Day: May 29, 2011

Introducing Myself

I’m still working on figuring out how best to introduce myself to new people here. The focus of who I am shifts depending upon the social circumstances of the introduction. So far I’ve been introduced as a fiction writer, a blogger, Howard’s wife, the manager of Schlock Mercenary, one of Mary’s alpha readers, and as Mary’s guest. It has been a fascinating opportunity to watch how I am treated based on the framing of the introduction. Unfortunately the usefulness of the experiment is somewhat foiled by the excellence of the people to whom I’ve been introduced. I’ve been uniformly spoken to with respect and interest. The shape of the respect and the follow-up questions is different, but if the conversation lasts for any length of time the other aspects of who I am also get touched on.

The one major role in my life that has not been my primary introductory lead-in is being a parent. Again, that gets mentioned but often much later. Once again I’m having the experience where I mention the quantity of my children and people are a bit startled. I’m still sorting the experiences and trying to rehearse so that I can introduce myself comfortably. The process is surprisingly similar to writing an elevator pitch for a book. I now have two sentence introductions for my blog, my Schlock Mercenary work, and my book. Having the pitches is really useful so that I don’t have those deer-in-the-headlights moments when someone says “And you are? What do you do?”

This convention is perfect for playing with the introductory options and pitches, because I’m not actually trying to pitch anything. I have no goals to forward, no people I need to seek out in order to advance my career. I am able to just meet cool people rather than seeking out people because I am hoping for something from them. It is a very pleasant way to attend a convention.

And now, to breakfast.

Three Snippets from the Second Day of Baycon

I was sitting at lunch with Mary and Kimmi. For them it was a discussion about Mary’s upcoming GoH interview with Kimmi as the interviewer. I was along for the food. The con was not in full bustle around us, but there were lots of interesting distractions. This was when my phone rang. The kids at home had locked themselves out of the house. I directed them to our backyard neighbor who has a key. I also spent several minutes calming a distraught Gleek, who was afraid that she would have to spend the night without the backpack full of security objects which had been locked in the house. They got the key, liberated the all-important back pack, and the kids went off to their aunt’s house for a sleepover.

I’ve gotten phone calls from home mid-convention before. I have one pretty much every convention I attend. It is often quite hard for me to stay calm because the calls bring out into the open whatever guilt I may be feeling about leaving the kids to attend the convention. This time I was not rattled at all. While the fate of the backpack was in question, I knew that two responsible adults were right there to help the kids deal with whatever outcome there might be. It was more amusing than anything else and gave me a story to tell when I got back to the table with Mary and Kimmi.


Mary’s signing here at the convention was pretty much the antithesis of the perfect signing. It was held during the dinner hour, wasn’t in the program book, the dealer’s room had already closed (so no one could buy books), and she was tucked away in a corner room far off the beaten path. Mary was cheerful and amused about it. She and I sat and talked for an hour. We were joined after awhile by a member of the convention staff with whom we had a lovely conversation. He took notes about how things should be different in other years. As Mary said it, conventions always have troubles of one sort or another. Things get mis-communicated, double booked, or overlooked. The key is for everyone to learn from the errors. And the Baycon staff have been wonderfully attentive in every interaction I’ve ever had with them.


I sat at a table in the lobby next to the bar with an ever-shifting group of authors and editors. I’d been there for several hours already and never once been bored. As people came and went I always had someone new to speak with and learn about. I had several quite-extended conversations with people I’d never met before, but with whom I hope to keep in touch. The night extended into early morning and I was still in my chair half from inertia, I finally pulled myself from the group and made my way upstairs. Tomorrow I have plans for tracking down my new acquaintances and visiting more.