Saturday we went to Armadillocon.
Gordon had a comic book panel, during which the moderator, instead of moderating, pontificated his views on comic books. It was entertaining, but I did end up wishing someone would step on his foot or something, so other panelists could get a word in edgewise.
The panel touched on a possible demise of the independent comic book stores. I didn’t want to bring it up, because I didn’t want to be labeled a hater, but most comic book stores I visited – and I’ve visited a lot – are kind of poorly set up. You have your treasure wall behind the counter, and then a cramped space with long-boxes that are often disorganized. The floor plan is often dominated by tabletop gamers, for which these stores serve as hubs. I have no problem with gamers, but I wish their presence would be taken into consideration when the retail space is planned.
[toggle_content title="Click here for my extended rant on the state of comic book stores."]
Otherwise, this is my typical comic book store visit: I walk in and get an odd look immediately, because I am female, and the forty year old dude behind the counter acts like he’s never seen my species before. I can see Grimjack graphic novels on the wall but there is a table with six people engaged in a game between me and the Grimjack. There is no way to negotiate that table and the gamers are obviously into whatever they are doing, because they are loud. And sometimes they are outright hostile, as if I am encroaching on their turf.
I ask the dude behind the counter to see the new Aquaman figure but it’s hanging two feet above his head. He has to get a ladder. He sighs. He disappears into the back room for three minutes searching for it. He comes back and gives me a long-suffering look. Why do I need all this aggravation when I can click Buy on Amazon, and Grimjack and Aquaman will land on my doorstep in two days? And it will usually cost me less, too, because the comic book store has to pay rent and utilities and make a profit, so it can’t compete with Amazon prices.
People shake their fists and say things like, “Support your local comic book store!” I’ll support Powells – they are awesome. I’ll support any independent store that makes me feel welcome when I enter. Why would I support people who sneer at me? [/toggle_content]
Kindle: Friend of Foe
It was an awesome, awesome panel. Bill Crider was moderating and he was absolutely wonderful. Mr. Crider was charming and funny, and very adept at steering the discussion. Kimberly Frost was also on the panel, and she was terribly nice. Apparently, we have similar publisher woes. Also on the panel was Nate Southard. Nate writes horror and he made some great observations regarding ebooks, covers, and Kindle.
At the end we voted and decide Kindle was a friend.
J. Kathleen Cheney moderated this panel and she had a list of questions. I decided that the next time I end up moderating, I will do it just like Kathleen. Or better yet, I will arrange to be on the panel with Kathleen and she can moderate. We had a list of questions, so there was no dead air and everyone had a chance to talk. Other panelists included Rosemary Clement-Moore, who is hilarious, and Julie Kenner, who is kind of frighteningly accurate in her observations.
The panel touched on such topics as “Why werewolves and vampires?” and “Do we write anything besides werewolves and vampires?” and “OMG, everyone else thinks we write tripe.” And they do. I don’t care. I write what makes me happy, meh.
Reading and Signing
The bar was closed. Usually I get a glass of wine before I read, but not this time. We had a lot of people and I’m happy to report that a snippet of Fate’s Edge went over well. A snippet of Andrea’s book – not so much, so we have rethought the beginning and I will start on it as soon as I finish this post. We tried to get people to ask questions, but no dice.
We had a surprising line of people. O_O. I was kind of amazed. We were told by two different people that we were nice and how nice it was that we were not rude.
Bitchy rant (you get two in one day – it’s a sale on rants, apparently): if someone drives and pays a fee to see me scribble in their copy of my book, I better be nice. Seriously. Everyone has bad days, but if no matter how bad my day is, if I am making a public appearance, my job is to make sure that I pay attention to every person who came to see us.
I feel that if the writer can’t make that commitment, this writer shouldn’t be making any public appearances. Being snobby to people who came to see you is not cool. We hope we will never be that way, and if one of us strays into “above it all” territory, the other one has permission to slap them.
We donated the last remaining ARC of Angels of Darkness to the charity auction. I ran into Claudia – banzai! – and bought a bracelet I’ve been wanting since last year. I have to find Claudia’s website for you. We chatted, and her AC bill is half ours, because she has a “radiant barrier” paint on her house. Must make radiant barrier happen.
We’ve ran into Mickey Finn and Michelle Parker, and were hoping to have a dinner, but it didn’t turn out that way. Kid 1 and Kid 2 got to wonder around the con and experience the pretty girl phenomenon, otherwise known as “You are so pretty! Here, have free stuff!” Hopefully it will not go to their heads.
Kid 1 also got to model scarves. Apparently she possesses an unnatural ability to stand perfectly still.
We ended up having dinner with Jessie and Justin, and we ate at Chuy’s, which has the best TexMex and also funny waiters.
I pretty much love Armadillocon. It’s laid back and easy. There is no pressure. The people we spoke to were interesting and nice, and the con staff treated everyone with what I now believe is the trademark Texan politeness.