ArmadilloCon

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ArmadilloCon is one of those conventions that seeps into your blood. It’s not a wild “PartyCon”, nor is it known for outstanding costumes. This is not to say there aren’t any parties, or there are no costumes. On the contrary, there are usually two or three public parties and several private ones. Likewise people do show up in costume. This year, the notable costumes were a Victorian woman (spoiled only by a modern stroller), and a steampunk warrior whose armor seemed to be made from a spray painted set of lacrosse pads. ArmadilloCon definitely falls into the category of “Relax-i-Con”.

Few parties, fewer costumes, and a very relaxed atmosphere; yet I find myself coming back year after year. It is a science fiction/fantasy convention, but unlike most such, the emphasis is on writing rather than visual media. The panels are intimate, and the great majority of panelists are easy to approach. As might be expected at a literature-based convention, there are plenty of readings by authors and book signings. There are also many panels on various aspects on the craft of writing. Some of the panels I attended I would consider my favorites from this year’s lineup include: “The Still Changing Definition of Urban Fantasy”, “Story Ideas I Hope to Never See Again”, “Stump the Panel”, and “Writing Erotic Fiction”.

I find it amusing, though not terribly surprising, that the “Writing Erotic Fiction” panel is always among the funniest, most productive, and most helpful in improving the craft of writing–even in other genres. Maybe it has to do with the types of personality that write such things. Maybe it’s that the panel is held late at night when inhibitions have dropped. Whatever the reason, at every convention I’ve attended that had such a panel, the erotic writing panel has always been among the best. I recommend going, even if you’re not interested in erotic writing per se.

In additionn to the panels, the attendees at ArmadilloCon are friendly and willing to talk about nearly anything. Making new friends is easy, even for rampant introverts. Even shy people might find it easier to approach people here. Ironically, despite me living locally, most of the friends I’ve made this year live a fair distance away–like Oklahoma.

The most memorable thing that happened to me at this year’s con was talking with Elizabeth Moon for half an hour. (Yes, that Elizabeth Moon.) We started off with shooting candy from her miniature replica crossbow and talked about stuff ranging from how she chooses her reading selections to autism to getting to wield the actual Lord of the Rings swords used on the set (i.e. not the backups).

The only thing I regret is the tendency of this Con to sneak up on me. Why do I regret it? There is a writing workshop I would love to participate in. Unfortunately, by the time I’m aware of the approaching Con, it’s long past the deadline for submitting to the workshop. I’d love to get feedback from published authors, editors, and agents.

If you want to attend a convention with wild costumes and wilder parties, go to DragonCon. If you want a relaxed atmosphere, or an introduction to genre literature, or you want to examine and improve your own writing, ArmadilloCon is truly an excellent convention.

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I’m A Guy

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Yes. I am a guy. (Sorry gals and over-sensitive men, this is going to be a “guy” post. I won’t be insulted if you decide to skip it.) Those who know me at least have a clue as to my political and ideological leanings. And yet, I am a guy. There are certain reactions that are hard-wired into me, and I suspect would cause LOTS of problems if I were to try to remove those reactions.

There are times, when in the course of living, a man meets certain examples of the species “woman”. People talk about “stunning beauty” and how rare it is, but I beg to differ. I am frequently stunned by the beauty I see around me. I sometimes feel like a baby in a backpack carrier, trying to memorize who and what I see. It is not the stunning beauties that really affect me, though, it is the women who literally start me salivating that causes problems. In my life, I’ve encountered very few women who start me salivating just by seeing them. In the past five years, there have only been 3 that come to mind. The first I met in 2010. The breaking off of that relationship threw me into a tail spin that I’m only now starting to truly recover from. The second two I’ve met within the past week and a half to two weeks.

The amusing, or perhaps the appropriate word is “coincidental”, thing is that in each case, they appeared shortly after I started writing stories with erotic themes, whether it was romantica, pure erotica, or eroti-drama. It kind of makes me wonder what would happen if I ever get any of them published. My question: is this a case of life imitating art? or art informing life? Either way, possibilities seem to be opening all around me.