ICON 43 Retrospective

Every year I look forward to ICON. This year was a good year, with some ups and down.

Previous ICON Retrospectives

Apparently I haven't done ICON 41 or 42. Not sure why, but that's life.


On Thursday, I joined the authors at the Barnes and Nobel signing. That was fun, though a bit smaller this year than the last few ones. I got a chance to chat with a bunch of authors and a few fans.

They didn't have my books due to a remarkable series of shipping difficulties in my life. Even though they ordered with plenty of time, the printer couldn't get them to me in time so I had to do consignment (which was actually a better deal in terms of percentages).

I really talking to people, did you know that? It's going to be a common theme for the entire weekend.

There was a little more drama so I got to play money courier for a day to deliver an envelope with secrets (cash) to another author on Friday.


Friday continued my difficulties with shipping when a counter book stand didn't show up. According to Fedex, it was delivered on Wednesday. I wouldn't find out until today (Tuesday) that our dog was in the driveway so they just abandoned it. So far, Amazon and Fedex still can't find it so there is a “trace” going on. That was a bummer because I really could have used it.

As usual, everyone at work wanted to ask me questions so I almost didn't make it on time. I managed to get everything set up with three minutes to spare (better than being an hour late from the year before). I had a great time chatting with some of the other vendors. I was opposite of Alban Lake, next to a couple others.

At the tail end, Cassie Leigh showed up in the first of many pinup outfits (check her out and vote for her if you see her in a contest). She had these adorable faux blow-up shoes.

I got to play Portal 2 in the gaming room with Cassie's offspring. It was also my first time playing on an Xbox 360 (so tiny controllers). I had a lot of fun, more so since I recognized one of the puzzles from watching a trailer from the first game before it came out and knew exactly how to solve it.

The opening ceremonies were enjoyable as usual.

I managed to lock my keys in the vendor hall. When I went to go home, I couldn't get to them so I started walking home until my spouse picked me up. They were annoyed because my formerly broken ankle, walking for a long distance hurts. Plus it was raining. And I didn't have my coat.

I did remember that I did the same thing last year, so I'm going to tape a “do not put your keys here” on the bottom of my raffle box.


Saturday was pretty busy. Mostly I was there as a vendor, but I had a chance to wander around a little too.

I was on two panels: Creating Distinctive Characters and RPG Mechanics in Writing. I didn't have a panelist for the latter and my material sputtered out at the forty minute mark. I had ten minute of talking about running RPG games to fill in the space. Overall, not my worst panel but not my best.

Shannon Ryan and their spouse joined us at the table as did my spouse in an adorable Harley Quinn outfit. We had fun talking and I got invited to chat with the Paradise Icon folks. They are a lot of fun to chat with and we went to their two readings after that.

Spouse and I did wander into a thirteen person Cards Against Humanity. That was a lot of fun. Everyone laughed, I didn't know most of them. It was a blast.


For me, Sundays at ICON starts with the benefactor's brunch. I had a lot of deja vecu through most of it but… that's expected.

After that, a reading with Alexandra Pen. Both of us have similiar themes in our writing but approach it in very different ways. I read the second chapter of Flight of the Scions.

Beyond that, lots of talking, chatting, and having fun. I ended with a long conversation with some friends before I had to head home and rejoin Mundania.


On the Broken Typewriter Press side of the convention, it was a disaster. We didn't have that many new books and this is a convention we've sold for a lot of years. I wished I could have gotten Second-Hand Dresses out but… I couldn't and be responsible. So, not a lot of sales. Overall, I ended up a couple hundred in the hole this year.

Looking around the vendor hall, it looked like there was a general lack of spending. I guess that a lot of people are worried about the economy. I know I was, which meant I couldn't do my usual “author groupie” thing and buying every new book by an author who shows up.


As an attendee, ICON was a blast because I like interacting with people. The more I talk, the more energy I have. It was also small groups and one-on-ones, which is my comfort zone.

The other aspect of conventions is that review of everything I said where I berate myself for saying stupid things. Most of the time, this weekend was just stress leaking out. I felt “off” most of the convention.

As I've mentioned on this blog before, I try really hard to keep “happy” or only talk about positive things. This weekend, I failed a couple of times and feel really guilty about it. But I didn't seem to bum anyone out, so “win.”

I also had a strange identity crisis, which is really strange since I thought I resolved most of those years ago.

Overall, I always get down after conventions (no more people to interact with). That's expected and plannable.


I'm going to see if I can get into the erotic reading next year. I think Second-Hand Dresses would be perfect.

I'm also hoping to have a little better planning for the convention so I don't feel off. Getting into more author readings and panels might help but there is also the balance of being a vendor for Typewriter verses attending. Those two are contrary at time but I also feel that I'm representing others.

I'm also hoping that the shelving unit shows up and I have enough books that my master plan will start to be visible.

I have some more plans for patrons because this is the fifth year running where I get less than $10/month. For some reason, this really bothered me.

For all the negative, there was far more positive. I can't wait to go back next year.