RavenCon 2009

Kelly and I were up early on Saturday morning and hit the road before 8 am for our drive down to Richmond for RavenCon 2009.  We arrived at the hotel, checked in, had some breakfast, registered, and then got started.  This was Kelly’s first science fiction convention (or as she lovingly referred to it, "nerd convention") and so I spent some time explaining how it worked and showing her around the dealer room and the con suite.  I think she found it interesting and parts of it she definitely enjoyed.  I think there were other parts she found amusing.  For me, I had a great time and found several of the sessions extremely valuable.

We headed to the dealer’s room where Edmund Schubert and Misty Masssey were signing books.  I brought with me a copy of Edmund’s first novel, Dreaming Creek which he kindly signed for me.  We stood around chatting for a while, and Ed introduced me to both Misty and Hildy Silverman, who I met very briefly at Readercon last year.    showed up while we were chatting and it was nice to see him again too.  I introduced them all to Kelly.

Shortly thereafter, I attended a session on "How to get your start in short stories".  On the panel were the two Bud’s:  Bud Sparhawk and Bud Webster.  Also Davey Beuchamp, Lyn Gardner, and Jim Reichart.  Hildy Silverman moderated.  It was a good discussion and what I most got out of this session was reassurance that I was doing things the right way, and generally following Heinlein’s rules for writing.

After that Kelly and I attended a session on Blogging for Writers which we both enjoyed and which I in particular found very useful.  (See the previous post).

At 2 pm, Kelly decided to go make use of the indoor pool, and I attended the Guest of Honor interview.  GOH this year was Jack McDevitt, whose Priscilla Hutchins books I love, and whose Cauldron was my favorite book of 2008.  At first, it didn’t seem like the interview was going to be particularly good because the interviewer seemed to be doing all of the talking, but that ended pretty quickly andJack talked, told wonderful, funny stories, and also talked about his writing process, what kind of stories he likes to write, and his process for doing so.  When all was said and done, it turned out to be a great interview.  I introduced myself to him at the end, and told him how much I enjoyed his books, and also passed on a "hello" from a mutual friend.  He signed books afterward and I got a couple of books signed.  He was very, very kind, and I really enjoyed his interview.

Late in the afternoon, I went to  ‘s book signing, and brought a copy of his first novel for him to sign.  We chatted for a while and I asked him a few questions, one of which I have always wondered about:  who comes up with the maps in fantasy novels?  (Turns out David comes up with him maps, but I can’t even imagine the vision that takes.  I was very impressed by it all.)

Kelly and I braved the 97 degree heat to walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner.  We had a nice dinner and once back at the hotel, it was my plan to mingle for a while, attend another session or two, and then we would meet up for the comedy and costume contest later in the evening.

Back in the dealer’s room (where earlier, Kelly picked up a copy of a book on gnomes), I ran into Larry Hodges, and we chatted for a while.  I first met Larry at RavenCon in 2007 and for a while thereafter, we were in the same writer’s group.  Eventually, I ended up at the bar and while sitting on the couch, catching up on some blogs, I suddenly found myself the target of a hastily formed paper-napkin missile, and looked up just in time to bat it away.  The missile "launched" was none other than Edmund, who was sitting at a bar table with Hildy Silverman.  We chatted for a while, mostly about our kids (and my forthcoming baby).

Edmund and I then headed to the 7 pm science session on "the next 5 years".  I found this to be a very interesting panel.  It was standing room only and both Edmund and I were standing for it.  At some point during the panel, I turned to Ed to make a comment and he was gone, and I found myself talking to a stranger.

At 8 pm, Kelly was in line for the comedy show, which was essentially a retelling of all 7 Harry Potter books in 45 minutes, acted out on stage before it.  We had seats close to the front and that was a good thing since the room was packed.  It was a very funny show.  During the intermission was the costume contest (the winners of which were announced at the end of the second part of the show).  I had planned to go to an 11 pm session but by this time, I was exhausted and we headed up for bed.

On Sunday morning, after breakfast, I attended a dual reading.  David B. Coe read the first chapter of his latest novel, The Horseman’s Gambit.  Afterward, Hildy Silverman read a new "urban vampire" story she’d written, one which turned out to be very funny.  And then it was over and time to head home.  It was a lot of fun and I was glad I got to go this year.


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