ConFusion Write-up

Despite the post-con neuroses, I had a great time at ConFusion last weekend. I’ve been going to conventions for about a decade, and this was one of my favorites. Being Toastmaster for the first time was a blast, if a little exhausting. The whole weekend was well-organized, the hotel space works great, and there were so many wonderful people that even though I went up a day early, there was no way to spend as much time as I wanted with everyone.

I apologize for everyone and everything I’m about to forget, but here’s my highlights reel for the weekend…

Author D&D: Friday afternoon, I joined Brent Weeks, Joe Abercrombie, Pat Rothfuss, Jay Lake/Scott Lynch, Yanni Kuznia/Elizabeth Bear, and Peter Brett for an old-school, first edition adventure through the Keep on the Borderlands. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed kindly DMed the adventure. Favorite moment: too many to count … there was me attacking an old man with half a jaguar, Brent Weeks and Joe Abercrombie’s ongoing thief vs. assassin bit (with kissing!), Pat’s fawning manservant … author D&D should be a regular part of all cons from now on! My least favorite moment: almost getting killed by goblins. Ah, the irony.

Here’s my badly-stitched wide-view shot of the game. Pete is blurry because he has an extra-high DEX. (There are write-ups of the game from Myke and Brent.)

I Suck: Last year, I proposed a panel in which various authors would talk about … well, you get the idea. I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but we packed the room. John Scalzi, Scott Lynch, Pat Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie and I talked about our own weaknesses, the joy of one-star reviews, and much more. It was tremendous fun.

Opening Ceremonies: Last April, Howard Tayler (of Schlock Mercernary fame) set a high bar for Toastmastering excellence at Penguicon. I don’t know if anyone can top Tayler’s tuxedo and most excellent boots, but I did my best, going in with an epic hat and a sonic screwdriver. My goals were to 1) entertain people and 2) give a good introduction to our guests of honor. Judging from the response, I think I managed to pull it off. Favorite introduction: “This is Joe Abercrombie. He’s British.” Going up on Thursday helped a lot, since I had time to get to know the guests a little more.

Rocky Horror Muppet Show: This is the brainchild of Tom Smith. Imagine the Muppets trying to do Rocky Horror. Yeah… This was, if I’m remembering correctly, only the third time in history the show has been performed. I was invited to be a special guest star. Unfortunately, I missed rehearsal due to scheduling conflicts. So I got a copy of the script, showed up about 20 minutes early with a few questions, and winged that sucker. It was tremendous fun. Tom makes an awesome Kermit, Scooter was a blast, Gonzo had her own knitted (crocheted?) nose … the whole cast was obviously enjoying themselves, and I’m very happy I could play a part. There was one spot where I was supposed to sing, and I cheated by going full Shatner on that verse, which seemed to work. I hear rumors there may eventually be a YouTube video of the performance. I’ll link to it when it goes live. Maybe.

The People: Holy dung, ConFusion had a lot of guests this year! Eight guests of honor (not including myself), and an epic list of authors. I won’t even try to name everyone I got to talk to and hang out with, and if the con had lasted a month, I still don’t think I would have had enough time. I love my geek peeps, and I miss you all! Except Scott Lynch. I’m onto you, man…

The Panties: Oh yeah. Someone asked about that, didn’t they? As with many things, this is John Scalzi’s fault. He walked in on our D&D game to say hi,  announced he was heading out to by underwear (he forgot his suitcase), and asked if anyone needed anything? Naturally, this led to various smart-ass remarks. I said I just wanted something pink and frilly. John returned an hour later… You can see my lacy XS thong in this pic of me and Kristine Smith. I also have a copy of John’s book, which he signed to me as his “thong buddy.” If I’d been thinking, I would have had us both sign the panties, then donated them to the archives at NIU along with my next batch of manuscripts and other papers.

Miscellaneous: Yeah, a lot of people have seen those fantasy pose pics I posted. I’ve been told I should do a calendar. (I’m thinking about it.) I did a kaffeeklatch which went well. I talked about Libriomancer, and lots of people are excited about the new book, which pleases me to no end. I did a joint reading with Kristine Smith. (Our stories are both coming out in March in The Modern Fey’s Guide to Surviving Humanity.) I did not make it to Saladin Ahmed’s new book party, and from everything I’ve heard, that’s my loss. My friend M’jit brought me Disney princess Kleenex. Big B. made me an Origami Yoda. I volunteered to play punching dummy for the Women in Combat panel, but nobody took me up on that 🙁 It was a good panel anyway. And I’ve got to give a special shout-out of thanks to Scott Kennedy, my liaison/keeper/procurer of stuff.

Program Book Note: Seanan McGuire was kind enough to write a wonderful song for my bio in the program book. Unfortunately, her name was omitted when the book went to the printer. So please check that out (page 10), and know it came from the epic mind of McGuire.

In Conclusion: A great con, and I will most definitely be back next year, when the guests include Charlie Stross, Scott Edelman, and Mary Robinette Kowal.