SpoCon 2013 Wrap-Up!

So, SpoCon 2013 is officially over, and the world (okay, Spokane… whatever) laments the loss of con-dom for another year. BUT, the weekend was an amazing experience across the board, and it’s time for all the blogging nerds to recap! So here are the highlights of SpoCon 2013, from my own kidlit nerd’s point of view:


Getting up early is not a regular occurrence for me, but it was worth it on Friday morning! In the early morning hours (okay, so it was 9 AM, whatever), we slogged downtown to the DoubleTree Hotel half-asleep to set up our table:


Here we see Echo in his native habitat (kinda), and my amazing husband and daughter dressed up in their Nil-ish best!

I had two panels to sit in on Friday while my awesome “crew” manned the table: Writing for the Youth Market, and World-Building: Transportation and Trade.

I have to be honest — the first panel was my very favorite of all. Not only was it on the best subject ever — kidlit — but I was on it with my friend, kidlit fantasy author Deby Fredericks, and ultra-uber-superstar author Brandon Sanderson! That was pretty awesome. PLUS, and this was a BIG bonus, I made a couple of new friends: YA fantasy and romance author Fallon Jones, and YA fantasy author Shelley Martin. Like me, both are local to the Spokane area, so I’m looking forward to getting to know them better. Check out their sites — they’re pretty amazing writers. 🙂 Anyway, there’s nothing like being on a panel with other awesome authors, talking about a subject I both love and am pretty knowledgeable in.

The second panel I was on with none other than the great C.J. Cherryh! Just her and me. So yeah, I was a bit nervous. But she was amazing (of course), and I learned more than a few new things about world building for my own books. Plus, I actually had some thoughts to contribute, which surprised me. I guess you learn a few things writing for over two decades, even if you do  write books that don’t generally utilize transportation and trade.

Unfortunately, I wound down pretty fast on Friday night. That tends to happen when you’re not used to waking up before noon. So we headed home as the con was winding up for the night with dances and geek parties. That, and I had to do an emergency run for colored ink so I could print more bookmarks for the weekend.

Note to self: next year, drink a LOT of Red Bull.


It was more difficult to get out of bed on Saturday morning, but still totally worth it! I began the day with a reading of Dr. Fixit’s Malicious Machine (wherein I lost my geek card by not answering the laden swallow question correctly — I cry foul; never ask that question of a sleepy geek), then sat at my booth signing and talking about my book with a lot of great fellow geeks (YESSSS).

And then there was the epic cosplay! Here are just a few examples of the costumed awesomeness that passed my booth:

1 2 3 4 56

I was on another panel Saturday — World Building: Developing a Realistic City Scape. This was another panel to which I wasn’t sure I could contribute, but I ended up really enjoying it — especially the discussion of post-apocalyptic cities, which I led. I also met a couple more new friends — fantasy author Jane Fancher and her house elf Wiishu (who is adorable). Fallon Jones was again on this panel with me.

Saturday I stayed up late, manning the booth while Mike (my husband) and Emily (my daughter) gamed in the gamer’s room until midnight. The masquerade ball and dance were both on Saturday, in the ballroom right next to my booth, so I had some great music to listen to while I signed my books. Two Monster drinks and a few trips to the Godsend of a food-stocked green room kept me awake, but then Emily got really hungry after the green room was closed, so we packed up and took off for home and bed, ending day two.


Sunday was both the most exhausting day of the entire con, and the absolute best! Waking up on Sunday morning was akin to forcing ones-self to climb out of a tar pit with fifty-pound weights on one’s eyelids, but I did it. Because… again… it was worth it!

I had my last panel on Sunday — Writer’s Challenge: Design a System of Governance, again with my friend Deby. The challenge, I am sad to say, was not met. The panel ended up discussing real-world politics for the most part, until I broke in to remind everyone that we were discussing politics in fiction. After that we discussed fiction, but never did actually create a fictional system of governance. Still, it was  fun, and I learned a lot about the place of government in science fiction. As a kidlit writer I don’t use government much in my stories, but it will help a lot when I start writing Rise of The Nefarious Numbots. Score!

Then my crew and I went off to The Tournament of Crews to test our mettle on the Artemis Bridge Simulator, a game with six consoles hooked together to form the bridge crew of a Star Trek-style spaceship. My daughter Emily was our captain and science officer, I was the helmsman (which means, for you non-geek types, that I flew the ship — YESSSS), and my husband Mike was on tactical (AKA weapons). We had another crewmember but I never did get his name, sadly. We did pretty well, working together to take out alien scum and protect our four space stations (okay, so only one survived — whatever), scoring 85 in the end, which was higher than the con staff! YES! We didn’t win high score, but we DID win best dressed crew, which I would like to credit on my own Nil-based cosplay . 😉

It was also on Sunday that I sold Song of Spirit to the magical, mystical Fairy Princess Lolly. I’m pretty excited to see what she thinks of it! 🙂

As Sunday wound down and the other booths were being packed up, I felt a wave of sadness. The con was so much fun, I didn’t want it to end. Then the intrepid Tim Martin, without whom the con would not have been near as much fun for me, approached me with an invitation — the pros were going out to dinner as a wrap-up, and would I like to join them?

Um… YES?

So Mike, Emily and I went out to dinner with Tim, Brandon, C.J., Jane, Wiishu, and a bevy of other awesome writers and geeks, then after THAT, we joined them back at the hotel for an after party! What a great way to wrap up an amazing con weekend!

I’ll definitely be at SpoCon 2014. This time without a booth. Instead, I’ll be selling my books through the Marmot Market — the con’s official store — and focus on more panels and readings. Mike and I will also be working through the year with the con creators as official members of the con staff, bringing our own strengths to the table to help make next year even better!

All that is to say, if you can make it to SpoCon 2014, DO! You will NOT regret it!

ETA: Frog and Esther Jones were also amazing! I keep forgetting people and things, there was SO much there!


2 Responses to “SpoCon 2013 Wrap-Up!”

  1. Meeting you and your hubby and daughter were a definite highlight of the con! Sorry to hear your Governance panel did the same thing as the education panel. I kept trying and they kept reverting. Grrrr…. Next year we’ll go in with whips and chains and get those panels over onto the writing of these things, not the current state of…or even the history of! I love the concept, but there has to be some way to keep it from being a grouse session!

    • Ditto to meeting you, Wiishu and Carolyn! I’m going to get on as many panels as they’ll let me next year. It was so much fun, even if they DID dwell on reality a bit too much. LoL!

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