You never know quite what to expect the first time you go to a new con but ConText held extra meaning for me since it was the first one I had attended as a published writer. It was also the first chance I had to meet face-to-face with the Angelic Knight crew. Stacey and Dani were great but it says a lot about the use of technology today in publishing when more than a year after signing the contract, months of editing, and months of the initial marketing, that we had accomplished all of that remotely.
I met Aaron Gudmundson for the first time as well. He is also an Angelic Knight author (“Snowglobe” is a great, scary read if anyone is looking for one around Halloweeen.). In addition I sat in on two terrific panels that included Jason Sanford, talked with Matt Betts, met the Giant Squid (trust me, that was worth the price of admission by itself) and Ken MacGregor, and many other authors and people in the industry. If I try to name them all, I will feel bad about forgetting someone.
I also met with the most important people, some of the avid readers that make the writing worthwhile. That included Linda Munn, who was one of the winners of an autographed copy of “Dreams of Ivory and Gold.” Her excitement at winning the book made everyone in the booth smile.
But most importantly, I came away from ConText with a lot of excitement and optimism. It had been several years since I had been at a convention. The last time I went to one, I was very early in the learning curve on my writing. Believe me, I shudder when I pull out any of my work from that time now.
That’s not to say I think I’m done crafting my writing. In fact, it is just the opposite. I came away excited because I still learned a lot when I was able to sneak away from the booth for a little while and sit in on some of the panels. And if you think you have seen an animated conversation before, try catching five authors in the hotel bar at 12:30 in the morning as they “discuss” their methods for plotting stories. I think we had the staff spinning around for a little while but it was great because we were sharing ideas.
My point is that my trip to ConText left me feeling reinvigorated. I am marketing two manuscripts, working on the sequel to “Dreams,” and recently pulled out the first three novels of my fantasy series to begin revisions and edits. I’ve got a lot of hard work – and learning – left in front of me but the load feels a little lighter after last weekend thanks to Stacey, Dani, Aaron, and the others.
And the best news of all is that World Fantasy Con is just around the corner during the first week of November in Washington D.C. I am getting excited already.