ConQuest Kansas City is Next Weekend!

As usual, I will be at ConQuest Kansas City on Memorial Weekend for the local science fiction and fantasy convention. I will be on a number of panels with other fantastic authors.

Here is my schedule:

5:00 Jurassic Park and Dinosaurs 5.0
Description: “Twenty-five years ago, an island full of dinosaurs tore up the Hollywood box office. Four flicks later (in June, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will make five), these reptile relics continue to slay us. Why is the thought of a dinosaur theme park still so cool? (And by the way, what’s funny about the concept of dinos in space?) More broadly, why would the idea of the prehistoric past colliding with our present/future hold such fascination? And would we be better off letting sleeping saurians lie?”
12:00 Frankenstein 200 Years Later
Description: “It’s still alive! In 1818, Mary Shelley stitched together a bone-chilling tale of dread and science, and created a monster — whose humanity cut as deeply as Dr. Frankenstein’s knife. This Promethean fiction has inspired authors, fans, and scientists ever since. (Though is it better remembered than read?) What challenges did Shelley face in bringing her story to print? What would she think of her effect on literature over the last two centuries? After all these years, let’s find out what makes this tale tick.”
2:00 Edgar Allan Poe
Description: “He was one of the first writers to develop the genre of both detective fiction and horror. Some have credited him as the “architect” of the modern short story. The genre of horror is bigger today than ever and Poe was at the forefront of this writing style. Our panel will discuss Poe and his influences on literature.”
3:00 Where You Least Expect It
Description: “SciFi and Fantasy can be found in the strangest places, even classic literature – Shakespeare, Milton, etc.”
11:00 Philosophy Fun
Description: “Must one be virtuous in order to be courageous? What’s more important: knowledge or imagination? Let’s discuss these and other philosophy questions, applying them to literature, gaming, and our own lives.”
1:00 Reading
I am not sure what all I will be reading. I am planning on a fantasy story titled “Arbor Day.”
You an find the rest of the schedule, including all of the artists appearing, at the official Conquest Kansas City website.
Saturday will also be my birthday, so be sure to stop by and chat. When I’m not in panels, I can generally be found in the bar or the lobby. I will have a few copies of All Manner of Dark Things available for purchase, and I am always happy to chat about books and writing.
See you there!

Questing with Friends

This weekend, my girlfriend and I are attending Conquest 44 in Kansas City. This is my second Conquest and my girlfriend’s third. It is an interesting convention for me, because the crowd is largely Fantasy and Science Fiction. Horror writers are sort of the unspoken minority, both on the panels and in the dealer room. However, there is a lot of crossover in genre fiction, and it is always exciting to meet new writers, see old friends and colleagues, and just generally relight the fire.

This year, I heard a couple of writers I hadn’t read yet. John Hornor Jacobs (Southern Gods) and Alan Ryker (Among Prey) were both new faces for me. I was impressed enough by Jacobs to pick up his two novels, Southern Gods and This Dark Earth in the dealer room. He shares a lot of my influences. Southern Gods is described as Lovecraftian Southern Gothic, so should be right up my alley.

Being a Fantasy writer, my girlfriend was especially excited about the author Guest of Honor Patrick Rothfuss. We were on our way to his autograph signing, when who should step on to the elevator with us, but Patrick Rothfuss himself. He saw that I was reading Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon and we struck up a bit of conversation about Percy on the elevator ride down. My girlfriend was a little bit starstruck, but seemed to get over it by the time they met again during the signing, when both expressed their love for Joss Whedon.

I love conventions, which is part of the reason I’ve making this one a part of my birthday weekend the last two years, and hopefully the foreseeable future. Jacobs said it best. The conventions really light a fire under you to work. For whatever reason, you go home itching to write. Whether it is competitiveness or reaffirmation of dreams, I always leaving with the itch to produce something great.

Part of it, I think, is the realization that while we are all essentially businesses in direct competition with each other, we are also in it together. The support and camaraderie of other writers will always be a part of this business. We are all after the same thing. While we compete with each other for publications, the irony is that we can go so much farther together than we can on our own.