#GenCon2016 was Awesome and Strange

GenCon was last weekend. The hotel I stayed at had really horrible and unrelaible internet, so as I type this on Tuesday morning, I’ve been in a nerd cave for a little over a week, driving and working. I have no idea what’s going on in the world, except that I’ve caught some random snippets of the Olympics, including the atrocious men’s gymnastics opening. Ouch.

Prior to arriving in Indianapolis, one exciting thing happened that I must mention. My car, a two-year-old Ford C-Max that I love, decided I should not drive for 5 hours without a break. This happened quite by accident, as I normally stop every 2-3 hours to use a bathroom, but my head was elsewhere, I suppose, and I wasn’t hydrating properly. When we did stop for lunch, the car chose to disengage its power steering, which was kind of scary in the sense of “OMG, we just started this trip and my car is breaking!”. Fortunately, after another two stops, it re-engaged of its own free will.

Fun fact: the C-Max doesn’t have a power steering fluid reservoir. The car is fine and hasn’t so much as hiccupped since. I got an arm muscle workout for several hours and no other effect.

We arrived in Indy on Tuesday, close to dead and ready to sleep. The con began with setup day on Wednesday. This was also errand day, since Jeff and I had been on the road for a week already by then. Thus, we discovered that while the hotel claims to have a laundry in its Guest Services booklet, and signs on the wall point to it, the hotel had to laundry. They hope to install one in the next year. Fantastic. Coin-op for us.

Setup went fine. It was hot and I had to haul books from a parking garage to the convention center. Could have used the marshalling yard. Chose not to. Exercise is good for me, especially after several days of nonstop driving. Car got a scheduled oil change, during which they found no longering effects of the power steering issue. I acquired pie from a grocery store. It was okay, but not as good as homemade or Ragbrai pie.

Thursday at con began with greeting all the people I met last year, including the Brain Lag folks, Rocco the Excellent, and several others. Of course, Tom Gondolfi of Tanstaafl Press was there, a good friend who I only ever see at cons despite living within 20 minutes of each other.

And then it began. A few things stood out this year. The Clockwork Dragon table was close to a main walkway, yet very few folks came down the aisle from that direction. Most con-goers approached from the other side, which I did not at all anticipate. Our usual bread-and-butter customers–teenage girls interested in the four series of female-fronted YA we offer–seemed magnetically repulsed by our table. They scanned our titles, saw our banners, then averted their eyes and dove for the urban fantasy at the next table. Despite this, our YA book 1s almost sold out anyway, and we barely sold anything else. Very few people who bought a book from me last year stopped by to pick up the next in the series.

I actually brought a few extra copies of Illusive Echoes on the expectation that a few fans would top by and pick up book 4. Nope. Not a single one. Weird.

One woman did stop when she recognized Girls Can’t Be Knights, to tell me she wanted to whack that Lee French over the head with her cane, because the ending made it seem like there wouldn’t be any sequels. Didn’t recognize me, and she was mortified when we revealed she was, in fact, speaking to Lee French. And then she didn’t get Backyard Dragons or Ethereal Entanglements.

Normal cons have a few sales on Day 1, a few more on Day 2, then a rush for the remaining days, as people like to browse at first and not blow all their money right away. They come back later and buy. This is common and expected. Usually, Sunday is our busiest day. Sometimes it’s Saturday, but Sunday is much more common. At GenCon, we had a normal Thursday, then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all about the same. Lots of empty time with no one in the aisle, which I expected, but not so much on Saturday and Sunday.

Even so, Clockwork Dragon had its best show ever, and we’re looking forward both to MALCon this weekend in Denver, and to Gencon 2017.


  1. Just wanted to let you know, it was the title of Backyard Dragons that attracted me to the table as I was browsing at Gen Con, and I ended up purchasing the 1st volume bundle of YA novels. I just finished reading all four, and now I’m looking up sequels for all of them. I’m glad I found you there.

    1. Thank you so much! Please consider taking a few minutes to post reviews of the books on Amazon or wherever you buy your books. That helps keep us going in writing more of those sequels. 🙂

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