Tuesday, April 26, 2011

(Mis)Adventures at ConGlomeration

This past weekend I attended ConGlomeration, a local sci-fi/fantasy convention. Although not an official "guest," I was listed in the programming booklet under "Also Attending ConGlomeration" with a nice little write up and link to my site

ConGlomeration opened Friday April 22. The first workshop I attended was "Steampunk Tutorial Part 1." Christopher Boll showed us how to take ordinary objects and give them a Steampunk spin. We learned about creating a character, including that person's occupation, likes and dislikes, etc. Other discussions included cyberpunk and diesel punk and how steampunk can span different eras (up to about the 1930s).

Now it was time for "A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words.” The premise of this workshop was to swap stories and artwork. Artists and writers were paired off. The author would give the artist a piece of writing the artist would use to draw a picture. Meantime, the author would write a story based on a picture the artist had created.

I partnered with Christine Griffin, a portrait artist who’s done covers for Loose ID and Cobblestone Press. She let me choose a print from the art exhibit.

Copyright & Credit: Christine Griffin & Fantasy Flight Games

This was the piece I selected. Later I discovered it was for “A Game of Thrones” by Fantasy Flight Games. Anyway, I loved it so much, I bought it.

After explaining I didn’t have anything written, either, she asked if I wouldn’t mind a portrait. I wrote a quick description of Xariel and Karla from Death Sword. Then I remembered I had a sample chapter of Death Sword on my IPod. I let her read it to get an idea of the characters and she decided to draw Xariel.

Friday ended on another high note when I got a chance to meet artist Melissa Gay. Melissa has done covers for Apex Publications, including Lavie Tidhar’s Hebrew Punk. So yeah, I went all fan girl on her.  :-)

Day’s panels finished, I headed home to start brainstorming ideas for my artist/author swap story. I’ve been tossing around the idea of writing a story about a Valkyrie and her wolf. So it was a matter of dipping into a little Nordic mythology to come up with a work about a page or two long.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay up too late because the next day’s panel began at 10AM.

Even worse, I missed the first panel on Saturday. But I made the 11AM one, another steampunk workshop. Yes folks, this weekend was steampunk and writing.

After lunch found me awaiting my turn at the “Author Reading” panel. I was one of about a half dozen authors reading that afternoon and followed the guest of honor, Peter David. Luckily, no one fled the room after I started reading the first chapter of Death Sword.

However, what works fine in rehearsal doesn’t always cooperate during the performance. My IPod locked up. What? I was reading an E-book. Might as well read it from a digital device. Although I was able to continue, I went two minutes over my allotted time. (Sorry, Marsha!)

Overall, though, the reading was fun. Even if there was a techno glitch, no one really seemed to mind. (Maybe it’ll make people remember me.) Oh, wait. That might not be a good thing...

The last panel for me that day was “Going Digital.” I had been invited to be on it but somewhere along the line communication got mixed up and I ended up in the audience. (Shrug.) Nevertheless, I participated, giving my perspective and asking questions. It actually ended up being a lively exchange about where digital publishing is now and where it’s going.

Panels finished, I headed home to work on my story. After all, I had a Sunday noon deadline. 

I finished the story Sunday morning and headed to the con. Apparently part of my brain – the one that controls memory – decided to go on vacation. I was almost there and realized I’d forgotten my badge.

Yep. Another head-desk moment. Not only that, it was ten minutes to noon (the start of the panel) and I had to drive back 11 miles. Time to hit the interstate.  I silently thanked the DOT for raising the speed limit.

I arrived for the second part of “A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words” at 12:06PM. I was late but I wasn’t too late. Luckily, the audience seemed to like the story. If you like, you can read it here. (You'll have to scroll down.)

Copyright & Credit: Christine Griffin
Christine Griffin then showed us her version of my hero Xariel from Death Sword. This is the first time I’ve ever had an artist draw one of my characters. Damn, it’s like the coolest thing to see how she  interpreted him. Chris told me she even went back and reread the sample chapter to get a better idea of the character.

So, yeah, I’m stoked. And of course I had the pieces framed to hang on my wall.  

If you get a chance to attend a con, do so. It’s a great opportunity to meet other people (i.e. artists and writers) and to be inspired. 

To learn more about the con and the artists' work, click on the following links:


Christine Griffin (artist)

Melissa Gay (artist)

1 comment:

atjeansgarage said...

The artist rendering is absolutely beautiful. What a fun conference!