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Abstract Thoughts has been updated with Back From BayCon which is the long convention report about the good, the bad and the ugly.

May 27, 2008
Back From BayCon
The last couple of weeks have been busy-busy in an amazing fashion. I'm working on a giant project from Amazon and I've started the on-site portion of the vendor contract at Microsoft. While trying to keep up some sort of fiction writing on the side. I really do get to choose which 70 hours of the week I work.

Last weekend, I was at BayCon 2008 in the Bay Area as a guest panelist. I had a pretty darned good time. But since I'm running short on time, ya'll will just get the highlights of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good...

I really enjoyed the panels I was on. They were scattershot amongst the topics of gaming, writing, publishing and storytelling. My most daunting panel was the "A Shot Rang Out..." - a panel I had never heard of much less been a part of before that has a huge following. The short version is that the panelists tell a round robin story with each of their segments ending in a quote pulled from a box. This is a lot harder than it seems. My favorite panel was the "Sex, Lies and Publishing" panel where we all discussed interesting and appropriate ways to get the attention of an agent, publisher or editor as well as what NOT to do with these people.

Brag moment: I moderated only one panel but when I was done, one of the other panelists told me it was the best panel he had been on all weekend. Then two audience members told me it had been the best panel they had seen and I had done an excellent job allowing both the panelists and the audience to speak. A final audience member told me that I was the best moderator they had ever seen.

In the aforementioned "Sex, Lies and Publishing" panel, I mentioned I did not yet have an agent but I was looking for one. Later in the convention, another author came up to me and asked me for my card. Her agent, who had just sold the author's first fantasy novel, was looking for new clients and the author thought that I might be a good fit. This is the first time I am going to get a personal recommendation to an agent before I've even written to them. I'm pretty chuffed about the idea.

Over all, the author/publishing networking was very good. I have some good leads to follow up for my anthologies as well as some of my other novels. Specific names and contact information and exactly what they are looking for.

I got to see a number of friends I had not seen in a while. That was really nice. Plus, I made a bunch of new convention friends which will make going down to the Bay Area working conventions (as opposed to the ones that I play at) that much more interesting.

Weird but cool moment: I was recognized as the "Jenn Brozek" from the Casey and Andy comic strip by a girl who told me that "I" was her favorite character in the strip. That "I" had just the right amount of coolness and craziness and, of course, I won the Quantum Cop in the end. It was very surreal but fun.

The hotel staff was very friendly and very helpful. They really got into the spirit of things. I was very amused to see the hotel staff running around with convention ribbons.

Oh, yes. I have a new filk artist to enjoy. I accidentally wandered into a Seanan McGuire concert and didn't leave until it was done. That woman has a beautiful voice and a wicked sense of humor that I can identify with.

The Bad...

The new hotel was interesting. It's got a lot going for it. A whole lot. However, the hotel rooms are very small as are the upper hallways. This is difficult with so many people in the hotel at one time. Plus, the elevators are always a problem. The beds themselves seemed a bit worn in the fact that mine had a distinct divot in the middle that caused my ankles to bend at odd angles when I curled up.

Also, while the food was only slightly expensive and very tasty, I never seemed to hit the restaurants at the right time. Ditto with the Green Room. It closed pretty early. So, my eating was completely thrown off.

The Ugly...

The hotel is connected to a convention center and another hotel on the other side. That hotel was hosting a Charismatic Catholics convention. Needless to say, there were some clashes. By-and-large, everyone who visited us from the other convention was very nice and merely curious. I was happy to tell them what we were and what I was doing there.

Unfortunately, there was one unpleasant incident that involved me personally and I heard about a couple of others. Saturday night, I was gaming with friends. As previously mentioned, I sucked at actually eating properly so at 9:30 at night, I broke from the game to run to the gift shop to grab a snack. While there, I was accosted by an old man from the other convention who yelled at me for wearing black and for participating in a harmful culture. "Don't you people understand what kind of culture you are creating for yourselves? Don't you people understand what you are doing to yourselves?"

Needless to say, while I had been polite to the man, I was livid by the time I got back to the game. Outraged and furious. I wasn't even in costume. I was in black jeans and a black sweater. Clearly the man had seen me as an easy target because I was polite and friendly and because he had not been able to yell at someone else that he wanted to.

The next morning, I reported the incident to program operations, who sent me to convention operations who escorted me to one of the hotel managers. Apparently, some of the Charismatic Catholics had been complaining about the existence of the Bay Con convention going on at the same time as their convention. I believe I was the first official complaint of being attacked by one of them. The manager said he would inform hotel security and would ask them to speak to the convention hall security and see if they could make sure that nothing like this happened again.

I suppose it meant more coming from a visiting author who was not dressed in a costume and who was there because they were working. Either way, it should not have happened at all and I am upset that it did.

Over All...

Despite the bit of ugliness in the middle, I had a really good time and I was happy to be a guest at BayCon. I've already been assured by program operations that I will be invited back again next year. They like me and I like them.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
"This is the first time I am going to get a personal recommendation to an agent before I've even written to them."

totally something to be stoked over.


ps, sounds like you managed the ugliness with both cool restraint and excellent authority. awesome.
(Deleted comment)
May. 27th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC)
Sorry we didn't get together this weekend. My weekend ended out being very chaotic. Let's try to do what we can by email.

Also sorry to hear about the run-in with the hypocrite from the other convention. I say hypocrite because I don't think he understands the culture he is creating himself.
May. 27th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
I can take a digital picture of my white board and see if that helps any.
May. 27th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sounds good. Email it over and I'll take a look.
May. 27th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
I don't get it. What objections did the Catholic group have with the Con?

May. 27th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
Most of them did not have objections. Most of them enjoyed it and some actually bought a one day membership to go to the dealer's room, art show and some of the panels.

However, some of the complaints I heard were that women were not covered enough. Too much boobage showing. Some people did not like the road warrior-esq and horror costumes.

The one who attacked me specifically came after me because I was wearing black. "Why do you wear black?" That was his opening question. I joked with him, "I'm an author, a gamer and a goth from Seattle. It's kind of a requirement." With that, he start yelling at me.
May. 28th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
Seems like he has too much time on his hands if he's worried about something like that.

I wish I was with you. I enjoy dealing with confrontations.
May. 28th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
There were rumors that some of the BDSM crowd went over to the other side to yank chains. That would cause some objections.
May. 30th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, people don't react very well when you poke them in the eye.

Sounds like there are arses on both sides.
May. 28th, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
I am sorry that you had to go through that. 8(
May. 28th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks for offering to help with crowd control for that one scene in the movie. We were able to film it quickly before you got back, but thank you for saying yes, I know you were really busy.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )