Norwescon Wrap-Up

Norwescon Wrap-Up

It’s Monday, the day after Norwescon 39 ended, and even though authors aren’t supposed to “tell” more than necessary, let me tell you that I am bone tired. The lack of sleep and running around with my head cut off has definitely caught up to me. Also, my voice isn’t all here. I sound like a chain smoker with laryngitis.

Bone tired Norwescon Wrap-Up Raven Oak

That being said, this tired is absolutely worth it as I had one of the best cons of my career so far, largely due to the wonderful people I met.

Being a panelist isn’t anything new to me, but before this past weekend, I’d never been a panelist at Norwescon. Not only were the majority of my panels interesting and funny, my co-panelists were great. Some of them I already knew, and others were names I’d heard but never had the pleasure to meet until now.

The majority of my Thursday was spent gaming with my husband as the gaming area was mostly empty. (Last year, the gaming area was packed. As in, you had to climb over chairs to get to your table. This wasn’t the case this year, and I’m not sure why.) All of the Magic tournaments/drafts were scheduled during my panels, so I didn’t get to draft at all, which was highly disappointing, though hardly Norwescon’s fault. 😉

My first panel–You Must Write Everyday and Other Lies–was a great way to kick off Norwescon. I finally got to meet Robert J. Sawyer. After my panel, we met up with Jaime Mayer (a fellow writer) for dinner.

Of my Friday panels, my favorite was Notes in a Song: Fundamentals of Space Opera with Dave Bara and Jason Bourget. I suspect this was my favorite because space opera is a genre that I live and breathe in terms of writing and reading. Though in the Fake It ‘Til You Make It panel with ghostwriter Cheryce Clayton, the topic of writers making six-figure salaries writing centaur erotica popped up. (I promise I bring this up for a reason that will become clearer in a moment.)

Friday evening was my reading. I was seriously nervous, which made little sense to me as I taught for 12 years–ranging from 15 to 1200+ students at a time. I’ve given countless speeches, moderated many panels, and have read my material before. I guess because this was my first reading at a convention, it set the kittens to making bread in my belly. It was well attended for the hour and most of the attendees were new to my works (which is always awesome). I read a bit from the upcoming Amaskan’s War and a bit from Class-M Exile, complete with the Texas drawl. Both were well received.

Right before my reading, I received an acceptance letter for my short story “Q-Be” for an anthology. It was very exciting to know I’d sold a short story and very difficult not to spew details everywhere. (Not until the contract is done or something, right?)

After the reading, we had dinner with a good friend of ours and drove the long drive home to give Mr. Seizure Kitty his medication.

In previous Norwescons, arriving by 8 AM was a guaranteed parking spot. This included the previous year when freaking George R. R. Martin was Guest of Honor. This year, in all their infinite wisdom, the Doubletree Hotel sold parts of their parking as airport parking. This meant that at times, panelists were stuck driving in circles looking for parking. In some cases, they were incredibly late or even missed panels because there was no parking anywhere. I think what irritated me most about this was that Norwescon sectioned off a lot for their Norwescon staff, but not one for their panelists. They labeled it VIP parking, which to me, felt insulting. The Norwescon staff are absolutely VIPs, but so are the panelists. We need to be able to park, too.

Because parking was so impossible, we got up each morning at 6 AM and arrived at the con by 7:40ish. Each time, we snagged one of the last 2-3 parking spots and then huffed it the long walk around to the entrance. (Since we didn’t stay in the hotel, we had no hotel key card to open any of the side doors. It’s a long walk in the cold, let me tell ya.)

Saturday was my favorite day by far. During my autograph hour, I sat next to Todd Lockwood, who not only has done the cover art for many books I own, but has also done card art for Magic: the Gathering. His line was obviously a lot longer than mine, but I did get to chat with some new readers who bought my books (Thanks UW Bookstore for stocking them!) I also got to sign a fan’s Kindle–the actual Kindle itself!

I wore my Captain America dress on Saturday and was a bookend on a panel with Erik Scott de Bie, who wore his Captain America gear as well. (Was there a memo? How did this happen?!) It was nice to be able to cosplay, yet still look like a professional author.

Saturday was my longest day, with my last panel ending at 8 PM. You Can’t Take the Sky From Me: Mixing Genres was a panel about cross-genre media in SF/F and was by far, my favorite panel. One of my copanelists, Spencer Ellsworth, brought his guitar and at the end of the panel, we all sang the theme song to Firefly. (On retrospect, I should have recorded it.) During an excellent panel on cross-genre media and writing, the centaurs made an appearance as I commented on their being a niche for everyone. Throughout the entire panel, people randomly brought up centaurs to much laughter.

I critiqued a short story for the Fairwood Writers’ Workshop at Norwescon, which was enjoyable. At 8 PM, it was time for Writers at the Bar aka BarCon. (Forgive the horrible cell pic quality.)


Never before have I seen so many writers crammed into so small a space. I knew 3/4 of them, which was amazing to me, and apparently “hobnobbed” in spite of my introverted-ness. When I was chatting with my peoples, I hung out with my husband and a good friend while having to shout over the buzz. It was a good time.

Sunday came way too early and brought another critique for the writing workshop and my last panel.

Even after we’d left the con and lazed around the house, centaur comments popped up all over Facebook. I suspect next year I will have to give away Centaur ribbons.

I ended up with 28 ribbons overall. I promise I’ll take a photo of them soon and add it to this post. 🙂

Now it’s time to take a nap. Hope you had as good a con as I did.

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