Brown River Queen cover art

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MidSouthCon 34 Roundup

There are few constants in life. Cars and friends and yes, even publishers all come and go.

But one event I look forward to every year is MidSouthCon. 

MidSouthCon is, of course, the premiere science fiction/fantasy con held every March in Memphis, Tennessee. 

To me, it's more than just a gathering of like-minded fans of a genre I love. It's become a place to see old friends and make new ones. The people who run the con work their asses off to bring order to the chaos that is fandom, and they do a marvelous job every year. So let me start with a shout-out to the Con staff, who herd cats, wrangle authors, appease editors, placate publicists, and generally make sure everyone has a great time.  You guys and girls rock!

The 34th MidSouthCon was no exception. I had a blast, met a lot of fascinating people, grabbed some incredible art (from Ann Stokes, Mitch Faust, and Sam Flegal), hung out with ghost hunters (Historical Haunts), and finally got to spend some real time with authors I respect and admire (Rosalie Stanton, Cecilia Dominic, Steve Bradshaw, Tim Bohn, and Robert Krog, among many others). 

Meeting and actually speaking with artist Ann Stokes was also delightful. I'm constantly amazed at the innate, well, niceness of the artists, authors, and other creative people at the Con. It's not artifice, either -- the Con simply has a friendly vibe that resonates year to year.

I was on a number of panels this year, on topics ranging from cryptozoology to character development. I've come to love panels, not so much because I get to talk, but because I'm sitting next to people who have profound things to say. I learned something valuable I can apply to my own writing every time I sat down, and there aren't many other venues that provide me with that experience.

I also took pictures. It;s hard to sit in the lobby and catch everyone in cosplay when you're a panelist, but I did the best I could. You can follow the link below to Flickr to see the best of the pics I took. 

Link to Frank's MidSouthCon 34 pics:

I was eligible for two Darrell Awards this year -- one in the YA Novel category, for All the Turns of Light, and one in the novel category, for The Darker Carnival.

I'm happy to report that All the Turns of Light won 1st runner up, and my Markhat novel The Darker Carnival won the Darrell Award for best novel of 2015!

That sounds like bragging. Maybe it is, just a bit. But writing is a lonely business. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading me anymore. Having the Darrell awards jury choose one of my books tells that nagging little voice in my head, the one that whispers "you're wasting your time, moron, no one likes your stuff" to shut up for a while. That's always welcome.

I'll be honest -- I'm exhausted. It was fun, but at my age, fun comes at a price. So I'll leave you with a couple of extra images from the Con.

The Darrell Award:

My prized Ann Stokes image, 'Arachnafaria.' Taking good pictures of art is hard, please forgive the image quality. The actual piece, which is on canvas, is stunning:

Finally, a pic of the author presenting a professional, properly authorial image on a panel:

Night night, kids. I'm off to take a huge dose of Vitamin C and hope to avoid the onset of the dreaded Con Crud...

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