Wednesday, October 6, 2010

PERCEPTIONS OF ARCHON 34 BY A “CON VIRGIN” PART 2

Saturday at Archon was, to say the least, busy.  It was also a hell of a lot of fun.   There were, it seemed, at least ten times the number of people there, many of whom were in costume. Bruce and I got there a bit after the first panel discussions of the day started. 
Let me just state for the record, it is damn hard to decide what you are going to do at a convention like this. Why? Because so many interesting things start at the same time Like This...

Balancing Writing With The Job That Pays The Bills
You were born to write, but you just haven't sold that bestseller…yet! Haley Elizabeth Garwood, Joy Ward 
Humor in Speculative Fiction
A wonder (sic) addition humor is to your story.  Julia S. Mandala, Angie Fox
Japanese Street Fashion Show
Katrina & Mikhail Lynn

Sagging Middles!
Hitting the wall.  Monette Draper
Steampunk  Adventure Theatre Presents:  All's Wells That Ends Well 
Steampunk Adventure Theatre Presents A Preview Of Its Upcoming Shows And Offers A Chance To Encounter Some Of The Unusual And Exciting Characters From The Show. Dan McGee  

We (I) wanted to attend all of these things, but as you can see they all started at 10:00 AM.  So We (I) chose Humor in Speculative Fiction.  
Part of the reason I chose this panel discussion is I love Angie Fox's books. If you aren't familiar with Angie Fox, she is the bestselling author of the Accidental Demon Slayer series. If you want to learn more about Angie, you can find her at http://angiefox.wordpress.com/ 

Angie, Me, and Julia
The discussion covered many authors.  Some of the discussion speculated about how with some book genres, sales figures were down, but how light paranormal romance (para with humor) sales were either up or stable.  One theory discussed was, with the economy and the general climate being somewhat sluggish, people were looking for happy cheerier things to read. Perhaps with the combination of the paranormal and humor, people are reading for pure escapism. It was a great panel with a lot of interaction on the part of the audience.  Angie seemed to be the moderator and kept the hour fresh and lively. 


The next session was even harder to choose from.  There were no 
fewer than six panels, shows or classes that we (I) wanted to attend.
We (I) chose CHICKS DIG TIMELORDS A Doctor Who discussion of the 11th Doctor  (for those of you who do not know, Matt Smith is the current actor who portrays Doctor Who). 
Discussion varied between who was the best doctor, best companion, etc.  Also discussed was that Torchwood was returning, for more on this http://www.anglotopia.net/british-entertainment/bbc/torchwood-will-return-summer-2011-to-starz-torchwood-series-4/.  
BCC (aka as “Bruce Miller”) told me that in 1984, he was at a convention here at the same hotel, and met my favorite Doctor Who, Tom Baker. After some minor research I found that Tom Baker was here during the weekend of March 30-April 1, 1984, for the NADWAS annual conventionBCC said that a crowd in the hotel was pushing forward as Tom Baker was coming out a door, and he got pushed into the corner with him and actually had a chance to shake his hand.  For more information on Doctor Who, http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/dw is the official website.
After we left this panel, there was an empty spot on the list because it was nearing lunch time. I (we) walked over to the far side of the world of Archon to visit the Dealers rooms. We found a variety of fascinating things and people to talk to.  We met Glen Cook. Glen Cook's love of writing began in grade school, and in high school he wrote the occasional article for his school's newspaper. After high school, Cook spent time in the United States Navy and later worked his way through college, leaving little time for his writing endeavors. Cook began to write in earnest while working for General Motors at an auto assembly plant in a job which was "hard to learn, but [involved] almost no mental effort", writing as many as three books per year... Glen is quite a prolific writer, and he was nice enough to sign my book of Autographs. He is an old world author and seems like a gentleman to me. For more information on Glen and his books http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Cook
Kevin J. Anderson was also in attendance. He was a Guest of Honor this year at Archon.  Kevin (http://kjablog.com/) and his equally talented wife Rebecca Moesta (http://rebeccamoesta.com/) were both in the Dealers room when not doing panels.  They were both charming and friendly. 
Author Rachel Neumeier was found in the second Dealers room. She was very friendly (are you detecting a theme yet?) and helpful even suggesting an author for my stepdaughter Rachael to read as well. For more information on Rachel http://www.rachelneumeier.com/. Rachel also loves dogs, and her books have been added to my TBR List. 

Lunch was a run to McDonalds for BCC, while I sat on the patio after our walk back to the other side of the hotel again. People watching is fun. I took several pictures of people in costumes as they relaxed and enjoyed themselves. Some of the costumes I could figure out right away.  There was several Stormtroopers and villains from the Star Wars saga along with an itty bitty jedi (This Reporter’s Best Costume Award, but I did not take any pictures of children because they cannot give consent-Sorry). There was Darth Maul, and the make up job this person did was fantastic. There were anime costumes and Steam punk costumes. Now there is a subject http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk to look into.  There are at least 100,000 web pages when I plugged in the term.  Some of the costumes were great, but by the look of the cost of individual pieces, it is an expensive costume to put together.  

After lunch I sat in on a writer’s workshop on Dialogue with M. R. Sellars (BCC had to run home to get something.) There were other authors in the room as well with their own discussions going on including:
Selina Rosen  http://www.selinarosen.com/, Monette Draper, Haley Elizabeth Garwood  http://www.haleyelizabethgarwood.com/, and Rachel Neumeier. 

I wish I could have had a chance to listen to everything everyone had to say. There just was not enough time in the day. M. R. Talked about the importance of believable dialogue. He stressed that you need to write what you know. He also talked about consistency in voice unless there is a valid reason shown in the narrative. As a book reviewer, he made the importance of dialogue in a book clearer.  He also stated though that there are other authors that would disagree on the distribution of dialogue versus narrative in a book.  

We took a break shortly after the writer’s workshop.  We went back upstairs to people watch.  It was actually kind of humorous, as it had started turning colder and some of the costumes were kind of skimpy.  This is when I met a lady who had been going to Archon and other conventions for 30 years. I mentioned that this was the first CON I had ever been to. She shouted to a crowded hallway of CON attendees, “We have a CON Virgin here!”  Many of the costumed attendees turned and smiled, but no one laughed.  I took more pictures of the costumes and people around me.  I met one of the Archon committee members dressed as a witch.  She loves the convention, and has fun every year.  

The next panel we attended was called THE HORROR OF LOVING A NON-HUMAN: IS IT TO BE DREADED, OR IS IT ALL COMSUMING?

Panelists were Cindy Mathews http://www.cynthianna.com/indexnf.html, Sara M. Harvey http://sites.google.com/a/saramharvey.com/www2/,
Monette Draper, and Kathryn Meyer Griffith http://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?id=63572.
Sara was hysterical.  I loved her bits of youthful enthusiasm.  Her views were so different and fresh.  What is it to love a non-human?  The opinions varied from yuck “vampires are dead; how can you have sex with a vampire?” to the “because vampires are portrayed as very sexy in most paranormal romance these days”. Everyone had something to add.  Cindy talked about the non-human non-corporeal character in her book. Kathryn said all her vamps and demons were bad, so there was no love of vamps there. Sara was talking about Seraphim in her book, and how one was dead so there was definitely relationship issues there. And Monete, who writes shifters, asked if they were human to begin with and only shifted to another form, did that mean loving them was wrong?  The jury is still out it seems, though the general consensus seemed to be it depended on your age. 

The final panel of the evening was THE EVOLUTION OF THE VAMPIRE: WHEN DID HE GO FROM MONSTER TO ROMEO? Panelists were Angie Fox and Kathryn Meyer Griffith. 


This really was an interesting subject.  Some said that the vampire has always been sexy. Others said that no way was that true if you look at the portrayal of Dracula by Bela Lugosi. There is no way that was sexy. So then the question became why are women so attracted to the tortured soul type that is in Paranormal romance novels?  Some said the Alpha male qualities in the characters, because today women do not want to be seen as weak, yet in the books they can become the character who is taken care of and protected.  Someone else suggested that it was the fact that they do come across as tortured souls, and that they bring out the nurturing qualities we as women have. 


In closing, the authors and panelists were gracious and generous with their time and talents.  They shared a bit of themselves with us.  I enjoyed the interactions I had with each and every author I spoke to or listened to.  There are many authors listed in this report that I will go out and find their books, and read and perhaps review. Most exceeded my expectations, and would take the time to sign an autograph or let someone take a picture.  For those that went the extra mile, thank you. 

The hotel was wonderful and roomy though BCC said an alternate name could have been Aerobicon due to the amount of walking involved in getting from one place to another. Archon Staff was great.  There was always someone around to answer questions, and/or point you in the right direction. Keep up the good work. I can't wait till next year. 

This is for all the attendees. Thank you. Everyone was friendly and polite.  You let me take your pictures. I realized from all the people watching that everyone was accepted. It was, for a short time, a place where all species, and races, colors and creeds coexisted. Perhaps a bit of paradise, for the weekend. Thanks everyone for  the use of your photos.   

2 comments:

  1. Looks good. Keep it up AMC.

    Charlie Kenmore

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like the convention was great, love the blog, fantastic work. thanku for sharing

    ReplyDelete