Thursday, May 22, 2014

On the road again: Balticon, day 0
And, what I'm doing at Balticon this weekend

The drive to the con hotel started this morning at 9:00 a.m. sharp.  The longest it typically takes is 6.5 hours.

Today, it lasted over 9.5 hours.  I've made this trip many times, and this is by far the longest drive it's ever been. 

The vast majority of the additional time went to sitting and crawling in horrible D.C.-area traffic.  It was intense and unpleasant, a constant battle to avoid other vehicles as accidents and road construction kept stealing our lanes.

I'm very glad to be here safely.

The con starts tomorrow.  I'm going to be a busy guy this weekend.  If you're coming to the con, you can catch me at any or all of the following events.

Friday, May 23:

8:00 p.m. - Master of Ceremonies for the Opening Ceremonies, Valley Ballroom

For the third time in a row, I'll be running the con's Opening Ceremonies.  It's always an honor to do this gig, and it's also a lot of fun, because I get to meet all the guests, talk to a crowd of folks eager to get their con on, and even sometimes tell some of the worst jokes in the world.

Saturday, May 24:

12:00 p.m. - Baen Traveling Show, moderator, Garden Room

Baen Publisher Toni Weisskopf won't be at this con, so I'm filling in for her in one of the events I always enjoy:  a presentation of Baen's upcoming titles and the art for their covers.  Toni lets me show both the covers of those books and the original art for those covers, so at this panel you can see things few publishers typically review. 

4:00 p.m. - Titles Looking for Stories, panelist, Salon B

The audience will toss out titles.  The panelists will make up stories to go with the titles.  The audience will vote on the winner.  Come vote for me!  Expect to laugh.

Sunday, May 25:

10:00 a.m. - A Cheat of Crooks, panelist, Parlor 1041

Balticon is gathering on this panel all the attending writers who have won the Compton Crook Award for best first SF or fantasy novel.  I was fortunate enough to win the award some years ago, so I get to join the group.  I don't know the con's plans, but I wouldn't be surprised if jello was involved. 

Or not.  You never know.  The Balticon folks are sneaky when it comes to jello.

Noon – Liars’ Panel, moderator, Garden Room

Come listen to answers to outrageous questions.  Four writers--Charles E. Gannon, Gail Z. Martin, Jo Walton, and I--will do our best to entertain you.  Most of our answers will be true, but some will be lies.  Each member of the audience who wants to say an answer is a lie must hold up a dollar.  If they are right, the panelist must put ten dollars in a bucket.  If they are wrong and the answer is true, each audience member who challenged the answer must put a dollar in the bucket.  All the proceeds go to Balticon's charity to buy books for kids.  This panel has traditionally been fun and a big hit, and I expect no less from this year's version.

2:00 p.m. - Mr. Poor Choices II:  I Don’t Understand, stand-up comedy show, Valley Ballroom

Feel like laughing?  This will be the place to be.  Heck, you can laugh at the Liars' Panel and then come laugh some more at this show.  With some old material and some new, I should be able to entertain everyone.

Or I can stand alone on a stage in front of a huge empty room, tears slowly crawling down my cheeks. 

It's up to you.

3:00 p.m. - Reading (with Hildy Silverman and Jeffrey Lyman), Pimlico

I have no idea what I'll read, but I'm pretty sure you won't have ever read it before.  Drop by and check it out.

Finally, I'll be around the con, going to events, checking out the Dealers' Room and the Art Show, and so on.  If you see me, come up and say hi. 

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