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Thursday:
The move in was stupid hot, as the whole day was stupid hot. Luckily we were able to score a bellman’s cart to help with the move in, so it only took two trips instead three. The bad news was, the room (the brand-new just remolded room) had a broken shower, which forced us to clean up in the sink until maintenance was able to come and repaired the damage.

I went to the “Who Mourns the Villains?” panels, which had some pretty good discussion about creating believable and sympathetic villains.

I had dinner in the hotel room, visited the registration desk for attending professionals and picked up my card showing what programming I was scheduled for, and then wandered around the convention until I was on “Escaping the Slush Pile.” This panel had four editors and slush-readers actually read aloud the first few pages of audience member submitted manuscripts, then discuss them. It went really well, actually, and the courageous submitters seemed to appreciate the advice from the panelists.



Friday:
This was my hardest working day of panels and book related stuff. I spent an hour at my signing in the morning, selling and signing several copies of The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn and Sky-Tinted Waters.

After the signing I took my remaining stock up to the room, had a short break, and then braved the lines for the elevators to hit the Geek Partnership Society Writing Contest Awards and Reception, which I had help judge. Only one of the category winners was able to be at the convention, but I was pleased that we had international winners. GPS also gave out the Scott Imes Memorial Writing Award.

Once that was over I raced back down the elevators for the MinnSpec Meeting and Group Reading. Several of the authors in Sky-Tinted Waters read from their works, and [Bad username or site: “careswen” @ livejournal.com] read a story from the first anthology, Northern Lights. We sold a few copies of both books at the event.

I went out to dinner with friends and then back to my room to rest and cool off before being on “Diversity in Steampunk.” This was a good if sometimes contentious panel (people kind of get their backs up when you point out the dark side of steampunk and look hard at British Colonialism). I think at a large con like Convergence it is harder to have what is a political discussion, but the panelists and audience were both (for the most part) respectful. I would have like to have touched more on sexuality, disability, and other things besides class and race, but we only had so much time.

I ran straight from that to “So You’ve Sold a Novel: Now What Happens?” which was a good discussion with questions from an audience that was genuinely curious about the process of taking a novel from sale to publication. One thing I think everyone took away is that the process of making the sale and going through the publication process was wildly different for each of the authors. And that publishing is kind of a screwed up business.

I also attended the “How Dark Can You Go with YA Fiction” panel, but left partway through because I was exhausted. I really was over-programmed for the day. On the plus side, it meant that I didn’t have much going on the next couple of days.

Saturday:
I started the day by going to “Science Fiction and Fantasy on Stage.” The three panelists were smart and articulate about SFF on stage and some of the problems you run into. I could have listen to them talk about the issues involved and about playwriting in general for another hour or three.

I ended up spending a lot of time in the room writing and working on personal business before heading down to the one panel I was on that day: “Is Urban Fantasy Just Romance for Geeks?” I took exception at the “just romance” part of the description, and Lyda Morehouse and I went on a long discussion about romance. The sad part is this turned out to be a bust of a panel in my opinion, too hung up on the sex/erotica aspect of some urban fantasy and paranormal romance. The discussion went off on wild tangents and was off topic more than on. That said, when it was on topic, it was great. When it was off topic, it was so surreal that Paul Cornell asked me if perhaps Sophie Aldred had hit him in the head with a cricket bat and he was having a hallucination.

After that I spent a lot of the day in the room resting, with resting being that I was stretch out on the bed writing and dozed off on my laptop. I had dinner with friends again and went to a couple of panels, neither of which held my interest. I left one to go chat with a friend and then went up to the room and wrote a little before heading to bed.

Sunday:
We packed out the room (always a stressful experience) and then I took my remaining book stock and went to do my reading. The reading room was moved this year, and I hated the space. Hated it. It was cramped and small and hot. Still, I think I did okay and I sold most of the stock of books.

After that I hung out around the convention and then went to a little of the Gallowglass reunion before heading to the “Creating Strong Female Characters” panel. This panel was a lot of fun, but I was so tired that I can’t remember the particulars, except that Tamora Pierce, Lyda Morehouse, and Dana Baird, and Emma Bull were all smart and wise.

When that panel over, we went to Dana’s reading and then hung out in the lobby for an hour before heading for our traditional outing to the Vampyric Perkins for post-convention dinner and conversation with friends. The conversation was great. The food was “meh.”

And then we went home, brought everything into the house, took care of Mr. Belyn-Cat, and crashed.

Overview:
The heat was bad. Not just outside, but inside as well. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt the heat inside the hotel as much as this year. They moved the Krushenko’s spaces, and then moved the non-Guest of Honor readings to the Krushenko’s Annex, which was small, cramped, and hot. It really was an unpleasant experience.

Convergence seemed to grow more this year, so crowds. I actually handled the crowds a little better this year, using my mobility cane more aggressively and not worrying about tripping the clueless or oblivious.

I was on too many programming items this year. I signed up for six, which is supposed to be my maximum, but then I was asked to be on a panel and I forgot I needed to be at the awards reception. Next year I plan to sign up for three items, including my own reading. I might volunteer to be a badger next year. They seemed a little short of volunteer bodies.

Next year I think I might try to be a little more low-keyed with the convention. I also want to work on my own bad attitude. I started off grumpy and that spilled over to my friends and family. I was in a better place by the end of the convention but honestly, Convergence was good to me again this year as an attending professional.

Speaking of good things; I sold a bunch of book. The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn and Sky-Tinted Waters both sold out. I also sold a few of my other books. I was able to spend a lot of time with friends. I handled the crowds better this year.

I will be going back next year, with the lessons learned from this year to help me have a more enjoyable time. Next year’s theme is British Invasion. I might dress up as Danger Mouse.

Maybe.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

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