Tag Archives: ConQuest 48

ConQuest AAR

This past weekend was ConQuest 48 here in Kansas City. I had originally intended to attend with the plan of getting a dealer’s booth, but decided against it when I had the opportunity to be on 7 panels.

Two of the panels were a little whimsical. One was about beer. Not necessarily beer in science fiction and fantasy, just the kinds of beer we like. It was well-attended, which was nice from my perspective as the moderator. I went around the room and let everyone talk about their preferences, because otherwise it would have been a short, boring, rambling panel. By going around the room, we all participated and riffed off of each other.

The second whimsical one was bars in science fiction and fantasy, which didn’t go as well. I moderated this one as well, and I couldn’t really think of many good questions to move things along. Fortunately, the panelists, Selina Rosen and Tom Trumpinski, didn’t need much prompting.

I moderated another panel, this one on writing strong characters. This panel had four panelists, and ranged far afield. I didn’t do a good job here, because I think we could have focused on some specifics but instead talked more theory and philosophy. Obviously, those are important, but I don’t know that what we discussed was overly helpful to anyone there. The panelists did a good job and were always contributing, but I never emphasized a focus, and in retrospect, I think we could have given more had I done so.

I was a panelist on three panels. My favorite was Selina and I talking about writing combat scenes. One specific I need to print out and put in my office is: “Remember what your character is actually fighting.” Just because a particular opponent is facing them doesn’t mean that’s the character’s real battle. Luke isn’t fighting Vader, really. He’s fighting the Dark Side. This actually came from a discussion ahead of time in a conversation about both strong characters and combat scenes. It’ll help me going forward, I think.

I was also on a panel about using sources from across the world, not just the Arthurian / Celtic / Norse / Greek myths that form the basis of much fantasy. There are already a bunch of hints of that in Shijuren, and more to come. I include Russian, Balkan, and Middle Eastern myths already, along with a touch of Sub-Saharan African and Mongolian. There’ll be more coming from Amaranth, too, which will be heavily influenced by the Mahabharata and Bhagavad Vita from Indian traditions. There’s good stories in a lot of traditions, and I’m happy to use them.

My other panel was my using history in SF/F by going through the Martin Koszta Affair. I’m going to continue doing this, as the people there seem to be really interested in how I look through things. My big problem is that I get so excited I go too fast. I need to pace a little better. I had about 5 minutes of flex that I should have used simply by going slower.

Finally, I had a reading on Sunday. Not surprisingly, there weren’t many people there. The other reader, Jeri Frontera, had a great idea to Facebook Live her reading. I’m going to do some research to see if I can’t start doing that. I definitely need more media on my website.

Overall, a good weekend of schmoozing and meeting people, which is what a con is supposed to be.

Rob’s Update: Percolating

Week of 21-27 May

Greetings all

I am done with Where Now the Rider, except I’m gonna let it percolate over the weekend. I have completed all the edits I’ve been given and I like it a lot. But oddly enough, thanks to a quirk in scheduling I need to have it done on Tuesday, but not today. This weekend is ConQuest 48 and I could rush to put it up on Amazon and deal with all the details on CreateSpace, but instead, I’m going to read it one last time this weekend before putting it up on Tuesday. I doubt I’ll find much to change, but I’ll admit that I’ve never ever finished anything I’ve ever written, I’ve just released it into the wild.

Seems oddly comforting to have a few days to let it sit, though.

Anyway, I’ll be swamped over the weekend. Here’s my schedule

Friday, May 26
8:00pm:    Bheer! Glorious Bheer! (Moderator)

Saturday, May 27
10:00am:  What Gives Characters Depth (Moderator)
2:00pm:    Using History in Fantasy and Science Fiction
4:00pm:    Writing Fight and Combat Scenes
6:00pm:    Bars in SF (Moderator)

Sunday, May 28
10:00am: Fantasy in the Rest of the World
12:00pm:  Reading

The using history in fantasy and science fiction panel is the one I did at CoastCon on the spur of the moment. In it I go through the events of the Martin Koszta Affair of 1853 and show how those event can inspire me to write speculative fiction. It’s did well at CoastCon, though I only had 8-9 people. We’ll see what I get at ConQuest.

The beer panel should be interesting. I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it here, but I had a friend of mine brew a special ale for Ragnar. Yes, a real beer made by my fictional character. Sort of. Anyway, I brought a couple bottles for that panel. I may bring more tomorrow for the panel discussing bars in SF.

Quote of the Week

The convention hotel, by the way, is near the World War One museum, which I cannot recommend enough. It’s a great museum and well worth visiting when you can. I’ll swing by this weekend for Memorial Day, even though I won’t have time to visit the museum itself. However, my mom’s father served in WW1 and I arranged for him to be on a brick in the patio in front of the museum.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, but I also hope we remember why we don’t have to work on Monday.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae, In Flanders Fields

News and Works in Progress

  • Where Now the Rider done but percolating one last time
  • Brief Is My Flame, some plotting and 1k words written
  • Short stories, 2k written

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

A couple of my friends have a small publishing company. They’re great people, and if you’re looking for a small house to publish with, you might try Stonebunny Press. You can find them at http://www.stonebunnypress.ca/. I especially encourage all my Canadian writer friends to look at them.

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works
  • A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Book 1)
  • The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Book 2)
  • Where Now the Rider (Edward, Book 3) Forthcoming 2017
  • I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Book 1)
  • Brief Is My Flame (The Kreisens, Book 2) Forthcoming 2017
  • None Call Me Mother (The Kreisens, Book 3) Forthcoming 2018

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