Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Visit to Balticon46, May 2012

Wow.  That is all I can really say.  It was one amazing trip, and I'm hoping to save up the money to do it again next year.  I took a long list of people I wanted to meet, and...well... met most of them along with many new faces too. (well, new faces and names to me)

I think this is going to be the marathon post for a Convention post for me.  Yes, I did that much stuff, and saw that many people.  Well, what do you expect in 3 days?  Okay, if you really want to count, it was 48 hours total, but man was it packed!

Michael Sullivan, Me
I guess I'll start at the beginning... I left my house at 7am picked my brother up and on our way we went.  About 3 1/2 hours later we arrive, uneventful, at Balticon!! In Hunt Valley Maryland.  Easy to get there and I think I bored my brother with all the details of a few authors I was planning to see.  Oh, I did make him listen to the first episode of Tales from the Archives Volume 2: Sins of the Father where we learn more about Wellington's history, then the amazingly fun episode (which I share with everyone) by the amazingly talented J.R. Blackwell, Women of the Empire.  Not only did I laugh out again! he laughed too.  It was a hit!  Then, I told him about The Gearheart: Artifice and over the weekend he started listening to it as well.  He's hooked!! Poor guy really didn't have a chance. ;)

Sorry for all the babbling in between here, but this was such a fun trip and I got to share it all with someone who is into this stuff, but all I had to share this weekend was brand spankin' new to him.  Love that!

Okay, on we go.  We are now at Balticon.  We found the ticket booth by accident (ladies bathroom upstairs was closed and had to go downstairs).  Checked in to get my badge for the Con.  The room wouldn't be available till after 4pm (which it really wasn't, I tried early.)  Down here we found Artist Alley.  We browsed through the hall, and I'll mention it's not a long hallway, but plenty to see as you walk down, and through the art gallery we went (where you can bid and purchase art).

Me, Elaine
One of my many main reasons (7 of them really) for coming to the Con was to meet an author and her husband that where located in just this Alley... Elaine Corvidae!!  She is a wonderful person.  I've been chatting with her online for quite a while and reading her online graphic novel, Riven Sol.  I had already planned on purchasing her print version of Riven Sol while here.  And this was my very first purchase at Balticon!  And, my very first signature!  I got to stand with Elaine and chat with her for a while, and met up with her a few times through the weekend. Lovely people, and amazing work.

Then we decided to walk around the halls to get to know where we were and what was going on.  We didn't plan on hitting any panels just yet (although they were going on, several each hour through midnight).  I don't really remember what we did all afternoon, really.  We walked through the dealer room which was like a huge book store.  People where selling books everywhere!  First thing I said, It wasn't fair.  I didn't have enough money to buy all the books in there. *pout*

Me, Michael Sullivan, Robin Sullivan
Okay, on we go...walking through the crowded halls.  And low and behold, I see Michael Sullivan and his amazing wife Robin!  I stop them, introduce myself (although the figured it out before I finished ~ thank you name tag).  Michael and Robin where on the top of the list to see while here.  If I only saw a few people, Michael and Robin where on that list....of about 7 MUST SEE PEOPLE.  We chatted for a few as they where on their way to a panel, and Michael signed the one book of his I still needed an autograph in.  Of course they got a kick out of my colored sticky-notes (you will see, many authors find these interesting yet rather scary).

On we went to the... yes, you guessed it, I'm on vacation people.  Kid and husband are at home.  Time to cut loose!  I suggested the bar.  I'm a bar hound, what can I say?  We had a few beers until our room was ready.  Took a bit to get that all taken care of, I ordered 1 room with 2 double beds, got a room with 1 king.  Um, this is my brother people, not my husband.  But the hotel was great and fixed it up.  We got the right room.  But in the afternoon visit to the bar I got to see Jon Sprunk and chat with him, also Peter V. Brett was there.  We meet his girlfriend and got to pick on Peter.  It was fun, and he made it so easy.  LOL!  Sorry Peter, but it was fun.
When does an alien or a magic-wielder become a god or a demon?
Some where in there we went to our first panel, one my brother picked and it was about science and physics.  I'm sorry, I felt like I was back in school.  I had no idea what they were talking about, but Heath did, so cool.  Now settled in we went to another panel:  When does an alien or a magic-wielder become a god or a demon?  This panel was all new people to me: Moderator: Barbara Friend Ish Speakers: Neal Levin, Justin R. Macumber, Bernie Mojzes, Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate.  This was interesting hearing people talk.  And as we thought, believes and religion started to cloud thoughts.  Not that there was any arguing but there might have been if it went much longer.  Very cool to see authors thoughts on this.

Then, back to the bar!  Yes, that happens a lot this weekend.  Glad to say Michael Sullivan walked in and joined us.  Also, was thrilled to see Jon Sprunk (1 of the seven as well) walk in and chat sit with us as well.  Heath and I ordered food, and beer.  I got to chat with Michael for a time.  Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris come in (two more of the 7 I must see), and I get to say hello to them.  I mention to Pip I need to find Alex White (the remaining of 7 I must see) and she calls over to him and he stops by.  Great to finally meet these amazing and talented people!  So, I chat and stuff my face.  Then off to a nine o'clock panel.
Dynamic Voice Acting 1
The nine o'clock panel was Dynamic Voice Acting 1 Moderated by Alex White Speakers were: Veronica R. Giguere, Laura Nicole Spencer, Michael l. Stokes, and Jay Smith.  Let me tell you, these people, all!, have talented voices and control of voices and emotions coming out of them.  Alex created a conversation he gave each, told them the circumstances and they voice acted it out.  Then, dun dun dah, Alex took that situation and turned it completely around, creating something completely opposite with the exact same words.  No matter how silly, or funny they thought it was, they acted it out completely.  Wow!  Amazing guys!
Tee Morris, Tad Daley, Pip Ballantine at Reading
Now it's 10 o'clock and I'm meeting my brother to go to the reading by Philippa Ballantine, Tad Daley and Tee Morris.  Yes!!  A reading by the authors themselves!  Pip read from her new book to come out here in June, Hunter and Fox.  Tee read from their book just released May 29th, The Janus Affair.  AMAZING to hear these two read their work.  I have to say they have amazing voices, hence the podcasts they do.  Loved hearing these stories.  I had already read Hunter and Fox, so I knew exactly what Pip was reading, Loved it!  And was so excited to get any tidbit of The Janus Affair I could get.  Loved it!! ;D

Okay, back to the bar.  (yes, I told you this happens a lot!  Give me a break. Geez.)  Michael Sullivan is at the table we left (we had said we'd be back, and we were) with a few others.  Now, this is where I have to say I'm horrific with remembering names.  Really.  And it wasn't from the beer, I didn't have that much to drink.  But, the one person that was there and stayed to talk and laugh with us was Collin Earl.  A new author to me.  But we had a wonderful time talking about all sorts of things, bookish and not.  Before we know it, it's 2 o'clock am.  Yeah.  Where the hell did the time go?  So, we left the bar to step out in the courtyard where others where hanging out.

Here I got to talk with Alex White some along with a few others.  But my eyes where getting heavy and headed off to the room shortly after saying hello.  It had been a long day!  I woke up at 6am to get ready to go and load up, and didn't get to bed till midnight on Friday.  My poor body can't take the 6am to 2am time frame any more.  Dang, I'm really not that old!

Saturday morning, which is the marathon day of panels for us, I can sleep in some... right.  I was up by 7:30am.  Dang that internal clock!  Five hours of sleep just doesn't do it for me anymore...okay, truth, it never really worked for me when I was 21.  So we found the little cafe, got muffins and COFFEE! and off we went for the 9 o'clock reading with Chris Evans, Ruth Lampi, and Janine K. Spendlove.  Yes, did you see that!?!  Captain America himself! LOL.  No this is the wonderful fantasy author Chris Evans of the Iron Elves trilogy.  They decided to do little pieces of their stories and hold us all in suspense!  Darn these amazing authors. lol.  I had never heard of Ruth Lampi or Janine K. Spendlove before this reading, but they are wonderful.  Ruth read from her YA fantasy series, sounds rather good, and Janine read her short story for an anthology coming out.  Loved her story!  Reminded me of Men in Black movies.  Chris read from his third book, Ashes of Black Frost, and the beginning of a new work he has at the editors.  Really descriptive reads.  Wow.
The Fantasy of Physics panel
11am we are at the panel for The Fantasy of Physics with Panelists discuss how to make your magic believable.  Moderator: John C. Wright, Speaker: Peter BL!X Bryant, Chris Evans, and Jon Sprunk.  This was talking about the different magic systems and how in depth the authors go with them.  I was interesting in this one.  I wanted to see what all authors do to figure out there magic.  And, like all else, they are all different, but that's what I like hearing.  And there was lots of mention of other fantasy books and authors and their systems.

Jared Axelrod
12pm We are off to find the Book Launch party for Battle of Blood & Ink by Jared Axelrod.  This is a graphic novel published by Tor just released in May.  Wow!  He packed in the room.  Jared is also the new podcast I've been listening too.  The one about Ashe.  I just started, but it is affiliated with this graphic novel he just put out.  Jared also read the last episode for his podcast of this series and talked about the wonderful new book.  Yes, I bought a copy and got it signed right then and there.  That was the intention you know. ;)

1pm We are now sitting in the reading of several authors affiliated with the Broad Universe Reading.  This session was 1hour and 20minutes, longer than the normal 50minutes.  We got through many authors which several were new to me, but a few I knew.  Elaine Covidae, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Kelly A. Harmon, Danielle Ackley-McPhail (those are the 4 I knew of), Jean Marie Ward, Trish Wilson, P. Bush, Roxanne Bland, Jody Lynn Nye, T.J. Perkins, S.J. Tucker, and a few new additions as well.  Elaine read from her book which I just reviewed not so long ago, The Sorceress's Orc.  Eep!

So, we took a break for lunch.  We were starved.  Walking down the road to find cheaper food we realized just how stinking hot it was outside, and I was baking in the hotel during the convention!  Wow!  Then back to the hotel and to the room for me to unload my weighted book bag. (yes, I'm the big geek, carrying tons of books to get autographed by these amazing authors.)

Tee Morris, Me, Pip Ballentine
Tee Morris @ Shared Desk
Pip @ Shared Desk
Now we are on to 4pm.  And I HAVE HAVE HAVE to go to this panel.  It is a live recording of The Shared Desk podcast by Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine.  Like I said, these two are amazing together.  Every time they walk into a room it's like seeing movie stars.  They have a strong presence about them.  Not a presence that's bad, no, one that you want to talk and laugh with them.  They are wonderful and kind people.  One that make you want to laugh and crack a joke with them.  God!  They packed that room FULL!  But it was so well worth the show.  They even brought Uncle Charlie with them.  LOL!  Pip got control of the drops and got a little happy with the buttons.  GO PIP!  You deserve a time behind the wheel there. ;D  It was just so much fun.  Oh! OH!! I can NOT forget to tell you... WE GOT TO SEE A ROUGH CUT OF THE JANUS AFFAIR BOOK TRAILER!!!!  This thing is amazing, REALLY!  When it is complete I'll share it here on the blog.  It's like a little movie.  Amazing people can create work like this.  WOW!
Panel for Making the Jump, from Indie House to Corporate Publisher
5pm we are back downstairs for a panel on Making the Jump, from Indie House to Corporate Publisher with Tee Morris as Moderator and the Speakers: Brian Koscienski, Philippa Ballantine, Michael Sullivan, and Joshua Bilmes.  This was interesting to hear the authors talk about self publishing, small press publishing, and the big 6.  And it's neat to hear the idea of mixing all together when you are out there.  Very interesting conversation.

After this I was able to catch up with Pip and Tee for a short while.  I got books signed, and they signed my winnings for me as well.  We got to chat for a few.  This was nice to have a few calm minutes to talk.  Then on to dinner everyone went.

Alex White, Me
Heath and I went to sit down.  My body was starting to ache, yes I did it to myself with lugging that book bag of books to be signed around, but it was worth it.  To me it was.  I meet Brand Gamblin and his family (new author, the one I think will be rather promising, that I mentioned earlier).  Very nice people.  I had the opportunity to chat with him a few times and with Michael Sullivan again, along with meeting Nathan O. Lowell (a science fiction author I hope to get a chance to read one of these days, darn this pile keeps growing!).  Then we sat in a hall that was not getting as much traffic.  I needed a break from people, they were starting to wear on my nerves a little bit as I was tired and getting cranky, and well...people can be stupid.  (shocker I know!)  But, while we were sitting peacefully, Alex White came past as he was heading to the signing table.  We did make our way down to the table with him to chat, and got our signed ebook copies of Maiden Flight Of the Avenger.  People, I'm telling you I can't wait to read this novella!

I got to talk with Veronica R. Giguere.  See while I was in the Dynamic Voice 1 I kept looking at her name. I knew I knew it.  And I did.  I know Veronica from Twitter.  She found me through Tee, and we chat every once in a while.  So it was great to finally get to meet her and talk to a person for a change.

8pm I head up to the next panel on my list: Which comes first: Main Character or supporting cast?  Moderated by: David Wood, Speakers: Jean Marie Ward, barbara Friend Ish, James Maxey, Elaine Corvidae, David Sherman, Pete Prellwitz.  I picked this panel because Elaine was on it and I was curious about the subject.  They got to talking about the supporting cast pretty good here.  Always interesting to see what authors come up with and how.

J.R. Blackwell, Me
So, 9pm and back to the bar I go, meeting up with my brother and having a few more beers.  Hey, we went all day and no beer, so I don't want to hear about it. ;) Got to talk with J.R. Blackwell.  Love her!  Her sense of humor is wonderful.  And she helped me find a few others to sign my Gimme Shelter book.  Mur Lafferty was there, and the young man who wrote the introduction, John Cmar.  I'm proud to say I was his first autograph.  It was a great thing.  He enjoyed it and everyone got pictures.  I'm so glad I was the first to ask. :D  (that man won't forget me easily. lol!)  Anyway, got to talk with Michael and Robin Sullivan more, took more pictures.  Goodness I do love these people.  Hard to say that about people you just meet, but yet I've been talking with them for years (or it feels) now.  Got a chance to talk with the amazing Tee and Pip as well.  There where people EVERYWHERE on Sunday night at the bar.  Really!
What the Frak is Steampunk panel
11pm rolls around, and I'm BEAT!  Seriously.  I'm dragging ass.  I had one more panel I really wanted to go to before calling it a day.  Just What the Frak is Steampunk Anyway?  The panelists got an adjustment here. And for the fun too.  Tee Morris took on the Moderator, the Speakers were: Philippa Ballantine, Bradon (Brand) Gamblin, and Alex White.  Now, this is where I got to hear about one of Brand's books.  Not the one I received from his wife, but another one.  Now I love the sounds of the one I got, Discount Miracles, it's a fantasy read (which is perfect for me) but I also got to hearing about his Neo-Victorian book.  Now, with what he was saying in this panel, I liked it.  And as an update, I have this book he was speaking of; The Hidden Institute.  I do look forward to reading it.  This panel was interesting on the idea of Steampunk, and I learned there are many other names out there as well...some of which I don't care for, but what do I have to say in that matter right?  I just choose which ones I will, and will not use here. :)

After the panel, I was beat.  Really.  I couldn't hold my eyes open.  I wanted to party hearty, but just couldn't do it.  I took more pictures and said my good-byes to Tee and Pip afraid I would not see them in the morning before I left.  And I'm glad I did, because I didn't see them before I left.  And I went to bed.
Reading by Nathan O. Lowell, Alex White, and Michael Sullivan
Now I had told Alex I'd be at his reading at 9am Monday morning.  And I was, but a tad late.  Sorry Alex.  I did not miss any reading I had several great reasons to be here; I wanted to hear what Nathan's writing was like, I have loved Michael's books, and Alex's Gearheart, but man I died when my head hit that pillow.  But we are on to Monday, 9am.  I really wanted to be at this panel.  Alex White was reading, Michael Sullivan was to read (but he left early as daughter was coming home from Ireland) and an author I've been curious about was reading as well, Nathan O. Lowell.  Alex reads from a new piece he has, one of when Jonathan (if you listen to The Gearheart you would know exactly who he is...) and his Uncle go on their search, and find a massive find.  *cough cough* no clues here people. ;D  *clears throat* Alex better get this story done and printed as I will have it...Please?  Nathan reads from his second act about the Bible, God and the Devil.  Oh did I love this one too.  I do hope Nathan gets this published some day as I do want it.  Nathan was also kind enough to read the first chapter of Michael Sullivan's first book.  Wonderful.  This was one of the best readings I went to.

10am and we are looking for Elaine Corvidae to say good bye, I couldn't leave with out saying bye to her.  We walked around the Dealer room after it opened, I purchased a short audio story for one of the amazing voices I'd heard the night before; Laura Nicole (which we did listen to on the way home).  And bumped into Alex.  I got to say my good byes to everyone and we were gone.  On the road after getting gas and lunch.  All to be home by 3:45pm.

I held up rather well on the drive home and after getting home.  I surprised myself.  I even tweeted and Googled a few people from the Con.  Found some on Twitter and played around online some before reading for an hour and to bed.

Are you curious what books I took with me to get signed?  Here's a picture for you.

What books did I come home with?  I'll share that with you too.

Keep in mind I purchased:

  • Riven Sol
  • Battle of Blood & Ink

Received from my winnings in the Billibub Baddings contest:

  • The Janus Affair
  • Geist
  • Spectyr
  • The Case of the Singing Sword
  • The Case of the Pitchers Pendant

Free from an author who found a whole book when he moved:

  • Dragonseed

A Novella from an author whom I've been enjoying listening to his tales:

  • Maiden Flight Of the Avenger

And for Review from a brand new author I think will be promising from what I've heard of him this weekend:

  • Discount Miracles

So, a full weekend I would say.  Lots of wonderful people too.  I am hoping I can save up the money to go next year, and every year after.  I think I might have found a Convention I could call home.  It's close enough and so many amazing people there.

Now, I have tons more pictures, but they didn't fit.  I'll have to put them all up on Facebook one of these days soon.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but hope you enjoyed it and do check out all the links.  These people are amazing and well worth the visit.

Thank you!  And Thank you all at Balticon for a wonderful time.


  1. wow so lucky, it looks awesome! I would have loved to be here as well. thank you for sharing all of this with us!

    1. Melliane, Thanks. Thank you a lot. Glad you enjoyed my ramblings about my full weekend. :)

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!! I'm exhausted just reading your recap!

    1. Oh Qwill, it was exhausting! But so much fun and well worth the trip. I hope to do it again next year now that I've been there. :) Thank you!!

  3. It was such a pleasure to meet you and your brother this past weekend! It looks like you had an AMAZING Balticon!

    1. Veronica! Thank you for stopping by! And so glad to finally meet you. :) It really was an amazing time. This Con felt more personal then just go visit and leave. I really enjoyed everyone I meet. :) I do hope to do it again.

  4. It was great to put a face with the name, finally, (I've followed you on The Twitters for a while now) and I'm so glad you had fun.

    1. Hi Nathan! Yes, it is wonderful to finally see everyone face to face. I really enjoyed that. This convention really felt comfortable, which is a huge thing. I do think I need to keep coming back. :) Thank you!

  5. Ohhh I am so jealous :D You got to have so fun and meet some of my must see peeps too

    1. Oh Blodeuedd, you are welcome to come with me next time. :D You just have to come over the big sea and visit. :) Thank you!

  6. Sounds like an amazing weekend. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to hearing more about these new-to-me-as-well authors. :)

    1. Jenn, it really was an amazing time. Thank you for stopping by! And I do look forward to sharing some new stuff with everyone. :) Thank you!

  7. Wow! You had a lot of fun! So cool. One day I'd love to meet you, Tee Morris and Pip Ballentine all in one room... with a bar. ;D That would be too fun!!

    1. Melissa (books&things) Eeep! IT was awesome! You have to come with me next time. Really! I'll introduce you to all the cool people. ;D Oh Tee and Pip are amazing to talk to. And they are such kind people. :) And the bar was great. LOL! Thank you!

  8. Books, Bars, awesome authors (some in costume, more bars, and then more bars - I am quite jealous of you!!!! So glad to hear you had a spectacular time.

    1. StephanieD - lol. It really was an amazing time. :) I do hope to do it again next year. Would you like to join me? :)

  9. Great seeing you again, Melissa. Will you be at New York ComicCon this year, too? Glad you enjoyed our reading. For early on a Sunday morning I figured we needed something to make it interesting and keep everyone awake, including me :)



    1. Chris Evans, Hi! I wish I could make the trip to NYCC again, but the funds are rather low.... I spent them on Balticon this year. I'm hoping to one of these years make it to NYCC to stay the weekend. I think it would be great to be in New York for that. I think my brother and I left saying that was one of the best readings we went to. Really a lot of fun, and caught our attentions. :) Thank you, and I do hope to see you again.


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