Drove to Richmond from Washington D.C. to attend RavenCon on Friday. The traffic on I-95 was the worst thing I ever saw in my life. At one point I went ten miles in an hour. I could have walked faster. I left four hours early for what should have been a two-hour drive and only got to my first event with 15 minutes to spare.
This was my first time at this convention,and I have to say I was impressed. None of the panels I had had less than two dozen people, even one that started at 10 p.m., except the very last one at 2 p.m. Sunday, and that still had a dozen people. People were friendly and relaxed. There was no fallout from the ongoing Hugo controversy, which was great. I know one writer who told me his wife would have attended but didn't want to get caught in the crossfire and stayed home.
My reading Friday at 6 p.m. went well, then I attended the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. My first panel, on "The How and Why of the Short Story", was at 10 p.m. but still had two dozen people. Bud Sparhawk was the moderator, and I was joined by Warren Lapine and Kristin Mehigan. The panel went very well.
My first panel Saturday was at 10 a.m. on "Writing Dialogue". Karen McCullough was the moderator, and the other panelists were Kate Paulk, Noah McBrayer Jones and Lawrence Schoen.
That was followed by "Tips for Aspiring Writers" at 11 a.m. with C.A. Adams, Ellie Collins, and Paula Jordan (moderator). My signing was at 1 p.m. at a table in the dealers' room. As I have seen to be the case when there's a signing in the dealers' room at any convention, it was a waste of time. People will not go back into the dealers' room for a signing.
My last panel Saturday was on Plotting and Pacing a Story. I was joined by Warren Lapine and Kristin Mehigan. Although I was not designated the moderator for any panel, both moderators for this and my next panel were no shows at the convention and I was drafted for the honor.
Here's a joke I told at the alternate history panel Sunday: I'm doing an alternate history about a German immigrant who comes to America after World War I. He flopped as a painter in Germany, and he has no luck here, also. One day, after taking a job flipping burgers in desperation, he finds he enjoys the business, and over time works his up to become the greatest hamburger mogul in the country.
Know what it's called?
The Man in the White Castle
My fellow panelists were Chris Nuttal and Steve White.
It was nice to see Bud Webster again, and I've was finally able to meet Ian Randal Strock and Warren Lapine of Fantastic Books. I met some people I've only known in myth and legend, such as Bud Sparhawk, Allen Steele, Kate Paulk, Gray Rhinehart, Jim Minz, John C. and L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, among a few (and serve on panels with some of them). I did my bit as a Fantastic Books author and helped Ian Randal Strock at his table in the dealers' room when he needed to take a break.