I had an all-around wonderful time at Apollo Con, and I’m only just now recovering from the weekend. I rode down with Renee Babcock, a friend from Austin, and we had a wide-ranging conversation there and back, making a long trip much shorter and more enjoyable with the company.

The writers workshop.

The writer’s workshop on Saturday was small, with only two workshoppers and two auditors, who didn’t have stories to be critiqued but who came for the discussion. I was able to give the students plenty of attention and I think they got a lot out of it. We talked about editors, markets, the editing process, etc. One of the things that surprised me was how isolated people can be if they live in small towns in Texas, as one of the attendees was. Science fiction and fantasy are still looked at askance in some areas. Cons are great way to let people who maybe are the only ones at work or school interested in science fiction get together with their real community.

I’ll talk about my panels in a later post, but for now wanted to talk about some of the features. The dealer’s room and the art auction are always fantastic, and I bought several books (well, there you go — booksellers are a bunch of pushers, they are): A. Lee Martinez’s Monster, Sharon Shinn‘s Fortune and Fate, and Gail Carriger‘s Soulless. I also bought this lovely figure, who lives in my writing office now:

I was kept pretty busy during the convention, but I made sure I got to go to the panel on Class M planets. Fascinating stuff about what we know about extra-solar planets and what a planet needs for it to be habitable by humans or for life at all. If I had my way it could have gone on for hours. Fantastic discussion, and exactly why I love science fiction conventions — it’s the science.

The masquerade is always great fun, and there were plenty of creative and funny costumes.

From left, Astronaut Stan Love, Paul Abell, Larry Dawson on Class M planets

The Cruellas would be a great name for a band.

Sadly, this time I didn’t get to see any of the movies, and Apollo Con always shows such great features.

The con was a great way to hang out with new friends and old. I enjoyed meeting fan guest Jeanne Gomoll and hope that I get a chance to run into her at another convention elsewhere. Such an interesting and engaging person. I also got to chat with Ann VanderMeer for a bit. I WILL sell another story to Weird Tales. There were the usual suspects from Austin and Houston and points around Texas, and the parties on Saturday night were a blast.

All in all, an excellent convention and I’m already looking forward to next year.


Consuelo Grant · June 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Patrice – I’m so glad to hear you had a good time. I, too, would have enjoyed the discussion on Class M planets. The figurine is fantastic. I hope she goes in a place of honor. Does she have a name?

Rhonda · June 28, 2011 at 6:35 am

I hear you on the Weird Tales (except it wouldn’t be AGAIN but first time). I actually have a story in that slush pile right now. Should be coming up in queue in about 3 weeks. 😎

Patrice Sarath · June 28, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hi Rhonda, did you get a chance to chat with Ann? I think I was counterprogrammed to everything she was on so my chance to meet her was limited. Good luck with your Weird Tales story.

My goddess figurine does not have a name yet — any ideas?

Consuelo Grant · June 29, 2011 at 2:00 am


Patrice Sarath · June 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

She’s so not a Petunia.

Bethe Ann Bugbee · June 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

From what I can tell from the photo – her dress makes me think of water turning to ice, but her hair has that fall leaf color thing going on. Maybe she’s a goddess of things ending. I’m thinking positive ends here – things getting completed. Her hands are even posed like she’s drawing your attention to something impressive. Maybe she’s the Lady of Strong Endings. That’s a goddess a writer could use in her office.

Patrice Sarath · June 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I like that.

Consuelo Grant · June 29, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Not a Petunia huh? Do you see any “flower” name, garden or tree name?

A3 · June 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

The writer’s workshop was excellent, and you gave me a lot of good feedback. Thanks!

Rhonda, I’ve got a story behind yours in the Weird Tales slush pile. Good luck to you!

I loved Bethe’s suggestion of the Lady of Strong Endings (dang, now I want one). But perhaps she needs a personal name as well. For some reason, I see her as doing a Hawaiian dance, but I couldn’t find any Hawaiian girl names that went with Bethe’s suggestion. I think a name meaning success would go well with the title. So, after surfing, perhaps Azzalene (Italian for precious, successful, and loyal), Barika (Swahili for success), or Poppy (English flower which signifies wealth, success, consolation, and pleasure – but I’d think she’d need to be red for that).

consuelo · June 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm

My vote would be for Azzalene. In honor of your Italian roots.

Patrice Sarath · June 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Perhaps Lena for short — if one can be so familiar with a goddess?

Antha, so glad that the workshop was a success for you. Please keep in touch and let me know how things go with your stories.

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