Last year, Pip and I were not in attendance at Balticon, the premier weekend of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. We had been given Featured Guest status at Up in the Ã†ther (now called Steamtopia) so we figured after years (a decade for me!) of attending Balticon, it was time for a change of pace. Detroit was a fantastic town with awesome people, and it was a good weekend all aroundâ€¦
â€¦but yes, it was weird not being in Hunt Valley, Maryland, on Memorial Day Weekend.
This year, Pip and I are excited to be returning. Unlike other literary events, Balticon offers a track specific to New Media (blogging, podcasting, Facebook, etc.), originally started up by Paul Fischer back in 2005. From that single panel on what a podcast is, the New Media track (which covers production, fan discussions, and live recordings) grew, even earning the nickname â€œThe Other Balticonâ€ which I think is a bit unfair as some of the most talented people â€” not just the writers, but the creative artists that also speak on the track â€” Iâ€™ve met are all on this track. Over the years, though, Balticonâ€™s amazing staff have integrated the New Media track with other tracks; and this yearâ€™s 48th incarnation of the event promises to be a fantastic time!
Hereâ€™s where you can find me this weekendâ€¦
- Balticonâ€™s Meat and Greet (presented by The Shared Desk and
Talk Nerdy 2 Me), starting at 6:00 p.m. (Residence Inn of Hunt Valley Courtyard)
First held in 2012, the â€œMeat and Greetâ€ is a casual cookout at the Residence Innâ€™s courtyard where attendees and guests socialize around the grill. If you want to attend, simply bring something for you (and a friend you have yet to make) to throw on the grill. The grill is manned by MANLY MEN WHO LOVE MANLY MEAT. MANLY MEAT MAKE MAN HAPPY.
Actually, itâ€™s me and Jason Gregory Banks, so you know.
- Raising Geeklings, 3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m., Pimlico (Hunt Valley Inn)
So, this should be an interesting panel. I sit down with other geek parents and we talk about the ups, downs, pros, and cons (pardon the pun) on growing up our kids geek. Iâ€™ve never been on a panel like this before, so Iâ€™m expecting a good time.
- How To Do A Blog Tour, 4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m., Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
Any idea on what to do when invited to participate on a blog tour? Any idea on what not to do on a blog tour? This is the panel where authors share their own stories, good and bad, on how to run and participate on a blog tour.
- Promoting Your Book, 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m., Derby (Hunt Valley Inn)
There are so many different ways to promote your book. The big question is what works and what doesnâ€™t, how much should you invest, and what are the best investments for getting the word out.
- The World is Large and Strange, 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m., Parlor 1041 (Hunt Valley Inn)
Is truth really stranger than fiction? When writers research topics for novels, it might surprise you how much of the fantasy is based off fact. Iâ€™ll be sharing a few of my own weirder moments of research.
- Cthulhu out of the Hat: Writing Prompts for the Deranged, Sun 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m., Parlor 1026 (Hunt Valley Inn)
This is a new event for me and something Iâ€™d better make sure Iâ€™ve got a clear head for when it comes around. Harkening back to my days on the Forensics team, authors draw from a hat and must compel a piece of fiction from the suggestion. Iâ€™ve never done anything like this before, so yeahâ€¦Iâ€™m a little nervous about this one.
- Speaking in Public for Writers, 3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m., Parlor 1041 (Hunt Valley Inn)
A subject that is near and dear to me, writers can be a nervous lot, especially when it comes to addressing people. There is a method to the madness, a science to the art; and on this panel, we talk about it.
- Metamor City Live Book Launch is 10:00 p.m. – 11:50 p.m. Parlor 1026. (Hunt Valley Inn)
This one is a â€œmaybeâ€ for me as I may be keeping an eye on the Boom. It all depends if she has a sleepover with one of her con buddies. We will have to see on this oneâ€¦
- The Balticon Indie Spirit and What Makes Us Tick, 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 p.m., Parlor 1041 (Hunt Valley Inn)
As youâ€™ve heard me say before, Balticon is a very different event than others, although RavenCon comes very close. Going strong after 47 previous incarnations, hear this panel look deep into the psyche of this Memorial Day event.
- Readings from the Cthulhu Hat, 11:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m., Tennis Courts (Hunt Valley Inn)
All the efforts of our audience members, daring the mouth of madness and drawing a topic from it, come to share their efforts. We hope you join us!
- The Shared Desk LIVE!, 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m., Chesapeake (Hunt Valley Inn)
Maybe this year, we will have the audio make it in the feed! Once again, Tee, Pip, and Teeâ€™s drop-inâ€™s make an appearance at Balticon. What will the topic of the show be? Show up and find out what we will bring to the table. And have your most burning questions concerning the art of writing at the ready. Crazy Uncle Charlie has confirmed â€” he will be in attendance. Sans harem, unfortunately.
- #GYMCON, anytime between 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., Chesapeake (Courthouse Marriott and possibly elsewhere)
I first picked up the term from Elizabeth Bear, but #GymCon first went into practice at DemiCon 25 when I made it a point to go down to the hotel gym and sweat off any particular vices I enjoyed while at the event. #GymCon caught the attention of a few of my fellow guests. There was talk about #GymCon happening here so Iâ€™m throwing down a gauntlet to my fellow authors,podcasters, and geeks, all staying at their respective hotels. Get up early. Hit the gym. Clock in a fewlaps at the pool. Share your results onInstagram, Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere using the hashtag #GymCon.
PICSâ€¦.or it didnâ€™t happen!
This is the weekend quickly approaching, so I hope to see you all in attendance. Donâ€™t be shy. Say â€œhiâ€ to me and Pip, and be sure to bring your copy of Dawnâ€™s Early Light for signing. We will also have on hand copies of Ministry Protocol as well as Pipâ€™s latest, Weather Child, for sale. We look forward to seeing all our old friends from Balticonâ€™s Past, and make new friends for the Balticonâ€™s yet-to-come.
See you all in a few days.