Con Report: Confluence 2015

This weekend I attended Confluence, Pittsburgh’s science fiction/fantasy/horror literary convention, hosted by Parsec. I had a great time being on panels and meeting other writers and readers.

I’m lucky enough to live close enough to other writer friends that I didn’t have to make the 4.5 hour drive to Mars, Pennsylvania, all by my lonesome. K. Ceres Wright, fellow Dog Star Books author of COG, was excellent company on the road. We both attended graduate school together and it’s crazy to think we’ve known each other for 10 years already!

I had a busy convention schedule, which kicked off Friday night with a panel on “Work-Life Balance for Freelance Writers.” Major point: Avoiding distractions is just as important as not letting yourself get sucked into your work to the exclusion of everything else. My personal addition to that is to remember that your physical health is an investment in your work, too. The moderator was publicist Beverly Bambury, and it was great to finally meet her in person! She and I spent a lot of time hanging out and plotting over the rest of the weekend.

Following that was a reading with another fellow Dog Star Books author, Albert Wendland of THE MAN WHO LOVED ALIEN LANDSCAPES. He read from the first chapter of his novel, while I read a section closer to the end of STEEL VICTORY. Both passages seemed well-received by the audience.

I spent the rest of the evening drifting between panels, the (very well-stocked) Con Suite, and hanging out near registration. I reconnected with some friends I’d met at last year’s Confluence and drank way too much caffeine. At 11 PM, I joined forces once more with my fellow Dog Star Books authors to host a Kaffeklatsch on genre blending, where we discussed how the changing way that people buy books is allowing for more diversity in fiction that would otherwise not be easily shelved in traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores.

At 2 PM on Saturday, I set up in the lobby for a bit of book signing. Once again, I was very pleased with my sales numbers for this event.

Afterward, I ran into a new friend I’d made the month before. Julie is a first-semester student at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction, where I also graduated many eons ago. The really cool thing about Julie is that she writes speculative fiction and geeks out with me about all things Marvel. The second-coolest thing about Julie is that she is Tamora Pierce‘s personal assistant, and she invited me to join them for lunch.


In all seriousness, both of them are awesome people and I had a great time. This is why everyone should go to conventions! You never know what might happen!

I had two more panels in the evening. At 7 PM, I moderated “The Manuscript on the Doorstep: Successful relationships between authors and editors.” Major point: Be respectful, be open to communication, and trust that everyone is working as a team to make the book/story better.

At 9 PM, I participated on a panel on “Disability in Science Fiction and Fantasy.” I’m so glad that I was able to orchestrate the attendance of Steven Spohn of AbleGamers. I was both pleased and surprised by how many people attended this discussion, and the conversation bounced back and forth between both positive and negative representations of disability in the media and how to best represent disability in writing. Major point: Disability should be more than a plot device. And as with all things writing-related, do your research!

The rest of the evening was spent attending a party hosted by Fortress Publishing, a great group of people. Thanks for the fantastic local beers!

On Sunday morning, I attended my last panel on “Agents: To Have or Have Not?” This can be a contentious topic of discussion, and that panel was no exception! Major point: Again, do your research. My personal addition: Know what you want out of your career to determine whether an agent would be helpful or necessary, and know that this decision is certainly not permanent.

I drove home Sunday afternoon and did absolutely nothing productive that evening. I did finally finish season 1 of SENSE8, but that is a whole other blog post. (I am looking for people to talk about it with, though, so drop me a line if you want to!)

I already can’t wait for Confluence next year!

And finally, the all-important book haul:

Books acquired at Confluence at 2015. List below.
Books acquired at Confluence at 2015. List below. (Companion Cube shown for scale.)

Look for reviews of these books to appear over the next few months, and let me know if you want me to move any up in the to-be-read queue!

Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

5 thoughts on “Con Report: Confluence 2015

  1. I went to an event this library hosted for Tamora Pierce and was able to get a signed copy and a picture with her. I don’t think I have ever been so happy as that day! It was like a dream come true.

      1. She really is. I didn’t expect her to be so funny or witty as she was. Plus she was super down to earth.

  2. Reblogged this on John Edward Lawson and commented:
    Several of our authors were involved with the programming at Confluence over the weekend. We were lucky enough to swing by and check in with them as we were visiting family in the area. Also, it was great to finally meet publicist Beverly Bambury with whom we have collaborated so frequently! Here is a recap by author J.L. Gribble.

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