Monday, September 22, 2014

Comic-Con in Paradise

As an author, we travel to many Cons throughout the year. Some local, some a great distance, and some at a great expense, so they'd better be worth it.   HawaiiCon 2014 was worth it!
It starts with the wonderful views from the hotel. As this is a Destination Con, you need to plan in a few extra days to enjoy what the island offers, before the Con even begins. This was a beachfront hotel, even from the most distant corner of the hotel...

Though you can see the main part of the hotel is directly over the pool area...
With the beach only steps away from the pool, separated by the beautiful gardens...

This Comic-Con arranges a number of events outside the panel rooms, from scuba diving with the stars, boat excursions, to helicopter flights over the Big Island. At times you came so close to the canyon walls you could almost reach out and touch them...
But the pilot took us to locations on the island only reachable by air...

To see waterfalls that fell so far you couldn't capture them in just one photo...

Or to black sand beaches where waterfalls met the sea...

But this landscape reflects the wondrous and terrifying beauty of our planet so many of us take for granted. Here new land is born. 

But back to HawaiiCon...  In one section of the hotel is the conference center. This is the beautiful courtyard, surrounded by ballrooms, meeting room and places just to relax in the tropical breezes of the island. All is quiet as registration begins and staffers post panel schedules. As calm and quiet as this all appears, it's only minutes before the throngs of people start to appear. And they do...
For a new Con, it was expected to draw in a modest number of people. After all, it's on an island in the middle of the pacific. There's going to be a lot of locals attending and a few brave souls who braved airports, TSA and luggage fees to get here.  I don't think they were ready for nearly 700 people to show up. Even so, it was well organized and not even a puff of smoke to be seen from the undoubted numerous fires they were running to put out.
Opening ceremonies was held in the large ballroom, to a packed house. Never seen that before. King-size Kudos to the organizers and attendees. The Hawaiian ceremony at kickoff was unique and special, again, unexpected.
As an author I can honestly say that we dread being the first official panel of any Con. You know, that panel at 5pm on Friday... worse if it starts on Thursday. You really only expect to see... hmmmm... 4 people.
I was the lucky recipient of "FIRST PANEL". I planned it out, great topic, game and prizes. I was going to discuss how "Women are NOT Wrecking Science Fiction". I got there, laid out the prizes, my books and name tent on the table, then watched as people trickled in... then more people... and more people.
Afraid it was fluke I took this picture before I started the panel, and they kept coming in, until the room was full. It was a rocking room full of wonderful people. LOVE you all. We had a great discussion on Women in Science Fiction, played "Who's your Favorite". Everyone who played got a prize, then I gave away the grand prize of 2 books. The first woman of Science Fiction, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. And the funniest woman in Science Fiction, Gini Koch and vol. 1 of her Kitty Kat series-Touched by an Alien.

Panels were great. I spoke on 3 and moderated 2 more, attended others, like Richard Hatch and Walter Koenig, but of course there were costumes galore. I met Alice in Wonderland...
And she met an adorable Bat Girl...

My best costume went to Capt. Hook and Tinkerbell. What a great father/daughter combo. Major daddy points for this guy.

All the costumes were great. Some I'd have smothered in, being a hot spell in Hawaii this particular weekend, but it didn't stop the Cosplayers at all. Just wish my camera memory card didn't fill up. My bad, forgot to delete old photos and didn't have the cable I needed to upload them to my computer.

And for those expecting the Luau performance, I managed to grab some video, before my camera cut me off. It was a great group who performed all types of Polynesian dance,  not just Hawaiian. I'd let you see it, but Blogger isn't letting me download the file... too big.  I'll try to post it on Facebook.
So, in conclusion... FABULOUS COMIC-CON. Plan for this one in your future.
And the winner of my "Whose Your Favorite Woman Science Fiction Author" contest is....
E.L. F.
Contact me with shipping into for your HawaiiCon 2014 Swag Bag.

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's September! OH, NO!

Not that it really matters today. Temps are expected to be 110 degrees, but we KNOW we'll see lower temperatures coming. At least a little lower. I tell people we have two seasons here, hot and hotter. Thank God I'm an author, and not a landscaper or other outside professional.

So, what does September mean to me as I sit in front of my keyboard...

3/4ths of the year is gone and I'm feeling a bit unproductive. Yes, I've written a lot this year and have several projects in the fire, but they weren't screaming at me to devote every waking hour to their lives. Until SDCC. During the drive I was chatting a premise out with my BFF Gini Koch and her PA Joseph Gaxiola.  I retold a 'true story' I'd heard way back when I was in the military and how I wanted to make it into a SF story.

Sometimes ideas just needs to be said out loud, because the next thing she asked was 'what's that noise' was coming from the back of the car. It was me on my laptop. Characters and voices were shouting out the story and I've been rocking the first draft.

There's still appearances to make.
Sept 12-14 I'm at HawaiiCon (Comicon on the Beach).
TusCon Oct 31- Nov 2 in Tucson.
Tucson Comicon Nov 7- 9th.
Then on December 11th we go to Las Vegas, my BFFs Gini Koch and Sharon Skinner for the B&N Wyked Women who Write Booksigning at the Henderson Barnes and Nobel on December 13th.
With all this, it doesn't look like my annual retreat will happen this year, so I better make the best of my Hawaii trip.

Then preplanning for 2015.
While I have to spend every minute I can writing, I also have to attend the many Cons that take place, and there are so many. However, I do have a life outside of writing.  Really I do.  I have to have my other knee replaced in February, finally. And I have to plan a military reunion for April. As the Phx resident where our reunions take place (we were all stationed at Gila Bend), I've done the planning in prior reunions and will continue to do so unless someone else volunteers. That's not a hint to my GBAFAF followers. I love doing it.

So, while I say writing is not my only activity, it doesn't ever leave my brain. I'm always thinking 'what's next?' and when can I politely return to my keyboard, because the characters can get you a bit schizophrenic if you ignore them too long. Right now they're screaming at me to get back to where I left them lingering over their scene, while another part of my brain is screaming that I have a rocking panel set up for HawaiiCon and I'm not ready for it.

I have research to do, but maybe my friends can help me out with that. I'm compiling a list of the BEST Women Science Fiction Authors, your favorites. Tell me who makes YOUR list and win a prize. That's right... Follow the blog, enter your BEST of the Best and I'll do a drawing for a winner. Deadline is Sept 17th.

I'll announce the winner when I get back from Hawaii.