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Ravencon - the Con report

Unlike most conventions, I didn't do a day by day breakdown of Ravencon. Partly because I was busy trying to catch up with a ton of friends I only get to see so often, meeting a slough of new people I'd be happy to call friends and avoiding getting sick. Apparently the pollen count in Richmond this last weekend was through the roof and I started getting down on Saturday. Wound up sleeping from 2pm - 6pm, doing my panel and then going back to bed at 11pm and not waking up until 9am on Sunday. Anyone who's spent time with me at a convention before knows "that's not normal behavior". I'm usually the guy surviving on a couple hours naps here and there at most.

Still, my panels on Friday were a lot of fun. I opened with "Who the heck is Doctor Who", which was a lot of fun and since the audience was still speaking to us afterward, I'll consider it a success. Later that evening, we had "How to be a Good Dungeon Master". I was one of the newest DM's on the panel since I've only been running games since 1979. (The other three panelist have been gamers since 1974, 1976 and the moderator being the newbie, only gaming since 1982.) We had some wildly varying ideas on how to run individual games, but we all agreed that a good DM needed a good imagination, needed to be well read and to know when "the game" is more important than "the roll". The last panel I did on Friday night was "The Dealer's Perspective". There were only three of us, one was a used-book dealer, one was an artist who sold sketches at shows and I was a former small-press comic guy who was used to being ignored . . . I mean selling my comics at various comic conventions around the country. We had not only the customer from hell stories but also a number of "I wish I had more customers like this" stories to balance things out.

Saturday was my "Collecting Anime Cels" panel. Well, let me suggest that holding an anime panel at 9am when most of the high school and college aged kids are still not at the show is probably a bad time for it. I did appreciate the two people who showed up and we had fun in spite of our lack of numbers. Later that evening, we made up for it at the "Star Trek Anonymous" panel which played to a packed (and boisterous) room.

Sunday I had a signing and then my final panel before heading out, "Everyone's an Expert", which was a panel on self-publishing, vanity publishing, small presses, e-publishing and other assorted ways to get your thoughts and words out there in front of the public. We had one self-published author, one who had self-published and then been picked up by a small press and a person who'd only been with small presses and done a lot of free-lance magazine short stories.

For me, this panel was important because it was the first time I'd been on a panel and been there not only as me, but as a member of Writer Beware. I've only been working with Ann and Victoria for a couple of months now and I think I did O.K. as a representative.

The other real show highlight was going to Monacan High School in Richmond and getting to do a panel for the students on writing. Tee Morris puts this little soire together every Ravencon and it's a great time for all the panelists (and I think the kids too, but with teenagers, you never know). Tee recorded the panel this year for a potential podcast, so I'll keep an eye out to see if anything's going to come of it.

Well, more news on other fronts, but that's another entry.

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