I think this was the best Armadillocon in a long time and not just because I had a book out. The topics were all really interesting and well-attended, and the energy was way up. Among the panels I attended were Hollywood: Book to Screen and How to Sell a Story to Asimov’s (with brave editor Sheila Williams taking questions). I have resolved to stop doing Sheila’s job and reject my stories myself — no, I will send her my stories from now on and let her do that. But in case you haven’t heard the statistics, she receives about 6,000 stories a year and accepts between 60 and 80.

I moderated two panels: one on Young Adult fiction. My goal for this panel was to allow the panelists to show off their knowledge of the YA field and let them discourse upon trends and such. I don’t think it went as smoothly as I would have wished, but not because it was the panelists’ fault — they were all very informative, but sometimes the panel just gets away from you.

Much better was the Writer’s Boot Camp, or No More Excuses Panel. We talked about the roadblocks people put in their own way when they wanted to write and it was a fun, lively, discussion. A lot of people including panelists said how much they enjoyed that one. So I felt like I had done my job.

I got to sign books in the presence of John Scalzi, for whom the line stretched out of the dealer room. It was phenomenal. The others of us at the signing table, including Julie Kenner, Steve Wedel, and Josh Rountree, were in awe. I did sign plenty of copies of Gordath Wood, and then at the end of the hour, got in the end of the Scalzi line to get my copy of Zoe’s Tale to be signed. I cannot wait to read it. It looks fabulous.

The highlight of the con, though, were the camp fire stories told by Joe Haldeman, Joe Lansdale, Bill Crider, and Scott Cupp. Joe Lansdale told some remarkable stories, including the one about the blind groundskeeper and the woman who comes to the door and has a fit (“I mean it was a F I T T fit”), and stories about his dad. The elder Lansdale never started a fight, but boy, he sure knew how to finish one. And Joe Haldeman told a truly awesome story about Vietnam, among other tales.

That was the best.

Excellent parties, good friends, Jayme Blaschke’s mead, and great readings by Stina Leicht, Martha Wells, Matthew Bey, Jessica Reisman, and others. Can’t wait for next year.


Bethe B. · August 17, 2008 at 11:00 pm

HI Patrice,

It was great to see you at Armadillocon. I agree that the “No Excuses” panel was excellent. As ordered I fit in some writing tonight – actually managed 270 words bewteen batches of peanut butter cookies for a Cub Scout event tomorrow evening. Now to determine where I can squeeze it in tomorrow….


Stina · August 18, 2008 at 8:23 am

Sorry you felt the panel got out of control. (I probably contributed to that. *cough* :-/) Nonetheless, a number of folks walked up and said they enjoyed it. So, I think you can consider it a success.

Patrice Sarath · August 18, 2008 at 8:45 am

Hi Bethe, that’s excellent that you got 270 words last night. But with all due respect, you are doing it wrong. You are supposed to try to squeeze in batches of cookies around writing.

And then send cookies to me.

Hey Stina. Not at all. As you say, teens have been grappling with these issues for a long time, which means adults have been grappling with their grappling for as long. Ithink the topic is so big there’s no way to get around it in an hour. I had hoped to get farther in. It was fun though.

Aden · August 18, 2008 at 12:50 pm

The highlight of Armadillo Con for me was the No Excuses panel. It was exactly what I needed. Right after the panel I went up to the open gaming room, busted out the laptop and wrote 318 words. Thank you so much for moderating a great panel.

(and I already have 200 words under my belt today too!)

Patrice Sarath · August 18, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Hey Aden,
Excellent! That’s exactly what I wanted to hear had happened with people.

Bethe B. · August 19, 2008 at 8:12 am

Drat – I knew I was still doing something wrong. But you are right. It does sound better to say I fit going to work, supervising piano practice, a Cub Scout pool party and some laundry into a day of writing.

Patrice Sarath · August 19, 2008 at 9:48 am

Now you’re talking!!

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