Posts Tagged ‘MileHiCon’

Virtual MileHiCon Aftermath

Oh my God, it’s Thursday. When did that happen? I swear I didn’t mean to skip Tuesday. I blame the snow day on Monday.

So! MileHiCon happened last weekend. How did it go?

Well, first of all, I felt like my panel went pretty well. Hopefully that’s also objectively true! (It’s up on YouTube, actually.) And the bigger, mobile one was mostly quiet during it, huzzah.

Normally I do 2 or 3 panels per con, and I haven’t moderated before, but I talked to a couple of other people, and it seems like, with the exception of the guests of honor, everyone was down to fewer panels, or only one, in many cases. I think that comes down to fewer “rooms” and the need to space the panels out, so tech issues could be dealt with in between in case panelists were having problems.

Overall, I felt like the con was well run. The addition of a Discord channel for panelists and attendees to continue discussions was a good idea, and it also allowed the staff to provide real time updates, which was essential, especially on Friday, when the website crashed and was inaccessible for about twelve hours. (So it turns out that having multiple ways to access the panels was also a good plan.)

They said, during the closing ceremonies, that they’d sent people to every virtual con they could for the past several months, so they could see what was working and what wasn’t, and the result was a well-run convention with very few hiccups (aside from Friday).

I wish I’d gotten to spend more time on it. As expected, being unable to distance myself from my responsibilities by being physically present at the con made it hard to focus on it. Friday would have been the day I could have focused the most, but the site being down limited what I could do. I was supposed to be manning the chat room on the Turtleduck Press page in the Authors’ Row, but alas, it was not to be.

Saturday was full of real-life activities, and I didn’t even get to sit down until dinner time, let alone do con things. (I made a nice Little Red Riding Hood cloak in twenty minutes flat, which I’m pretty proud of, not going to lie.)

Sunday morning was also busy, so I didn’t get back to the con until about 2 (and closing ceremonies are at 3). I did make the most of it, though–I went through the Authors’ Row and chatted with some of the other authors (nobody’s chat rooms got much use so maybe it wasn’t worth it to have sprung for one), looked at vendors and the costume pictures people had sent in, went to a panel, chatted in the Discord.

So! For a virtual con, it was good! But I much prefer the real thing, and I hope next year we can be back in person.

Other than that, oh man, November starts on Sunday! Planning for my mystery is coming along, but do I feel ready by any stretch of the imagination?

Nope!

I hope you’re having a good week, squiders! I’ll see you next week and next month.

Going to a Virtual Convention

So, MileHiCon, which you’ll remember if you’ve been with me for a while, is a scifi/fantasy literature convention I hit every year. Except, of course, this year sucks.

So MileHiCon has gone virtual.

There are pros and cons to this, like with anything, The biggest con, of course, is not being able to physically be there. I’ll miss my writing friends and acquaintances that I don’t always get to see elsewhere. I’ll miss the con atmosphere. I’ll miss the Critter Crunch. I’ll miss the networking and random discussions.

The pro is that my other Turtleduck Press people can come this year, which they usually can’t. So that’s exciting. I think.

We signed up for the virtual author’s row, which in theory gives us a space to advertise (and also gives us a chatroom–be interesting to see if anyone comes in. Other than ourselves). I haven’t heard a lot on that front (which is bad since the con starts on Friday) but I know they’ll pull it together. The con has a great team, and I’m actually a little impressed at the virtual space they’ve put together for the con itself.

(I watched the panelist info video yesterday, which was well done and also hilarious. It was so good.)

Speaking of panels, I basically told them not to feel like they had to put me on any panels this year. Without being physically at the con, I can’t guarantee that I won’t have the small, mobile ones or other family members bothering me.

I did get one assigned–a panel on editing. As the moderator.

I’ve never moderated a panel in my life. The closest was two or three years ago when I and another author led a roundtable about Doctor Who. (Which does not add to my confidence, because basically the other author talked the whole time and shot down anyone who didn’t agree with him.)

So that’s fun! Nothing like trying to lead a discussion while hoping the bigger, mobile one doesn’t need help on his social studies (it’s on Friday during the day)!

It’ll probably be fine. I just need to do some work before hand to make sure I’m prepared. Fingers crossed and all that jazz.

It is too cold to type out here. Hold on.

Anyway! I shall be interested to see how the con goes this year. A lot less prep than usual on my side, but I wonder if I will get as much out of it as normal. Things to talk about next week, when the con’s over.

(If you’d like to come, please do so! It’s $15 for a full weekend membership, and there’s decently big names as the guests of honor: Cory Doctorow, Rebecca Roanhorse–what? Barbara Hambly is coming? ::makes notes::–Connie Willis, etc.)

(Also, I appreciate MileHiCon always treating me like I’m someone worth coming to see.)

Have you guys gone to or participated in a virtual con this year? How did it go? Any tips you have? Any moderating insights?

MileHiCon Aftermath (and More Pictures)

Woo, sorry about missing the second update last week, Squiders. It turns out that the combination of the spouse’s surgery and Fall Break was a bit of a mess.

But the con went really well! I had a great time.

Friday was my FTL travel panel, which went okay. Myself and the rest of the panelists had all come to the same conclusion with our research, in that it will probably be achieved via manipulating spacetime (warp bubbles, wormholes, etc.) yet the audience kept asking questions about accelerating matter past the speed of light, no matter how much we emphasized that that continued to be impossible. So! That was a thing.

Otherwise Friday was pretty chill, just getting the lay of the land, chatting with friends, checking out the dealers’ room and the art show. (If I had unlimited money to spend, the art show would be a dream.) I also wrote a thousand words on a scifi horror novella I’ve been working on and drew a picture for a story/art exchange I signed up for.

Saturday was pretty fun. Based on the costume dry-run, I bought re-wetting eye drops to go with the contacts, which made a world of difference. I wore the contacts for an hour and a half last Tuesday, and my eyes hurt for, like, 12 hours afterwards. But I wore them for eight hours on Saturday and was fine.

The costume turned out well, but was apparently not obviously a costume (though I got a lot of double-takes after people made eye contact with me, which was kind of fun). I was chatting with a friend when someone came up, stated they were taking pictures of all the cosplayers, asked for and took a picture of my friend, and then meandered off.

(My husband says that it looks like I’m dressed up for a presentation. Ha! Matches Book!Crowley, I suppose.)

Saturday morning I had a fandom panel, which are honestly my favorite, because we can all happily geek out together. Same friend from above was on the panel with me, and we discovered that we went to the same university, at the same time, and hung out with the same people, and yet had somehow never met at that point in time. (We met at a writing group about five-ish years ago.) Life is weird.

Mid-day Saturday I had a spot at the selling/signing table, and sold a decent amount of books and had good interest in general, which is always very lovely. Also, the other authors I was there with were great, and we talked marketing techniques and what was working and not. That’s really part of why I come back to this con year after year–the people who run it are lovely, and the other authors are just so great, and everyone’s willing to chat and network and share.

My friend Christy (the Aziraphale to my Crowley) showed up near the end of that. She couldn’t stay very long, unfortunately, but we had fun while she was there. And it turns out if you have both an Aziraphale and a Crowley, it becomes obvious you are cosplaying and people say nice things.

Near the end of Christy being there was the mass author signing, during which we discovered another Aziraphale and Crowley, played by Carrie Vaughn and her friend Wendy (whom I didn’t get to talk to for very long, but I liked immensely). So that was also fun.

Pictures, as promised (though the lighting is a little off, on which I blame the con):

Doppelgangers! Oh noes!

After the signing I had a panel on identity vs. memory, which was pretty interesting when I was doing research on it, and the panel itself was interesting (someone complimented me on in the bathroom afterwards), but I felt kind of useless, because half the panel was a psychologist and someone experienced in traumatic head injuries. Ah well. Can’t win them all.

Sunday I decided to bring the bigger, mobile one along because I realized he would totally be into the Critter Crunch, which is a robotic fighting competition ala Battle Bots. (Although, I learned this weekend, it turns out that the MileHiCon Critter Crunch is actually the FIRST combat robot competition, starting in 1987.)

So we spent Sunday morning watching the 2 lb. competition (BMO’s favorite was Sister Christian, one of those punching nun puppets that had been modified to shoot fire out of her mouth) and then the later afternoon watching the 20 lb. competition. The three hours in between we made rockets with the other kids and had some quiet time, where BMO designed cities on his tablet, and I wrote another 1000 words and drew some more pictures.

I wanted to show you guys the all-robot melee at the end of the competition, but it wouldn’t upload, so instead you get Toast vs. SOL. (Toast was advertised as being fully autonomous, and SOL stands for exactly what you think):

Of course, now the BMO wants to build a robot for next year, so that’s a thing. Mechanically I’m sound, but me and electronics have never gotten along so well (and I have the soldering scars to prove it). But hey! It’s a possibility.

So that was the con this year! It was lovely, I only got a little sick afterwards, and I have next year to look forward to.

How was your weekend, squiders?

MileHiCon (and Costume Pics!)

MileHiCon this weekend! Yaaaaaay. I’m mostly ready–just need to get marketing materials (mail list sign up, business cards) together, do some research for my panels, and put everything together some place where I can find it.

(To remember: book stand, credit card reader, water bottle.)

My costume is now ready to go. I test drove everything today with the exception of the nail polish, because I know if I do it now it will look bad by the weekend, and also I know how to do nail polish and it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Have a couple of pics:

Everything feels and looks pretty good! The contacts do tend to rotate, which I expected because of the reviews, but alas, they are what they are. (If you recall, this was the single pair on the entirety of the Internet that were generally the right color/design and also came in powered prescription.) Otherwise they’re great–the colored part doesn’t block my vision and they’re the right power, so I can see just fine.

And then later I realized I forgot to do the tattoo as practice and then had to do that separate.

Kind of hard to see, also alas.

That actually went really well too. Way easier to draw on my face than expected.

I’m on three panels for this weekend. I suspect I’m pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to panel assignments, because sometimes I end up with the weirdest topics. I’ve two this year that are a bit bizarre. The first is a panel on faster-than-light (FTL) travel, but from a real-life, scientific point of view. The panel coordinator emailed me specifically about this one, since she knows I used to be an aerospace engineer. I’ve tried to explain to people in the past that being an aerospace engineer is not actually that beneficial when looking at theoretical spaceflight, especially in a fictional context, but that never seems to stick.

(The book says it’s a panel of “scientists and experts” of which I am neither, so I definitely need to make sure I’m up to date on stuff so I don’t come off as an idiot.)

The second is about identity and memory, which is an interesting topic but, again, not one I really know about. Research!

I was originally on four panels, but two of them ended up being at the same time after the schedule was re-arranged, so I had to drop the one on Steampunk costuming. A little sad, as this is a topic I know about–I’ve done two different Steampunk costumes–but the other one is about fandom, and I love fandom, so it won out. Plus I know someone else doing that panel, so hooray, friends!

Plus I’m at the author’s table for two hours, and I’ll need to decide whether to do the big signing or not. It normally depends on if someone I know and like is also doing the signing. (What I find is that the guests of honor tend to get 85% of the attendance, and the other 15% spread out among everyone else, so having someone worth socializing with is a must.)

But yay! I love conventions!

(There is a slight damper on this weekend since the spouse is having foot surgery tomorrow and may or may not be functional. I will need to play that by ear and deal as necessary.)

Plus my friend will be there as Aziraphale on Saturday too, which will be nice, because it’s always nice having a friend about.

I’ll probably flail through on Thursday, so you’ll hear from me one more time before the Con happens.

Happy Tuesday, squiders!

Post-Con and Nano Musings

I have survived the con again! Yay, go me. It was actually pretty relaxing, all told, except for panel nerves, a lot of which probably stemmed from the fact that I was the youngest person on all my panels, usually by a matter of decades.

(The moderator on my last panel had sold her first book the year before I was born.)

That’s kind of MileHiCon in a nutshell, though. It gets a lot of major speculative authors, but a lot of them, especially the science fiction ones, have been in the business for a long time. The average age of that subset is probably 70. And you get a lot of attendees who match that subset, because they’ve been reading those authors forever.

And then you have a lot of younger attendees, people in their teens and early to mid-20s, who grew up with the con because their parents dragged them along, and they have their own events and stuff, including a Harry Potter academy and so forth.

But I had a good time, and I wrote quite a lot on my anthology story (which is running slightly longer than I anticipated) and I drew some pictures and plotted out some children’s book series. Landsquid needs another friend, but I can’t think of anything. Turtleduck’s kind of hard to draw (I’ve never had success in the leg department–maybe if I quit trying to do duck legs and give her turtle legs? I can draw turtle legs) and I would really need three characters for a picture book. I came up with a stealth rhino this morning (essentially a rhino with tiger stripes) but my husband says it’s not weird enough.

Shall continue to ponder that.

The very last panel of the con was called “Nanowrimo Support Group” and I ended up going to that, not because I plan to do Nano, but because I have done it for many years (this would be my 16th if I’d done it consecutively) and thought I could offer support. It was mostly us just hanging out, offering tips and talking about potential write-ins (everyone except one person had done it before), but it was still nice, and it got me thinking about Nano.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Nano. I don’t quite love the monstrosity it’s turned into over the years, but in those early years, when it was only a couple thousand of us, I got a lot–friends, stories, skills–out of it. I still love the idea, and I think it’s a great way to get going if you want to start writing.

(As a bit of background, I learned about Nano in 2002, joined in 2003, and did it every year between 2003 and 2012. I won all but twice, my first and last years–my first one I suffered a concussion and a death flu, and the last one I had a four-month-old, my first, and only did it because it was my 10th anniversary. I also did it and won in 2014, but have not done it since.)

And I would be lying if, while I was sitting there in that room, with those other Nanoers, I told you that I wasn’t tempted. But it almost feels like I’ve outgrown Nano, or it’s outgrown me. It’s harder to do Nano if you have a serious project with a serious deadline, or if you’re editing, or if you’re co-writing, or a number of other situations.

Still tempting, though. And maybe I’ll be in a position again sometime where it will make sense to do it again.

How was your weekend, Squiders? Thoughts about Nano?

It’s Go Time!

I just want to let you all know that you are absolutely no help at all. 😛

(I’m not quite done with my anthology story, so that answers the question about what I’ll do for at least part of the time. And maybe I’ll bring a sketchbook.)

MileHiCon starts at noon today! It feels like it’s come up very fast. It is a week earlier than normal this year (wonder why?), which might be part of it. But it feels like it sprang out of nowhere, all the same. Like…it’s been on my radar, but I still had less time to prepare than normal, if you know what I mean. Or maybe I’m crazy.

I’m doing a panel today on self-publishing and doing digital books versus physical books. I’ve been given a couple of moderator questions (Are physical books going away? When?) but the most part I’m not sure what exactly we’re covering. Ah, well, I have almost a decade of experience at this point, so I shall probably be fine.

(Sunday’s panel is about editing–Machete vs. Scalpel, they’ve called it–and there’s no provided questions for that one, but, again, lots of experience so I should probably be able to muddle through without looking like an idiot.)

Got to get some things done this morning before I head out, so I’d better run.

Quick list of things to bring:

  • business cards (more editing than writing)
  • books
  • card reader
  • notebook
  • laptop
  • permits
  • water bottle
  • snack

I’ll see you guys next week, hopefully still in one piece. And if you’re local and come by MileHiCon, stop by and say hi! I’m normally some place in the atrium when not doing panels.

Free Time!

One of the things I look forward to the most about MileHiCon is having some time to myself. Aside from some evening commitments and the panels I’m on (and the book signing time), I’ve got the whole weekend to myself, and I can do whatever I want with it.

And MileHiCon has traditionally been very productive for me. Admittedly, when I was chained to the Turtleduck Press table in Author’s Row, I could get a ton done, and that’s not as true now that I’m free (freeee ahahahaha), but last year at least still proved quite useful.

(Like many conventions, MileHiCon has ~50 minute panels that start on the hour. So there’s about ten minutes between panels where the majority of the con population is meandering about when you deal with people, and then for the other 50 minutes you twiddle your thumbs, or a few people wander through. That’s a lot of thumb twiddling.)

I tend to get overwhelmed at panels, so I don’t go to that many, no matter the convention (even when I go to writers’ conferences where there’s a ton of stuff to do, every now and then I skip a session to recharge). I’ll hit the artist’s alley (I love the artist’s alley and seeing all the cool stuff people have come with) and the vendors’ hall a few times, maybe watch some anime if something looks fun, watch the costume contest.

That still leaves a lot of time.

When I was table-chained, I often got some editing done, drew pictures for the blog, wrote short stories, etc. (The Internet does not really work in the hotel, so I have to plan ahead to make sure I can do what I want to do. But, on the other hand, I am not distracted by silliness.) Even last year, I wrote a short story and managed to get feedback on it throughout the weekend.

So, knowing that I will have several hours to do whatever this weekend…what do I do?

(Well, if this anthology story doesn’t finish itself a little faster, I’ll have to finish it there.)

It’s one of those times when there’s too much possibility. I could do so many things. How do I pick? How do I focus? Do you do that, squiders, where there are so many opportunities you end up getting nothing done because you flit from one thing to the next?

Because I do. And it’s problematic.

If we go off of priorities…well, anthology story. Hopefully done before the end of the week, and so no longer an option. Siri has the Sekrit Project and so there’s nothing I can do there. I’m into the climax and conclusion on space dinosaurs, so maybe that? I’m probably not going to want to write a short since I’m coming off the anthology story. (Although at a projected 10-11K, it’s not really a “short” story. We shall consider the matter still open.)

(I may need to have a short done by Nov 1 anyway, actually. Yes, we shall keep that on the table.)

I could also work on some things I’ve been wanting to do that keep getting eaten by other things, like work on potential new series (including a picture book and a chapter book one) or poke at the nonfiction books and see what I need to do to get them ready to be published. (I think there’s one more book to be written, but that’s kind of why I need to evaluate where I am.)

So, options:

  1. Space Dinosaurs
  2. Short story
  3. Children’s books
  4. Other series?
  5. Nonfiction books

Hm. Five options, and only three days. Decisions, decisions. A short would need to be plotted before hand (see, no Internet, so I won’t be able to access my idea file at the hotel). Nonfiction probably also needs Internet, so that might be out. What would you do, if you were me?

MileHiCon Prep and Nerves

My sister gave me chocolate for my birthday, which is both a blessing and a curse.

We’re about a week out from MileHiCon, squiders, which is a scifi/fantasy literary convention that I like to make the rounds at each year. You’ve probably heard me talk about it before. For a few years I had a table in the author’s row for Turtleduck Press, which ended up not being much fun (stuck at table, terrible habit of comparing sales to other presses/authors, etc.) so last year I struck out on my own, which is the plan again this year.

But I still feel a little weird about. I mean, I had a MUCH better time last year and I don’t regret abandoning the author’s row. But I haven’t really done much since last year. I’ve had some short stories published in zines, anthologies, and websites, but nothing too major, and nothing I’ve had any sort of ownership over. Sure, next year is looking better–a Fractured World anthology and the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin, as well as some other potential projects–but this year is pretty sparse.

So it feels weird to be doing something that is essentially marketing while having nothing to market. I mean, there’s still reasons to go–networking, to see people I like, to have fun, books, etc. (To stare longingly at the things in the art show I can’t afford. To buy awesome book-themed tea.) But I feel less relevant than normal.

(Also, reminder to self, file permits with state/city so I can sell books.)

Still, though–I’m on two panels, both editing related, and have a time at the authors’ signing table. And they offered me a comped pass for the weekend, which has never happened before. So that feels lovely. And my mom found me a proper book display so that will also be helpful for signing/selling. All in all, if I can get over the weirdness, it should be a good weekend.

(Things to do, because I honestly just realized we were a week away:

-File permits
-Organize stock/credit card reader/mailing list sign-up/business cards
-If, when panel details come out, I need to prep, prep)

Any thoughts on conventioning when there’s nothing to market, squiders? As a reader, what draws you to panelists/authors at conventions you attend?

MileHiCon and Nanowrimo

I have survived the con! \o/ Barely. But I had a good time and made some new friends (yay!) and am now on a search for a refillable notebook cover. (Craig Griswold who was in the art show, on the off chance you read this, you have no online presence and I would like to buy things from you.)

(If you know of nice refillable notebook covers–i.e., a cover you can move from notebook to notebook that attaches to said notebook’s cover, kind of like a dust jacket for a notebook–in a larger size, such as composition book or steno book size, let me know. It seems like the perfect solution to my need to buy fancy notebooks but then my reticence to use said notebooks because they’re too fancy.)

I think the panels and limited signing/selling books time is a much better combination for me. I might have sold more books if I manned a table all weekend, but hey, maybe I wouldn’t have. I sold a decent amount for the time I did man a table, and any difference in sales is not worth being trapped at a table all convention. I got to see the costume contest for the first time ever.

The panels were mostly fun. The Trek one was the best, both because of the obvious love for the franchise by everyone on the panel and in the audience, and also because we actually discussed things back and forth on the panel. The audience was engaged and had great questions and comments. The Doctor Who one was the worst. It was a roundtable, which is basically just a big discussion between everyone present, but it was dominated by a small minority who wanted to talk about special effects and other background things while it was obvious some people just wanted to geek out over their favorite companions and whatnot. And the fangirling panel was fun, but we would all just go in a row to answer each question, and I wish we’d had more actual discussion.

It was a learning experience, though, and I’d definitely do it again.

There were a lot of questions from con attendees about Nanowrimo. It makes sense–the convention attracts a lot of amateur and beginning authors and it is almost November (I wrote Navember, haha)–but it still surprised me. So I figured I’d better do my obligatory Nano post for the year here.

I’m not doing Nano this year. I have not been terribly productive this year, at least not as productive as I’d planned to be, due to various stresses, and while November should be pretty chill (after next Wednesday, anyway) I know that the moment I commit to anything, something else will fall apart. So I’m out for the year, though I will probably do a smaller goal (somewhere between 10K and 20K) on my rewrite.

Doing Nano, squiders? Thoughts on MileHiCon if you went, or conventions in general?

Also, happy Halloween!

Getting Ready for MileHiCon

Killing two birds with one stone, Squiders. (I did not get my outlining done. I did, however, finally vacuum the basement. Nonfiction next week for sure, though.)

I’m so not stressed about the con this year, which feels lovely. I kind of feel like I should be, since, you know, public speaking and all, but I’m going to get to see friends and see all the cool con stuff and hopefully make new friends, so I’m mostly excited. (Though I have discovered that I am the only woman on a panel of men for the Trek panel, which could be fine, or could be terrible. Time will tell! The only other person on the Doctor Who panel doesn’t have a bio on the website, so they remain a mystery. I’m hoping they know what they’re doing though, because I don’t.)

Anyway! Things to be done before the convention:

  • PACK YOUR BUSINESS CARDS, KIT, WHY ARE YOU SO BAD AT THIS (seriously, I have hundreds and yet I always forget them)
  • Check books for signing/selling Saturday morning. I should be good to go because they’re still packed from the library local author showcase, but I might stick some anthologies in there too if I still have any floating around.
  • Likewise, pack credit card reader/money box (and probably go to bank and get change).
  • Figure out if I need permits for the signing/selling table and get them ready if necessary.
  • Find and read cliff notes version of the last season of Doctor Who so I can effectively pretend I know what I’m talking about tomorrow.
  • Pack bag:
    • Laptop or notebook for writing (the wifi has historically been spotty, so it basically depends on what I want to drag around with me)
    • Snacks
    • BUSINESS CARDS
    • Water bottle
    • Bookmarks? (I still have some from Shards floating around somewhere, though I think I’m out of the rest)
    • I feel like I’m forgetting something, so this spot is for when I remember later

I think that’s it. I hope that’s it. Squiders, if you see something I’m obviously forgetting, please let me know! Or if you have tips for being a panelist, I’d love to hear them!

Otherwise, I’ll see you guys next week!