Armadillocon Recap

Armadillocon Recap

Saturday we went to Armadillocon.

The Panels

Comic Book

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.

Paranormal Romance

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

Reading

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.

Signing

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.

Dealer Room

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.

Friends

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.

In conclusion

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.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. DSR says

    Hi. it’s great you guys had a good time! Happy the panels went well. Re the Andrea reading maybe some were confused or waiting for it to suddenly be about Kate! I am sure it was actually awesome and am looking forward to reading.
    Had a quick comment re the naming of it… you said it couldn’t have a magic etc title as in kate’s world but not about kate but ‘magic mourns’ and ‘magic dreams’ seem to go against this rule! Well the title a ‘questionalbe client’ was perfect so i think no matter what the name will be great!!!

  2. wont says

    A great recap! I don’t care what anyone says, I am thrilled you write what you do. And it makes me happy that it makes you happy. I have a thought or two to share with those that label your work as tripe.

    The panels sounded great. On the Kindle panel, was that Kindle specifically, or were e-readers in general considered?

    How nice it worked out well for Kid 1&2.

    Thank you for letting us visit.

  3. Claire says

    If you ever come to SW Ohio you should try and get to Bookery Fantasy in Fairborn. They actually have two stores on opposite sides of the street. One store has all the comics and the large doll…er action figs and the other side has all types of gaming stuff (tables in basement for in-store play) and a really large collection of older paperback scfi books.

  4. Ashley Mc says

    Sounds like you guys had an awesome time. Are you starting to be ‘old hands’ at cons now?

    Wish I could’ve made it. I’m still holding out for the Murder by the Book visit. Let us know when you get a date set. The last time I checked their schedule, I didn’t see yours listed, though they said sometime this fall when asked.

    Oh, and radiant barriers and tech shields are marvelous. We have a 3/2/2, and our highest energy bill this summer has been $160. And we live by College Station.

  5. says

    I’m so glad you all decided that Kindle was a friend. :) Sounds like a great time. Someday I will make it to a con.

    Can’t wait for more Fate’s Edge and Andrea’s book!
    kindle-aholic recently posted..Theme song…

  6. magic girl says

    thanks for sharing your experience. i don’t think we have such awesome ‘cons’ like this in the uk.
    I am surprised about writers not being nice to their readers – if my scribblings ever made it into print and someone wanted me to sign it I would hug them! if they were a tall, dark and handsome male they might get a bit more….. :)

  7. says

    Dustin and I had fun at dinner; I’m glad we finally got to meet up! The con was fun, and I agree that the Kindle and Paranormal Romance panels were a couple of the best.

    I liked Andrea’s book, but you were reading a little fast. :) The snippet from Fate’s Edge was really good, both content and delivery. I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

      • Gordon says

        We had a great time, thank you so much for dinner. Kat is a delicate snowflake, I have to pick her up from school or she will melt on the bus.

  8. Marsha says

    I am always surprised when you are surprised by the number of fans who like your work. You really are good and the numbers are only going to get bigger. I hope one day you will be closer to me, then I’ll be standing in that line.

  9. Kimberly Costello says

    I thought you did a great job with the reading! You also made awesome faces that I wish I could see when I actually read the final book. Gordon’s were not as good, but he has potential.

    Thank you again for doing it!

  10. Carmen Goodell says

    I totally agree with you regarding independent bookstores (comic or otherwise). The two edges that these stores have over online retailers or large box stores is one-on-one customer service and building of a community. If they fail in those (i.e. treat me as though I am a moron for asking for something they don’t carry or like I shouldn’t be in the store because I don’t have a penis or talk down to me because I am a woman), I take my business elsewhere. Same with bars. It is amazing in this day and age how many bars think they can get away with substandard treatment because I am chick. I don’t want a pink sweet “cocktail”; I want you to tell me about your whiskeys and gins and to stop talking to me as if I didn’t have a single brain cell in my head.

  11. says

    A) Bill Crider is a WONDERFUL man. He and Kathy Kibriel are very good people.

    B) Fantastic seeing you guys. Even if we didn’t do dinner….scheduling happens. We still got to chat.

    C) You linked Michelle’s Art page at Deviant! Bless you! (The Artist GoH, Vincent Villafranca, got to meet Michelle and gushed over the piece he bid on but lost (The dragon piece). She went SQUEE! ;) Also, the guy running the art show bought the raven picture. That was so cool, even if means it doesn’t get to hang on our wall.

    D) Claudia’s website for Pan-Gaia designs (the bracelet mentioned above, hair sticks, and kimonos) is http://www.pan-gaia.com/

  12. Diane Mc. says

    I wanted to come up from SA so bad but had already arranged something for the weekend. Next year!

  13. Diana says

    There are two really good comic store here. One is dragon’s lair, and the other one is rogues gallery. I’d be surprised if you were treated rudely there.

    I also enjoyed your reading and I just couldn’t think of any questions because I was having a good time!

  14. Bridget Locke says

    Isn’t tripe a fish? I think trite is the word you were going for. :D

    I got the book in the mail on Tuesday! Haven’t read it yet, but will be soon. Can’t wait!

    • Ilona says

      Definition of TRIPE
      1
      : stomach tissue especially of a ruminant (as an ox) used as food
      2
      : something poor, worthless, or offensive

      :P

  15. says

    You know I have had the exact same experience in MOST comic book stores EXCEPT for The Comics Cellar in Monrovia, CA. I gotta say these guy keep the store neat and well organized, there is NO gaming in this store. It’s about selling comics and that is it. Ok they do have some collectibles but not a lot…it’s about the books. They are all friendly and helpful even if your female and NOT super educated about comics. Also…they are very good about keeping the ADULT stuff away from where the general public/kids are going to be looking for the latest Batman or anime. Anyway…I always speak for this store because, sadly, it’s not common for comics stores to be like this one.
    So glad to hear the Con was fun and the reading/signing went well.
    Miss Bliss recently posted..All out

  16. Sarafina says

    Bill Crider is the best. I met him at a multi-day mystery con in Dallas years ago. He was telling me about a series he writes, and I looked for it in the dealer room but it was out of print. Bill found an autographed copy and gave it to me later in the con.

    Also his tale of why he was an English, not a math major, is very funny.

  17. Moonspinner says

    I enjoyed reading about Armadillocon and wish I could’ve attended. A cursory glance through your website doesn’t show whether y’all will attend Atlanta’s DragonCon (and the concurrent Decatur Book Fest) this coming Labor Day weekend.

  18. Andrea Ellinger says

    Regarding comic shops: I am compelled to add to the recommendation of Dragon’s Lair comics in Austin. (http://dlair.net) It was a haunt of my husband as he was growing up there, and I visited it myself last year, as well as their location closer to me in Bellevue WA. Best comic store I’ve ever been in. Good organization (no tables in the way), good products, friendly people, no odd looks or attitude from anyone. Please do check it out if you get the chance. I think you’ll like it.

  19. Fred says

    Thanks for sharing your experience, sounds like you had a good time! You need to come and visit us in the UK, mind you it’s sometime hard to get your books in the shops, went to Waterstone the other day to buy one of your book, and I’ve been told they didn’t had it in stock but will gladly order it for me, it will only take 3 weeks to arrive… no thank you amazon does it in 3 days!

  20. says

    BTW, that Texas con hospitality? I blame Meri Davis (then Hazelwood) , who started Phoenix Entertainment about 20 years ago with Project A-kon, with the philosophy that cons should be for the fans themselves, not for the money in their wallets. (This was a common problem back then where a major national chain or two of conventions would basically wave a guest at the attendees and say “Ok, give us your money, and there’s the dealer’s room.”)

    Many of her staff went on to run other major cons (and some of her guests as well) and the good attitude spread. ;)

  21. Denisetwin says

    Sounds like you had such a good time, YAY! Wish we could have come, but it was just too far away. I KWYM about authors and the signing lines and the grumpies. My twin and brother went to San Diego ComicCon and came back raving about Rob Thurman because she chatted and personalized the signing based on what they chatted about, made them feel so welcome in spite of the fact she had been signing for a loooong time by then! They immediately went out and bought the two books of hers we didn’t already have. Other authors ran the gamut between that and frown, scribble scribble, NEXT! They didn’t buy any extra books of the frown scribble scribble NEXT authors…

  22. Melissa S. says

    I met you! You signed my Nook. Yes, I am sure you remember be especially well now (ha, ha :)). After your reading I am even more excited to read Andrea’s story and Fate’s Edge. Thank you for posting about Armadillocon because even though I live here I didn’t know about it.
    **Kid 1′s shoes were super cute! Platform and stiletto heels (5 inches?), not only did she rock them, but they could double as weapons. Wise move for your pretty girls.