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World Fantasy Convention 2018

I just got back from the 2018 World Fantasy Convention, but I wasn’t there to promote any of my Starbreaker novels. This year I was only there as a fan, and perhaps to do a bit of light networking.

Of course, many of the people we met at the 2014 and 2015 conventions weren’t here, but that’s to be expected. Catherine and I weren’t at the 2016 and 2017 conventions, either. But it was nice to see Elektra Hammond, Randee Dawn, Sarah Avery, and Sally Wiener Grotta again, and we’ll be sure to say howdy to whoever’s here from Broad Universe, since people from that organization had been kind to us back in 2014.

Thursday, November 1

I think I’m going to have to find a different convention to attend. It’s not that Cat and I are having a bad time at WFC, but that next year’s convention is in Los Angeles and the following WFC is in Salt Lake City.

Based on where I live, I could attend Philcon, Balticon, or both. After all, Philcon is in November and Balticon is in May. Baltimore is actually closer to my home than Philadelphia, so if I’m to choose by mileage alone it would be better to join the Baltimore Science Fiction Society than the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. Also, BSFS has a better website, and apparently offers a lending library.

Also, I had a chance to talk to BSFS president Dale Arnold tonight, and he seemed friendly and down-to-earth. If I’m going to try to be a more sociable SF fan, BSFS might prove more welcoming.


Catherine and I learned at our first WFC in 2014 that the panels are generally less interesting than the readings. Just like the souvenir book bags, they’re often a good way to discover authors I might not think to read on my own. They also appreciate the support, especially if Catherine and I are the only ones who show up.


Instead of attending the Derek Künsken reading with Catherine, I sat in on the “Taxonomy of Villains” panel. I think I would have gotten more out of the panel if I were just a fan. However, Esther Friesner’s jokes about realizing that Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights is an abusive waste of ammo – and her connections between Heathcliff and portrayals of Satan in works like Dante’s Commedia, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the works of Romantic poets like Lord Byron.


I really need to watch my spending, but there’s so much good stuff! I haven’t even gotten into the dealer room; I got most of these off the consignment table.

I actually grabbed the Kerry Nietz book from a table run by members of Realm Makers, a writer’s conference for Christian speculative fiction authors. I guess that’s one conference I won’t be attending.

One of the people working the table asked me what I was into, and I told them I was into science fantasy, that I was into soul-searching androids, swashbuckling soprano catgirls, and demons from outer space. So, when they suggested Amish Vampires in Space, I went for it. It helps that it started out as a joke.

Catherine also grabbed a Regency romance parody called Ridiculous! by D. L. Carter.

Souvenir Book Bags

One of the my favorite reasons to attend WFC is the souvenir book bag. They’re stuffed full of free books by authors I might not otherwise think to check out on my own, and often come in attractive hardcover and trade paperback editions. Of course, since Catherine always attends with me with sometimes end up with duplicates.

The convention has a swap table where you can trade your duplicates for somebody else’s, but the pickings tend to be slim until Saturday or Sunday. And on Sunday, you don’t even have to swap; any books you find on the swap table are “free to a good home”.

My Book Bag

Catherine’s Book Bag

From the Swap Table

I think Cat and I already have a copy of Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams, but Cat wasn’t convinced. Not that it matters; it’s just one more book, and we can always pass it along to somebody else later on – or put a “Little Free Library” in front of our house.

Friday, November 2

Even though the readings are the best part, it’s really hard not to nod off. My wife keeps discreetly nudging, poking, or outright hitting me to keep me from falling asleep on some poor author like a complete boor.

Poor Catherine. I’m a terrible husband for her; she can’t take me anywhere – an observation she often makes herself with tongue wedged firmly in cheek.

We did notice one thing many of the authors had in common: the ones who were most famous all had agents and had all gone with the big publishers.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that if I go that way I’ll have similar success, but it beats the shit out of trying to market everything myself.

But I can’t query on Without Bloodshed unless I rewrite it enough to make it a brand new novel. But I wanted to revise it anyway. Maybe change up the setting to account for massive climate change. Imagine a green Antarctica.

Maybe writing Without Bloodshed v2.0 will shake things loose with Dissident Aggressor.


It’s been a long day of readings, though we took a break for shopping. Fortunately, Catherine’s been noting the authors whose readings we attended.


We bought more books today, but justifying it by saying the money we aren’t spending on food is going to books.

In addition to books, we splurged and bought a couple of prints to frame and hang up. One is a gorgeous Donato print depicting Phédrè no Délaunay from the Kushiel’s Legacy novels by Jacqueline Carey.

The other is “Magnus & Loki: Cousins” by Sarah Clemens. Catherine loves Magnus & Loki because what’s not to like about the hijinks a Maine Coon cat and a little dragon can get up to together?


We also scored some freebies today. From the swap table comes…

And Julie Czerneda was kind enough to give Catherine copies of the first Web Shifters trilogy in paperback:

Saturday, November 3

Today was a good writing day, though yesterday wasn’t bad, either. Yesterday I got down about 750 words on a short called “Demagogue Detail”. Today, I did 2562 words for Dissident Aggressor. Had one scene from Isaac Magnin’s viewpoint, followed by one from Tamara Gellion’s viewpoint. Readers of Without Bloodshed may also know them as Imaginos and Thagirion – and they’re still having angry wizard sex.

I had “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” by Ghost on repeat since I stole the song’s title for use as a chapter title, so I didn’t notice people talking around me until somebody asked me if their conversation was disturbing me. They weren’t, of course, because I couldn’t hear them. That’s the whole point of having a hard drive full of devil-killer music and a pair of headphones. But it was nice of Julie Czerneda to ask.

I ended up talking with one of them a bit later on. Tanya Gough was walking another writer through the capabilities of her current implementation of a story planning/composition web app called StoryBilder. It isn’t ready for use yet, but you’ll want to get on the mailing list. Trust me.


Naturally, I missed a bunch of readings since I was writing instead, but Catherine gave me the dirt on the ones I missed.

Unfortunately, we don’t have titles from the selections read by Paula S. Jordan, Laura Kelly, and Margaret S. McGraw. If we figure it out we’ll update this post later on.


Catherine and I both bought each other Christmas pressies, but we won’t mention them here.


The following books are getting a good home.

Sunday, November 4

Today was the last day of the convention. Many people left early today, so things started winding down before the World Fantasy Award presentation and banquet.


I didn’t attend any readings today, because I was loading the car, checking out of the hotel, and trying to do some more work on Dissident Aggressor, but Catherine did.


I wanted to be a good kitty and not buy anything, but I figured that since I had gotten Becky Chambers' Record of a Spaceborn Few as a freebie, I might as well buy her previous books in the series. Catherine bought a few of her own.


We decided to adopt the following today since nobody wanted ‘em.

Shelving Our New Books

Naturally, Catherine and I had to get the books shelved once we brought them home. That meant moving books from the shelf in the living room upstairs to my study or back to the bookshelf in Catherine’s study. It took a bit of work, but we got it done.

Our first shelf full of new books

Our second shelf full of new books