The Big Penguicon Weekend Brain Dump

Penguicon 2015 is in the books, and what an amazing, crazy weekend it was.

I arrived Friday, and had time to do normal things like registration, presenter package pick up, and dumping my stuff off in my hotel room. Last year, I had a panel to speak on almost as soon as I’d arrived, and I was a bit frazzled. Since I didn’t have any panels until the next day, I was able to explore, visit with friends, and relax a little. I didn’t get too much time to relax, as a couple of dear friends of mine arrived to the convention to get a tour and have dinner. Our friend Kevin rounded out the party. We had dinner, and stopped in Kevin’s room for a swig of locally made “Red Fish.” Swedish fish and vodka…I think. Because I forgot to inform the hotel of my desire to be away from the parties (I highly suggest that, if you attend a Con, you inform the hotel immediately), I had to deal with some loudness from the Friday parties. Hung out with a couple other friends until late that night, just to stay away from my room. Eventually, I put my earbuds in and listened to The Princess Bride soundtrack, which always relaxes me and helps me sleep.

Saturday rolled around, and I had breakfast with Sean Davis, one of my fellow authors. I don’t get to hang around authors very much, so this was a nice official start to my Penguicon “I’m An Author” weekend. We bounced ideas, discussed life, and had a good meal. He asked if I wanted to sit in on the Editing for the Uninitiated panel, since I have two novels in the editing phase right now and could offer my experiences in being edited as an author, and self editing. The panel itself went well, and Sean is a great moderator.

Traditional vs Self-Publishing came next, with Small Press (my main experience) included. I didn’t know my fellow panelists, but it was very nice to meet them and gain their insight. I learned things as well, which is awesome. I still want to traditionally publish Cake or Death (still in the “clean up” phase post-rejections), but hearing about people’s experiences in self publishing was pretty cool.

Following this discussion, I was on the Rejection: Dealing with the Dark Side of Creative Life panel.  We spoke not only on how we deal with rejection, but what NOT to do, because publishing is a small world and people talk. It was great to hear I wasn’t alone in my suffering.

The final panel of the night was You Can’t Kill the Undead. It had to be my favorite panel, simply because of who I shared that side of the table with. Who showed up in the audience made it even better. It was crazy, fun, and degenerated quickly into some of the funniest moments of the con. Since it was an “after dark” presentation, and kids may read this blog…I won’t repeat anything said there.

Saturday night found the authors in the bar (where else?), where we laughed and talked until we go the wild bug up our collective butts to hit the ConSuite for snacks and alcohol, and then off to the karaoke room party. Classics like “Sweet Transvestite” and “Carry On Wayward Son” were chosen by members of the group. We added Kevin to the group, and he provided more Red Fish – and my dance partner for “(I Had) The Time of My Life.” No, we didn’t do the lift. Somehow, even though I’d put my name in for a song, I didn’t get called…but everyone else did. We met a darling girl named Meghan who could really belt out the showtunes. If she reads this, I hope she says hi! We ended up closing out the party, and I didn’t get to sleep until 4am.

I had a 9am panel.

It was worth it.

Sunday’s 9am panel was a sometimes dry discussion of E-books: An Examination of the Current State of Digital Publishing. Though it was seemingly harmless, I need to make this remark to the mostly male audience that was in this discussion: When the lone female panel member decides to speak – LET HER. It wasn’t cool to cut her off mid-sentence. I was too tired to speak up, but our moderator did make sure I was heard after that. Thanks again, Sean!

I didn’t make it to my final panel before I left: Scriptwriting Tips. My apologies to my panel mates. There was an emergency that I had to tend to before I hit the road. I did miss seeing my friend and former Vampirism Bites director, James Fernandez, which bummed me out.

I’m now home, slightly rested, and my neck is sore (from head banging to Bohemian Rhapsody at the karaoke party), but I’m so glad I was asked to return to my home state for this great convention. The hotel staff was great again, some of them really going all out for their own “nerdy” costumes. If you’ve never been to Penguicon in Michigan, definitely go. Thanks to everyone who stopped to talk to me, and expressed an interest in my work. You all rock!

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