I promise I tried to make that a punnier title, but alas I can only pun by accident, it seems. Aaanyhow, regardless of my ability to pun or not to pun, FantaSci was an awesome time, and I strongly recommend putting it on your con-circuit schedule. If you are – or are considering becoming - the sort of person who has a con-circuit.
2023 had some unique pieces (detailed below), but this was my 4th FantaSci, they've all been truly delightful, and I am confident in saying it's an excellent way to spend a weekend even if you don't go in a group to get tattoos.
Ahem. Because that happened! Thursday, I went with a few of my fave people and we each got our own 'ooo I've been considering this for a long time and now it's time to get it done' tattoo. It was my second, after a mumble-year-gap, and planning has begun for the third.
Getting a tattoo pre-con was a choice, to be sure, and led to my awkwardly hugging people as I forgot which arm was lathered and a bit oversensitive over and over and over again. Sorry to anyone I inadvertently slimed – or jumped back from to keep from sliming when I belatedly remembered.
After an amazing dinner with yet more of my favorite people, hosted by the absolutely terrific Kim, I headed back to the hotel to see even MORE of my faves, chat, hang around, go to bed at a decent hour, and then stay up til an ungodly hour because I had the absolute win of having Melissa Olthoff as con roommate and sleepover buddy. Chatting until after 2am is totally worth it! (fun fact: it might have actually been Friday we stayed up way late chatting. Or both. Basically less sleep + more Melissa = good con, so specifics may vary)
Friday started off early, but I got to talk more with Monalisa Foster and Howard Andrew Jones on the way to the Baen office.
Thanks to Sean Korsgaard and Jason Cordova (Baen rockstars, anthology editor extraordinaires, authors, general get-stuff-doners), we got to sign bookplates, do a welcome-to-Baen interview along with Gregory Frost, and have delicious bagels and coffee (not entirely in that order), AND I somehow resisted the siren call of filling a box with books from the library. Probably because I have one from last year, and also I live in a camper. Still, given the range of incredible books in that building, I'm pretty impressed with myself.
Also, because I took my sweet time writing this, the interview is now out in the world and you can catch some of our morning right on over here! You can watch me try not to lose my mind when Toni talked about why she liked my book...
Back to the con: after the Baen visit I did the whole check in to officially belong to the con and set up table stuff. Because I had the honor of being a special guest, I had my very own table, and because I am so awesome (translation: adore my super talented friends AND ok a little because also had forgotten to make plans for covering said table), I shared with several other authors throughout the weekend. Not gonna lie, that range of books looked real, real good together, and I had fun making a few sales for other folks' series. More good books is a win for everrryone!
The panels I got to be on were ALSO a win for everyone. I got to moderate a panel on Noir in SF and Fantasy (where Ray Krawczyk, Chris Smith, Howard Andrew Jones, and the fab audience all added to my TBR and watchlists), then right over to a discussion on the coolness of dragons. Spoiler: Katie Cross, Melissa Olthoff, Richard Knaak, Kal Spriggs, and I all decided the verdict was: so dang cool. I could have talked about dragons for hoooours.
Also could have talked about for hours: the NSFW Romance panel. I got to moderate C.V. Walter, Melissa, H.P. Holo, Monalisa, and Token Dude Michael Morton ("moderate" = my notes were a handful of questions and then 'let chaos reign') as we dug into a mix of spicy, funny, serious, thoughtful, and shenaniganny topics. For real, I'd do that again anytime.
It was immediately followed by Jolene's dating game, in which hilarity IMMEDIATELY ensued, and while I didn't win…well. It felt like we all won that dating game, to be fair. 10/10, would attempt to fictionally date people again. My fellow panelist/contestants (Katie Cross, Michael Morton, and Jason Cordova) were a delight, even though no one ever found Katie's character find her sword.
The rest of Friday involved talking, getting distracted, chatting, running amok, and chasing squirrels (metaphorically). In summation: it was a Friday night at con.
Saturday I did NOT have to get up early, but I did anyway because brains are rude. But also I had delicious, delicious breakfast with yet more of my favorite people, so I can't complain. After that, full of delicious bacon, I spent some time at the table and talked with more awesome people (seriously, this con is FULL of them!! So good.). My commitments for the day were all blocks – listening to all the exciting books coming from CKP at the CKP Year Ahead and from Baen at the Baen Traveling Roadshow – plus I got to talk about Valkyries at the former, and Beyond Enemies at the latter, and good goodness are those some fun projects to get to tease.
Saturday night was the Phoenix Feast and…y'all, the shenanigans were real. There was grog, giggling, and good deeds for charity – much needed joy for sure. Melissa and I served as Madams Vice, Con Chair and fictionalized 4HU consummate host Joel Lyons was a hilarious and all around fabulous President, 4HU creator Mark Wandrey got in some excellent zingers, and the attendees were an absolute delight. I know we have to let other people play and run the dinner, but honestly I just want to be Madam Vice every year. It's so dang much fun…and let's not even get into the fact that I had a BULLHORN this time. AAAAAAAAA.
I should always (never?) have access to a bullhorn.
Post-Feast the shenaniganery moved on to karaoke, where many a tune was belted, some of the sports parents sharing the hotel joined in on the fun, and we stayed up late for a very raucous (and sometimes on-key!) series of fantastic tunes, often in groups, always with enthusiasm. Whew I love con karaoke.
On Sunday my only panel was Authors and Their Pets (an absolutely critical panel that we should always have at con and also it needs to be a million hours long and involve a slideshow so we can coo over all the babies) suggested and moderated by the brilliant H.P. Holo. I stayed at the table until the end of the con, sold some more books, maaaybe got pulled into a fun project or two from some faaabulous Troublemakers, wished con wouldn't end, and eventually returned to my pups and passed the F out.
I know I missed recounting countless wonderful conversations, some excellent meals, and calling out every awesome person I got to hang with, but this post is already a bit unwieldy. What can I say? I love a good con. Huge thanks to Joel, Mari, Alex, Erin, Sean, and ALL the staff and volunteers who make FantaSci such an incredible time. I miss your faces.
June and Liberty Con (speaking of excellent, excellent times) are right around the corner but DANG why isn't all of life existing while surrounded by my con friends??? Life would be better with more weekends like this (if I could magic some sleep in there) is what I'm saying.
Ok, back to my editing cave...and maybe another nap.