Last weekend (yes, I’m a terrible travel blogger. Why do you ask?) Michelle and I trekked (and trekked, and trekked again) to the wilds of Maryland for Balticon 45. It’s my third year attending, and my first as a panelist. I got a ribbon!
Our first panel was Start Up Rituals of the Pros, where we shared a table with Myke Cole and James Knapp. Rather august company for our first panel as pros, given that James had just won the 2011 Compton Crook Award, and Myke’s book, due out in 2012, looks pretty damn awesome. We were down a couple of panelists, including a moderator, so Myke jumped in to moderate. If any of you noticed that my hands were shaking so hard that I almost spilled my water, thanks for not pointing it out. Myke kept us on a pretty clear track, talking about discipline in writing, how we get ourselves going on a project, and what our daily writing routines were like. Four people, four almost entirely different styles of psyching ourselves up (or, in Myke’s case, psyching himself out) but I think in the end we all made the same point- if you want to write a book, the key is to actually WRITE it. Thinking up ideas for writing is fun, talking about writing is fun, but at the end of the day, the only thing that puts words on the page is actually writing. Fun panel. (And a shout out to Heather, and the gentleman whose name I didn’t catch, who both came up to talk to use after.)
Our readings were scheduled for Saturday afternoon, back to back, and we got there with plenty of time to set up. The person reading before us wasn’t done, and not wanting to be rude, we waited in the hallway to claim our room. This was fortuitous, as while we were milling around, trying not to be freaked out by our first public reading, we ran into the lovely book blogger, Mary Spila! We chatted with Mary until it was time to go in, and then Michelle took the floor. She read excerpts from both of the Ylendrian Empire books, The Balance of Silence and The Slipstream Con. Because we had back-to-back readings, I waited a few minutes and picked up where she’d left off, reading another short excerpt from Slipstream, and then a longer scene from my post-apocalyptic/solarpunk WIP, The Memory Keeper. I tried to remember to read slowly, keep my voice clear, and infuse the words with the emotions I was portraying with them in the story, and I think it went well. Again, special thanks to everyone who didn’t point out how badly my hands were shaking! (And a world of gratitude to Mary, for showing up, and the other fine people who listened to us tell them stories for an hour.) The reading was recorded, though I don’t know if it will ever be publicly available or not. If it is, I’ll be sure to link it here, so my Mom can hear it. 😉
This is the point in the recap where I admit to making a terrible mistake. It’s one I’ve made before, but I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that it’s not one I’ll make again. We did not book a room for the weekend. You heard me right. Somehow, I thought that driving an hour and a half (4 hours on Friday afternoon, actually. Yay.) each way, for three days, would be a great idea. I do it every year. It’s just Baltimore! It’s not that far away!
Yes, Reesa. It IS that far away.
Next year, my right knee has informed me that we will be renting a room on-site. I can learn from my mistakes. Apparently it just takes me three years of 500+ mile weekends.
We ran into our fellow Starbucks denizen, Patrick, and talked with him a bit before we scurried off to some more panels and readings.
Sunday, we were scheduled for the Small Press Round Table. I got to sit on a panel with Maria V. Snyder, even if she wasn’t sure why she was on it! (These are my victory arms \O/) We were joined by a fellow Samhain author, D. Renee Bagby, as well. Very cool to meet her. It was an interesting panel that I think got a little bogged down in small press vs. New York publishing, and if my level of shaky-handed water consumption is anything to guess by, it got a bit tense for awhile. I think small press publishing has a lot to offer the readers of the world, and goodness knows, it’s been great to me. I wish the panel could have focused more on what small press publishing is doing, rather than how it’s different from working with a larger house, but I still think the information the panelists offered was helpful to someone looking into both options.
There was a ton of other stuff going on. The Masquerade, the Art Show, catching up with friends, meeting new ones. I’m forgetting a ton of it, but I had a blast. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.