For some people it was a long flight, and I'm sure their arms were very tired (or their legs were broken, if so, they should have seen Fran Wilde's presentation "Man Made Wings in Fantasy and Fact" before attempting self-powered flight -- I bought her book Updraft), but for me it was a long drive. So I traveled on Wednesday though the convention started Thursday afternoon. My back was stiff but I played table tennis at the Columbus club before going to the Hyatt hotel Wednesday night.
The fun started with my first panel, where Peter Wacks was a bit wacky as Eric Flint (or was he S.M. Stirling?), who was running late. It was on alternate history and beyond Peter I was impressed by David Boop and Alan Smale, I later bought their books and had them sign them for me. Jim Minz and Elizabeth Crowens rounded out the panel. Alan referenced Tolkien and the theory of "the second belief": Readers will go along with one whopper but not a second one, even if it's smaller. And we also learned: "get your reality right if you want readers to believe your fantasy." (Smale's current book is "Clash of Eagles", an alternate history about Romans invading North America while it's still just Native Americans here. I'm looking forward to it.
As part of joining the convention attendees were given a passel of books. The hope of course is that we'll read the authors and get hooked and hook our friends. I'll definitely read a couple, but others I'll surely never get to.
"Fantasy of the American Heartland" was next with Gary K. Wolfe (erudite), Karen Kovenmyer, Rob Howell, Lynne Cantwell and Stephanie Loree. They talked about everything from native American creation myths to Tom Sawyer to American Gods. Sometimes sheer belief will make fantastic a reality was a theme: Field of Dreams.
During "Costume Makes the Character" with Delia Sherman, Madeleine Robbins, Cinda Chima, Mercedes Lackey and David Levine (his Arabella of Mars sounds interesting) we heard that a POV character noticing garments of certain other characters is an indication of how interested they are in that character. And that characters are affected by the clothes they wear, e.g. shoes impact gait, stance, self-perception. Other garments impact interaction: weapons to a hijab. Describe details when needed but leave room for the reader, too.
As we settled into our seats for the "Fantasy Writer-Artist" panel, a young man turned to me from the row in front of me and asked if I would sign his book. I was just about to tell him he must have the wrong person when he handed me a copy of "Rocket Dragons Ignite," the second anthology from Daily Science Fiction, in which I do indeed have a printed story. I was happy to sign for him, my first such request from someone that I wasn't already friends with. Thank you, Alec.
This panel included Jerome Stueart, Charles Vess (of Neil Gaiman collaboration fame), Sally Grotta, Brenda Carre and Seth Lindberg. Sally told us that we "Need to know where the light is shining onto a painting. Need to know that too for your narrative." Also that Jerome would draw a custom beast for you over in the vendor area where he was selling his new book "The Angels of our Better Beasts". I had him draw a carnivorous goose munching on bees, beetles and crawfish. Another day I went to his reading where he read from a wild story about lemmings that I am savoring finishing after I plow through a couple other books in progress. And that Charles Vess is doing a series of drawings for Ursula K LeGuin's Earthsea books and that he had sketches on display in the vendor room. They are very cool.
Before calling it a night I went to the Open Mic Poetry Reading session. Heard some interesting stuff, the limericks were the sharpest (and dirtiest). I didn't read.