Got home around midnight last night, collapsed into bed, and was immediately pounced upon by one of the cats. I guess Chewie felt I owed him four days’ worth of scritches, and he meant to collect RIGHT NOW. Cats, you know?
And of course, I got to spend time with so many other great ICON friends. I emceed a silent film narration challenge for the first time, and also joined in the round robin storytelling, which I’d never done before. I won’t even try to recap the two stories we came up with, but the fire-spider erotica subplot was all Mike Mullin’s fault!
I ended up taking a lot of pics this year. I’ve got most of the good ones posted in their own Facebook album. If you’re Facebook-averse, you can also check the Flickr album.
Here are a few of my favorites:
And now, having pet the cat enough for him to leave me alone, I’m off to catch up on everything else from the past few days…
Assuming I got everything set up right, I should be on a plane, on my way to ICON 42, when this post goes live. I’m delighted to once again be serving as Toastmaster for the convention, introducing and interviewing guests of honor Wesley Chu, H. Russ Brown, Sheril Harper, and ICON Mama and Papa Gay and Joe Haldeman.
Here’s my full schedule, for anyone who wants to come by and say hello. You can also check the programming grid or download the program book on the ICON website.
6:30 – 8 p.m. Group booksigning at the Cedar Rapids Barnes & Noble (Northland Square).
1 – 5 p.m. Student Writing Workshop. Every year, the convention does a workshop for local students. I’ll be doing a quick talk and a couple of panels.
7 p.m. Opening Ceremonies.
10 a.m Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone. (Part of Paradise Icon)
1 p.m. Blogging Roundtable.
2 p.m. Author/Artist Meet and Greet.
4 p.m. Guest of Honor Interviews.
9 a.m. Benefactors Brunch.
1 p.m. Promoting Yourself on Social Media.
In addition, I’ll once again be doing headshots for folks who need or want them. It’s all free, with a tip jar that will go toward the Rusty Hevelin Collection at the University of Iowa Special Collections. There are still seven slots available. (Or there were when I wrote this.)
All in all, I expect it to be a very busy weekend, but also a great deal of fun!
First of all, my story “Hunter, Healer” is in the urban fantasy anthology Shadowed Souls[Amazon | B&N | IndieBound] that came out yesterday. This is a standalone story, and I should warn that it has more profanity than the rest of my writing combined. Let’s just say I was trying to push my own boundaries as a writer, and to…experiment with the language.
The anthology is edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie Hughes, and also includes stories by folks like Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Anton Strout, Rob Robyn Thurman, Kat Richardson, Tanya Huff, Erik Scott de Bie, and more.
ICON in Iowa was a good time, as always. That said, I think I need to rethink this whole “three conventions in six weeks” thing. I’ve just been feeling too overwhelmed and burnt out by it all. Much as I love going to cons, there’s always a cost — travel time and stress, being “on” for days at a time, and just generally needing some introvert time to recharge. So I’ll probably be cutting down a little on my conventioning for 2017.
There was much coolness at ICON, though. Getting to see my Iowa friends is always nice, and I got to spend some time with Seanan McGuire, Steven Gould, and Laura Mixon. (Sadly, did not get much time with the other two guests of honor.)
The author photoshoot went well. I ended up doing pictures for eight authors. It was educational, and I think we got some good shots of everyone. We also raised $84 in tips for the ICON charities. Woo hoo! Steve posted a photo I took of him and Laura yesterday on Twitter:
One of ICON’s charities was the Iowa Raptor Project. After some confusion over scheduling, they brought in a pair of owls to do a presentation and Q&A. Which meant I ended up skipping out of a panel a little early — a panel I was moderating — in order to get some pictures. Which resulted in this shot:
I’ll eventually get my con pics up on Flickr as well, but first I need to make progress on writing and process author photos and all that good stuff. Most of them are on Facebook though if you wanted to take a peek.
Shut up, spellcheck. Toastmastering is totally a word!
Anyway, it was a fabulous weekend, as always. The concom and the rest of the volunteers did an excellent job. My thanks, as always, to everyone who spent the past year working to make this happen. My only real complaint was that United cancelled my flight back home, meaning I ended up having to spend a half hour on the phone and then leave the con earlier on Sunday than I intended. My apologies for missing my last panel and closing ceremonies.
I took a bunch of pictures, because that’s what I do. Those went up on Facebook yesterday, and Flickr today.
Things started with a group booksigning event at the Cedar Rapids Barnes & Noble. That’s one brave bookstore, willingly taking so many feral authors into their midst, but it went well, and they now have plenty of signed Jim C. Hines books! Plus some books from some other author types, if you’re not into that Hines fellow’s stuff.
The next day, a group of us took a morning field trip to Riverside, Iowa, which is famous for being the future birthplace of one James Tiberius Kirk. As soon as we got there, a guy on the street looked at us and said, “The place you’re looking for is up one block and to the right.”
There was also a little Star Trek and Riverside History museum, which included a woodcut statue of Captain Kirk, lots of autographed photos, costumes and models, and a collection of Trek tie-in novels. (They opened up that display so Joe Haldeman could autograph his.)
Then it was back to the hotel for Dreamcon (an afternoon workshop with some local high school students), panels, and opening ceremonies. I had notes for how I wanted to introduce each of our guests of honor. For Ann Leckie, I would talk about her work and all of the awards she’d won, and then mention that her latest book, Ancillary Mercy, had just come out. I planned to joke that this one hadn’t earned any honors yet, but hey, the weekend was still young!
Well, before we could even get to opening ceremonies, the news broke that Ann and her book had made the NYT Bestseller list! Geez, Ann. Could you at least let me get through my introduction first? (Also, congratulations again!!!)
Opening ceremonies also saw the tribble incident, wherein we dumped a crate full of tribbles onto tribble-master David Gerrold…who then proceeded to tuck one into the waist of my pants. Ann dubbed it the Trouser Tribble. TT came home with me and now enjoys a place of honor on the shelf of trophies and memorabilia. (It also took a brief detour on the TARDIS.)
The rest of the weekend is a blur. I got to chat a bit with artist guest Sarah Clemens, though I sadly wasn’t able to make it to her theremin demonstration. I photographed several of costuming guest Kalli McCandless‘ awesome costumes. I caught up with lots of wonderful people, sat in a Delorean, ate too much food, and soon found myself wondering how the heck it could be Sunday afternoon already.
One of the most awesome moments was seeing Pamela Orth Webster show up at my reading, cosplaying as Danielle from The Stepsister Scheme. It was amazing and perfect and made my whole weekend!
Special shoutout to Terri LeBlanc, who was the liaison from heaven, making sure I had food and getting me wherever I needed to go.
Feel free to check out Flickr for the rest of the pictures. As for me, I’m still in recovery mode, trying to readjust to the real world after a great weekend. All I know is that I’m very much looking forward to ICON 41 next year. As toastmaster, I’ll get to introduce Seanan McGuire. That should be entertaining 🙂
Tomorrow, I’m off to the wilds of Iowa to play Toastmaster at ICON 39. ICON is always fun, and this year I get to pick on guests of honor Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Lar deSouza, and Megan Lara. I’m told that I should get Scott up on stage at opening ceremonies to read erotica in his gnome voice…
I’ll probably be reading my story from the next Chicks in Chainmail anthology on Saturday, for anyone who might want to swing by for that. My full schedule is below.
Looking forward to seeing folks! And for the rest of you, I’ll catch up next week when I get back.
Thursday, October 30
6:30 pm, B&N Booksigning
Friday, October 31
1:00 pm, Dreamcon
7:00 pm, Opening Ceremonies
9:00 pm, How SF/F Challenges Your Mind
Saturday, November 1
9:00 am, Getting Through Your First Draft (Preregistered Paradise ICON participants only)
10:00 am, Author Meet & Greet
1:00 pm, Blogging Do’s and Don’ts
3:00 pm, Reading by Jim C. Hines
4:00 pm, GoH Interview
6:30 pm, Art and Charity Auction
8:00 pm, Getting Published
9:00 pm, Things I wish I’d known before I started writing
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 🙂 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.