ConQuest 44 recaptures the magic

How do you capture the goings-on of a speculative fiction convention in a single post? You don’t.

ConQuest, as always, was a fabulous time. Caught up with old friends, met new. Apparently, there was record attendance this year. With literary titans such George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, the Nielsen Haydens and more, who would expect less.

I thought the programming was spectacular this year, and that had nothing to do with me participating. I generally judge the programming by how deeply conflicted I am on what session to attend. And that happened often.

Of the three panels I moderated, all had a guest of honor attached, so you know the conversation would be lively. The panels also were cool because the “Worldbuilding” and “Books on Tour” conversations had a neo-pro or newly published author slant. Patrick Rothfuss took part in those two panels, and if you’ve not heard him chat live, it’s worth the price of admission — he’s equally thoughtful and engaging.

In fact, the panels were so interesting that I’m going dedicate separate blog posts to each over the next couple of weeks.

John Picacio's Loteria cards from Lone Boy

John Picacio’s (Lone Boy) Loteria cards

Another highlight was having John Picacio at the convention. I could listen to him talk about his artistic process all day. Even though I’d seen it before at Bubonicon, I had to see his slideshow — and I told anyone who would listen that they needed to do the same.

I also interviewed John for Adventures in SciFi Publishing (in the meantime, listen to our interview with him from a few years back). Based on what I saw at the con (and the story I heard behind them, which we’ll discuss in the forthcoming interview), his Loteria cards are off the chain. For now, you can learn more at his site.

On the friend front, I spent a good deal of my non-scheduled con time with the Hadley Rille Books tribe and KC tribe (per usual I thoroughly enjoyed my annual lunch with Byron — though it was bit rushed this year and didn’t include the requisite pork tenderloin sandwich. Byron does recommend an interesting sounding book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake ). Read Mark Nelson’s blog post at Heroines of Fantasy for a sense of what the HRB crew is all about — great people and amazing authors widely regarded by Publishers Weekly.

Though I didn’t have a chance to really catch up with them much (though I did get a great hug from Teresa), it was amazing having my former VP instructors the Nielsen Haydens in the building. I heard whispers from people all over the con talking about their insights.

Speaking of which, I, like Teresa, had the opportunity to participate in Journey Planet’s “Themed For Your Pleasure” podcast. My segment with the zany Christopher Garcia is not up yet (it may never be made available), but Teresa’s is, so check it out.

As many of you know … I’ve been MIA the last six to seven months, so also watch for my “Restoration Blog” and “If only I were a Time Lord …” posts over the next few months. I’ll recount some things worth noting from my hiatus.

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