#Sasquan And Back Again

Today, I’d like to take a minute to discuss the Hugos.

Just kidding. I don’t want to touch that with a dead rat on a ten-foot pole. Instead, I’m unpacking (my brain, mostly, as my stuff is already unpacked) from my trip to Spokane. This convention was a little different from the others I’ve been to. Not because of the Hugos, but because of the monumental undertaking that is the booth I worked there.

As you may know, I’m a member of NIWA, the Northwest Independent Writer’s Association. This group is a bunch of folks who write and support each other. Mostly, we do events together–cons, farmer’s markets, book fairs, and other sorts of shows, big and small. It’s through this group that I met Jeffrey Cook, with whom I have already done and will in the future be doing a number of cons and events. NIWA has also introduced me to a bunch of other authors who are also wonderful people and fun to work with, and the group is the primary reason I’m doing cons this year.

For Sasquan, NIWA teamed up with a regional small press (Free Valley Press) to swarm the dealer’s room with indie books. Our table also took in some random indies who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to offer their books at the con. We had over 100 titles from 40 different authors. Besides being a metric crapload of books (this is a technical measurement), it was major undertaking and a challenge to organize and display. I, of course, was stupid enough to volunteer to be in charge of that.

This is how it started on Tuesday. Most of our books showed up Wednesday afternoon. After the dealer's room opened.
This is how it started on Tuesday. Most of our books showed up Wednesday afternoon. After the dealer’s room opened.

We’d been really worried about the amount of space compared to the amount of books, but it turned out we didn’t even need our space-saving racks. We had three 8 foot tables when I’d only been expecting 6 footers. The tablecloths we used were acquired from a local thrift store because no one brought anything big enough. As it turns out, three 6 foot tablecloths don’t cover three 8 foot tables very well. Who knew, right?

At this point, we were still waiting for a few more titles and hadn't finalized placement for everything, but it's pretty close to how things turned out.
At this point, we were still waiting for a few more titles and hadn’t finalized placement for everything, but it’s pretty close to how things turned out. That’s Jeff, Angela Korra’ti, and Madison Keller.

We had tape malfunctions, schedule quirks, spilled juice (not on any books), and other minor problems, but in all, the con went relatively smoothly for us. Compared to Norwescon and GEARCon, everything went really well. Compared to GenCon…well, I had a really good GenCon, so that’s not a fair comparison. The worst thing that happened to me there was losing a pen and having too many books left over at the end.

As it turns out, WorldCon is more about meeting people than finding new books. I did, however, find some new books. Watch for reviews of the stuff I ran across and actually bought. There were several jewelry tables, one of which was next to us, T.M. Originals, and Tamera was lovely and friendly and snarky to us. Next to her, I met Elizabeth Adams of Nightshade Rose Studio, who had some radioactive symbol jewelry that I suspect would appeal to Sechin Tower. (Check the “Hazardous” section.)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the weather. As you’ve probably already heard, there are wildfires in eastern Washington state. These wildfires got quite close to Spokane. When I drove in on Tuesday, I came across an 80 mile stretch of I-90 with thick haze that cleared up about 50 miles before I hit Spokane. On Wednesday, the sun was orange. On Thursday, it got a little worse. On Friday, the world was painted with a yellow-brown fog that offered about half a mile of visibility, maybe less. It cleared up that night and started to haze over on Sunday again.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, had issues with the smoke. We all sounded like long-time smokers. My neck broke out in horrific acne (this is really quite unusual). Everything smelled like smoke no matter what we did, whether you went outside or not. My sinuses went berserk too, and I got an allergy reaction on the roof of my mouth. We all survived, of course, because it was only really bad for a day or two. Rest assured, though, it was awful. Congratulations, Sasquan, on not only breaking the previous WorldCon attendance record, but also for being the first WorldCon to take place during a Federally declared emergency.

My only other point of interest to note? WordFire Press had their booth almost right across from ours, which was cool, because I know a few of those guys from online stuff. As a result of the proximity, I was able to walk with Kevin J Anderson to his reading from Clockwork Lives (which I wanted to go to and had no idea where to find–I figured following him would ensure I wound up in the right place) and I chatted briefly with him. Turns out he’s really normal and cool. Who knew, right? Even famous, successful authors are, like, human and stuff. It’s amazing. I didn’t get a picture because we were in a hurry and I’m polite like that. Besides, [spoiler for Rose City Comic Con].

And now, some pictures:

Me with Thomas Gondolfi, who runs TANSTAAFL Press. He’s a gentleman and an engineer, which isn’t an oxymoron unless you count the kilt.
This is Frank Cohen. He wrote a steampunk time-travel short story, then made enchanting light-up pocket watches and this display to go with it all.
I caught the TARDIS unaware so I could show everyone its legs. Because that’s the awesome part, as far as I’m concerned.
Me with my awesome new hat ornament. And Josh Vogt, a WordFire Press and Paizo author pretending to be happy to take a picture with me. He tolerated me popping over several times when our table had too many people working it (you can just barely make out the Clockwork Dragon banner Jeff and I use in the background, showing how close we were to the WFP booth). I’ve known him online for a while and met him in person for the first time at GenCon.

WorldCon4 WorldCon5

Finally, video of walking through the dealer’s room to reach our table.



  1. It’s been awesome getting to talk and hang out at a couple cons now. A few more to go before the year is done! Hopefully with less smoke…

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