Tag Archives: Mysticon

Mysticon once more

So last weekend, as I have for the past two or three years, I went up to Mysticon in Roanoke. I actually debated whether to cancel because I was still feeling sick, and I know from experience a weekend of talking can make things much worse. But I stayed the course, and I’m glad I did.

From Wednesday to Friday I stayed, as usual, with my friends Dori and Sam Koogler about an hour away. This is their cat.She looks a lot like Wisp in coloration, but she’s not as friendly, at least to strangers.

Friday Dori drove me in to the hotel, but declined to be my free Plus One (so did Sam). I was exhausted, having been kept awake the previous weekend by either my or TYG’s hacking cough, and my throat was sore. Fortunately I brought my miniature steam bath up with me and used that a lot. It helped.

I saw several authors I know, including Jason Gilbert, John Hartness, Stuart Jaffe, Rod Belcher and Darin Kennedy. Jason gave me good advice on hawking my books, but with my voice struggling, I was in no shape to take advantage of it. And my efforts to reserve a signing table fell afoul of emailing the wrong person (it went to the IT form organizing the schedule online, not to the organizers). This created the slight problem that having mailed a bunch of my books to the Kooglers and only selling one (but yay one! Thank you for that purchase!) I had a lot more to take home than I’d anticipated. It made for a tight fit with the books I bought, but I managed to get everything home. Good thing TYG let me take her new, larger suitcase.

Panels included “Food and Drink in Fantasy Fiction,” “Writing Up Close and Personal” (a POV discussion) and Writing Contemporary Fantasy. There was some good discussion and my moderating went fine despite my throat. I picked up some earrings for TYG and as mentioned, books for myself. And they have the same coffee truck out in front of the hotel as last year, and it served tea too. That was nice.

I almost freaked out on the ride home when the plane out of Roanoke was an hour late, seeing as I had only a 45 minute period in Charlotte (no, I can’t go straight from Durham to Roanoke) to catch my connection. Fortunately it was one of those cases where the airline had padded the travel time so even an hour late, I was fine.

And hey, the view out of the airport window has mountains.

I like this curbside sign too.I leave you with photos from the con.#SFWApro.

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An epic ten hours in the making!

So, getting back to my Mysticon trip … I could not, of course, pass up the Sherlock Holmes and Time Travel panels at the con. Unfortunately that left me wrapping up at 1 pm, and the best flight out didn’t happen until 4:30, putting me in at RDU at 9:30. Sheesh! But as things turned out, my reaction to that schedule was “ah, if only …”

After I wrapped up the time travel panel, I wandered around for a bit, but I think I was pretty wiped by that point (like most introverts, I enjoy social contact, but it tires me out). Plus I had to have my bags with me and my bulging backpack made it impractical to maneuver through the still-crowded halls. So I threw in the towel, called Lyft and headed to the airport really early.

Roanoke Airport is small, though with slightly more gates than Okaloosa County’s airport (six vs. four). The coffee guy at Mysticon had run out of tea (well tea I like, if I wanted something fruit flavored he had plenty) so I figured I’d down some as soon as I made it through the gate. Which was slow, and included a patdown in personal areas — the body scan somehow red flagged my underwear as making it look like there was something possibly stuffed in there. Besides the obvious, I mean.

Once I was through, I looked around for the Starbucks, Caribou Coffee or whatever … ooops. There was one place with coffee, but no tea on the menu. I eventually realized they had some on the counter, but it was crappy stuff, so I skipped it and decided to wait for the Charlotte layover, which would run 2.5 hours. Plenty of time to eat and get some tea. I did try to buy a veggie sandwich but the place was out of them.

I was understandably disappointed when the departure time got pushed back by 30 minutes, then by an hour. Though it could have been worse: the two flights to CLT (Charlotte Airport; the abbreviation generates lots of “clit” jokes among some of my friends) after mine got canceled due to high winds. The desk clerk was talking about chartering a bus when I left.

When we finally arrived in Charlotte, I made my way to the D terminal where my plane would be (you can see the terminal below). It’s a very spread out terminal so it was quite a walk. But once I was there, I got a veggie sandwich on a bagel, then hit Starbucks.

I had plenty of time. The airline was missing a crew member and he/she/they wouldn’t be on hand until 10 PM, putting me back in Durham at 11:15. I was not pleased (you may have guessed this).

The long wait at CLT actually exhausted the reading material I’d brought with me. Of course, I had the new books I bought at Mysticon, but I didn’t want to start them ahead of the books I bought at Illogicon. I would have, probably, but I’d also put a couple of PDFs in my phone and wound up reading about the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (I’ll cover that in a later post). I was almost done when we touched down at RDU.

A taxi ride and I was home around 11:30. I hugged TYG and the dogs, then collapsed into bed.

A great trip overall, but American Airlines blew the landing (ROFL).

#SFWApro. Image is mine, all rights to plane remain with current holder.


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The magical Mysticon tour

So a week ago I headed up to Roanoke to visit some friends and then attend Mysticon, the Roanoke SF con, as a guest. TYG refers to my friends, Sam and Roxanne, as “the ones with all the books.” Hmm, I wonder why?

I actually wasn’t sure I’d make it because winter weather slapped Roanoke and its airport with snow. But I flew it into Roanoke on time and Sam got me home. As you can see, they did indeed have some snow.

And my bedroom window makes for great morning-light shots.

Annoyingly, I have to stop in Charlotte Airport (I have friends who find it hilarious the airport identifier code is CLT) rather than go straight to Roanoke. But I did get to see a gelato display that looks amazingly like, well, rainbow-colored poop.

Hanging with my friends was all about chatting, reading, and watching a video Sam made back in his Air Force days (nothing I can describe easily but fun to watch). And then Friday, Roxanne drove me into Roanoke and the con.

I had more fun than last year, because I now know more of the authors from Illogicon or the 2018 Mysticon: Jason Gilbert, Melissa McArthur, Stuart Jaffe, Alexandra Christian and a few others. I got to meet Wendy S. Delmater, who edits Abyss & Apex, which published my stories Affairs of Honor and One Hand Washes the Other.

I told the con organizers that I was willing to moderate any panel I was on … and I did. Which was a surprise, but it just meant thinking out a larger number of questions in advance. The other panelists said I did a good job, so I’m satisfied.

The panels? Writing Contemporary Fantasy, Using World Mythology in Fantasy, Time Travel and the Butterfly Effect, Surprisingly OK (a Sherlock Holmes/Sherlock panel), and a panel on the right POV for getting into your characters’ head. I also participated, again, in the author dating game (I did that at Illogicon) but once again I wasn’t picked. This time I played Monty from The Wodehouse Murder Case; maybe next time I’ll go as “Big Johnson” Galt from Atlas Shagged.

I also sat in on a couple of panels about self-publishing and indy publishing. I think I learned quite a bit.

And I sold books! I’d brought along copies of Atoms for Peace and Atlas Shagged and I sold them all. Darin Kennedy let me share space at his signing table and it moved them much more effectively than just mentioning them on panels did (though I did sell a couple to someone after the author dating game). I was smart enough to have plenty of small bills for making change, but hadn’t prepared for anyone to use plastic. Fortunately Darin and Stuart Jaffe found a work-around, but next con I go to, I’ll be ready!.

There was, of course cosplay. Michael Meyers below, was standing in a dark hall when two teens ran in and saw him. Holy crap, the shrieking that ensued. The real Michael would be proud.

The woman below was a composite Wonderland character.

And here are a few more images

The cake was a salute to Steve Jackson, RPG designer. VERY tasty. My compliments to the baker.

I was also pleased the hotel brought in one of the local coffee shops to provide coffee and (more importantly) tea. I wish they’d brought a little more — the British Breakfast was used up by mid-Saturday — but as it was pouring rain, I wasn’t going to trek to the coffee shop up the road.

Finally, after my panel Sunday, I headed home. An epic voyage I’ll talk about on Friday.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine. Right to cake design resides with current holder.



Filed under Personal, Writing

Before and after Mysticon.

So Wednesday and Thursday last week, as I mentioned yesterday, I stayed with my friends Sam and Roxanne Koogler (Roxanne being, as they say, my sister from another mother) before heading to Mysticon. It’s the first time I’ve seen Roxanne since my wedding, and the first time I’ve seen Sam in even longer.

The flight up would have been a snap if I could have gone straight from Raleigh to Roanoke, but instead I had to jump to Philadelphia, then back down to Roanoke Airport (above, with mountains in the background). Still once I got there I got to hang with my friends, relax, belly scratch their dog Arthur, head scratch their cat (does not like belly scratches), eat and read. They have a lot of books, so I borrowed some.

They also have a beautiful view from the porch/gazebo

And from my bedroom window it’s kind of eerie in the morning.

That was a good couple of days.

The trip home afterwards? Not so much.

After getting to the airport at six for my eight o’clock flight, it got delayed. We took off at 9:30, a very rough, bumpy flight to LaGuardia. When we touched down they couldn’t get the bridge to walk right so we had to disembark via steps in a cold, nasty rain. My flight had left but they’d booked me a backup flight. Unfortunately instead of getting in a little after 12, I’d be arriving at 2:30, which made me feel I’d wasted my time leaving so early. Then again, just imagine how late I’d have made it home to Raleigh if the delays continued.

To top that off, my backup seat was in front of a bulkhead so I had to put my computer in the overhead compartment — I hate that. And it was several compartments back, so I wasn’t able to get off until most of the plane had disembarked and I could get back there. Oh, and the guy next to me was a big mass of muscle who without even trying overflowed into my seat space. I know he couldn’t help it, but that was uncomfortable.

But I made it home. Refreshed and revived from my trip. The good memories will outlast the annoyances. To close, here’s me scratching a cat.

#SFWApro. If you use any photos, please credit me.

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Into the Mysticon

So last week I went up to visit my friends Sam and Dori Koogler in the Shenandoah Valley near Roanoke, Va. Friday, I headed up to Roanoke itself, to attend the city’s Mysticon as a guest.

It was my first time there which took a little adjustment. Fewer people I know than at Illogicon, and I don’t know the area anywhere near as well. It wasn’t until Saturday I found a place down the road where I could get some tea (decent though), and a sub/pizza place. The hotel’s restaurant/bar was good enough, but it only had one vegetarian lunch/dinner dish.

I sat in the movie room for a couple of hours (details this weekend) and participated in four panels: Time Travel in fiction; Sherlock Holmes (needless to say I loved that one); writing fantasy in contemporary settings (I realized at the last minute I was moderating that one, but I did fine anyway); and using non-Western cultures as a background. I think they all went well and audience turnout was good. I also sat in on a couple of panels, prioritizing ones that relate to indie publishing, marketing and such.

I wandered around the dealer room and bought some gifts for TYG, a T-shirt for me, Liz Long’s novel Supernova and of all things a fancy pocketwatch. That was an impulse purchase using some of Dad’s Christmas money, but I figure that would appeal to him more than me just buying books (not that I’m obligated to buy things he likes, but it still pleased me). I’d have bought more stuff, but I’d taken along some of my own books to sell (I didn’t, not even Now and Then We Time Travel at the Time Travel panel. Sigh). That made the luggage quite heavy and quite full.

Unfortunately I suffered the same problem I run into on trips to FWB: my return flight options are a)arrive in the evening, which leaves me in poor shape to start work the next day; b)get up at the crack of dawn; c)pay a lot extra to get a better time. As usual I picked b, so I missed the last day. Next year (assuming I make it back), I’ll have to avoid that, it was fun.

I did have one special moment. I asked this pup’s owner if I could pet her and as we talked it turned out the dog’s name was Dixie and she’s a chihuahua/rat terrier hybrid. That’s so close to Trixie (cairn terrier/chihuahua) and so physically similar, I was completely taken with Dixie. And got a nose lick to boot.

As it turned out, it was probably a good thing I took the early flight because the trip home was a mess. But I’ll get to that (and the staying-with-friends part) tomorrow.

#SFWApro. Photos are mine, rights to copyright images remain with the current holder.


Filed under Personal