And I felt at home once again.
I can't describe the feeling of being at Balticon. The people here accept me and make me feel as important as each and every one of them. It's great to see friends I've made here in the past and make new friends in just a short time frame. And yes, I consider these people my friends.
For me this convention feels a bit more personal. These people are just that, people. Yes they are authors and podcasters but they don't feel they are here just to make a sale and move on. These people are here to socialize and have a great time. Exactly what you do with friends when you get together. And they have opened their arms to me each year.
This year I had the pleasure of the full weekend experience. Things at home with husbands work and kiddo's schedules worked out for me to leave Friday morning and arrive at Baltimore, Maryland at 1:00 pm and leave Baltimore, Maryland about 2:30-ish pm Monday. Of course with the dogs and a kid and work, my husband couldn't go with me but I am happy to say my brother went again. Hey, don't knock it. I want to go and I know my husband feels better if I am traveling with someone. My brother likes books, gaming, and art so it's right up his alley. That makes three years for us making this trip.
This year was extra special, not only for the friends and new friends but because I was on panels. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVA! Okay, lets start back at the beginning...
We arrive and are highly surprised at the quickness of getting our badges for the convention and our room. O.O There was like no one waiting in line when we got there. So, all settled in we head to the bar (of course!). Jon Sprunk comes in first and sits with us. We are chatting away when Starla Huchton, her husband Scott, Stephen Granade and a crew come in. We do some quick visiting while waiting for panels to begin.
Friday night was pretty easy going. I went to Jon Sprunk's release party for Blood & Iron (sorry to hear that Gail Martin got delayed in flight. she was to be here too.) then headed over to the Meat and Greet where Tee Morris was cooking on the grill. The evening was topped off with a few extra amusing panels.
I sat in on Using An Accent In Your Podcast panel and enjoyed the fun of the panelists. Then, staying in the same room, I was ready for Dirty Mad Libs (which is up for your listening, ADULT Content). Oh heavens this is fun! They take a sexy scene and have the audience give adverbs, nouns, and different parts of speech. Then, the scene unknown to use, is read with all the crazy words the audience gave. Oh some of the sections are even hard for the panelists to read back. LOL! But it's a hoot! Once this was over, we were primed for Disasterpiece After Dark with Alex White and Stephen Granade. These two are another must see at Balticon. With the help of the audience, they recreate a movie. Or create a new movie. And it's After Dark so you know it's a little on the naughty side. LOL!
The evening ended on a laugh and being exhausted from driving, I headed to bed at midnight.
I woke early (darn that daily internal alarm clock!) forced myself to stay in bed a bit long then finally got up and went down to the cafe to work on some words. I did! I never thought I'd have time at a convention to get words out, but I did. Wow! That was a new achievement for me. And I plan on holding to it in the future.
I was excited as today I was to have my very first ever panel!
I sat in to listen to Conducting Podcast Interviews panel and learned a few new tricks for when (yes when, not if as I do hope to do some podcasting) I get to my podcasting portion of the internet world.
We had lunch with Collin Earl, Chris Snelgrove, P.D. Griffith, and Brian Rathbone (no I'm not going to forget you know Brian! LOL!). Wonderful pizza.
Then we all went our own ways with different panels we needed to get to. I went to Disasterpiece Theatre LIVE, the daylight version for all ages. ;) Again, fun to sit in.
THEN.... MY PANEL! MY FIRST PANEL! lol.
I had the pleasure of sharing the panel with two authors I know and love, personally and professionally. Starla Huchton and Tee Morris. The panel was How To Do A Blog Tour.
See? Right there! I'm beside Tee.
I went down for Fortress Publishing's release party of TV Gods. It was a blast with these guys. They are a hoot and so easy to joke around with.
Then the evening was free to relax and see friends. We had dinner with Jon Sprunk and got to talk. It was nice and relaxing, away from the rush of the day at Balticon.
When I returned I sat at the bar for a bit longer and headed down to Balticon Beats. Alex White was the DJ as many of us danced the night away.
I woke to sore feet. lol.
Sunday was my marathon day. I had four panels and all sorts of panels between mine that I wanted to see.
My first panel of the day was Academic vs Emotional Book Reviewing. Jon Sprunk was on this panel. I think this one I struggled a bit with. I wasn't sure what the topic discussion was to be and I think we all had different thoughts on it. Scott Roche was wonderful with moderating and helped lead the way in discussions.
Then I ran to my next panel, Promoting Your Book. Where I was on the panel with the amazing Tee Morris once again. (sorry, no pictures. I need to have an assistant to do this for me. lol) This was interesting in sharing what I, as a reader, like to see in promotion items.
I grabbed a quick lunch and on to the next panel I wanted to see. Dynamic Voice Acting. This is another panel I try NOT to miss. To hear these amazing voice actors at work. Wow! They take a script and read it in two different fashions based on the character background. Plain Amazing to hear. Veronica Giguere had to read a piece that made her cry, then the audience in turn from the emotion in her voice. If you EVER get a chance to listen to her work, DO IT. She is outstanding with her accents, infliction, and emotions. You will not regret listening to her.
Next I went to a book release for Ditry Magick, an anthology that sounds amazing. There were several authors for the book here and it was great to hear readings of their stories in this release party. And a few new authors I look forward to seeing again. I did have to leave this party early though, I had a panel I was on.
I went to the next panel I was on, Blogging for Dummies. And, I'm glad I did as I learned a thing or two as well! LOL! There is so much out there with blogger that it was interesting to share my tricks and learn new ones.
I sat in for WordPress 101 panel as I'm always thinking of moving and learned a few things about it.
The next panel was one I was on and in the same room and was Social Media Promotions. Again, awesome to hear the panelists with me talking. Always tricks to pick up that I missed or haven't seen yet. Thank you all!
I rounded the day off with going to a Reading by Starla Huchton and Alex White. Starla read from her Sexy Superheroes and Alex graced us with some of his new work (that I WILL be looking forward to hitting the shelves).
There was a stop for food mixed in there somewhere during the day. Saturday night was spent bouncing around talking to friends and meeting new ones, and closing the bar. lol.
Monday started early. There was a panel at 8:00 AM. O.O Yes, early but I wanted to go. How and Why Romance is 53% of the Market. PJ Schnyder was on the panel and I was curious as to this discussion. It was interesting and I agree with a lot of what was said.
Then I met with a few authors to help talk about blog tours and such. and sat in on The Shared Desk Livecast. All I have to say is Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine are amazing people.
Sooo, what did I come home with in the way of books and such? Well, let me show you...
Look at those books I picked up!
(listing starting at the top left working right)
Blood & Iron by Jon Sprunk
TV Gods edited by Jeff Young & Lee Hillman (anthology)
Cybrosis by P.C. Haring
Stoned in Charm City by Kelly A Harmon
Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone
Dirty Magick: Los Angeles edited by Charlie Brown (anthology)
Selk Skin Deep by Kelly A. Harmon
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Evolution: ANGEL by Starla Huchton
Evolution: SAGE by Starla Huchton
Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk
A movie by Charlie Brown - Angels Die Slowly.
And a surprise, precious gift I received from Starla Huchton:
Those are M&M's with sayings from her Sexy Superheroes books and that necklace, it's the first book of the series. I am HONORED to have one of 6 made.
THANK YOU STARLA!!
This Balticon was a new experience for me. I've learned a few things and shared some too. In all the talking I've done with friends I came home with a drive to start something new. I've found there are people, authors, out there that don't know about this world we play in - the internet of blogging. There is so much here we can share with these people and so many books and stories in all formats we are missing out on. I want to help with this.
But, in the end I've also realized that I can help people. That there are people who want to hear what I have to share, my experiences. That was new for me. An eye opener of my own. I felt more of an integral piece of the workings than I have ever felt before. These people are more accepting than anyone I've ever meet and in being so, they bring out the best in everyone. They have a way of finding what it is that you can excel at and pulling it forward for you to see.
For this, I thank Balticon and everyone that comes to this great meeting of minds.
I look forward to sharing all I can next year and for years to come. And I'm hoping to one day in the next few months to pull a few things together to help more throughout the year.
Thank you Balticon, and I will see you all next year. Until then, take care so we all can make it together again.