My life recently has been so epic I don't even have time to write about it. Seriously, I really need to take a day off now and then. Or hire a scribe. Something. I just have a hard time turning things down when they sound cool and don't cost much money... So, yeah, lots of stuff going on the last few weeks, so it may take a bit of time to catch up.
From a couple weeks back now, we have ConDFW. For those of you who aren't into the Dallas sci-fi/fantasy/horror literary scene, there are two really great conventions in the area that focus on those genres in fiction. FenCon in September, and ConDFW in February. Both have been running for several years and are very well-established and well-run conventions. ConDFW X maintained the fun, relaxed atmosphere that has always made it so enjoyable.
Part of the relaxed feel probably comes from the fact that ConDFW has always been centered around the bar, both physically and figuratively. All of the usual literary convention trappings are there as well - panels, readings, art show, dealers' room, etc. - but some of the best times to be had are found in the bar, just kicking back, having a drink or two with friends, and meeting a lot of new people with a shared interest in weird fiction.
The panels I attended this year were fun. To be honest, after years of attending these conventions, the panel discussions can all get to be a little familiar. By picking panels based on the people participating rather than the topic, though, I can usually guarantee that I will be entertained. I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of "audience member thinks their input is as valuable and interesting as the panelists" syndrome encountered this time around.
I kinda failed at my usual policy for readings at conventions. I generally try to attend a mix or readings - some authors I'm already familiar with, and some new ones. This year, though, every reading I attended was someone I had heard reading before. On the down side, that meant I didn't get any exposure to new authors. On the up side, that meant I actually enjoyed all of them. Thanks to Kristi Hutson (with an excerpt from an unpublished novel I really hope to see published), Angeline Hawkes, Christopher Fulbright, Julia Mandala, Selina Rosen, Linda Donahue, P.N. Elrod, Jaye Wells, and Shanna Swendson!
Of course, as always, my "to be read" pile has gotten even more precipitously huge following the con. Author Robert Stikmanz and editor Amanda Kimmerly sold me on the first volume of the Hidden Lands of Nod fantasy series (which I completely failed to get autographed). On the sci-fi end of the spectrum, I picked up Stranded by Scott Ayars and Dead or Alive by T. M. Hunter. And, for my compulsory Yard Dog Press purchase, I picked up Almost Human by Gary Moreau. Once I have some time to read them, I may post reviews here, so check back!
Anyway, if you live in the North Texas area, or don't mind driving there, and like sci-fi/fantasy/horror fiction, I highly recommend checking out ConDFW next year...