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  • Radcon Report, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Con

    Spocon is the con that birthed our career, and we will ever be loyal to it.  That said, Radcon is always a blast, and this year was no different.

    I signed up for my panels by issuing a challenge to the programming director:  “I dare you to try to break me.”  Well, Liz Vann-Clark gave it her honest shot, but the result was some of the most fun I’ve had at a con.

    Friday started off pretty regularly; I did a panel about privileges in society.  It was cool, Kaye Thornbrugh was on it and it’s always great to see her again.  We’ll be posting a review of Brightly very shortly, though I’m sure it’s up to Kaye’s normal high standards.

    After that, though, things got awesome.  I did the “Picture This!” panel.  On said panel were three artists and three authors.  The authors brought a piece of writing and read it; the artists drew a sketch based on what they were hearing.  It was a rush-job for the artists, and I was amazed at what they were able to turn out in (say) about ten minutes per author.  One of the artists was the Art Guest of Honor, Howard Taylor of Schlock Mercenary.

    I went last, and read Chapter 7 of Grace Under Fire; the mall scene we have posted as a sample.  Howard was kind enough to let me keep his sketch, the first time an artist has taken a swing at drawing Rick the Demonic Raccoon.  It’s a ten-minute, rushed sketch, but it’s still a lot of fun and it’s an honor to have had Howard do it:


    Rick & Robert


    All well and good; after Picture this I hung out in the Green Room with Manny Frishberg and a couple of other old friends.  Then my evening began.

    In her first real run at breaking me, Liz Vann-Clark scheduled me onto two back-to-back panels entitled “Polyamory Revival” and “50 Shades of Consent.”  The titles of these panels leave little to the imagination.  Now, I’m a straight, cis-hetero, vanilla white male who’s been in a stable relationship for a little over fifteen years.  I’ve got nothing against people who aren’t; as long as we’re talking about consenting adults, I say have fun.  I do what works for me.  That said, it’s a little strange being place as an expert on a panel about things in which I have not participated.  Still, Luna Lindsey (whose Emerald City Dreamer we’ve reviewed previously) and company were nothing if not sporting, and I still managed to have fun.

    Saturday was a blur.  Seven panels in a day will do that; they went by one after the other.  Many were full, many postcards were handed out; maybe, just maybe someone will buy our book (fingers crossed).  I did another panel the subject of which I had no clue (this time:  Cryptozoology), and received a very nice compliment from an audience member afterward.  So at least I faked it well.

    All in all, RadCon was a hoot.  What little nerves I had about being a panelist are simply gone now; I wore them away through sheer volume of panels on this one.  Good times, all.

    Some news I learned:  Sky Warrior Books is going to, in the next year or so, be releasing all its works as paperbacks.  For those of you looking to snag a paperback copy of Grace Under Fire, this is your chance.  Also, Coup de Grace is going to be out shortly, so look forward to that.

    Finally, going to cons is like geek church.  It re-invigorates the nerd writer in both of us.  The last six months have involved us bouncing from pneumonia to work-life crises to a move of three hundred miles and an absolute turnover of just about everything in our lives.  I am, in fact, posting this as the last thing I will ever do seated at this desk, in this corner, from which I have written everything you’ve ever read here.  So we lost focus, and there haven’t been posts since we did.

    That’s changing.  We’re coming back.  Look for a new review next Friday, and keep looking.  There are so many good indie authors out there; we met them this weekend, and we’re going to tell you about them.

  • Home from SpoCon

    Frog may still do his Day 3 post, but I thought I’d take the time to throw some thoughts up here as well.

    Every time we go to a convention I am reminded how many amazing people we now call colleagues.  It shocks me how far we’ve come in the last two years, but also reminds me how far we have to go.

    I got to go to some really awesome panels this year.  I learned about exo-planets and current techniques for finding them from Jim Glass, Gary Bennett, David Nordley, and Alan Boyle.  Going into it, I expected to hear quite a bit about adaptive optics, but that’s apparently still an emerging technology, so there’s not that much data yet.  Instead I learned a great deal about the Kepler Spacecraft and the 700 some odd new planets it found before it broke (whoops).  They have years worth of data to go through already, and they’re looking for ways to re-purpose it, now that it can’t really go seeking new planets.

    I also got to hang out with Jane Fancher, Wiishu, and Autumn Sims to learn about ball-jointed dolls.  I had a ridiculous amount of fun with these little guys. If Frog isn’t careful we may be invaded by our own house elf.   Wiishu is adorable, but I fell in love with Autumn Sim’s sculpture-like Gumiho and punk rocker.   They’re actually the straw that tipped the scales from “really like” into “possible future obsession” for me.  We shall see.

    Kaye and Cathy Thornbrugh, you are the best.  I love you guys.   Kaye did a reading from her second book Brightly, which looks like it will rock. If you haven’t read Flicker pick it up, so you can be ready.

    We also got a pretty convincing recommendation for the Cartoon Network show “Adventure Time,” and hung out with Mark Osier to make up scary, believable monsters.

    My last panel of the con was for “Dynamic Duos” with CJ Cherryh, Jane Fancher, and Phil and Kaja Foglio.  Those are some Gamabunta-sized dynamic duos, and then us tadpoles. LOL.  I think we did ok though.  It’s really fun to talk to other collaborative couples and see just how many similarities and differences we share.

    Since SpoCon is the first scifi con I ever went to, it always feels like coming home, but this year– even with the bumpy start– I feel really, truly blessed.  Looking forward to next year.

    posted by Esther Jones on February, 02 ]]>

  • Spocon: Day 2

    Ok, I think I’ve recovered enough from Day 2 to discuss it.

    Opened up by playing a quick game of Forbidden Island, which was a hoot.  What a great, fast, cooperative board game.

    Went right from there into a panel with the legendary Kaye Thornbrugh about the Kindle Worlds program, and the issues behind it.  Expect a longer post from me in the near future detailing my thoughts here, because they are somewhat apocalyptic.

    While I’m on the subject of Kaye, I’ll jump out of order and say that we also caught her reading of Brightly, her next book.  Kaye’s first book, Flicker, was actually the book that kicked off the Friday Indie Review.  Brightly sounds like Kaye has really taken the next step.  I believe she’s going to be launching it at Orycon, so anyone  who’s going to be there make sure to read Flicker now so you can be ready for Brightly then.

    We also went to the Iron Fan panel, which was a subject of some dread.  Rightfully placed dread.  The winning team–the winning team–made us eat a top-ramen burrito.  That was the best team.  It was all downhill from there.

    I also got to give out the awards to the Writing Competition, which I judged.  This was a hoot to judge, and there’s some good writers out there.  I especially want to give a shout-out to Sanan Kolva, who needs to submit a novel.  Her short story won, but I can tell by reading it that her real strength is going to be in the long game.  This is an up-and-comer, so watch for that name.

    Esther checked out a panel wherein Jane Fancher played with dolls.  I really don’t have words for that.

    Then we did the reading, which went well.  This was the first time Coup de Grace made its way into the public.  No, it’s not published yet; it’s not even fully edited.  But we still busted it out for our reading, and it looks like it turned a couple of heads.  Given that we only had a couple of heads in the reading to turn, that’s not shabby.

    So, off to Day 3, wherein we do the collaboration panel.  On this panel will be the Foglio family, CJ Cherryh and Jane Fancher, and, well, us.  What a panel this will be.

    I am also going to be on a panel about the role of government in space.  This panel will feature me and a rabid conservative.  I will also be on this panel with Erin Lale, the acquisitions editor for Eternal Press.  For those of you who read Esther’s review of Remembering Love, you will understand just how interesting this panel should be.

    Once more into the breach.


    posted by Esther Jones on December, 28 ]]>

  • Spocon: Day 1

    Let me start by saying this:  going to Spocon is like coming home again.  This is where our whole writing career kicked off, and it’s nice to come and give a little back.

    Day 1 of Spocon was a bit on the slow side.  There was a really awkward meeting with a publisher, but we also got to hang with old friends, and make some new ones.

    Our schedule tomorrow picks up.  I get to do a panel with Kaye about Kindle Worlds and the legal ramifications therein,  and we’re going to have to eat weird stuff.  So that should be fun.

    posted by Esther Jones on January, 30 ]]>

  • CampCon 2013

    I really don’t have words to begin to describe the awesomeness that is Campcon.
    It’s not a con, in the traditional sense.  It’s not for fans; it’s for authors.  We gather at the foot of Mt. Hood, and for one long weekend we hook our laptops into campground power and we simply write.
    It is at once a very simple and very profound experience.
    It’s one thing to be a part of a writing group; there’s nothing wrong with that.  But to spend all day sharing ideas and generating stories with people who are really good at it is just amazing.  I loved every minute of it.
    I’d give you a full report of everything we did, but it wasn’t much.  We sat.  We wrote.  We talked.  We wrote.  We cooked hot dogs.  We wrote.  We played horseshoes.  We wrote some more.  There was a lot of writing done in one weekend; Falling From Grace is a quarter drafted already.  When we started driving down there, we didn’t have it plotted.
    So, thanks to all of you great authors who braved the heat and Bob’s death-wailing pug, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

  • Spocon 2012

    Frog and I had an absolutely fabulous time at SpoCon this year. We gave our first reading, moderated our first collaborative writing round table, and announced a future project. We also met so many amazing, fun, & talented people. We had an outrageously hilarious time hanging out with them, and still managed to learn a bit too. Here’s to the start of our new Con tradition. I am looking forward to many more years of hearing great stories from even greater people.