Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Visit to Balticon 47

This post is EXTREMELY late in going live.  Got to love live. *sigh*  Yes, life happens, and sometimes not for the best.  Things got rather crazy when I got home from Balticon.  All's good for me, and nothing to worry about!  Honest.

Where oh where do I even start?  I guess at the beginning...  First, I took a weighted down book back with me last year.  Full of books for the signing.  This year, I didn't.  I didn't have anything new to sign, which is part of the thing with ebooks.  But I made up for it on Sunday and came home with 10 books!  But, that is Sunday.  We need to get back to Friday, the first day...

I could not wait to get going.  Finally left the house, picked my brother up, got gas, and was on the road somewhere around 10am.  By 1pm I was done.  I wanted to be there!  The excitement was kicked into overdrive.

We arrived around 2-ish.  The hotel had the room ready, so we checked in and headed to registration to retrieve our badges and see what trouble we could find.  (By trouble, I'm talking authors.)

First spotted...Doc Coleman, P.C. Haring, Jon Sprunk, and the lovely Starla Huchton.  Yes, all within feet and minutes of each other.  Okay, you caught me.  They were registering as well.

After saying hello and registering we went to the one central hot spot.  Yep, the bar.  Hey, I had to sit somewhere to look through my pocket program and see where I wanted to go.  And driving leaves a person parched too!

We meet a few bloggers, authors, and on we went to our first panel.

A reading from Jon Sprunk:
Jon had the floor all to himself.  There was a small trouble with the programs and the 4:00pm till 6:00pm panels weren't listed.  So it was great to talk with Jon and get little tidbits of this story/series to come our way.

From his new novel to be released March 2013 through Pyr:  Blood and Iron, first book of a four book series called Book of the Black Earth.  Oh this sounds good.  Definitely one to keep an eye out for next year.  Ships.  Fight at Sea.  Really, a good one.  There will be five POV's and first book is about 140k long (a little longer or so).  Wow!

We got to sit down and chat with Jon over dinner as well.  Wonderful to talk with him.

An Inside Look (for Writers) at Editing:
I wanted to go to this one for what I do to books and to hear what I can learn.  I've been thinking on a few things and want to learn more.

We had several on this panel:  Moderator: Danielle Ackley-McPhail; Panelists Lesley D. Conner (Of Apex, which I've chatted with on Twitter), Damien Walters Grintalis, S. Elektra Hammond, Neal Levin, and Christine Norris

I did learn a bit of what different editors are and what they do, but also that they do everything at the same time as well.  As we all find in every job, a man of many hats.

Reading from Starla Huchton and Stephanie Burke:
LMAO!!! Oh this one one of the funnest panels I was in.  (wait, there's another on Saturday).
Seriously, Starla and Stephanie did wonderful readings.  Starla from her new-to-release (June 3) science fiction romance, Maven, where we meet Daniel first.  Stephanie read from How to Not Date a Centaur, how her character gets to the land of Centaur.

Then, they stepped it up a notch with the encouragement of the crowd....romance.  Yep, Starla reddened at the mention of shaft.  Stephanie upped the ante.  Then!  To top it all off, Starla read from Stephanie's book. O.O I can't mention what she said in that reading!  By the time she was done...well, I didn't think anyone could turn that RED!  Bahahaha.  It was great!  Starla did an amazing job with her professional voice.  The crowd went WILD! LOL

Erotica a la Carte: Iron Chef Preliminary Round 3:
Moderator: Nobilis Reed; Panelists: P.J. Schnyder, Bernard D. Mojzes, Alicia Goranson

This is where the three panelists are given one item in common, this night - Lamp Shade.  And are to write 500 (or so) words of smut in fifteen minutes including the common item.

The panelists had their notebooks and one even did so by hand! to work away at their words.  They were teased and tormented as Nobilis talked to the crowd while they worked.  There was even one author (who won previous year) who taunted and teased them.  The three writers were determined to win their artichoke and worked away.  Devoted I tell ya!

The stories were hot, steamy, and amazing for the quick work.  This round, the winner went to Bernard.  But it was a blast learning about the creation of the panel and the fun of the crowd present.

Rounding off Friday Night...
We found ourselves back in the bar late.  Jon Sprunk was present along with a few others.  Oh the crew we met?  These people are hilarious.  Had me laughing talking with them.  Brian Koscienski, Chris Pisano, and Christine Czachur, and Jeff Young - all of Fortress Publishing, Inc.  Really this crew is a blast!  The stories they tell...the experiences they've had.  Oh, it can't be real.  Can it?  LOL!  I have the feeling it very well could be.  Marie V. Snyder found her way to our little end of the bar as well.

There were so many people in and out that I talked to I can't even tell you who all they were.  Starla Huchton found her way to us as well.  Doc Coleman again, and....Oh so many faces and names to mention!

We woke up at a decent time and had a nice breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  I got to meet Doc Coleman's lovely wife and we decided (by way of Twitter) that we need flags stationed so allies can find each other in the large lounge and sit with each other.

I hit the dealer room and headed off to the next panel.

Exploring the Magick and Lore of the Celtic/Norse Gods/Goddesses:
Presenters: T.J. Perkins and Maria V. Snyder
This was a great panel.  I went in because of my Mythical Monday posts, as I'm curious about twists to gods, and I have a few gods in a book (or two) I'm working on.  Always looking for new information to twist my way.

I came out with a few pages to help me create my characters and some ideas.  Oh, did you know Maria V. Snyder is pretty much a panters?  I think that is so cool!

Unfortunately, I cut this panel short to get to one at one.

Reading:  Renee Chambliss and Alex White:
Yes, I had to get to this reading.  I wanted to hear what Alex would read next.  If you are a follower for a while, you know I've loved Alex's Gearheart world.  To me this world is amazing, and I want to see anything he creates.  Well, he has a great one in store for us.  Alex read to us the beginning of his current work in progress, The Mythic South.  This is not of the Gearheart world, but wow.  Some great work to come.

And while in this reading I got to listen to Renee Chambliss read from her sequel to Dreaming of Deliverance, and also a work in progress.  This was interesting.  The story is of a woman who's now, five years later, out of prison and on parole.  But there is something with a parallel world and the people she meets there.

Afterward I ran over to the signing table.  I wanted to purchase Leona R. Wisoker's first book (yes, I've been wanting for far to long).  And she was just starting to pack up as her hour was coming to an end.  I did purchase her first book, Secrets of the Sands and got it autographed.  It was great to chat with her for a few minutes and she had great things to share.  I'll be stopping by her blog from time to time as she has a writing blog.

As I was getting ready to head to lunch I spotted an author who I had the great pleasure of listening to a reading of last year.  Gods, did my brother and I enjoy her reading.  It was a blast!  She was wonderful and the humor had us laughing.  I'll say when she gave the quick idea of the story I thought it'd be boring.  Well, she proved me wrong!  We learned a bit about the short story collection she is in, I WILL be keeping an eye out for this one, and picked up the first chapter sample of her first book, War of the Seasons, in her series The Human.  This author is Janine K. Spendlove, and I'll probably wind up ordering her full series as well based on what I've heard.

Then we headed to lunch at Noodle & Company with great company, the grocery store for a few small items.  Okay, I needed orange juice for my Captain.  Happy?  ;)

Back to the panels I went.

Broad Universe Readings
Wow.  This was one full panel of authors!  I didn't get any pictures of this one as I didn't know who all was reading.  There were authors lined up down the table and across the front row to read in this 50 minute panel.  Amazing!

Shelby Morgen, Leona R. Wisoker, Day Al-Mohamed, Jennifer R. Pover, Sarah Pinsker, Erica L. Satifky, Gail Z. Martin, Catherin Asaro, Stephanie Burke, and I know I'm missing ladies.  I'm sorry if I am.  This was a great group to hear from.  Some listed read, some didn't, then there were others to add to the reading.

It was great to hear from them all.  I was excited to hear from Leona and Gail.  I do enjoy hearing a snippet from all their books as I have found many new books and authors to keep an eye on.

We ate some dinner and I went back to the dealer room to spend my money...and it was closed.  My heart broke.  For some unknown reason, I thought the room was open until 8pm.  Boy was I wrong.  I kept kicking myself.

Disasterpiece Theatre Nights (Super Sexy Edition)
Presenters: Alex White, Nobilis Reed, Christiana M. Ellis, Stephen Granade

Oh my Goodness!  These guys are a hoot!  If you ever get a chance to check out their site and the amazing and fun videos they do.  Oh you will enjoy them!  And you can check them out now on their Site: Disasterpiece Theatre or Facebook.

Okay, this one was the super sexy edition and it was a complete hoot!  Remaking old movies with different stars and different happenings and all the crazy minds collaborating for this.  Too much fun to be had!  I was laughing so hard I couldn't help it.

MacGyver....I'll never think the same of MacGyver. LOL!  A blast!

Rounding off Saturday Night...
At the bar, visiting with many and saying hello to new faces and names.  It was great to get to talk with so many.  I did get to briefly sit down with Collin Earl, who was a bit on the ill side and chat about a few ideas.  And hopped around with Starla Huchton to meet new faces and have a blast.  I don't even know if I can tell you all the names of everyone I meet.

We woke up and packed up.  Yes, we had to come home a day early.  Family duties call.  But I got the days in I had and I'm THRILLED with those!

We made our way to...
Double Dragon Publishing Present
Publisher: Michael A. Ventrella and Authors: Bernard D. Majzes, Pete Prellwitz, Gail Z. Martin, and many more published through Double Dragon Publishing.

This was a wonderful session where we got to talk with the publishers and authors here.  Had donuts and coffee. (yes, coffeeeeee....) But we learned a good deal here with ebook publishing and meeting new authors.  A few that have been added to my WANT list.

Disasterpiece Theatre
Presenters: Alex White, Stephen Granade, Thomas Gideon

And yes, I didn't get enough of the fun with these guys the night before.  I had to come back for more, and had a blast!

They interview Thomas Gideon and on to creating a new movie.  And if you want to listen to this one you can find it on their Site Disasterpiece Theatre: Live at Balticon.  Pulling from old memories of shows and movies that I haven't heard or thought of for years...yea, totally fun.

Reading: KT Bryski, Gail Z. Martin, and Leona Wisoker
This panel caught my eye for all three of these ladies.  I've been wanting Gail's and Leona's books.  And I meet KT this year so I want to hear what she has.

Leona read from her first book in Children of the Desert series, Secrets of the Sands.  I have to say, I did pick up this book over the weekend too.

KT Bryski read from her first book and free podcast, Hapax. Very interesting story.  Made me curious to learn more about her creation here.

Gail read from two short stories, The Wild Hunt and Raiders Curse.  Yes, I do need to get to her books.

Game Time!
Yes, it's just as it sounds.  I heard from Alex White that he created a board game for his Gearheart world and he wanted to do a sample run of it.  So, I jumped at the chance.  I love the work created here, and thought this was my great chance to play in it as well.

When I walked up to the table I was greeted with a rushing Laura Nicole coming to tackle me.  Okay, not tackle, but a huge hug.  It was WONDERFUL to see her in person.  We coached each other along with NaNoWriMo in 2012 and she was happy to see and thank me.  Thank you Laura!! :D

Alex explained and hosted the game as my brother, Laura Nicole, her fiance, and myself got to play in the Gearheart world.  I'm not going to lie to you.  I was petrified.  I don't game much.  Okay, I don't game.  My brother does the gaming side of things.  I don't have enough time in the day to do everything I want, and gaming is one thing that is left out.  I was worried I'd look like a newbie, and stick out like a sore thumb.

I loved it!  Alex has created an amazing board game and one I easily understood and caught on too.  One thing that helped, we were all new to this game and Alex made it easy for us to understand and didn't jump to the thought we all knew what we were doing.  Thank you Alex!  I would totally love to play this game more often.  Here's hoping Alex gets it set in motion to create and sell.

Oh, and about looking like a complete (who would WILLINGLY tell me I looked completely dumb) told me I looked and sounded like I was aware of what I was doing.  *phew*

After the game, we said a few goodbyes and headed our way was a hard thing to do.  We didn't want to leave, but all great things must come to an end.  And back to real life we went.

People I meet and pictures with... (it's smaller list as I was more caught up with chatting than taking pictures, sorry!)
P.C. Haring, Me, Scott Sigler

Gail Z. Martin, Me

Starla Huchton, Me

P.J. Schnyder, Me

Me, Maria V. Snyder

Books I purchased:
I was able to get most of these signed and the anthologies by signed by several of the authors in them.
Bad Ass Faeries edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
Rum and Runestones edited by Valerie Griswold-Ford
The Golden Sword by  Janet E. Morris
In An Iron Cage The Magic of Steampunk edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Elektra Hammond, and Neal Levin
Dragon's Lure ~Legends of a New Age ~ edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jennifer Ross, and Jeffrey Lyman
Brooklyn Knight by C.J. Henderson
Hot & Steamy: Tales of Stempunk Romance edited by Jean Rabe & Martin H. Greenberg
Fairy With A Gun by Patrick Thomas
The Shattered Visage Lies by Koscienski & Pisano
Sky Lit Bargains by Kelly A. Harmon
Secrets of the Sands by Leona Wisoker

 Swag I picked up!

Once again, I have to say, I've found a home in Balticon.  Amazing people here.  Here's hoping to see you day. :)

If you'd like to help me return to Balticon, I'd love it if you purchase your next book through my Amazon Link.  The minimal money earned there goes to a saved fund for paying for Balticon for next year.


  1. I love conventions. Nice report! Looks like agreat con and lots of good panels too.

    1. Hi Greg, thank you. I really enjoy going to this one. The people are amazing, and that's what makes it all that much better for me. :) Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Aww I wish I could have gone too

    1. Blodeuedd, you so need to fly over! You can room with us, not a problem! :D Thank you!

  3. Looks like you had so much fun! So glad that you shared it too. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Melissa (B&T) I really did have fun. And the people here are plain amazing. :) Thank you!

  4. Oh lucky one! It looks so fun, I'm glad you had a wonderful time!

    1. Thank you Melliane. It is a great time and I'll go as long as I can keep affording it. :) Thank you!

  5. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time! I have very fond memories of several Balticons back in -- oh, it's probably around 1980. (I was just out of high school.) Do they still have a filk sing?

    I haven't been to a SF convention in ages and ages; maybe I should think about going to one again. I'd also really love to attend Malice Domestic, the mystery convention in Bethesda MD each May. Maybe some day; it's pretty expensive.

    1. Lark @ The Bookwyrm Hoard, I really did. The people here are what make it amazing and fun. Oh, hope you make it to a convention soon. I know they are expensive to go too, but are so much fun. :) Thank yoU!


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