Last weekend, I attended my first Farpoint convention! You could say that I got my start in speculative fiction as a Star Trek fan, so it was nice to get back to my roots, as it were.
Since this is a “local” convention for me, I commuted from home rather than staying at the hotel. After working half a day in the morning, I headed north of Baltimore by mid-afternoon to get the lay of the land. My first panel was at 4 PM, which involved a fantastic discussion with other authors and readers about creating immersive worlds in speculative fiction (and writing in general). We discussed how to incorporate just enough detail (but not too much detail!) to allow a reader to suspend their disbelief and go along for the ride in any genre.
My second panel was immediately after, where I switched gears into fan mode and discussed “All Things Winchester.” Supernatural is currently in season 13, and not everyone was caught up, so we kept it general in our discussion of how the show is successful thematically, various character issues, favorite episodes, and theories regarding the upcoming spin-off, Wayward Sisters.
I didn’t have any of my usual writing tribe at this convention, so I steeled myself and asked if I could join one of my fellow Supernatural panelists, cosplayer Jessica Crouse, if I could join her group for dinner. I’m so glad that I did, because I made some amazing new friends over the course of the weekend through that one act of courage! We had a great dinner and evening of hanging out, then it was back to the hotel for the evening book fair.
I was a bit hesitant about having an event so late in the evening, but between the karaoke and the cash bar set up in the midst of the fair, I don’t regret staying so late. After chatting about my books and with other cool authors for a few hours, it was time to head home.
I did regret having to be up at 8 AM after falling into bed long after midnight, but I had to head back to the hotel for my autograph session at 10 AM. Latte the size of my head in hand, I had a lovely morning sharing a table with author Heather E. Hutsell. Afterward, we also shared a reading session where we both shared excerpts from our newest novels.
Afterward, I enjoyed a quiet lunch (and more coffee) with one of my friends from dinner the previous evening. Then it was off to one of my highlights of the weekend! Farpoint’s guest of honor was actor Nana Visitor, also known as Kira Nerys from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She was an absolute delight during her panel, and shared both humorous and poignant stories from her time with the show.
My schedule was clear for the rest of the day, so I decided to check out something I’d never done before: a cosplay panel! For this particular panel, cosplayers Jessica Crouse, Jay Justice, and Jazmine shared their experiences with crossplay (wearing the costume of a character of a different gender) and gender-bending (converting a character’s costume to that of your own gender identity). I also learned a lot about cosplay in general, and they were kind enough to answer my own “newb” question (What do you do with all your costumes? Answer: Lots of closet space).
To decompress before the rainy drive home, I partook of delicious cake at the LGBT Tea, where everyone was very welcoming of me as an ally who strives to include diverse characters in her fiction. We had a great, group-wide conversation about representation in video games. Finally, I swung through the dealers room, came really close to buying the first part of a Stargate Atlantis uniform (because obviously I need another expensive hobby like cosplay), and headed home to dinner with my husband and the final three episodes of Altered Carbon.
I felt much more refreshed on Sunday morning, so I was able to launch right into my lively 10 AM panel on “Superhero Movie Overload.” Being the youngest person in the room (by far) was amusing for this panel, especially when it came to explaining to a crotchety older male audience member that the CW has made so many changes to characters in the Arrow-verse because, well, he’s not the targeted demographic for those shows. The room was unanimous, however, in our excitement for the upcoming Black Panther film. (Which I get to see tomorrow evening! Yay! Stay tuned for my reaction next Tuesday on Speculative Chic’s next Sound Off post.)
As I was setting up for my autograph session right afterward, I had the moment of a lifetime. Nana Visitor was wandering down the hallway toward her table, where she would also be signing in 10 minutes. Since she didn’t seem to be in a rush, and there was no one waiting for her at her table, I took the opportunity to step away from my table and ask for a moment of her time. I shared that it was partly because of seeing woman like her on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine while growing up that led me to writing speculative fiction today. Her response was touching and genuine — she shook my hand and thanked me for sharing, saying that she loves hearing stories like that. I hope that I age as beautifully and graciously as what I saw of Ms. Visitor this past weekend.
Coming down after that high, I had a great time sharing table space with author Keith R. A. DeCandido, a prolific author that I admire greatly.
For my final panel of the weekend, “The Business of Writing,” I shared time-management tips as a writer with way too many balls to juggle. I always love hearing about the process other authors use, and this panel also gave me the opportunity to share my mantra about how there is no one right way to be an writer.
I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with my new friends, and even joined them for dinner before we all scattered to the winds. I’m already looking forward to my next Farpoint convention in 2019.
The final haul (and I was doing so well about buying books at conventions…):
- Every Kingdom Divided by Stephen Kozeniewski (signed by author)
- Outside In Makes It So: 174 New Perspectives on 174 Star Trek TNG Stories by 174 Writers edited by Robert Smith
- Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn (signed by author)
- King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Kim Iverson Headlee (signed by author)
- Exploding TARDIS drawstring backpack by Jay Justice
- Clash of Eagles (Clash of Eagles #1) by Alan Smale (signed by author)
- “Kings” by Kim Iverson Headlee and Patricia Duffy Novak
- Oracle of Philadelphia (Earthbound Angels #1) by Elizabeth Corrigan (signed by author)