Report from ArmadilloCon 2009

ArmadilloCon 2009 has come and gone…and what a time it was! The folks at ArmadilloCon have really figured out how to do it right. The hotel was great (love those DoubleTree chocolate chip cookies!), the guests were fantastic, and the panels were top notch. Plus, I got the added thrill of introducing my wife to her first convention and I think ArmadilloCon sold her on how much fun they are.

Here were some of the highlights:

The Meet the Pros party opening night. I got to hang out with John Picacio, Sanford Allen, Lee Thomas, Gabrielle Faust, Matt Cardin, Scott Cupp, Chris Roberson, Mario Acevedo, Jeanne Stein, A. Lee Martinez, and a host of others. We got a surprise visit from Michael Moorcock, who presented the Jack Trevor Prize to Howard Waldrop. Good times and good booze all around!

Later I went to hear Matt Cardin read his short story “The Devil and One Lump” and was blown away. I’m now a fan.

I closed out opening night with a panel called “What Happened to the Monsters?” Jeanne Stein did a great job moderating this one. And, as usual, Lee Thomas and Matt Cardin brought some intellectual heavy lumber to this one. The conversation ranged from Aztec snake demons to zombies and we had some great audience participation.

Saturday morning started with Lee Thomas reading his short story “I Am Your Violence.” If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading a Lee Thomas short story you need to stop reading this and get busy. The guy is absolutely brilliant! Go out and get a copy of Unspeakable Horrors or Inferno or, better yet, his upcoming collection Out of the Closet, Under the Bed.

After lunch I sat on a panel called “Zombies!” moderated by A. Lee Martinez. Lee Thomas was on that one as well. A. Lee Martinez and Lee Thomas basically had me bookended on the critical side, leaving me in the middle to defend my beloved walking dead. Luckily, I had some timely help from the audience in the form of Rhiannon Frater. This was probably the highlight of the convention events for me. A. Lee Martinez and Lee Thomas brought up some really great points and kept me on my toes. I think the audience enjoyed this one as well. For the rest of the convention people kept telling me how much they enjoyed it.

Later that night I made the rounds to all the parties up on the sixth floor. I got to hang out with Mario Acevedo and John Picacio and Sanford Allen. I have no idea what time I finally turned in, but I think the sun was coming up.

The next morning I got some breakfast and then headed over to hear Jeanne Stein read from her latest book. Damn, that woman can write. Great plotting, great characters, great all the way around.

After that, it was my turn to read. I did a selection from Quarantined and had a pretty good crowd. I don’t think I put anybody to sleep.

A. Lee Martinez got up to read next. He gave us a selection from his new book Monster, which caused me to laugh away my hangover. I know a lot of funny people, but A. Lee Martinez just takes the cake. I can’t recommend him enough.

I finished off the convention with a long stay in the dealer’s room, where I signed a bunch of books and bought even more. I picked up a copy of Terry Bisson’s Planet of Mystery, Joe Hill’s Gunpowder, and Jeff VanderMeer’s The Situation. But the real find was a hardback first edition of Joe R. Lansdale’s God of the Razor. And I even got him to sign it! Very cool!

Thanks ArmadilloCon for showing me a great time!

ApolloCon 2009 Programming Guide Announced

ApolloOkay, I’m gearing up for Apollocon 2009 in Houston this coming weekend. I just received the programming guide and it looks like it’s going to be a great convention. The special guest of honor this year is Wil McCarthy and I’m really looking forward to meeting him.

Apollocon 2009 will run from Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28 at the DoubleTree Houston Intercontinental Airport and there are still rooms available.

Here’s a list of what I’ll be doing.

Friday, June 26:

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies

8:00 pm to 9:00 pm – “Raiders of the Lost Maguffin” This is a panel discussion on the appeal of action adventure novels. I’ll be sitting in with Rosemary Clement-Moore, Gail Dayton, and Tim Frayser. This will be in the Scottsdale Room.

Saturday, June 27:

11:00 am to 12:00 pm – “Modern Horror: The Changing Face of Fear” This is a panel discussion on current trends in horror fiction and how the genre is evolving. I’ll be sitting in with Lee Thomas, Linda Donahue, and Gabrielle S. Faust. This will be in the Tucson Room.

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm – “Writing 101” This is a panel discussion on the business of writing. I’ll be sitting in with Martha Wells, Bill Crider, Julie Kenner, and K.M. Tolan. This will be in the Seattle II Room.

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm – Autographs. I’ll be signing copies of my novels Dead City and Quarantined, plus several collections in which I’ve appeared, including History is Dead (Permuted Press), Potter’s Field 3 (Sam’s Dot Publishing), and Nights of Blood 2: More Tales of the Vampire (23 House Publishing). I’ll be sharing space at the autographing table with Lillian Stewart Carl and Gail Dayton. This, logically enough, will be at the autographing table.

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm – “YA Dark Fantasy: Beyond Twilight” This is a panel discussion on the present state of young adult dark fantasy. I’ll be sitting in with Gabrielle S. Faust, K. Hutson Price, and Lee Thomas. This will be in the Seattle II Room.

Sunday, June 28:

11:00 am to 12:00 pm – I’ll be reading from my latest novel, Quarantined. Lillian Stewart Carl will also be reading from her work. We will be reading in the Tucson Room.

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm – “Mythology Schmythology: Is Joseph Cambell Over-Used in Fantasy?” This is a panel discussion on the uses of mythology in speculative fiction, dealing especially with the map of the hero’s journey as made famous by Joseph Campbell’s landmark book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. I’ll be sitting in with A. Lee Martinez, Mel. White, K. Hutson Price, and Linda Donahue. I am ready to be a monomyth. This will be in the Seattle II Room.

I’ll be returning to San Antonio shortly after the Joseph Campbell panel, but I’ll probably grab a bite to eat first. I hope to see you all there.

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