So, another Norwescon has come and gone. For those not from here this is the largest local science-fiction convention. Twenty years ago I was a regular panelist at this and other local conventions but I have seldom attended since then; too often I had places to be as a sword-maker on the same weekends.
This year Bill Gruner asked me to come back as a panelist on the medieval history track and I told the convention people that we would like to do a reading from ‘The Shield Maiden.’ This got Linda an invite also and she wound up doing some panels on writing and on horses in the Middle Ages. This was the first time Linda had ever been a panelist and the first time that we have ever done a reading.
I did a panel on ‘The Universal Rules of the Fight’ based on an essay I wrote some years ago on Thursday and went to the small-press mixer that evening. This was in the hotel’s Presidential Suite. The Convention put out a wonderful spread of finger foods and there was a hosted bar. I don’t drink myself, but it was nice not to pay $3 for a can of soda… The highlight of the mixer was meeting an amazing young illustrator named Lauren Hambacher. What she had to display (on her smart-phone) was a selection of fan-art, particularly of Dr.Who. But rather than the static, posed portraits common to ‘fan-art’ her renditions of the characters are dynamic- The Doctor(#11,) his face lit up with amazement as he examines a seed-pod. David Tennant looking concerned and a bit confused. Her work conveys complex emotions and really captures the souls of the characters. Check her out. We’re certainly going to keep her in mind for book covers in the future.
Kudos to the convention staff too. The Green Room was stocked with snacks and beverages at all times and an innovation since the last time I was a panelist- Meals! Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Interesting selection of food too, ranging from Tortilla-Chicken soup to an African Beef Stew. Vegetarian fare was also available, as were gluten-free options. All delicious, though dishes did trend towards a little spicier than Linda prefers. In addition the staff were universally courteous and went out of their way to be helpful.
Baen books publishes most of my favorite authors, so I was delighted that they were the convention’s featured publisher. They were ably represented by editor Tony Daniel (author of Guardian of Night) and his minions. We got to speak to Tony at Baen’s mixer on Saturday night, and he asked what we do, which led a discussion about our novel. He thought it was an interesting concept and asked a lot of questions, then said that he’d like to read it! We handed him a copy, so hopefully he’ll enjoy it and might have some useful input. I also met the gentlemen of the Royal Manticoran Navy, the official Honor Harrington Fan Association and had a great time discussing everything except Honor Harrington…
I also met three people that remembered me from all those years ago, not for my writing, illustrating or sword-making but for stories about my wolf-hybrid Fenris! My old dog has apparently become legend… it’s kind of nice that he is remembered by some one other than me.
All in all we reconnected with old friends, met some fantastic new ones and certainly did our budding career as writers no harm. I was a bit concerned that I might have issues with the crowds (PTSD) but it was fine. Felt a bit like home, even after all these years. Looks like we may be doing more conventions in the future, locally at least.
The only downside is that we neglected to load-up on Airborne or something- we both now have the most awful colds. I think it was worth it though.