Friday, January 11, 2013

Illogicon II, day one

I hit the con at a quarter to three, which gave me 15 minutes to pick up my badge and materials and set up for opening ceremonies.  That was tighter than I'd hoped, but I had trouble escaping from the work that was piling up even as I drove to the hotel.

Fortunately, one of the folks at the registration table recognized me, they were reasonably well organized, and so in only a few minutes I was set. 

Most of the guests couldn't make it for such an early opening, but Writer Guest of Honor Tim Powers had arrived the night before.  He and I sat behind the table at the front of the room and kicked off the event more or less on time. 

I talked a bit about Tim's fiction, which I love, and introduced him.  After he spoke for a few minutes, we were out of planned material--and the audience of maybe two dozen folks was still sitting there, expecting more.  Fair enough; we'd promised them an hour.

When no one asked a question, Tim and I proceeded to talk back and forth in a sort of barely organized stream-of-consciousness discussion that ended up focusing on life as a writer, particularly the annoying bits.  We discussed how much fun it was to be told that no bookstore had your books, or to be asked why you didn't write a bestseller.  Members of the audience asked a few questions, we answered, and before I knew it, we were done.  I think it went well, and getting to spend a little time talking with Tim, even in front of a group, was a treat.

I hightailed it from there to a nearby cafe that offers free Wi-Fi and worked madly to catch up on the tasks that had hit me while I was at the con.  Though I didn't eat anything and bought only a soda, I feel obliged to note that the food at the Cafe Carolina is decent, and the bandwidth was very good. 

A few minutes before six, I rushed back to the hotel for my reading.  I had expected no one to show, but about half a dozen folks did--though I knew all of them at least via email.  I tried to talk them into letting me off the hook, but they weren't having any of it.  So, I let them pick what I'd read:

  1. "Lobo, Actually," which is in the recent Cosmic Christmas anthology
  2. "The Strangest Thing," a non-genre, Southern story I've never read aloud
  3. A few odd and action scenes from Fatal Circle, the thriller on the shelf that I plan to finish one day and from which I have only ever read the first page--and that only once
They chose number 3, so they got to hear quite a few pages of material no one has ever heard.  I did not throw bon-bons, but that's only because I didn't have any at hand.

I ended up on a quick work call after the reading.  Right after that, I learned the two booksellers wanted me to do a signing the next day, so of course I said, "Yes!"  I love booksellers!  We worked out the schedule, and then I spent some time talking with those booksellers.

Next up and last on my schedule for today was the Liars' Panel, which we did to amuse the audience and raise money for charity.  Sadly, the audience was quite small, though the people in it were great.  Still, we all answered outrageous questions, mostly told the truth but sometimes lied, and raised about two hundred bucks for Hopeline, the con's charity.

By this point, it was definitely time for dinner.  A small group of us dashed to BurgerFi, the first local franchise of this small chain, for tasty organic burgers and hot dogs, as well as sticky cheese fries.  It wasn't at all healthy, but it was good. 

From there, I headed home to work, which I did until now (five in the morning). 

In four hours, I have to get up for day two of the con.  No one should schedule me on a 10:00 a.m. panel!

More about the con tomorrow night.


Dan Campbell said...

Thank you for this, Mark! I wish I could be at the con, so reading this salves my disappointment. :-)

Mark said...

I'm glad to help, Dan, but I'm sorry you can't make it.


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