Last weekend was Denver Comic Con, held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Several months ago, I was invited to be faculty at DCC for their Literary Track, which was a fantastic opportunity. So after seeing how my husband felt about me possibly being up there on Father's Day (his response: "You're have a chance to be a speaker at Comic Con? You should definitely do that!"), I wrote back that I'd be delighted to take part.
We were encouraged, but not required, to propose panels we might find interesting. I proposed four; three ended up being picked up. I was on two of them, with the third occurring the day before I arrived. I also got to take part in an additional panel I hadn't proposed, but had expressed interest in, and did a two hour signing in Author Alley. That was the first thing I did. Finding my booth in the exhibition room was pure insanity. It took me awhile, but I finally found it by seeing my name on the board!
These were my first customers:
My awesome husband not only encouraged me to go, despite it being Father's Day weekend, but he came up with me on Saturday to support me. Usually, he's at home while I'm running around doing writery things, and it's a world he hasn't really been able to be a part of, but for DCC he sat with me for those two hours behind the signing booth, carried my giant bag full of those books and other items, took photos in my first panel, made sure I ate, and walked with me two blocks to the hotel while I checked in. We had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe on 16th St. before he headed home. He then came back up Sunday with the kids so we could go out for dinner in Denver.
My only panel on Saturday was "Monsters, Not Just for Horror Anymore." On this panel were DeAnna Knippling, Jade Goodnough, and Stephen Graham Jones. We discussed types of monsters, the genres they appear in other than horror, the difference in monsters between genres, and a ton more.
Later on, after my husband had gone home, I walked to a Hyatt by the convention center to meet friends at the bar. Instead of staying at the main floor bar, we went to one on the 37th floor, I believe it was. The view of the mountains was absolutely amazing, and we've vowed to go back. Plus, their desserts were yummy. I was so exhausted from the day that I got zero work done in the hotel room that night, despite having brought all kinds of projects with me, instead staring off into space while watching a show on natural disasters. I fell asleep to the sound of bongos and revelry down on the 16th Street Mall.
Sunday morning I had a panel on "Twisted Fairy Tales in Media," where we discussed the recent retellings of fairy tales, how fairy tales have changed through the decades, and what fairy tales we'd love to see retellings of. On this panel were Dana Simpson, DeAnna Knippling, Colleen Oakes, and Lisa Price Manifold.
My sister came to pick me up after this panel so we could run to lunch at a Native American restaurant in Denver to, as she put it, break the bread of our people. Tocabe was a cool place, though not what I expected. It was Chipotle-style, where you choose the type of meal (I chose Indian taco), your meat (chicken, beef, ground or shredded bison), and your toppings (green chilies, yummmmm). Some iced tea and fry bread nuggets, and I was dusting powdered sugar off my black shirt on the way back to my final panel.
My last panel was "Why We Write Short Stories," with the great Ed Bryant, Frank (F.P.) Dorchak, Josh Viola, and Ian Brazee-Cannon. This panel discussed the ins and outs of short stories, the draw, how they can benefit you, and what to do with them.
DCC attendees had great questions. Not in any of the panels did we lack for thoughtful questions to keep the conversation going. I met some authors who were new to me, got a new dress and a t-shirt, and enjoyed talking about writing. It was sometimes an overwhelming experience (my initial invitation said over 100,000 people were expected--DCC sold out Saturday tickets), but I found a nice, peaceful out-of-the-way place to go when I needed to be out of the steady stream of people. Plus, it was fun to see all the creative costumes. My favorites were gender swapped ones or familiar costumes made fresh with an unusual detail. For instance, there was a medieval Batman and a male slave Leia.
I also got to say hi to the Beyond the Trope folks, who put on a podcast about all things speculative fiction and geekery. Shortly after Comic Con, they posted my podcast interview with them about writing horror. You can check it out on Stitcher and iTunes (episode 106). We talked horror, short stories, urban fantasy, wendigo, and graphic novels. If you like this podcast, you can find a bunch more, plus blog posts, at the Beyond the Trope website. They're also looking for folks to interview, so contact them (info on that page) if you're interested. They can do it via Skype, so you don't have to be local.
Sadly, Cary Elwes, Ralph Macchio, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan did not magically turn up in my panels as I'd hoped they would, nor did I actually get to see them at all, but it was still a phenomenal weekend, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of it. I'll be doing a post on some set up/sales tax info I learned in order to do this event, so stay tuned. In the meantime, let's move on to links.
Bear in mind that I'm merely passing these along, not endorsing any of these. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
Flash Bang Mysteries is accepting all kinds of mysteries and suspense. Flash fiction between 500 and 750 words. Pays $10. Deadline July 31.
Strigidae Publishing is accepting submissions to Ceto's Brine, an anthology of ocean themed horror. No more mermaids, but everything else is fair game. 5000 t 12,000 words. Pays $30. Deadline July 31.
Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking for college student stories and parent to parent stories. Must be written in first person. Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline July 31.
Roane Publishing is seeking romance for the anthology Love Under the Harvest Moon. Fall/harvest themed romance. 7000 to 15,000 words. Pay not specified. Deadline July 31.
VQR is looking for literary short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. 2000 to 8000 words for short fiction; other word counts vary. Pays $200 to $1000. Deadline July 31.
Fun Dead Publications is looking for chilling Christmas tales. 1000 to 6000 words. Pays $10. Deadline July 31.
Map Literary is holding the Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Award. 7000-12,000 words. Fiction, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, and prose poetry. Winner gets $250 and 25 copies of the published chapbook. Deadline July 30.
The I Must Be Off travel writing competition is in its fourth year. Travel articles, anecdotes, and reflections. Up to 1200 words. Cash prizes, plus publication. Deadline July 31.
Spirit's Tincture is holding a flash fiction contest for their inaugural issue. 500 to 1000 words. $100 grand prize. Deadline July 31.
Ever been to a Comic Con? What did you think? What's your fandom? What did you do for Father's Day? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?
May you find your Muse.