Monday, April 23, 2007

RavenCon Etal.

What a kick! I started my weekend in Richmond at Monacon High School doing a presentation to Miss McGrath's Humanities Class with Jean Marie Ward . We spoke about the use of history in science fiction and fantasy. It's not the most riveting subject, but we tried to bring it alive. On Friday we returned to part of a panel presentation with Tee Morris as moderator. I really liked talking to the kids. Authors, artists, etc., should do more of this. I went to high school with famous authors' kids and in the same city as the famed Iowa Writers Workshop. Even though our high school was actually affliated with the University of Iowa, none of them schlepped over to talk to us. Instead, we got lectures on drugs. Go figure.

Jean Marie and I roomed together. Other than a couple near misses in her automobile and my threats to do her in so I could steal her hardcover of the latest Harry Dresden novel (Jim Butcher, author) we did just fine. We both have a sardonic outlook on life and that plays well together.

RavenCon began that evening. I had heard about how organized this con was from last year's participants. There's organized and then there's ORGANIZED. Tony Ruggiero (Herr Program Director) walked the halls, notebook in hand, guiding guests to their panels and making sure everything was on the level. If there were problems at the con, I never saw them. The hotel staff treated us great. Sad to say, RavenCon has already outgrown the facility which is a mixed blessing. Not all hotels welcome SF&F conventions and can treat the fen shabbily. The DoubleTree did it right, much to their credit.

I had a Social Commentary Panel right off the bat with Author GOH Robert Sawyer, David Coe (who I hadn't seen in TWO years!), David Shelton and James Maxey. It went very well (she says, polishing her fingernails on her shirt). I was moderator and a bit nervous about this one--it's not an easy topic.

By the time we hit the 11 p.m. panel (OY!) we were a wee bit tipsy (okay, we were very tipsy) and it only got worse. Combine a liberal helping of single malt scotch with Tee Morris' Preferred Stock Rum and you have a very happy Jana. And a very happy Jean Marie... and a (you get the picture).

Saturday wasn't any less slow. I had the pleasure of signing next to John Wright. Actually, it was John signing and me watching, but that wasn't a hassle. I'd already heard scuttlebutt that John was "good people" and the rumors were true. He was great to talk to. Then this fellow walks up and asks me to sign this large (and gorgeous) print of my next book cover. And so I finally got to meet Christina Yoder (one of my cover artists) and her cool hubby Steve. My Plotting Workshop in the afternoon was to a full room. I made notes how to improve it the next time around. (Yes, that would involve PowerPoint -- groan.)

Throughout the weekend we talked politics, what's up with SFWA?, what's new in our lives and where our various careers are headed. It's always great to catch up with folks who share your passion for words and just kvetch.

By Sunday I was winding down. My final panel was on self pub, vanity presses and small presses. Rich White, CJ Henderson, Steve Cross and myself gave a good overview of what you can expect from all of the above.

After a strong appeal from David Coe, it appears I'm off to World Fantasy. Given the Compton Crook & ForeWord Awards hanging over my head (chuckle), it's time to make some more forward moves in the career. So I'll be off to Saratoga Springs, NY in November. For those of you who are geographically challenged, this is upstate NY. In November. This Georgia weenie is gonna freeze.

Off to find the Advil and the throat spray. A cold is settling in...


steve said...

I was only, what, three years ahead of you at U-High and I don't remember the drug lectures. I'm sure we had them, but they must have been so dull as to be forgettable. There were the dreadful V.D. films and the antismoking films that probably hooked a lot of otherwise intelligent people on tobacco.

But you're right. One of my classmates was dating the daughter of poet W.D. Snodgrass. And when Kurt Vonnegut came to the Workshop, just about everyone in my class was carrying around a copy of "Cat's Cradle." But I don't recall ever hearing a lecture from any writer. There was a lecture from a guy who had been in the same Dresden prison camp as Vonnegut. He mentioned this in passing as he gave an unconvincing lecture on anticommunism. A couple of the more radical types in my class pretty much demolished his arguments.

As far as being a "Georgia weenie," remember that you're still an Iowan. And even though you've been away from Iowa winters for years, you know what they're like. You'll survive Saratoga Springs.

Jana Oliver said...

We got some lady named Fanny who lectured us about the horrors of heroin abuse. It seemed odd at the time since it would have been more appropriate to tell us about speed and such. Actually, watching some of my fellow classmates flame out from the drugs was more of a lesson than Fanny's words.

At the time it didn't really dawn on me that Vonnegut could have talked to us (Nanny was in my class). It was only years later than I went "Hey! That woulda been cool."

The longer you stay in Georgia, the more weenie you become. I do not don a heavy coat when it hits the 40's (like some of my neighbors) but I note the cold more than I used to. I usually wear a lighter coat so I don't go "Full Weenie".