Windycon

Windycon Pics

I had a great time hanging out and catching up with people at Windycon this weekend!

I’ve posted 40some pics on Facebook and Flickr. I was trying to push myself beyond using the automated settings. Most of these were taking with me manually playing with the shutter speed. Lessons learned…

  • White balance is my nemesis. I tried to adjust it, but only made things worse, so most of these were on the auto white balance setting, with color correction in Photoshop.
  • What looked about right on the LCD on the camera ended up being a wee bit overexposed when I pulled the pics up on the computer.
  • Almost all of these were taken with the flash off. Partly because the flash can be annoying, and partly because those pics tend to look washed out, and lose a lot of shadows.
  • Stage lighting is my other nemesis.

To those of you at Windycon, I hope I wasn’t making a pest of myself. I’m having a lot of fun hauling the camera around, and I’m trying to be considerate and polite with folks, but if I ever get annoying or obnoxious about it, I hope you’ll let me know.

And now, a few of my favorite pics from the weekend…

My son battles author Scott Lynch.

Steven and Elaine Silver. They just look so cute and happy together!

Author GoH Lou Anders posing with his audience after a reading.

Attila the Bun! (With hat.)

 

 

Windycon Schedule

I’m off to Windycon tomorrow.

My schedule isn’t finalized, but looks something like this:

Friday – Sunday

  • Hang out
  • Relax
  • Catch up with friends
  • Sleep in
  • Maybe crash a panel or two

I haven’t had a schedule like this in a while. It should be fun!

There are a lot of nifty people at this one, including A Lee Martinez, Lou Anders, and the SF Squeecast crew (minus Paul Cornell — I think he’s avoiding me).

Looking forward to seeing folks!

Home and Cosplay Pics

Got home from ICON late on Sunday. We lost power at the house a few hours later. Yesterday was blackout day. Around bedtime, we got the animals to heated homes, loaded the kids into the van, and headed over to my father-in-laws’ house for the night. Approximately 30 seconds after we settled in there, we discovered that the power was back on at our house.

So I’m behind on pretty much everything.

I will say I had a blast at ICON. Thank you to everyone who worked to make the con happen, and to the delightful guests of honor – it was a pleasure getting to hang out with you all!

Also, check out the pics from Windycon, including my Charlie Brown: Monster Hunter costume ūüôā Huge thanks to Ken Beach and Bruce Medic, the two photographers who worked the con. They also took a few shots of me and Jackson together, which was awesome.

I’ve posted three of their pictures below, or you can see everything at http://www.squirrelsnest.org/windycon/.

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Windycon Schedule

I’ll be Guest of Honor at Windycon this weekend, which is pretty dang exciting. Windycon is one of the earliest conventions I ever attended. It’s where I met my first editor, where I met my agent, and where the Magic ex Libris series was born. (In the green room, to be specific.) I’ve also started taking the family along to this one, which is a lot of fun.

My schedule for the weekend is:

Friday

  • 7 pm: Opening Ceremonies
  • 9 pm, Room 1602: ISFiC Book Release Party – The Goblin Master’s Grimoire

Saturday

  • 10 am, Ballroom A: Reading (As I don’t seem to have an autographing session, if you’ve got anything you’d like me to sign, I’ll make sure to leave some time after my reading.)
  • 11 am, Lilac D: Trilogy Squared
  • 1 pm, Lilac A: Superheroes of the 21st Century
  • 2 pm, Lilac A: An Author’s Best Friend
  • 7 pm, Lilac A&C: Harassment
  • 8 pm, Masquerade (Yes, I have a costume, and plan on entering the masquerade. This will be my first time. Be gentle!)

Sunday

  • 1 pm, Ballroom C: My Body Doesn’t Bend That Way
  • 2 pm, Ballroom C: Closing Ceremonies

It should be a fun (if busy) weekend.

So, anyone else going to be there?

WindyCon

I’ll be at WindyCon this weekend, along with my family. This was the first con I brought them to last year, and they seemed to have a good time. My panel schedule is a little light, giving me more time to explore the con with my wife and kids, catch up with friends, or just hang out at the pool. If you want to hear me babble about writerly stuff, here’s the official schedule:

  • Saturday, Noon – The Writer’s Dilemma (Making time to write)
  • Saturday, 2:00 p.m. – The Future of Publishing
  • Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – How Not to Get Published

As always, please feel free to say hi. I don’t have a reading or signing scheduled, so if you have something you’d like me to¬†autograph/scribble in, it’s generally okay to just ask. (Bathrooms are off-limits though, please!)

Looking forward to seeing folks!

Convention Follow-up

Dawn’s in trouble.¬† Jim blew up some internet yesterday. Must be Tuesday.

Some follow-up thoughts to my post about conventions and membership comp policies.

I screwed up. I wrote that post in part to sort out my own feelings about what was and wasn’t fair before contacting Penguicon about scheduling and money¬†issues. However, I ignored the fact that this is the internet, and of course my post would get back to the Penguicon staff, who would likely feel a bit blind-sided and attacked. It’s not like this is my first time online, and I should have contacted them privately before blogging about that aspect. Mea culpa, and I apologize to the folks at Penguicon.

Two links that came out of yesterday’s discussion:

My thanks to everyone who participated in the conversation. That’s one of the things I love about blogging — I hear different sides of an argument, and get a better understanding of various perspectives, whether I agree with them all or not. A number of factors seem to come into play with reimbursement policies, including the size of the con, the age of the con (startup cons may not have the budget to cover memberships), the location (U.S. and non-U.S. cons seem to have different attitudes … perhaps related to size), and the type of con (relaxacon vs. Big Media Con vs. professional-oriented vs. fan-oriented, and so on.)

The one thing I keep coming back to is the importance of communication. In many of the stories of program participants getting angry over convention policies, one of the biggest problems was¬†people didn’t know they were expected to pay for membership until much later, sometimes when they showed up at the convention. A con has the right to make whatever policies they choose, but I think it’s very important to make sure everyone’s aware of those policies up front so that the participants can decide whether or not it’s worth their time to attend.

Ideally, it seems like it would be helpful for the initial communication between con and participants to include the following:

  • Is this an invitation to be a participant, or just a poll who might want to do programming? (There was discussion and disagreement on what constituted an official invitation to participate at a con.)
  • What is the reimbursement policy for participants?
  • In the case of something like Penguicon, with different tiers of participants, what exactly would the arrangement be for this guest? (Turns out I’m a¬†“nifty” guest,¬†meaning I wouldn’t have to pay the $25 … but I didn’t find that out until yesterday.)

Finally, it occurs to me that it’s easy for me to sit back and tell the con staff what they should do. However, while I feel that these are all valid points and worth discussing, it’s also important to remember that the con staff are volunteers, and¬†they work their asses off. As someone who enjoys the con experience, I want to thank everyone who chips in to make them happen.

Convention Comp Policies

Most of the time, when I attend a convention and do programming, membership is comped (i.e., I don’t have to pay for a convention badge). This makes sense to me. Generally you have to do a minimum of 3 or so panels, but at that point you’re considered to be contributing to the con, just like someone who volunteers for X hours in exchange for a comped badge.

This isn’t always the case. Three examples come to mind.

1. World Fantasy Con. I was told I could do either a reading or a panel last year, and either way I was still paying the $100+ for con membership. For a world convention, where the majority of attendees are authors, you just can’t comp memberships to everyone who wants to do programming … nor can you put everyone who asks onto as many panels as they want. It’s the nature of the convention, and I get that.

2. Windycon. Their policy for years has been that authors pay for membership like everyone else. But if you do X number of panels, they’ll mail you a check several months later to reimburse your membership. I’ve asked about this policy, and it was blamed on “panelists who took their comp badges and then blew off their panels.” I’m …¬†skeptical. Is this really such a huge problem? If so, then why aren’t other cons doing this? And why not just stop inviting those particular individuals to be on programming?

ETA:¬†¬†My explanation above is quoted from an e-mail I received when I asked about Windycon’s policy, but I’m told that this is a vast oversimplification.

3. Penguicon. Program participants at Penguicon get a reduced rate. I believe it’s $25 this year. In some years, I’ve been told I could be a “nifty guest,” and got my membership comped for that, but I believe nifty status is pretty much up to¬†the whim of whoever’s doing programming. I know of at least two authors who refuse to do programming at Penguicon for this reason, and I suspect there are more. Penguicon is a really fun con, but this aspect does make me a bit cranky.

I understand that panels can be publicity for authors, and we’re benefiting from exposure. At the same time, if I’m reading my Penguicon schedule correctly, I’m scheduled for eight panels, and the group signing, and a reading … and being told I’ll have to pay $25 for the privilege of working my ass off that weekend.

I generally enjoy doing panels. And they do help me sell a few books. But don’t pretend it isn’t work. And I find myself wondering … am I really so popular they want me on eight panels, or is this a result of other authors backing out?

I need to follow up with Penguicon’s programming staff about this, but I’m trying to sort out what’s fair. Should authors be content to pay for registration and settle for “exposure”? (I can tell you exactly what I’d say to a magazine or anthology that offered to pay me in exposure…) Or am I slipping into diva mode by expecting to be comped for my membership?

Discussion welcome, as always. I would especially love to hear from other authors and from folks who organize and run cons, to know what you think.

Wednesday Updates

The Snow Queen’s Shadow¬†[Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] has a release date!¬† According to Amazon and confirmed by my editor, the fourth and final princess book comes out on July 5, 2011.

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I stumbled across the German cover art for Red Hood’s Revenge, by Paulo Toledo¬†.¬† Click the thumbnail for a larger view.¬† This one will be out in June of 2011.

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Apparently this is the week for covers.¬† On that same day, I found the Czech cover art for Stepsister Scheme.¬† They’re recycling the art Scott Fischer did for the DAW edition, but it’s interesting to see that cover with the Czech title and a different font.

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Windycon is this weekend.  The pocket program is posted here.  My schedule looks like so:

  • Saturday, 1:00 p.m. ¬†Walnut Room: Reading
  • Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ¬†Autograph Table
  • Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ¬†Lilac D: Urban Fantasy – Bringing Ancient Legends to Life
  • Sunday, 10:00 a.m. ¬†Lilac D: Down Among the Roots – The Origins of the Fae

Any suggestions for my reading?¬† I was thinking of trying the goblins/zombies story…

Mock Cover Contest

Windycon was a great deal of fun, as always.¬† Got to meet some new folks and catch up with friends … I didn’t have much programming, so in a lot of ways this one turned into a social con for me.¬† Many hugs, lots of hanging out chatting in the lobby and elsewhere.¬† Met some new fans, but managed to keep the ego from getting too swollen (despite certain people’s best efforts). All in all, a good way to spend a weekend.

I learned that the steampunk theme brings out a lot of costumers, which was fun to see.  Got to hear Tom Smith in concert, ate way too much food, and made it to one and a quarter of my two panels.  (DAW vs. Baen was cross-scheduled with the Writing Workshop, so sadly I only caught the last 10 minutes of the panel.)

One of the most entertaining moments was when author Kelly Swails donned a Jig the goblin tattoo and decided to pose urban fantasy style, complete with a knife she swiped from the restaurant.¬† Naturally, this¬†called for the full cover art treatment.¬† I’m obviously¬† not a professional graphic designer, but I’m pretty amused by what I was able to¬†put together last night*.

Every good goblin-themed urban fantasy requires an equally good title, right?¬† “Goblin Killer Blues” was suggested by archivist Lynne Thomas.¬† Think you can do better?¬† Suggest a title in the comments, and I’ll put the best ideas up for a vote.¬† The winner gets an autographed copy of The Mermaid‚Äôs Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy].

Have fun!


*Because this is the Internet and I know someone will ask, the answer is no, I am not writing a goblin-themed urban fantasy book.

Windycon Schedule Tweak and Friday LEGO

‚ÄĘ Looking at my schedule for this weekend more closely, I’m doing the writing workshop at the same time as the DAW vs. Baen panel, so unless we have last-minute dropouts from the workshop, it looks like I’ll be missing that panel.¬† I’m sad about this, because it had the potential to be … well, lively, if nothing else.

‚ÄĘ Since I am doing the “What Kids are Reading” panel on Sunday, I thought I’d open things up to suggestions.¬† What do you think are the must-read kid titles of 2009?¬† I’ve got some ideas, but there’s always room for more.¬† (I may compile a full list of suggested books after the panel and post that next week, if folks would be interested?)

‚ÄĘ My annual domestic violence book drive will be starting next week.¬† Details to come.

‚ÄĘ Finally, dear NASA — please build this.¬† (Only, you know, out of genuine spaceworthy materials instead of LEGO.)¬† This is the Carl Sagan, a mindblowing collaborative project between Lego Monster and Mad Physicist.¬† It even has its own shuttles!¬† One picture does not do this sucker justice.¬† Click the pic for the full set.

Jim C. Hines