Ho-lee balls! That was fun!
Short version: Phoenix Comic Con was 4 days of awesome bonding time with other authors, fans and my Author Self. We drank, we laughed, we drank some more, we colored. And I developed a bit of a reputation for, "OH, Jamie will do it." If you came out to my panels, or to my table, and haven't done so already, please reach out on Twitter or Facebook to say hi! I met and spoke with so many people, and all of them were kick ass. If you came to my table and I wasn't there, it was because I was out at my panels. Also, on Thursday and Friday I was pulling double duty as I had my daughter with me all day. So again, I apologize if I missed you, but again, please reach out on social media!
And now, the longer version.
So, on Thursday, I was surprised at how many attendees there were. I've been attending Phoenix Comic Con since before it grew to fill the Phoenix Convention Center. Before I started attending as an author, I was running games in the gaming area. (Did you know there's gaming at PHXCC? It's in the Hyatt. The second floor.) Thursday has always been a quiet day, and while this year's opening day was definitely the least attended, it was not quiet. Panels were full and cosplayers were out in their finest.
I was happy to be on a Mixed Media Publishing panel with Sarah Remy, Austin Aslan, and Neo Edmund. We talked about digital-versus-print, audio, screen, and how to navigate these arenas. It was also interesting to be on a panel where almost everyone at the table considers themselves a hybrid (self-and-traditionally published) author. For years there's been a stigma attached to self-publishing, but everyone on that panel looked at it as a boon. A title to be worn with pride.
After the panel, most of us went to the signing lounge to sign books. Mysterious Galaxy set up a small satellite book store up in the lounge. This was a great idea and, from my experience of it over the next few days, it ran very smoothly. Many thanks to Maryelizabeth and the MG crew as well as the PHX CC volunteers. Thursday's signing was pretty quiet. It turned into Writer Hang Out Time, which is always fun.
Not long after that, a big batch of us descended upon the bastion of awesomeness that is Taco Guild. Damn good margaritas were had. Selfies were taken. And jokes about WereDucks (and wereduck sex) were made. Twas great times.
I spent more time down at my table with my kiddo on Friday. We colored and counted cosplays. I saw some amazing costumes and mash-ups (Jon Snow White). We later ventured to the Paranormal Romance panel with Kevin Hearne, Aprilynne Pike, Jack Heckle and Leanna Renee Heiber (We bonded over Crimson Peak.) We talked a lot about the little lines between a love story and a romance; a romance and a Romance; paranormal vs urban fantasy, and so forth. It was a good panel with a lot of audience interaction.
Friday night was fairly quiet for us. My family and I called it rather early because all of us were tired and getting cranky.
Oh, my Saturday. The crowd came bursting in from the record-setting heat and it just didn't stop. Phoenix Comic Con was bursting with people and the energy was amazing. Like Friday, I spent at much time at my table as I was able. Again, if I missed you, I'm sorry, but a girl's gotta find time to stay hydrated, eat and pee when she's not on panels or supporting other authors.
Beth Cato and I were on a Short Fiction panel with Yvonne Navarro, Joe Nassise, and Gini Koch. We talked about processing fiction of varying lengths, how we approach it, why we write short fiction. It was an informative panel in that each of us comes at our work differently. While one author can't outline lest she lose interest in the work, others need to know where the story is going. This author can write three novels in the time it takes to crank out one short, while this author is a flash fanatic.
After that panel, there were shennanigans on an elevator with Beth Cato and a couple of cosplayers. One of them assured us he had handcuffs. Was interesting times. I got to go back down to my table and meet new fans and friends.
Then, I admit it, I did something for myself for one hour. I went to the Twisted Toonz panel. If you've never seen one of these, YouTube it. Cartoon voice actors get together and read a classic movie script. You've never lived until you've heard Darth Vader read by Pinky from Pinky & The Brain. I've been watching these on YouTube for a couple years now and I adore them. (Voice actors are my heroes, guys. I love them.) So I treated myself to seeing Maurice LeMarche (Brain, and half the cast of Futurama), Jess Hanell (Wakko, Ironhide), Troy Baker (Lego Loki, Joel from The Last of Us, Lyndon from Diablo 3), Nolan North and DC Douglas read "Ghostbusters". I laughed for an hour straight, guys. It was glorious. It was everything I've ever dreamed and I was in the room while Wakko Warner said, "Can I call you Daddooo?"
So. Damn Funny.
I left high. Laughter does that. And I pretty much went straight to Drinks With Authors where the fun just kept on going. I've been accepted into a special tribe of tequila shooting authors. They've taken me in as one of their own. Selfies were taken. Weston Ochse pretended to be Myke Cole.
Also, we learned that Jamie has no fear or shame. Why?
Okay, so there was this guy that I'd seen ALL throughout the con. 6'3 or so, built like a brick house. Blonde. Blue eyes. And not in costume. Every time I saw him, I said, "Holy shit, that's Captain America. Like the real deal Steve Rogers right there." So he's at Drinks With Authors and I walk right up and tell him, "Dude, I've seen you all weekend and every time I can't help but think, 'That's Cap!'" His friend says, "He's got the shield." Turns out the two of them are cosplayers from Oregon. We talked a bit and I went on my way. About 10 minutes later, my two Con Partners in Crime (who shall remain nameless) grab me, "Jamie! We need Jamie! Did you see this guy?!" And the motion to the Cap specimen. When I tell them all that I've learned their jaws drop.
"How do you know this?"
"I talked to him."
"Of course you did."
Not long after, Leanna Renee asked me how I feel about tequila and initiated me into the aforementioned group of Cuervo acolytes. (It's what they had. I prefer Patron or Cabo. Or a damn fine rapasado.)
After DWA we went to dinner where my husband saw Troy Baker at a table. Remember that part where Jamie has no shame or fear? I went up to Troy, casually of course, and thanked him for the Twisted Toonz laughs and his work on D3. (If you ever want to hear Marius speak, play Diablo 3 and meet Lyndon, the Scoundrel follower. Or YouTube it.) I got a high five and a big smile. Plus, when I went back to my table, my husband just said, "You didn't....yup you did."
The last day of con is always a mixed bag. By that point I'm sore, tired and ready to die. But it's also like the last day of summer camp. You don't want to lose touch with the cool people you only get to see in the adrenaline-packed days of a con. So you're collecting contact info and making promises to keep in touch, to get together with local authors even though you've made that same promise 3 years running and still only see each other at this one event. Oh, and you're buying the stuff you've been ogling all weekend (no, not the Cap cosplayer.)
I did a panel about marketing with Ryan Dalton, Michael Kogge, Michael J. Sullivan and Gini Koch. It turned into being more about personal brand-building and less about actually marketing a novel, but I think we gave some good info to the crowd. (At least I hope so.) Got to spend some time at our signing with Mr. Sullivan and his wife Robin. Good people.
When I got back to my table, I was delighted to find that there were only a couple of copies of my books left at Mysterious Galaxy. Those soon got scooped up and I have officially sold out of my stock at a convention. *happy dance* Thank you to all who picked up my books, and again, special thanks to Mysterious Galaxy.
The thing about cons.... they're a blast. They're a whirlwind of names and faces, sore feet and sweaty presses of people. But it's on those panels, or around the lunch table when you're bolting down food, that you learn that you're not alone. The NYT bestseller next to you still has a Fraud Complex. We all go through the same stuff. We all get told to get a "real job" even though the work we do is important in the world. We all wonder if we're a burden, or if we're just shouting into the void. It's at these conventions, though, that we connect with other people and can remember that we are worthy. We belong. Cons--while rough and exhausting--can feed an author for a year.
Thank you for nourishing me.