really nice, wind-up timepiece. And of course, when I got home I discovered there’s no pocket on my vest. Doh!
  • Several small, brass-colored charms. I’m thinking of polishing them and making army-type medals out of them.
    • Tree
    • Key
    • Bat
    • Anchor
    • Octopus
  • I picked up twenty ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) for a dollar each at the Gathering. My friend Zombie Joe “helped” me by handing me five that he recommended. In no particular order, they are:
    • Changeling, by Kelly Meding
    • More Than Midnight, by Brian James Freeman
    • Deadly Sting, by Jennifer Estep
    • Born in Flames, by Howard Hampton
    • Ruins, by Orson Scott Card
    • The Disaster Survival Bible, by Junius Podrug
    • Touch of the Demon, by Diana Rowland
    • Tarnished, by Karina Cooper
    • Desperate Days: Selected Mysteries Volume Two, by Jack Vance
    • Bad Medicine, Vol. 1, by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (graphic novel)
    • Libriomancer, by Jim C. Hines
    • Dearly, Beloved, by Lia Habel
    • The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2012 Edition, edited by Paula Guran
    • Alien Diplomacy, by Gini Koch
    • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
    • False Memory, by Dan Krokos
    • Shivers VII, edited by Richard Chizmar
    • Full Blooded, by Amanda Carlson
    • Flying in the Heart of the Lafayette Escadrille, by James Van Pelt
    • Kindred and Wings, by Philippa Ballantine
  • I also bought several published books from the Dealer’s Room. Some were sequels from authors I have read before, while others were new things I saw this year and had to have. These are books that I will definitely be reading before next WisCon, while the ARCs may end up just gathering dust, like the ones I picked up last year.
    • The Mad Scientists Guide to World Domination, edited by John Joseph Adams
    • Dark Faith: Invocations, edited by Maurice Broaddus & Jerry Gordon
    • Treemaker, by Kater Cheek
    • Dayrunner, by Kater Cheek
    • Faerie Killer, by Kater Cheek
    • Lunatic Fringe, by Allison Moon
    • Hungry Ghost, by Allison Moon
    • Interfictions, edited by Delia Sherman & Theodora Goss
    • Interfictions 2, edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak
    • Couch, by Benjamin Parzybok
    • Ex Heroes, by Peter Clines
    • Midnight Blue-Light Special, by Seanan McGuire
    • The Lives of Tao, by Wesley Chu
  • And finally, I ordered the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, from Amazon during the con. It was delivered on Tuesday.

That’s about it. If any of you are interested in hearing my thoughts about any particular book, leave a comment below and I’ll try to move that particular volume up in my To-Read list. Otherwise, the only thing left for today is that I just put my name on the Magic Spreadsheet. If you don’t know what that is, you can either Google it, or wait for me to write a post about it sometime in the next couple of weeks.

That’s it for today. See  you on Sunday!

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WisCon Writing Contest

On my first day at WisCon I discovered that the person who organized the Odyssey Con spontaneous writing contest also set one up for WisCon. So, of course, I had to at least attempt to participate. Since I hadn’t seen the e-mail before the con I knew I had little chance of actually being a part of it, but I thought it would be worth it to at least show up and see what happened.

To make a long story short, I got in. I decided that I didn’t care whether I won or not, so I would just treat it as a writing exercise. They provided six lines of dialogue and I decided to use them all as the start of my story and just go on from there. I also decided not to name the characters or use any kind of attribution. I was thinking about a writer’s podcast I had heard last year that spoke about how the reader should be able to tell the speaker by the dialogue if it is written correctly, so I tried to write each speaker with their own voice. I’m not sure how well I did, but I’ll let you judge for yourself. Below is my entry.

Mission Control

 “Picking anything up yet?”

“Nothing human. Coupla cats.”

“How do you know they’re cats?”

“How do you know they’re cats? If it looks like a cat and meows like a cat, it’s a cat. These guys think like cats.”

“And different from dogs, yeah?”

“Just like the difference between red and blue. Besides, they’re both normally like, uh, I dunno, a soft glow … until something lights ’em up. But it takes different things to do it. Cats light up when they see some kind of small critter they can chase, but dogs only do it for people. In f…. Oh, wait! What’s that now?”

“What? Let me see!”

“Don’t get your panties in a twist. Give me a second to focus in.”

“Is it them?”

“Not sure. Could be. Here, take a look.”

“They’re big enough to be human. But how can we tell if they’re the guys we’re looking for?”

“Let’s see what happens when they see the bait. If they light up, we’ve got ‘em.”

“What are you using for bait?”

“Like I said, they think like cats, so they’re looking for something small that they can hunt. But they’re bigger than cats, so they’re gonna want something a little bigger. Hang on, I think they spotted it.”

“That? Oh my god, what did you – you didn’t!”

“I told you, they needed something to hunt.”

“But it’s a child! How could you?”

“Don’t worry, we won’t let them hurt it. Besides, they like to play with their food first.”

“They play with it? That’s sick!”

“That’s why we’re here. We’ll get ‘em before they hurt the kid.”

“We better.”

“You worry too much.”

“I can’t help it. I’d like to have kids myself someday, you know.”

“You? Yeah, right! That’s rich. Carlos, they’re on the move. Get your team into position.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Just that I have never thought of you as the parenting type. You’re always focused on the job. I bet you don’t even date, do you? Well?”

“All right! I admit it. I haven’t made a lot of time for myself recently, but that doesn’t mean –“

“When’s the last time you went out on a date?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“Come on. You can tell me. I promise it won’t leave this room. Get ready, Carlos, they’re almost at your position.”

“Well… fine. The last time I was out on a date was right after I graduated from the Academy.”

“After… Holy crap, that was, like, eight years ago! No wonder you’re wound up so tight.”

“I am not!”

“Oh, please! You walk around like you’ve got a broomstick rammed up your ass. Ramrod straight and ready to snap.”

“… I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Where are our targets?”

“Don’t worry about them. Carlos took them down ten seconds ago. And look. There’s the kid, safe and sound.”

“So is it them?”

“Just a sec. Scan results are coming in now. DNA…Kirlian…Psychotron…. Yep, we’ve got ‘em!”

“Finally!”

“How long have you been after these guys?”

“Three years.”

“Wow. Must be a relief for it to be over.”

“You have no idea.”

“So what are you going to do now?”

“I’m not sure. Whatever the Director wants, I guess.”

“Can I make a suggestion?”

“Sure.”

“Take some time off. It doesn’t have to be long, but it wouldn’t kill you to take a vacation.”

“I don’t know…”

“Just think about it. I usually take a couple weeks off between gigs myself. I’m planning on taking my boat out for a tour of the islands.”

“That sounds nice.”

“Damn straight. Nothing but the wind and the waves for two whole weeks. If that doesn’t recharge your batteries, nothing will. So what do you say?”

“Are you inviting me to come with you?”

“Sure, why not?”

“Because we work together, that’s why!”

“That’s the worst excuse I’ve ever heard. You know damn well that interpersonal relationships are allowed. And besides, I think we work well together, don’t you?”

“Well, yeah.”

“So think of it as a team-building exercise. There’s nothing like sailing to get people more in sync with each other.”

“…”

“Come on! It’ll be fun!”

“All right! It’s a date.”

“Okay! You won’t regret it.”

“I had better not. Now let’s get this mission wrapped up. I’ve got to go shopping for a swimsuit.”

“Yes sir!”

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WisCon, Here I Come!

I finished Dirty Little Freaks #21 yesterday, so I’m ready for WisCon! The biggest concern I had this week was making sure that I had my writing done soon enough that I would be able to concentrate on the convention instead of writing. Mission accomplished.

I’m really looking forward to taking a couple of days off of work and spending some time with my fellow authors. Several of the members of my writing group will be joining me at WisCon, and I’m also hoping to see some of the people I have met at the convention in the last couple of years. I’ve already gone through the program and selected all the panels I’m planning on attending, so all that’s left is for me to show up.

And of course, my cold seems to be making a comeback, so that’s gonna be fun.

If you’re at WisCon, keep an eye out for me. I’d love to meet some of the people who actually read this exercise in self-absorption. And if you can’t make it to the convention, remember: There’s always next year!

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Another Story Done

I finished Dirty Little Freaks story #20 last night. It wasn’t great, but I think it’s got something there. Now I have to figure out what to write about next.

I’ve got a couple of ideas. One more developed than the other, so that’s probably the one I’ll go with. It’s about a firefighter who gets caught in a chemical explosion while he is out on a call and ends up with the ability to control fire. I guess it would be an origin story for a superhero.

I’m hoping this will be one of my shorter stories, and that I get it done quickly this week. WisCon starts on Friday and I won’t have a lot of free time once the convention starts. I’ve already gone through the program schedule and planned out the panels I want to attend. I’m also going to remember to bring an extra bag on opening day for the ARC sale. Last year I came home with over twenty books, most of which I still haven’t read.

I’ll be back on Wednesday to let you know how the story is going. And if you haven’t registered for WisCon yet, why not?

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Odyssey Con 13: Steer Trek

Today is the last day of Odyssey Con (or OddCon, for those who know it well). It was nice being able to spend some time connecting with my fellow geeks. The highlight, of course, was being able to spend three days with two of my favorite authors, Alex Bledsoe and Kevin Hearne. They signed some books for my collection, as well as a couple for my son Nate, who couldn’t make it this year.

I also entered the Spontaneous Writing Contest yesterday morning. Let me start by saying that it was definitely organized better than last year. The rules were that you had to sign up in advance to get a spot on the list, and then the first eight people (in registration order) that were physically present at 8:30 AM in the hotel lobby were given a flash drive. That drive contained an .RTF file with four lines of dialogue that had to be used in a story. Each contestant then had one hour to write their story and turn it in. I was fourth on the list, so I was assured a spot as long as I was there (and, of course, I was). The drives were each lettered, in order to keep the author anonymous and keep the contest fair.

Here are the lines of dialogue that we were given to work with.

“Not a one!”
“What!? Most of them never did anything wrong even on their own planet, let alone here.”
“You’re not hearing me, and I’m not going to say it again. Not. A. Single. One!”
“With all due respect, ma’m …”

We could alter them if we needed to, but any changes would count against us. Putting other text between the lines was no problem, though, and most of the authors (including myself) did so. I managed to write about 800 words in the allotted hour, and I felt pretty good about it. At least, until they posted the entries in the hallway for everyone to read. There were some nice stories there. And I overheard one of the judges talking to one of the other contestants about the merits of some of the OTHER stories. Needless to say, I began to have some doubts about my own work. My biggest worry was that, despite the reference to another planet in one of the lines of dialogue, I decided not to take the easy route and write a science fiction story about aliens from another world. Instead, I wrote about a murder investigation at a science fiction convention. It’s titled “A Killer Con”, and here it is, for your reading pleasure.

The trouble with these guys was that they seemed to think that the rules of normal society didn’t apply to them. To be fair, though, their own concepts of morality and ethics was sometimes a whole lot better than what the rest of us lived by. Still, there was a dead body in the hotel, and it was up to me to find out why.

“All right,” I said to the con rep that I had cornered, “we’re going to be here until I get some answers, so start talking.”

We had commandeered one of the rooms for the duration, in order to lock down the hotel until we had a chance to question the three hundred suspects that were still wandering the halls as if nothing had happened. The queen sized bed that took up most of the room distracted a bit from my interrogation techniques, but I tried to ignore it as we sat at the little work table in the corner.

“Well, like I told the officer earlier, we were just wrapping up the afternoon anime movie and as they left the room one of the kids complained to the AV guy about a nasty smell.”

“And nobody had noticed anything before then?”

“Not really. I don’t know if you have ever been to a convention like this before, but some of our attendees aren’t so good with personal hygiene, if you know what I mean.”

I grimaced. I couldn’t imagine going without at least a shower if I was going to go out in public. “Go on.”

“He went in to check it out, in case someone had gotten sick or something in there. And that’s when he found the body.”

His story checked out with what I had already gotten from the uniforms. “All right, so who was this guy?”

He shook his head. “No idea. I mean, his name was Jerry Dantillo, but nobody really knows him. He hasn’t been to the con before, and he wasn’t pre-registered. We think he was probably just some local guy who heard about the con and decided to check it out.”

“So nobody knows this guy, which means nobody has any reason to want him dead, is that it?”

“Not a one!”

I frowned. “That just doesn’t make any sense. You don’t get a nine-inch dagger through your heart without pissing someone off.” I planted my hands on either side of the little table and leaned over him. “I don’t really care what planet you guys think you’re from, but that sort of thing doesn’t fly in my town.”

Unfortunately, I had underestimated the sheer level of geekery I was dealing with. My intimidation technique was totally useless when he was more interested in my cleavage than my comment. I glared at him and sat back down in my chair, crossing my arms over my chest.

He looked up at my scowling face and flushed. “What!? Most of them never did anything wrong even on their own planet, let alone here.”

“Well, I’ve got a dead body that says otherwise. And nobody is leaving here until I find out who did it. So somebody had better start talking. Who here would think that this guy would be better off dead?”

“You’re not hearing me, and I’m not going to say it again. Not. A. Single. One!”

I threw up my arms in frustration. “Fine. Be that way. But this con is over. For good.”

“With all due respect, ma’m …”

I snorted. “Respect? You seem to have more respect for my breasts than for my job.” He ducked his head like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “I’m trying to help you out here, but you’ve got to meet me halfway.”

He raised his head and looked me in the eye. “You don’t understand. We have a strict weapons policy at the convention. No real weapons are allowed. Ever. And we have a security staff that keeps an eye out for those things. They check every single costume to make sure nobody has any real blades, or guns, or whatever. There’s no way that knife would have gotten past them.”

I leaned back in my chair. “Well, then I guess that narrows down the suspects, doesn’t it?”

“What do you mean?”

“Vigilat qui custodem,” I said, getting up to open the door. “Who watches the watchmen? I need to speak to your security staff.”

His face blanched.

I ushered him out the door and gestured for one of the uniforms to join me. If I was right, there was no way I was going to be caught alone in a room for this interrogation.

Not too bad, right? Needs a little work, but most first drafts do. Especially ones that were written under a one hour deadline. But in the end, it wasn’t quite good enough, and I didn’t win. However, I may keep working on this story over the next week. I can extend it out, through the interrogation of the security guard  and on to the revelation of the killer and resolution of the mystery.

I’ll give you an update on Wednesday to let you know how it’s going. Until then, live long and prosper!

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Is It Wednesday Already?

Sorry for the late post. I just realized that it is Wednesday and I hadn’t posted anything yet.

I don’t have a whole lot to say. The weather turned sour again, and although I rode my bike in the rain yesterday, I didn’t ride today and I’m not planning on riding tomorrow. I’m going to rationalize my decision to drive by saying that I didn’t want to take the chance of getting sick for Odyssey Con this weekend.

Speaking of which, only two more days to go! I’m a little jealous of my friend Zombie Joe, who gets to go to pick up Kevin Hearne at the airport tomorrow. He will get the chance to spend some time alone with an author whose work has been compared with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I’m hoping that Joe will have the time to introduce me to Kevin during the convention, but he’s going to be pretty busy, so I won’t push it. At the very least, I will have a chance to get a book signed.

Another bit of convention news is that I signed up for the “spontaneous” writing contest on Saturday. The idea is to work some lines of dialogue into a short story. It’s only open to the first eight people who have registered and are present in the lobby at 8:30 Saturday morning. I was number four to register, so as long as I get there on time I’ll be able to participate. Which means that I will actually have two short stories this week. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll count that. Maybe I’ll skip writing next week, or maybe I’ll save it for later in the year in case I run out of ideas. Or maybe I’ll just count it as a bonus. I may not decide until after I find out how it ranks among the other seven contestants (one of which is Zombie Joe).

So that’s it for tonight. I’ll check in again after the convention is over on Sunday afternoon. And don’t forget to look for me if you’re at the convention!

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Quick and Dirty

I don’t have a lot to say today. I finished Dirty Little Freaks #14 yesterday. The morning was spent running a lot of errands, and the afternoon (after finishing the story) was mostly goofing off. Today too was not very productive, as you might be able to tell by the fact that this post isn’t going up until almost 2 PM. But that’s okay.

This week I think I might write another Alchemist story, which will almost wipe out my ideas for shorts on that line. It should bring the character through most of his origin story and get him into a place where I can start planning the novel. But that’s for another time.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to spend the rest of my Sunday being lazy and watching a Warehouse 13 marathon.

I’ll check in on Wednesday and let you know how much I’m looking forward to seeing Alex Bledsoe and Kevin Hearne at Odyssey Con next weekend. Hopefully I’ll have the majority of my next story done by then.

Catch you later!

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Socializing for an Anti-Social Profession

Let’s face it, writers spend a lot of their time alone, lost in the worlds inside their heads. Some of them have even been known to bite when provoked. Getting those words on the page is the only way to get the voices to stop.

But stories are about people, and it’s kind of hard to understand how people work without spending any time with them. So every writer needs to get away from the manuscript once in a while and get out there where the stories are. If they’re lucky they can also find other people who share their interests and might be able to help refine their work into something they can print.

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

– Stephen King

Today I’m going to tell you about two of the things in my life that help me get my writing done. Writer’s groups and conventions.

I have been with a writing group for a few years now. We meet on a weekly basis and discuss our work. In the past, we would read our pieces out loud and get critiques from the others. That worked, but there were times when nobody had anything to read, or when only one person had anything prepared, so there was sometimes a bit of guilt or tension in the group.

We are shaking things up a bit now. We’re still going to meet weekly, but we’re only going to offer critiques once a month. The other weeks we will use as a scheduled writing time, with the opportunity to discuss any story problems we are stuck on with the rest of the group. We will also take some time each month to discuss a book that we have read.

I’m not sure about the book discussion, as I already have a discussion group that I go to at my local library once a month. I have enough trouble getting through the books on my own to-read shelf without adding yet another one from someone else’s list. But I’ll give it a try anyway, because at least the books that my writing group discuss will be more closely aligned with the ones I normally read for pleasure. The library book group mostly discusses popular fiction and non-fiction, which I would probably never read on my own.

As for conventions, it is nice to be able to get out and meet new people every once in a while. Conventions give me a chance to get out there and participate in discussions about interesting topics led by interesting people. I also get the chance to meet famous people, like Larry Niven, who has been a favorite author of mine for decades.

This year my convention plans include Odyssey Con, April 12-14, and WisCon, May 24-27, both held in my home town of Madison, Wisconsin. I almost decided to skip Odyssey Con this year, but when they announced that the Guests of Honor included Alex Bledsoe and Kevin Hearne, I just had to go. Alex is also local to the Madison area, and I have met him several times and consider him to be a friend. He is a great guy and his writing is superb. Kevin is the author of the Iron Druid series, which I started reading a couple of years ago and have loved every bit of it, so I am looking forward to meeting this outstanding author.

While at the conventions, I will have a chance to sit in on discussion panels with these two greats, as well as many other writers and fans, and pick their brains about writing, news of the world, and our future on this planet (and possibly others). And there will be lots of other, like-minded people around as well, each with their own opinions and views to share.

I highly recommend that, whatever your situation, you should try to connect with other writers. Either with a writer’s group or a convention. Preferably both. And if you can afford to travel, come and join me in Madison at one of my conventions and introduce yourself. We’ll chat.

I’ve got to go lock myself in a room now and get some writing done. I’m going to write another Alchemist story this week, and I am hoping that I will be able to finish it ahead of schedule again. As usual, I will post another update on Wednesday.

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Geek Kon!

A quick update, then on to the show!

I’m over 52,000 words, Matt (the serial killer) is dead, and Carter was the one that killed him. All of the kids were trying to get Cailin to do it using her telekinesis, so that it would look like an accident, but when she balked at the job, Carter stepped up. Now Andy is trying to convince the cops that it was self-defense. After this I’ll do a few scenes to wrap things up, and I’ll be done. Less than 60,000 words total, but it will be finished.

And now, Geek Kon!

If you haven’t heard about it, Geek Kon is a large convention held in Madison, Wisconsin, to celebrate all things geek. There are anime and science fiction shows running non-stop, guests include voice actors, authors, and game designers. There are three rooms set aside for gaming, including table-top and RPG games, console video games, and LAN computer games. The dealer’s room has offerings for all types of geeks, including things like Pocky (candy covered biscuit sticks), Doctor Who memorabilia and videos, boxes full of manga, cosplay clothes and accessories, as well as all sorts of books and games. At least half (actually probably closer to 80%) of the attendees dress in some form of costume.

I’m writing this post before I head off for the final day of the convention. Yesterday I bought a blue anime-style wig, and today I’m going to wear it. I’ll try to get someone to take my picture while I’m at the convention so I can post it later.  I shaved my mustache off so I would look more like one of the Japanese boys in the shows, and I’m wearing a white shirt with a tie hung loosely around my neck and the shirt tails hanging out. This is my mental image of the kids in those shows. I’m a bit heavier than they are, but I’m going to do it anyway. After all, one of the best things about life is that you can always have fun if you forget about what everyone else thinks. And that’s kind of what Geek Kon is all about.

That being said, however, although I have had my camera for the whole convention, I haven’t taken a single picture. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that while I really enjoy going there and the costumes are really cool, part of me feels like a dirty old man. After all, I’m almost twice the age of many of the kids attending, and a lot of the girls aren’t wearing much. The stereotypical girl in an anime show is wearing a short skirt and shows a lot of cleavage. And there are a lot of girls (and even a few guys) at Geek Kon that are modeling their costumes after their favorite anime characters. It’s kind of intimidating for a 43-year-old man.

But that’s my problem. And although I may feel weird about it, I may just have to screw up my courage today and ask some of the attendees if I can take their picture. We’ll see.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with another update. See you then!

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Filed under Conventions, ROW80, The Writing Experience