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An OryCon 39 Debriefing

An OryCon 39 Debriefing

It’s time for a convention debriefing! A few weekends ago I attended OryCon 39 in Portland, Oregon. It was the smallest convention I’ve attended since 2014’s SpoCon. That isn’t necessarily bad; there are a lot of things to like about smaller conventions. Like Norwescon 40, I attended as a panelist and skipped running a table. So for the OryCon highlights, I think it’d be best to follow in Norwescon 40’s footsteps and break it down day by day.


⛅️ Friday, Day 1

Readings moved to 216
OryCon 39 Readings moved to 216

I left Seattle early and arrived at the hotel around noon. I checked it and saw a fellow author and pal of mine, Elliot Kay. (Go buy his books.) I had a few panels that day. The highlight was the discussion on Checks & Balances: Magic in a Fantasy Setting. My fellow panelists—Elliot among them—were fantastic. The room was full. The conversation was lively. I thought it was great.

Afterward, Elliot and I sat in on Economics in Fantasy. It’s something I thought about a lot while working on Coal Belly, so I was pleased to see it as a topic for discussion. Due to its location near the lobby, the room was a bit noisy, but the panelists were knowledgeable, and I enjoyed the discussion and debate.

I did a reading from The Stars Were Right later that evening. It went well, but it was sparsely attended. Readings had been moved last minute and were in an offshoot room adjacent to a suite. It’s wasn’t ideal. I think it cut down on foot traffic. It was the smallest reading I’ve done. But those who sat in the room seemed to enjoy it, and I had fun.

Afterward, I sat in on another reading and then a reader of mine, and I chatted about the Bell Forging Cycle for a long while. (Thanks, Michael.) I’m always happy to talk about Lovat and the Territories. An excellent way to end the night.


🌤 Saturday, Day 2

Most of my programming was later that day. I grabbed brunch with some good friends and wrote a bit before heading to my panels. The highlight of the day was a tossup between Nanowrimo: What is It, and Why or Why Not? and Fantasy with Non-European settings.

The Nanowrimo panel was lightly attended but was moderated by another friend and fellow author, Lee French. (Go buy her books.) The audience was engaged. I enjoyed everyone’s questions and hearing other’s perspectives. One audience member decided to answer their phone while a panelist was talking and I can’t believe I have to write this: DO NOT DO THIS. It’s rude, and it disrupts others enjoyment of the convention. If you get a phone call, excuse yourself and go outside. It’s respectful to other attendees and the panelists.

Yup it's me, sitting on a panel.
It’s me! Sitting on Fantasy with Non-European settings panel

Fellow author Fonda Lee expertly moderated Fantasy with Non-European settings (go buy her new book, Jade City, I’m reading it right now and quite enjoying it.) The room was full, and I loved the panel. It was the highlight of my convention. The discussion was stimulating, and my fellow panelists were whipsmart. I learned a lot. I also came away with a ton of great reading recommendations.

My pal Sky came north from Portland, and he spent most of the day with me. Together we hit up some panels, one on Audiobook Technique Presentation with Matt Haynes which was great, and another titled Why Urban Fantasy Matters. It’s always good to have someone to discuss panels with afterward, and I’m grateful Sky came out, his presence made the day better.


🌥 Sunday, Day 3

View from my office for three days
View from my OryCon office for three days

My last day was a quiet one. Not uncommon for most conventions, attendees are exhausted and hungover, and things tend to move a bit slower. I only had one panel, Overturning the Cart: Revolution in Fantasy, and it was one of the first for the day. When my fellow panelists and I arrived, we were worried few would show up. But people began to trickle in. While small, it ended up being a pretty damn fine panel. The audience was engaged. The questions towards the end were great. It was a robust way to end my three days at Orycon.


I arrived home tired but feeling pretty good about the convention and the people I met. It’s proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday delayed this post, and the last few weeks have been a whirlwind. If I’m invited back to OryCon, I’d like to get more involved. I’d also like to spend some time gaming. The Call of Cthulhu sessions always clashed with panels, and I wanted to sit in on a game, it’s been far too long.

Smaller conventions are more intimate than their larger siblings, the pace is a bit slower, it’s easier to find parking, panels don’t fill as fast, and attendees are more willing to stop and chat. You don’t feel like flotsam adrift in a sea of SFF-loving bodies. Instead, it’s more akin to a large gathering of friends hanging out and celebrating the stuff they love. You should go next year.

Thanks for a great convention OryCon. I had a blast.


Want to read about my past con experiences from this year? Check out my debriefings from Norwescon 40 and Lilac City Comicon 2017. I’m still planning out my 2018 schedule; have a convention you’d like me to attend? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email. Remember, You can keep track of where I’ll be and check out my previous conventions over on my Upcoming Appearances page.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Come See Me at OryCon 39!

Come See Me at OryCon 39!

This Friday, I will be heading south to attend OryCon 39 in Portland, Oregon. It’s my first time participating, and I’m excited to meet the community and learn the ins and outs of a new convention. I’m on quite a few panels (Yay!) I’m looking forward to discussing Nanowrimo, PNW ghosts, and all the various fantasy topics with my fellow panelists.

view my full schedule →

Oh, don’t forget, I’m doing a reading on Friday night! It should be fun; I think I’ll read from either The Stars Were Right or Red Litten World, we’ll see. Nothing like a little light-horror to set the evening mood, right?


🗺 Where I’ll Be

Short Answer: All over! Say hi!

Long Answer: I’m not running a Writer’s Row table at OryCon. Like Norwescon 40, I wanted to focus on being a participant and not try to juggle panels, readings, and also run a table. I love doing it, but it’s exhausting. So, look for me in the halls. Say hi! Ask me for a ribbon. (See Below.) I’m always happy to sign anyone’s book, and I’ll have some with me if you want to purchase a copy. Books are still $10 at conventions. Yep, I can take credit cards.


🧟‍♂️ Badge Ribbons

Badge Ribbons will be back for 2017I have heard rumors that badge ribbons are something that exists at OryCon. Those who have been following the blog for some time know my love of badge ribbons. I even wrote a post about them last year. Yes, I will have my ribbons with me. To get one, you must find me and ask me for a ribbon. I will give you only one. As before there will be three types. If you collect all three, I’ll give you a FREE signed copy of my first book, The Stars Were Right. It’s not an easy feat. It means you’ll have to do some trading with other attendees.


📱 Get Sched

OryCon uses Sched to share the schedule with the attendees. It’s a handy site that will let you keep track of your schedule and see what’s going on around the convention. I highly recommend signing up and adding my panels to your schedule. That way you don’t miss anything.

To find me: first, tap the Menu, tap “Speakers,” scroll until you see "K.M. Alexander" then tap on my name. Hooray!
To find me: first, tap the Menu, tap “Speakers,” scroll until you see “K.M. Alexander” then tap on my name. Hooray!

Once you navigate to my profile, you see a list of all my panels. Add them to your schedule at your leisure. It’s a handy way to keep track of everything you want to see. You can also just click here and get to my profile that way.


I think that’s all the little particulars for OryCon. I’ll be active on Twitter, you should follow me over there. I also share photos on Instagram. I hope everyone enjoys the con. Stay safe, be respectful, and have fun. I’ll see everyone on Friday!


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Orycon 39 - Oregon’s premier science fiction & fantasy convention

My Orycon 39 Schedule

It’s November 1st! That means in a few weeks (17 days), I’ll be making a pilgrimage to the lovely city of Portland, Oregon where I will be attending Orycon 39. This will be my first Orycon, and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’m not running a table, but I’ll be on a whole bunch of panels, and on Friday night I’m doing a reading! As with previous conventions, I’ve listed out my schedule below. Find out more about my fellow panelists by clicking on their names, links go to their respective corners on the web. Buy their books, bring ’em with you and get ’em signed. As before, it’ll be a blast sitting alongside such talent.

If you see me in the hallway, feel free to say hello! I’m happy to join in on a game, grab a beer, or just talk shop. I’m the big guy wearing all black.


🗓 FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17th

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM — The Paranormal as Metaphor

Location: White Stag
Moderator: Blythe Ayne
Panelists: Mike Chinakos, Ann Gimpel, Rachel Swirsky, K. M. Alexander
Details: Is a vampire ever just a vampire?

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM — Checks & Balances: Magic in a Fantasy Setting

Location: Wenatchee, Room 166
Moderator: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Panelists: Elliott Kay, S. B. Sebrick, K. M. Alexander
Details: Every great spell or power has a disclaimer attached. Join our pros as they address the balance of having compelling and powerful magic in fantasy while avoiding making it a panacea or Deus ex Machina.

7:30 PM – 8:00 PM — K. M. Alexander Reading

Location: Millennium Falcon, Room 252
Moderator: K. M. Alexander
Details: Hey, would you look at this! I’m doing a reading. Before you hit up a room party or turn in for the evening why not come by and listen to me read a creepy excerpt from one of my books. Which book? We will see.


🗓 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18th

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM — Nanowrimo: What is It, and Why or Why Not?

Location: Spokane, Room 256
Moderator: Lee French
Panelists: Josh Boykin, Jason M. Hough, Jennifer Linnaea, K. M. Alexander
Details: National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) has caught on and gets bigger every year. What it’s all about, where to sign up, and whether it’s a good idea to participate. The pluses and pitfalls of writing a novel in the month of November.

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Fantasy with Non-European settings

Location: Pendleton
Moderator: Fonda Lee
Panelists: Alma AlexanderLeah CutterJoyce Reynolds-Ward, K. M. Alexander
Details: Laura Anne Gilman’s Devil’s West, Nisi Shawl and Everfair, my Goddess’s Honor series, and others all have non-Western settings. What are the others? Why are they important?

8:00 PM – 9:00 PM — Ghost in the Vegan Bar

Location: Lion Kings Den, Room 266
Moderator: Shawna Reppert
Panelists: Tori Centanni, K. M. Alexander
Details: The Pacific Northwest is known for our haunted spots. Where are they? What are their stories? Where is the “proof”?


🗓 SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19th

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Overturning the Cart

Location: White Stag
Moderator: Alma Alexander
Panelists: Eva L. Elasigue, K. M. Alexander
Details: Revolution and rebellion in fantasy fiction.


As always, I’m planning to be active on social media throughout the weekend. I’m (@KM_Alexander on Twitter and @KMAlexander on Instagram) follow me! You can register for Orycon 39 here and get passes to all three days for only $65. There’s also a lot of information at 39.OryCon.org including details on this year’s guests of honor, activities, events, information on the hotel, and a lot more.

Orycon 39 is coming, Portland. Hopefully, I’ll see you there!

CthulhuCon + K. M. Alexander

A CthulhuCon Debriefing

The Spring is apparently convention season for me. Norwescon was at the beginning of April and I just wrapped up a weekend in Portland at CthulhuCon PDX. I really enjoyed myself. The convention is an official spin-off from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon it had a lot of great guests and I was honored to be apart of the festivities.

K. M. Alexander on a panel at Cthulhu Con
Left to Right: Lockhart, Pugmire, Klinger, Komoda, Alexander, Steele, Hoade.

This was my first time at a convention doing more than just slinging books from behind my table. I not only did I do a reading, I also spent time signing books at the author’s signing, and I participated on a panel. This crowd was different than other conventions, there was zero cosplay which was surprising, and the crowd definitely skewed older. I also received some of the toughest questions I have ever been asked which was fun. You could really see the passion from the attendees. I really appreciated everyone’s excitement for weird fiction.

Reading the Prologue from The Stars Were Right on Saturday evening.
Reading the Prologue from The Stars Were Right on Saturday evening.

Books sales were solid, especially for such an intimate convention. If it had lasted four days like Norwescon 38, I would have sold out again. Still, even with the shorter time frame sales exceeded what I had expected. It was great to meet so many new readers and it was cool to see folks get excited about the world of The Bell Forging Cycle. It really made me eager to get Red Litten World out into the wild.

On to the highlights:

  • Having the first person I talked to tell me they saw my book on the Lovecraft eZine, had already picked it up, and were excited to read it. If you’re a mythos fan and you’re not reading the eZine you should rectify that now. Mike Davis is a great guy and runs a good site.
  • Doing my reading on Saturday night. This was my first Con reading and I loved it. I read the Prologue from The Stars Were Right in all its grisly detail. Afterward I had a reader approach me afterward and tell me it was not only beautiful, but it also encouraged him to pick up a copy.
  • New friends and readers! Thanks to all you amazing people who picked up my book. Enjoy! Feel free to email me when you finish and let me know your thought. Also, please tell your friends and leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads they help a lot.
  • Meeting and talking with Matt and Cat from the Northwest Horror Podcast. Good folks. Cat recorded me doing my pitch, which was fun. I’m now a subscriber and working my way through past episodes.
  • I loved being a member of the “Creating a Mythos” panel. Ross Lockheart was an excellent moderator and it was an honor to be up there with folks like Wilum Pugmire, Leslie S. Klinger, Paul KomodaJustin Steele, and Sean Hoade. It was a fun discussion. Wish we had a lot more time for questions from the audience but we were all long winded. I know the panel was recorded, if it gets uploaded I’ll be sure to post it here.
  • Hanging out with the other writers at the Carbload for Cthulhu signing. It was fun, and a nice change of pace.
  • All you people who picked up on all the mythos references throughout Stars and then came and talked to me about them. I tend to Easter egg a lot of little details like that and it’s awesome when folks find them.
  • The art show was fantastic. A lot of really great pieces. Thanks to my buddy Sky for dragging me away from the table. Was totally worth it.
  • While I didn’t get a chance to see him live, Kari-Lise really liked Leeman Kessler’s Ask Lovecraft segment. Mr. Kessler is a wonderful actor and scholar and very entertaining. If you haven’t seen his portrayal of ol’ Howard Philip I encourage you to check out his youtube channel.
  • Portland food. In particular Tiny’s coffee, Teote’s plate of pork belly, and Montage’s late night martini’s and macaroni.
  • Portland people. Especially Sky and Zach, good dudes. Thanks for hanging out.
  • I leveled up my table. (See the photo below.) I think the new banner looks real nice. Wouldn’t you agree?
  • Having a guy stop by and buy a Bell Caravans patch specifically for his new OC cosplay. Looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.
  • All the compliments I receive about the quality of my books. It’s really good to hear. I put a lot of time and effort into each of them so when it stands out to folks I get really excited.
  • Hanging out with the lovely people in the The Mall of Cthulhu.
  • Talking Machen with a fellow fan. Love the Machen.

K. M. Alexander's booth at CthulhuCon PDX

Overall I came away really happy. Nice to see so many folks come together out of a love for a small segment of literature. Over the course of the con I had several times people asked me if I had read Neil Gaiman’s Hugo winning short story: A Study in Emerald. I haven’t! However, I will be rectifying that tonight. (For those who don’t know it’s a mashup of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraftian Mythos originally published in the anthology Shadows Over Baker Street.) It’s available to read it for free from Gaiman’s website.

I will be back. It was an honor to mingle with some of the greats and introduce a few folks to my own brand of Lovecraftian stories. I cannot say enough how exciting it is to see so many fans come together around a small microcosm of speculative fiction. It’s time now to forge ahead. Convention season isn’t quite over for me. In a few weeks it’ll be time for Josh Montreuil and me to descend upon Lilac City Comicon. In the meantime I have more books to write.

My Cthulhu Con Schedule

My CthulhuCon Schedule

Since we’re now less than a week away from the start of CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon. Since I’m an active participant I figured it’d be handy for me to post my schedule. All this is penciled in, and meant only as a guide. Stuff can change. However, I’ll try to stick to this as much as I can.

[UPDATE 4/22] – I’m now doing an author signing on 10am in Bellmont B and I’ve also gone ahead and updated my schedule with room information as well.


FRIDAY:

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm — Hello, Portland!

I’ll arrive Friday afternoon and I’ll be around. There’s a party that night, but the con really doesn’t kick off until the following morning. But, if you see me, stop me and say hello!


SATURDAY:

10:00 am – 7:00 pm — Hanging out in The Mall of Cthulhu [Bellmont C]

I’ll be in the Dealers Room, selling and signing books all day. The dealers room isn’t large, so look for my big black banner. I’ll have copies of The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road, as well as a ton of free swag.

Along side me you’ll find a lot of other awesome folks selling their wares. You can see the full vendor list here →

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm — Author Reading 3 [Foyer]

I’ll be joining fellow authors Jim Smiley and Christine Morgan in the Foyer reading an excerpt from The Bell Forging Cycle, Book I: The Stars Were Right.


SUNDAY:

10:00 am – 10:45 am — Author Signing [Bellmont B]

Me and the fourteen other authors attending the convention are going to be hanging out in Bellmont B signing our books.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm — Creating A Mythos Panel [Bellmont B]

Join me and names like: Leslie S. KlingerRoss E. Lockhart, Wilum H. PugmireJustin Steele, and Sean Hoade as we discuss the pluses and minuses of working within a mythos. Full description below:

“One of the mainstays of Lovecraft’s legacy has long been the Mythos he created. Many authors, both before and after Lovecraft, have created a Mythos of their own: Pugmire’s Sesqua Valley, Chambers’s King in Yellow stories, Barron’s Old Leech universe, Dunsany’s Pegana, Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborea. Some have outgrown their creators and have opened their doors to many authors to contribute. What is the allure of a Mythos? What are the benefits of writing in one? What are the pitfalls?”

12:00 pm – 4:00 pm — Hanging out in The Mall of Cthulhu [Bellmont C]

After the panel I’ll be found back by my table in the Dealers Room until the end of the convention at 4:00pm.


So there’s my schedule. This weekend my lovely wife, Kari-Lise, will be joining me, so anytime I’m not in the dealer room she’ll be at my table.

Really looking forward to meeting folks and discussing Lovecraft, Mythos, the Territories, weird fiction, and anything else that comes up! I can’t wait, see you at the convention!

Hanging with Rocket at SpoCon 2014

Upcoming Appearances

Just a quick update to announce that I launched a new section here on the blog. Behold! The new Appearances tab. This year I am really upping my sci-fi/fantasy convention attendance. I had a blast at SpoCon 2014 and I look forward to hanging out with readers at future conventions. I figured it’d be good to create a space where I list out where I am going and when. That way you can see if I’m coming to a con near you. Click here to check it out now or navigate to it from the main menu. I’ll see you at the cons!

Have a local sci-fi/fantasy convention near you that you think I should attend? Shoot me an email and let me know about it. I’d love to see if I can’t make it work.