Over the weekend, I attended OddCon here in Madison, Wisconsin and moderated a bunch of panels. This convention also gave me the chance to sit down and chat with familiar faces and get to know new people, too.
On the industry side, folks included the illustrious and fabulous: Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Matt Forbeck, Steven H. Silver, Sarah Monette, LaShawn Wanak, Jim Frenkel, Alex Bledsoe, Kenneth Hite, Will Hindmarch, Jason L. Blair, John Kovalic, Bill Bodden, Matt McElroy (DriveThruRPG.com, DriveThruComics.com and FlamesRising.com), Kelly McCullough, Robin Laws, John Jackson Miller, Lori Devoti, Richard Chedwyk and so many more.
I had a really good time this year and felt everyone was incredibly friendly and open. My moderation style was a bit more crazy on Saturday than Sunday, due to an unforeseen impromptu illness that affected my thought-linking connection. This convention was good for me on many levels, and I’d like to give a shout out to Paul Wiesner who did a great job coordinating the events and panel schedule this year.
The panels were really good this year and I felt that John Jackson Miller was an incredible attention to the line-up. Not only is he knowledgeable about comics and the literary process, he’s also a successful tie-in writer, too. (In short, I think John is made out of awesome.) I was happy to have other, very knowledgeable individuals on the panels with me. Robin Laws was an excellent choice for guest-of-honor because yep, he is that smart and yes, he’s a fine author to boot. He read his short story from Stone Skin Press‘s upcoming anthology Shotguns V. Cthulhu.
The three best surprises I had this year were:
Surprise Number One: My Reading – Having a full room for my reading with LaShawn Wanak. If you may recall, I mentioned I was going to read Tomorrow’s Precious Lambs from The Zombie Feed, Volume 1. Not only did people like my story, they asked me if there was going to be a chance to see more of Officer Francis in either a novel or a continuing tale. How awesome is that? Then LaShawn brought down the house with her reading of She’s All Light, which you can read for free at Daybreak Magazine. It’s a science fiction story set in a believable future. For those of you who follow my blog that love Eclipse Phase, I think you’d really dig this story!!!
Surprise Number Two: Our Cthulhu Panel – For our Cthulhu panel on Sunday, I brought along some prizes for the audience including an autographed hardcover copy of Shadows Over Filmland and a few Nox Arcana CDs. The best part, though, was that Kenneth Hite crashed the panel. Chicago-based, Ken is extremely knowledgeable about Lovecraft and has written books like Cthulhu 101 and Tour de Lovecraft. So many people in this crowded room were not aware of how this unique American author became so ingrained in our contemporary culture. He was a fine addition to the panel and the audience had a great time.
Surprise Number Three: BARCON! – The bartender at the Radisson was my kind of guy. He was incredibly entertaining and really made the weekend soooooo much fun. Barcon was a blast. We playtested a new game from John Kovalic — of course Robin won — exchanged stories, had a Final Fantasy moment (Thank you, Laura. You rock!), got to tell a few of my more embarrassing college drinking stories, talked shop and heard the Smelt Festival recap.
Overall, OddCon XII was an absolute blast, which is probably why I’m so tired today. I was really happy to see so much gaming going on this year and was sad I didn’t get the chance to play Midnight Munchkin.
Special thanks to Richard Russell, Brian Curley, Paul Wiesner, Sean McConkey and so many others for your enthusiasm and your smiles. Happy people makes for some great convention time and you really highlighted my weekend.
So thank you, OddCon!