Last weekend, I was fan guest of honor at TusCon 39 in Tucson, Arizona. Here I am in a photo taken by my friend Daniel Arthur, wearing my steampunk gear and showing off the fan I picked up for the occasion. I figured if one is to be fan guest of honor, one should have an appropriate fan!
The weekend was a real whirlwind. For me, the convention started out by setting up the Hadrosaur Productions dealer’s table. We’ve published enough books and picked up enough books for resale that we really need to get two dealer’s tables. Of course, even if we’re not at a convention, you can still shop our merchandise at http://www.hadrosaur.com
Once everything was set up, we then moved into opening ceremonies where toastmaster Ed Bryant introduced both the Literary Guest of Honor—S.M. Stirling—and me. Ed made a special point of noting S.M. Stirling’s love of Nantucket and announcing a contest for the best Nantucket limerick to be held during the weekend. Ed also cited me for bravery for commuting between Las Cruces, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona in a Smart Car.
From opening ceremonies, I moved right into a busy series of panels. My first panel discussed writers finding their own unique voice. My take on this subject is simply that writers simply need to write, experiment, and not be afraid to try new things. The consensus of the panel was to look for those areas where you have something unique to say and engage you personally. That’s where your passion in writing will be. That panel was followed by a reading of bad poetry hosted by Larry Hammer. The challenge in that event was to get through as much of a terrible poem as you can without cracking a smile. Several of the participants did very well, but at my best, I could only make it about a verse without laughing outright.
Saturday, November 10 was a busy day for panels. I started out with two panels discussing Steampunk. The first was an attempt to define the genre for the audience. The second was a look at paranormal/steampunk cross-genre works. From there, I moved on to my fan guest of honor hour where I essentially told about how astronomy and writing have intertwined in my life so far and how one has influenced the other.
The fan guest of honor hour was followed by the TusCon mass autographing. I sat up in the front of the room with S.M. Stirling. We both signed several autographs over the course of the hour.
That evening, Marty Massoglia and I threw our annual birthday party. Lots of people dropped by with well wishes. Marty’s wife Alice brought three cakes, plus her deviled eggs and there was a good selection of fruit, meat, and veggies. Lots of people crowded into our small suite at the HotelTucson and we had a great time. My friend Vinnie put his artistic skills to use decorating balloons. Here my daughter holds up a few examples.
Even after the party wrapped up, I still had two more panels that night. I was on a panel that discussed how erotica has long been part of fantasy and science fiction. Later that night, I was on an interesting panel that discussed marriage and relationships and how far a parent might go in what they would allow, or at least advise, their children to avoid.
Somewhere after that last panel, I managed a little sleep. Sunday was a somewhat quieter day at the convention. Sunday morning started with a discussion of why married couples are so rare as heroes in science fiction and fantasy. Our conclusion was that they are actually becoming more common. More of a challenge than writing married couples though, is writing couples who have children.
My last official event of the convention was a reading. I read excerpts from both Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order and Revolution of Air and Rust. I had a good turn out and both pieces seemed well received.
The convention wound down all too soon after the reading. For me, the event ended with the traditional end-of-con chilli cooked by Bruce Wiley.
I want to say thanks to convention chair Sue Thing and all the members of the convention committee for having me as fan guest of honor this year. I always have a great time at TusCon, but this year will go down as one of the very special ones in my memory.