Wednesday, May 30, 2007

BaltiCon Report

BaltiCon is a four day convention, of which there are precious few that run quite so long. And now I remember why: four days is a lot of convention. I enjoyed myself, spent time with a lot of good folks, snuck out to a nearby theater and saw the third installment of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" (a monumental waste of time and money; it made me wish I were watching "Waterworld"), attended some parties and book launches, but good God, I was burned out by time all was said and done. That's why I'm writing this entry today instead of yesterday. Yesterday I got my bike out and pedaled 26+ miles and wallowed in the solitude. I needed time to decompress.

I think my best panel was Friday night's "How To Hook an Editor," co-starring Diane Weinstein, former art director and assistant editor at Weird Tales, and Joshua Bilmes, literary agent and founder of Jabberwocky literary agency. The panel morhped from "How To Hook an Editor" to "The Cold Hard Truths About the Publishing Industry" and not a punch was pulled. I think the audience appreciated that. Afterward Joshua and I went out to dinner and talked everything from publishing industry stuff to baseball (did you know he's a Toronto Blue Jays fan?). It was a very enjoyable evening.

Saturday morning I didn't have anything scheduled so I visited family in the area, then attended some panels (apparently not very memorable ones because I can't recall what they were), then had dinner with author Jana Oliver (whose novel Sojourn was one of this year's nominees for the Compton Crook Award) and a friend of Jana's, author Jean Marie Ward. Jana is someone I'm crossing paths with a lot lately and I always enjoy whatever time I can spend with her.

Sunday was probably my most enjoyable day at the con, despite the fact that the con organizers double-booked me and I ended up missing a panel I was really looking forward to ("Sky Finances," a panel about the future of commercial ventures in space). In fairness the organizers did give me the option of choosing which one I wanted to sit in on, but given that there were six people scheduled for "Sky Finances" and only three scheduled for "WebSite Workshop for SF Professionals," I told the organziers I would go where ever they needed me and their choice was pretty obvious.

And that reminds me what I did on Saturday and why I blocked it out: I was on a panel called "Managing Your Freelance Career" - a panel that had seven participants show up, including one charming man who told us that since the panel had been his idea he went and insisted the organizers include him in the panel even though they had not originally scheduled him to be on it. The next time I get to a room with more than five program participants I will forever more politely bow out. Seven people - no matter how quaified they all may be - is too many for any single panel.

Back to Sunday, despite the double-booking it was still my favorite day, largely because of time I got to spend with friends from an on-line writer's group called Codex. I'm not an active member there, though I have been in the group since 2004. It's full of a lot of talented, up-and-coming writers and I always enjoy time I can spend with any of them. Six of us went to lunch together on Sunday - Ruth Nestvold (who has collaborated with Jay Lake on a number of stories, as well as writing tons of her own), Elaine Isaak, who had several fantasy novels out through Eos Books, Andrew Cudgel and Scott Roberts, both published in the 2005 edition of Writers of The Future, (Scott was also published in the first issue of InterGalactic Medicine Show (back in the good old days when it was edited by Uncle Orson)), and Lawrence Schoen, also widely published in the short story world and now a publisher himself, being the brains, financial brawn, and co-editor behind a short story collection called Prime Codex. Prime Codex is an assemblage of stories written by members of Codex, stories that were orignally published in magazines like Asimovs and IGMS to name a few. It's a good read if I do say so myself, and I'm not even in the book :-( Lawrence had a book launch party Sunday afternoon. I was a little late because I donated blood at the drive set up my members of the local Robert Heinlein Society, but the launch somehow managed to proceed fine until I got there ;-)

Monday I did a couple more panels, but as soon as the last one was over (and I did a quick interview with a podcaster who worked with the organizers of last month's RavenCon), I was in my car and firing up a book-on-tape to entertain me during my six hour drive. I was ready to go home. As I said before, it was a long con.

And I've got another one next weekend... *sigh*

1 comment:

Day said...

It was great to listen in on Friday at Balticon to the "How to Hook an Editor Panel."

I can say it was the best panel that I attended this year and I would concur (as a member of the audience) that the "cold hard facts of publishing" really is what we wanted to hear.

There's good advice and there's great advice. I think the panel offered the latter. Thanks again!