17 March 2014

Awesome Weekend with a Bunch of Awesome Sci Fi/Fantasy Folks!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you all had as great a weekend as I did! I spent Saturday and Sunday at LunaCon in Rye, NY. It's a sci fi/fantasy con on the smaller side, but filled with great people, interesting topics of conversation, cool costumes and lots of fun. Sadly, I didn't get any photos. A week or two ago, I dropped my phone in goo and it hasn't worked quite right since. :(

I had a great time discussing the state of publishing with authors like Marc L. Abbott, David Walton and Sarah Avery. I got to hear about anthologies and magazine publishing from the creator of Clarkesworld, and the folks from BlackGate. And I got to get out and play with writers in other genres.

Having spent the past few years mostly associating with romance writers, I sometimes forget my roots. Though I write sf/fantasy romance, I've always found more acceptance among romance readers/writers than among more traditional sf/f readers/writers. I'm happy to see this is changing. While a lot of the folks at the con have never, and will never read one of my books - much less ANY romance novel of any kind - they were a lot more accepting when I admitted I wrote sf/f romance.

I was able to talk about my newest book, Harry's Sacrifice, which is straight-up sci fi mixed with erotic romance. And I also got to promote my upcoming paranormal romance, King's Throne, which is now available for pre-order and releases in ebook and print on May 5, 2014.

I think the main reason I have shied away from sf/f cons in recent years, is that I have had bad experiences in the past. A few years ago I was made the laughing stock of a few different panels I was put on with some very intolerant male sf writers. My experience is nothing new. There is a well-known connection between the sf/f world and misogyny. There has been decided resistance to females writing sf/f, which is why I found a lot more acceptance among the more female-friendly romance world.

This was sort of brought home to me in a eureka moment when we were discussing different kinds of conventions on one of the panels offering advice to novice writers. I was asked to describe what a romance con is like to some of the men in the audience and I was able to say that the mostly-female romance community is very welcoming to male writers who come to the conventions. As I said it, I was thinking to myself, the opposite is not always true - female writers aren't always that welcome at the male-dominated sf/f cons. I know, because I've experienced it.

Nowadays, I only go to nearby sf/f cons. LunaCon is the only one I plan to attend this year. It's relatively close for me - about 30 miles away - and I can commute. But most importantly - LunaCon is welcoming. Accepting. I've never been dissed there. I don't feel too terribly out of place. They're a good bunch of people.

If you want to see some photos of this year's con from an author who was a lot better prepared than I (as far as his phone actually working), go look at Michael Ventrella's facebook page. He was clicking away all weekend! :)

This weekend's experience has made me re-think my position on sf/f cons in general. I just might try to go back to a few northeast cons that I remember enjoying as a plain ol' fan. Wacky as they are, sf cons are a lot of fun!


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