Friday, July 8, 2016

Westercon 69 in Portland convention report!

Posted by: Angela Korra'ti
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Westercon 69 in Portland, Oregon. There, I spent most of my time sharing a book table in the dealers room with fellow NIWA members Madison Keller and Maquel A. Jacob (a.k.a. Rachel E. Robinson), selling our books as well as those of three other NIWA members—E.M. Prazeman, Rory Miller, and fellow Here Be Magic blogger Shawna Reppert.

A good time was had by all! As were mint-flavored Oreo Thins, trail mix, and most importantly, book sales! So I’d like to spend a little post space giving shoutouts to my Westercon tablemates and to tell you a bit about what they’re writing.

Madison Keller headlined our table with her Flower’s Fang series (YA fantasy), as well as her new release The Dragon Tax—described by Madison as Dungeons and Dragons-flavored humorous fantasy adventure. She and I geeked out a lot about her cover on the new release, which she actually did herself! As a computer nerd myself, I was intrigued to learn that she’d created that cover on her own computer, and was curious about the programs she used.

Shawna Reppert’s Ravensblood series was out in full force as well, and we got several visitors to the table to perk up considerably when we told them those books were urban fantasy set in Portland. Good words to use at an SF convention in Portland!

Then of course there was me, with Faerie Blood and Bone Walker’s print editions. I also had a whole bunch of my shiny new Carina Press postcards to promote the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy, since those new cards have all three of the Rebels covers on them. They were handy to offer to people as I explained that I wrote under two names, and that these other books were available in digital form.

E.M. Prazeman represented with her Lord Jester’s Legacy trilogy and the first of her Poisoned Past books. The table was in general accord that we were all jealous of Prazeman’s covers. And table visitors did take interested note as we described her books as “historical fantasy with political and sexual intrigue”.

Rory Miller had the one non-fiction title on the table: Violence: A Writer’s Guide, which is consistently one of the best-selling titles every time NIWA has an official table at a con, whether run by the organization or by individual members. Because it is a useful research guide, fellow writers. Check it out if you need help on how to write fight scenes, realistically handled injuries, and such.

Last but not least, Rachel claimed the SF/F end of the table with her Core of Confliction series, as well as a small collection of horror shorts. The geeking out with Rachel manifested with learning from her about the challenges of changing your cover with Amazon (pro tip: if you try that, be prepared to take a hit on your Amazon rankings, and possibly also your displayed reviews).

Every author represented on the table did in fact sell books. And I also was pleased to sell some copies of the Bone Walker Soundtrack! My wife Dara, the mastermind of that album under her performing name Crime and the Forces of Evil, hung out with us a lot at the table. More than once, on the last day of the con, she got people to giggle by gesturing grandly at our spread and yelling, “Da da da DA da DAAAA! STUFF!” It worked!

Bonus fun was had by having music Guest of Honor Alexander James Adams’ table right behind ours. Which meant I got to do double duty running Square transactions not only for our table, but a couple for Alec’s as well. Plus, I got to music geek a bit with him, when I told him I’d attended a fiddle workshop and had gotten to learn a bit about how to hold and handle a fiddle. At which point he promptly offered to let me try his own fiddle. To which I said YES PLEASE because when a professional musician asks you if you’d like to try his instrument, the correct answer is YES.

Of course, after I tried the fiddle and let Alec give me tips on how to properly hold it (which led to his considered opinion that I should try a 3/4-sized instrument), that was when he actually told me the thing was over a hundred years old. At which point I went YIKES and handed it back to him very carefully!

(Note: Alexander James Adams is in fact a Trickster. He is also a superb singer and fiddler and Dara and I are very proud to have him as a guest performer on the Bone Walker Soundtrack. You can find out more about Alec and his music on his Bandcamp page!)

All in all, a lovely little convention experience. And I even periodically stepped away from the table to go listen to John Scalzi’s reading (short form: delightful and hysterically funny), and also to have dinner with the NIWA crowd and to go to the Match Game SF evening sessions, which were great giggleworthy fun. I’m told this was the biggest Westercon in years. And certainly if it keeps this up, it should be a lovely convention experience for years to come.

Special side note #1: in honor of Westercon, as well as Clallam Bay Comicon which I am attending this coming weekend, the ebook editions of Faerie Blood and Bone Walker are on sale for 99 cents each! These prices are in effect until 7/16. Visit the official Faerie Blood and Bone Walker pages on my site for how to acquire these books!

Special side note #2: I'm sponsoring two episodes of the Dear Bitches Smart Authors podcast this month! The first of these two episodes went live last week and can be found here. This week's episode will be going live as this post does, so you'll be able to see that on SB-TB's Podcasts Archive! Since I'm a romance reader as well as a fantasy author, I am proud to give this podcast my support. And if you're not already, go give it your listening ears!

Angela writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series as Angela Korra'ti, and the Rebels of Adalonia high fantasy trilogy as Angela Highland. She makes her life even more complicated by letting all her friends call her Anna, and by using the name Anna the Piper in all her fandoms. No matter what name you call her, though, you can come say hi to her at, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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