Archives: Conventions

GenCon 2018 Part 3

Leonardo da Vinci, apparently caught in a stasis field at my Indianapolis hotel.

Last week I mentioned that I was, in a way, wearing four kinds of hats when I attended GenCon 2018, and spent most of a post talking about looking around at nifty game treasures and working at the Goodman Games booth.

Wearing the ‘ol writer’s hat, I approached various friends and friendly acquaintances and asked if they’d be interested in considering my upcoming novel for a blurb. As I mentioned early last week, it’s much, much simpler to approach people if you already know them, which is why it’s good to begin attending conventions sooner rather than later, although I wasn’t that mercenary or clever. I first started attending conventions to meet the writers and editors of the stories I loved and to try to find a way into the industry. Doors I didn’t even realize  opened for me when I made friends and contacts with like-minded folks.

GenCon 2018 Part 2

One way to think about my GenCon presence this year was as a wearer of 4 hats. Hat 1 was as a writer, meeting other writers, editors, and fans. Hat 2 was as a magazine editor and employee of Goodman Games. Hat 3 was as an editor for Perilous Worlds. And hat 4 was as a big fan of role-playing games, boardgames, and books.

I didn’t get as much of a chance to wear hat 4 this year, in part because I was so busy (and gratefully so) wearing the other hats. But I was also constrained in part because of an endless basement remodel. With a lot of our budget still tied up in turning our cinder block storage area into a nice living space I just didn’t feel right buying all the nifty things that interested me, which is why I made only two game purchases. One was a book of magic items for the Arcanis roleplaying game, which I mentioned yesterday, and the other was a nifty looking Viking solitaire game from Decision Games. Online here it’s showing up as $14.00 but I’m almost positive I only spent $12.00 on it at the convention. Anyway, it looks like it’s going to be fun.

GenCon 2018 Part 1

I had so much fun at GenCon this year it’s hard to know where to begin, but as I’m running late already today I’m just going to show you a few of the treasures I picked up.

First, while I was walking to the Modiphius booth with my friend Sarah Newton (talented writer and game designer) I glimpsed a nifty looking role-playing book with what looked like a Roman Legionnaire on the cover. I’ll share some more info about the treasures at the Modiphius booth in the coming days, after I’ve had more of a chance to absorb their glories.

I was so taken with what turned out to be the Arcanis booth that I dropped back by, looked through the books, and met Henry Lopez, the campaign setting’s author. He turned out to be a fan of my work, and after leafing through one book he generously gave me and another I bought I’m now a fan of his. Any of you regular visitors know what a sucker I am for the ancient Mediterranean as a setting. Lopez created a secondary world highly flavored by ancient Rome and other nations, dosed with some Robert E. Howardisms (like serpentmen) and then creatively applied new twists on some old tropes. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the system and its future releases. This is cooool stuff.


GenCon 2018

I’m back from GenCon with some amazing memories, some fine stories, and some gaming treasure, and I’ll probably be talking about some of it in the coming days. For now, let me just say that it was certainly the most enjoyable experience I’ve ever had at a convention.

Maybe you’ve met someone you’ve really admired, or reconnected with an old friend, or made a new one, or grown closer with a friendly acquaintance through shared experience. Maybe you’ve heard an inspiring lecture, or gotten some great career advice, or seen some amazing products you’d like to own, or played a great game session, or made important business contacts. If you’ve experienced any of these things, it might be the highlight of the day, or week, or month, or year. At a convention, those things can all happen over the course of a few days. What would normally be the best moment of an entire month or maybe even year can happen the next hour after another similarly memorable event.

That’s what happened to me this year.

Windy City Recap

I arrived in Chicago on Thursday, on the way visiting my cousin Lisa from my mom’s side and my Aunt Carol on my dad’s. It had been more than a quarter century since I’d seen Lisa, and three or four years since I’d seen Aunt Carol, so it was an immense pleasure to reconnect.

The drive to Windy City was a long one, but I amused myself by listening to what had been an impulse choice from the library, the audio book Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre. The history of Britain’s secret special forces outfit in WWII  ended up being so gripping that once I arrived at the hotel I sat in the car for a few more minutes letting the chapter finish before I headed inside.

I met up with John O’Neill for supper. It was the first time in four or five years that we’d been in the same place, and it was a real pleasure to see him. We treated ourselves to a great sushi meal, then carried in a few dozen boxes to John’s booth in the dealer room. I looked around for my contact on the Dungeon Crawl Classics team, Deiter Zimmerman, and realized then it would have been clever of me to have gotten his phone number beforehand. Then I visited with John and I crashed in his room. I slept poorly and got up early for a little writing, a habit that continued throughout the convention. The sleeping poorly, I mean. Eventually I slept so badly I wasn’t up for much writing.

Howard’s GenCon Schedule

gencon writerI can’t believe GenCon is right around the corner. It seems like it was only six months, at most, since I was last at Indy for the largest gaming event in the world, but, no, it’s been almost a year. I hope I’ll see some of you there.

I’ll be at the Paizo booth in the Great Hall every day, and I’ll be participating in the Writer’s Symposium on a number of panels. If you’re a writer, or curious about the industry, or a reader wanting to get the chance to ask questions of favorite authors, it’s a wonderful corner of the convention to attend. Marc Tassin, the Exalted Leader of the Symposium, organizes a good show. Under his command the Symposium has continued to expand and draw interesting authors yet continue to maintain a pleasant atmosphere.

This year, for the first time, I’ll be offering critiques Sunday morning. You’ll have to join the Writer’s Symposium to learn what kind of story length the critique groups take.

Here’s my schedule. I’ll be available for chatting just about any time in between, although if you catch me Saturday, I’ll probably be running from one place to another. It’s a busy day.

Return from the Con

great hall 2014

A low traffic moment in the Great Hall.

Last year I wrote a long account of my many GenCon adventures in part so those who’ve never been to the convention could have some sense of what it’s like. You can find those accounts here (part 1, 2, 3, and 4) if so inclined, as well as a post on why conventions are worth attending. This year I’ll be a little more to the point, owing to book deadlines and my own worry that so many blog posts about the convention might have bored visitors.

Elyana Action Figure

elyanaI’ve had limited Internet access and limited time, so I didn’t get to an update this morning. I’m having a fantastic time at GenCon and the Writer’s Symposium. The Paizo crew has always treated me wonderfully, but I had a special treat when I arrived at the booth Friday. Publisher Erik Mona handed me a MiniMates pack that features the main character from my first two Paizo Pathfinder novels, Elyana Sedrastis.

I’ve got to tell you — it’s pretty cool seeing an action figure based on a character that you created, and I heartily thanked Erik.

Off to GenCon

Trigger 1Late this morning I’m headed out on a comparatively short drive to GenCon. I’ll be there in a little under three hours, which isn’t too bad at all. I’m arriving a day early to meet up with friends and fellow writers from the Writer’s Symposium, one of GenCon’s best kept secrets. In my absence the home will be protected by a black belt, a brown belt, two dogs, and four man eating horses.

GenCon AND More on Ki-Gor

A light traffic moment in the Hall of Treasure.

A light traffic moment in GenCon’s Hall of Treasure.

I wanted to follow up on two completely unrelated posts today.

First, I’ve mentioned that I’ll be spending a lot of time at the Paizo booth in the Great Hall at GenCon in Indianapolis next week (in addition to the hours I’ll be spending on panels during the Writer’s Symposium). As I’ve mentioned in the past, the Writer’s Symposium is chock full of good panels if you’re at all curious about the industry, or about bettering your own writing — or if you just want to find out more about your favorite writers!

Here are my hours at the Paizo Booth: