July 16th, 2012


The Readercon Report

I got back from Readercon last night still high from the experience. It really is a great convention, filled as it is with interesting, knowledgeable people participating in extensive, in-depth, and widely diverse programming. But the people are what make or break any convention, and it was wonderful catching up with friends I don’t see very often and hanging out with the ChiZine Publications gang. I wish I saw these folks more than once or twice a year.

The “At School with Peter Straub” panel went magnificently. As leader, I printed up a quick bibliography cheat-sheet of Straub’s novels, collections, and poetry books for the panelists to refer to, either to get their juices flowing about which of Straub’s works influenced them most, or as a safety feature for anyone who, like me, tends to blank on titles right in the middle of sentences. I also came up with a list of questions to fill the hour, but it turned out I didn’t need most of them. The conversation flowed freely and neatly. Peter and Susan Straub actually showed up and sat right in the front row. He just beamed at us the whole time. I was delighted that he was so delighted, and in the end it just may have been the best panel experience I’ve ever had. (I also kept as a souvenir the table tent that read, “Nicholas Kaufmann, Leader,” because come on.)

The “What Writers Want” panel was a lot of fun, too. We all seemed to agree that ultimately what writers want is to be remembered and appreciated long after we’re gone. I made John Crowley laugh, too, so that’s good enough for me.

The ChiZine Publications group reading was well attended, and managed to fit snugly within its hour, despite there being eight readers. I was psyched to learn that Michael Marano has joined the ChiZine Publications family. More on that as news develops, but I’m very, very happy about it. Dawn Song was a remarkable novel.

My own solo reading went pretty well, too. It was during the dinner hour on Saturday, so I didn’t expect many people. About ten showed up. I didn’t personally know five of them, so I take that as a win. (Of course, I think two of them just wanted an air-conditioned room to relax and knit in, but still.) People seemed to like the chapter of Not Dead Yet I read from. It gives me hope that the publishers who are currently sitting on it will, too. When they eventually come back to work after Labor Day, I mean.

In other news, I rediscovered how much I like Dewar’s on the rocks; I took a picture with a life-sized cardboard cutout of Scott Edelman so he could feel like he was there (I’ll post it soon); I enjoyed meeting several people I only knew previously through Twitter, LiveJournal, and Google+; I signed copies of Chasing the Dragon for a few people (and an old copy of Walk In Shadows for one fellow!); we got to eat at Legal Sea Foods in the Burlington Mall on Saturday; and Alexa completed her collection of pressed pennies from the Burlington Mall Rainforest Cafe!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.


Got Questions for the NECon 32 Guests of Honor?

I probably mentioned this before, but I am Toastmaster at this year’s Northeastern Writers Conference, or NECon, which is taking place this weekend in Rhode Island. One of my duties as Toastmaster is to interview the two Author Guests of Honor, New York Times and USA Today bestseller Heather Graham and two-time Bram Stoker Award nominee Jeff Strand.

So here’s the deal. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask either of them, feel free to post them here and I’ll bring your questions with me. When I’m back, I’ll make sure you see their answers.

Serious questions only! Questions along the lines of “Ha ha, yer books blow, waddaya think a’ that?” will not get a place at the table. Also, Leroy the Giant Fire-breathing Hedgehog will be dispatched to your home to teach you manners.

So, if there’s anything you’d like to know about Heather or Jeff, straight from the horse’s mouth, ask away! Just keep in mind that the deadline is Wednesday because I’m leaving for NECon Thursday morning, so you’ll need to act fast.

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.


As Promised…

Here is my Readercon photo with the Scott Edelman cardboard cutout, taken on Saturday:

Something about the camera angle and the stripes on my shirt make me look like a giant, but in real life Scott Edelman towers over me, the Godzilla to my Tokyo. Also, those little stickers all over the cutout were put there during the previous night’s Meet the Pros(e) Party, which I missed because I was pooped.

See more photos from Readercon here!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.