The Post-Norwescon De-brief

My dressing up as an alien monster days are far behind me.

I’m finally feeling recovered enough to do a bit of a download from Norwescon 34.

It didn’t sink in until about 5 minutes ago that last year I attended as a pro writer, with my first anthology publication hitting the shelves in Close Encounters of the Urban Kind. This year, I attended not only as an author, but as a publisher for the very first time, with two anthologies under my belt, and a handful of other anthologies which I had been published in over the year. This made the experience a little different in a few ways, especially in that I was scouting talent and recruiting people for upcoming anthologies as well as trying to make connections for my own writing career.

Among the many highlights were the people. There are folks who I dearly enjoy who I only seem to see at the conventions, among them Nisi Shawl. There were also many new people I met and spent huge chunks of time chatting with. In particular author and serious bad-ass Sandra Wickham, author/publisher and all-around swell guy Matt Youngmark, outstanding musician Sunnie, comic book maven and queen geek Ashley Cook from Giant Fire Breathing Robot, and the mad game designer and fellow booze fan Ryan Macklin. I know I’m leaving people out. It can’t be helped, as the bulk of my convention was spent chatting. If I could spend every day around such awesome people it would be a utopia.

In addition to sitting on a few fun panels (detailed previously), I got to attend several panels on such topics as diversity in gaming, how to do diversity well in fiction without being a dick, the future of publishing, e-publishing both for books and for gaming materials, what’s hot in YA fiction, and one surprisingly useful panel on female characters in comics. I learned a lot, and took a lot of notes. I even sat in on some fun readings and now have a few new authors to follow.

Important lessons learned this weekend:

  • Mary Robinette-Kowal is made of candy. No, really. She’s that sweet. Had the pleasure of sitting on a panel she moderated with Jennifer Brozek, Jay Lake, and Jordan Lapp. And not once did I feel like the Shemp, which could have easily happened. That was a rockstar panel.
  • Taco Bell and Jack in the Box are sometimes foods. I practically needed a vegetable drip by the time I was done for the weekend.
  • Adult Swim on Cartoon Network ends at 3am and rolls over to old-school Warner Brothers cartoons and such. As an aside, witnessing that rollover is the universe telling you to go the fuck to sleep.
  • Ryan Macklin is a class act. Don’t let the boozy late-night tweets fool you. Seriously, a prince among men. And he carries around a flask that holds 64oz of bourbon, so he is not to be fucked with.
  • I am not Jim Butcher. But then again, pretty much no one in the autograph session was Jim Butcher, except for, of course, Jim. Didn’t get a chance to meet him. Not sure how that happened. I hear he’s nice, and that he smells like chocolate covered bacon. That’s just what I hear.
  • Corsets are proof that “It gets better.” Seriously. If I had a time machine, I’d bring teenage me to Norwescon and show him the geeky, pale, quivering bounty that fills that convention space like bubbles in a can of soda and tell him, “Trust me kid. When you’re an adult, being a geek is a GOOD thing. Never be ashamed of it.”
  • The authors I’ve had the privilege of working with through Timid Pirate are, to a person, absolutely fantastic people. I look forward to working and hanging out with again. If you are an editor, keep your eyes on these folks. They’re going places.

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