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Apr 20

Norwescon 40 Wrap-Up

Norwescon is definitely one of my favorite conventions, and Norwescon 40 was no exception; mostly because it’s full of my people: science fiction and fantasy geeks, gamers, scientists, filkers, and cosplayers.

Raven Oak panelBeyond the normal clusterfusk that is Norwescon / Doubletree Hotel parking, Thursday was the day we slept in the most as I didn’t have to be there for pro-check-in until noon, and after that, a workshop at 3. We checked in, had some lunch, played a little Magic the Gathering, and before you know it, it was time for my first panel, Navigating the New Publishing Landscape with Mark Teppo, Shannon Page, and Marc Gascoigne of Angry Robot.

We barely touched the tip of the iceberg in this panel, and I really wish we’d had more time for questions as I could tell the audience had a ton of them!

Fan culture panelMy next panel was Fan Culture and the New Meta with Lisa Mantchev and Torrey Stenmark. This panel was a ton of fun as we got to geek out on the academic side of fandom. And dammit, I still want to take a college class on Buffy the Vampire Slayer! After this we had dinner with a friend and head home to give our epileptic kitty his seizure meds.

Friday was a rare day where my first panel wasn’t until 4 PM so my husband and I participated in one of the Magic the Gathering drafts up in Maxi’s, which was a ton of fun. I lost, but we drafted the new Ajani Unyielding card, which I’ve wanted for my cat EDH deck since it came out.

shady characters panelMy first panel for Friday was one I was moderating called Shady Characters, and had co-panelists Kat Richardson, PJ Manney, and Tod McCoy. I loved this panel as we got to talk about all the characters who aren’t quite pure heroes and aren’t exactly villains–something we all knew a thing or two about! 😉

After that, I was on a panel entitled It’s All About You (Without It Being At All About You) with Stephanie Weippert, Alexander James Adams, and awesome nerdcore rapper Shubzilla. Alex got double booked and didn’t make it, but we had a great panel anyway! Afterward, I critiqued another story for the Fairwood Writing Workshop, which is always educational and fun. We met up with a few friends for a bit and then head home.

Apple and RavenSaturday dawned way too early and was my busiest day. I started my panels with Hand Me the Superwrench ConnectorThingy, with Spencer Ellsworth, David D. Levine, and Elliott Kay. This was a panel about all the crazy gadgets out there in SF/F and how they impact plot. Super-fabulous panel.

After that, I moderated a panel on Running Your Author Business, with Annie Bellet, Tori Centanni, and Jak Koke. Again, this was one of those panels you could spend four days on rather than 50 minutes. We didn’t have near enough time!

I took a break to go see my friend Kat Richardson read from her upcoming science fiction novel Scattered Objects. I threatened to be her official heckler. I didn’t though–her book’s too good for that. When it comes out, you really have to snag a copy!
Kat Richardson reading

After her reading, a large group of us went to the hotel restaurant for dinner, though I had to leave a bit early to rush to my next panel, which was the Changing Landscape of Worldbuilding with Brenda Carre, and K. M. Alexander. I’m a huge fan of any panel on worldbuilding. 🙂

Soon enough it was 8:30 PM and time for my reading. (Thanks to Apple, by the way, for some of these awesome pics from my panels and readings!) I had a fairly packed reading and most of the audience was comprised of new readers and folks I didn’t know, which is always a bonus.

I broke the ice with Dove chocolate, which spurred everyone into reading the little messages inside their chocolate wrappers, and I continued the fun by reading the intro from the original Legend of Zelda video game manual…in Eerl’s voice (Eerl’s from Class-M Exile). This went over very well.

After that, I read from Amaskan’s War and showed off the cover. I also teased the cover for book III, which hasn’t been shown anywhere else yet. I finished things off by reading from The Eldest Silence, which was a reader request. We did a little Q&A and soon it was time for the next author reading.

Serious thanks to everyone who came to my reading. 😀

Sunday put me on day 4 lacking sleep–so much so that I swear I needed toothpicks to hold open my eyelids, as evidenced by the photo to the right. I was tired. There weren’t words for how tired I was.

11 AM was my first panel, Book Marketing Masterclass with Tori Centanni (M), Jaym Gates, and Tod McCoy. This panel was a ton of fun, though we needed another three hours just to get through all the questions. I had another workshop after that, a short lunch, and then my last panel of Norwescon–The Fantasy Videogame with Jonny Nero Action Hero, Brian Snoddy, and Frog Jones.

I moderated this panel, which covered video games as a means of storytelling, something I love best about video games. I had a lot of fun with this topic and apologize for one of my co-panelists being a bit of a sourpuss. Sometimes by Sunday, people are just too tired.

I gave out a ton of ribbons over the course of the weekend, including the special centaur. I got to chat with a ton of my writing friends and colleagues, which is one of the best parts of Norwescon, not to mention play some Magic. I also got to see a lot of great cosplay, like this group:

I can’t wait until next year! 

About the author

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood, Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.

She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet. When she's not writing, she's getting her game on, enjoying cartography, or staring at the ocean.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

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