How I Spent My Mile Hi Con: Sunday

Sunday morning I slept in a little bit later and missed the Kaffeeklatsch. But we did have time for a leisurely breakfast in the hotel restaurant before checking up on our bids in the art room. I think we managed to win all but maybe one or two of the items we bid on. We’re looking forward to installing the Cthulhu doorknocker on the powder room door. ::evil grin:: My boyfriend bought a matching balaclava in the dealers’ room and suggested I buy one of their Viking helmets. They were out of my size, but she had one far enough along that she could finish it before the end of the con, so I got to customize the final product a bit. (I will add a photo here soonish.) And I also got a matching dragonscale purse.

After loading the car, I went to a reading by Carrie Vaughn and Molly Tanzer. I’ve been a Carrie Vaughn fan for some time, but one thing I like about these readings is that they often pair an established author with a newer author, and I get to discover a fresh talent. I thoroughly enjoyed Molly’s reading selection from A Pretty Mouth and immediately rushed to the dealers’ room to purchase a copy. Molly just happened to be on hand to sign it for me, and we had a lovely conversation.

Once we collected our art and got it loaded into the car, I went to the Geeks Assemble! panel featuring I. Brazee-Cannon, M. Denny, Sam Knight, A. Ritchey, and K. Seibert. This was a boisterous discussion about the mainstreaming of geek culture. For a few tense moments, it appeared that Aaron and Karonda were going to resort to fisticuffs over Star Trek. Instead, it was skillfully diverted into an examination of the “gatekeeper” trend that seems to be popping up throughout various geekdoms. There was also some debate about terminology. Some of us are still wondering when “nerds” became “geeks,” and others cautioned against the indiscriminate application of the “-geek” suffix. For example, “beer-geek” might meet with approval or at least understanding, but “gun-geek” is a little riskier.

And then we went to IKEA.


How I Spent My Mile Hi Con: Saturday

By some miracle, I managed to wake up and make myself presentable in time to grab a bagel and some juice at the Kaffeeklatsch sponsored by Who Else! Books/Broadway Book Mall. I think I even managed a few coherent sentences for Dave Boop and MHC Toastmaster Ian Tregillis. Then I set about perusing the art show and melting my plastic in the dealers’ room.

After purchasing various books and baubles, I caught part of the Researching Fiction panel featuring S Jackson, TL Morganfield, R Owens, J Strickland, and J Van Pelt. They had some good suggestions for resources, time management, and avoiding info dumps. Of those three, I think the time management is the hardest for me to do effectively. I am constantly going off on tangents in my research. Sometimes that is beneficial, but I am getting better about focusing on the writing and inserting flags to alert me when I need to go back and hunt down specific information.

Then I spent the afternoon flitting in and out of panels between monitoring my bids in the art auction. Some highlights were an Hour with Author GoH Catherynne M Valente, The Much-Maligned Happy Ending Defended by Connie Willis, and Beyond Brass and Goggles (featuring S Chambers, Guy De Marco, J Heller, Sam Knight, and David Riley). I had been stressing out quite a bit over the fact that I don’t have much in the way of advanced scientific knowledge and was worried that it would reduce my credibility as a steampunk writer. It was nice to hear that the steampunk genre still has a pretty broad spectrum of what degree of scientific detail and feasibility is required. The key seems to be to pay attention to consistent world-building in the first place. There’s a reason steampunk is considered alternate history, after all.

I wrapped up my evening with Positions on Writing Sex, a panel featuring Paolo Bacigalupi, H Bell, AK Davis, R Owens, and C Valente. This was a fascinating discussion of what can be included in YA and New Adult fiction (pretty much anything these days), what makes a sex scene effective (or not), and what the sudden popularity of 50 Shades of Grey means for the genres of romance and erotica (not much, since it is neither). This discussion gave me a lot to think about, both as a writer and as a woman, so you may see another blog post on that from me before very long.

Tomorrow I plan to post my Sunday MHC recap, and then I’ll be hunkered down for NaNoWriMo, but I hope to post updates as I explore a completely alien world: Reality TV!

How I Spent My Mile Hi Con: Friday

Last weekend I attended Mile Hi Con 45 in (as you may have guessed) Denver. This is the fourth time I have attended this con, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you like sf/fantasy cons with an emphasis on literature. As many of you know, I come from a mystery background, but I’m really enjoying all of the cross-genre stuff that’s out there these days, and I love exploring what mystery and steampunk can do for each other.

I’ve been fighting fatigue a lot lately, so I didn’t do much Friday night. I made a quick sashay through the dealers’ room and the art show (where I later spent an insane amount of money on books, tea, jewelry, and art). I went to the opening ceremonies but was a little too far from the stage (I have this thing about sitting right next to an exit if at all possible) to follow the hilarity. I gather it was mostly visual. But I did enjoy the music of Matthew “The Kilted Man” Gurnsey and determined that I desperately need a bowed psaltery. (We chatted later, and he recommended Unicorn Strings.)

Then I spent $5 for the MHC Meet/Munch/Mingle (MMMM) and spent most of my munch-time listening to Ian Price, a game designer from Illinois who apparently likes foxes. I’m sorry I missed out on his “Kitsune: Of Foxes & Fools” Kickstarter, but I ordered a prototype copy, which should be available in the next month or so. He also had a party game he was play-testing in the Con Suite Saturday, and it looks interesting.

The highlight of Friday night was easily the Return of Carrie and the Midnight Hour. Carrie Vaughn was joined by GoHs Seanan McGuire and Catherynne Valente, and much hilarity ensued as they (and the studio audience) explored the topics of dinosaur erotica, bizarrely dangerous love polygons (only some of which involved dinosaurs), and what happens to a werewolf on the moon. 

There was still time for Writers’ Networking in the Bar, but I was too tired to play the extrovert. So apart from a quick chat with Dave Boop, I was quite content to have a late, leisurely, and quiet dinner with my boyfriend. (Good soup!)

So, that was my Friday at MHC. Stay tuned for Saturday and Sunday!