So this marks the second time I've been to Ad Astra. I meant to announce I was going on this blog beforehand, but since I was really, really busy up to the time I left and I wasn't going to be on any panels I ended forgetting to do it. Whoops.
How was the con you ask? Awesome. Maybe not as awesome as last year for me, but that might have more to do with the fact that this is my third con, the other being ConCept in Montreal, so I actually now have some experience with them so the blush is off the rose as they say. Going to a convention is no longer new and fresh, so that alters my perception of it.
Still, I met a lot of awesome people that I hope the see again. It seems that at every convention I go to I end up running into Erik Buchanan and Marie Bilodeau who are published by Dragon Moon Press. Both are very lovely people and I hope if you've ever at a con you get a chance to meet them. Fair warning though, after meeting them you will be compelled to by any and all books they put out. I'm up to date on Eric's books, but slacking behind on buying Marie's. Hmmmm... they're both in a collection coming out in August... so I could order that and some of hers at the same time, or wait until SFContario and make a mass purchase and get it all signed... hmmm.... decisions, decisions.
Oh, and before I forget to say it, if you have a chance go and see one of Marie's storytelling shows. I caught her performance on Friday night at the con and it was amazing.
Also on Friday night I attended a panel on using conventions to your advantage with Justine Lewkowicz, Scott Edelman, and Ian Keeling. Justine hosts an online show called Bookends which I will likely add to my every growing list of things to keep tabs on, especially if she's even half as engaging and personable on camera as she is in person. All three panelists handed out some great advice, both during that panel and when I ran into them at other panels or at the bar.
So what were some of the other highlights of the con? Oh, getting for me personally, getting to say to Howard Tayler how much I enjoy his webcomic and the Writing Excuses podcast he's a part of. That, and seeing the awesome boots he had on. Seriously, these boots were impressive. I think they could withstand a force five hurricane they looked so solid. With those boots I think Howard's about a third of the way to becoming a superhero.
Another Howard related moment was seeing the look on his face after Mercedes Lackey stated, in the very first panel of the convention I was at and that they both were on, that she was a fan of Schlock Mercenary, his webcomic. I swear he became a bit choked up at hearing this, and was speechless for a minute. It's not everyday that one of the giants of SF/Fantasy says she loves your work.
Speaking of Mercedes Lackey, I only saw her a couple times over the con but she came off as a lovely person and a real trooper. She was there to the very end of the convention, even showing up to give a couple of the male convention runners a significant kiss during the closing ceremonies. All in all, just a lovely and fun person who I hope I get the chance to meet and talk too in depth at some point.
Speaking of the closing ceremonies, they had a raffle and I won something! I ended up walking way from the con with a piece of artwork by Howard Tayler, a print in color with signatures from the Guests of Honor at the con. It was the one piece of artwork I really and truly wanted, and I ended up getting it. Even though E-bay beacons with the siren call of seeing it, I will resist. I want that sucker framed and on my wall, and it will be a cold day in the entirety of Hell before I give it up. Seriously, it's awesome. I may have to take a picture of it and post it up some time.
So, summing things up, I had an awesome time, slept and ate way too little, walked from one end of the hotel to another (seriously, I should grab a pedometer before the next con and track how much walking I actually do), met a ton of awesome people, and snagged a load of books to review so expect some Dork Reviews on those in the near future.