Tag Archives: gencon

Goodbye, @Ragbrai_Iowa. Hello, @Gen_con

The Ragbrai chapter of my life has ended. Probably. We’ll see. I’d like to go back again someday, maybe when my publishing schedule is better arranged to slide in training. Here are some pictures in case you missed them on Twitter (I’m @AuthorLeeFrench).

First pie of Ragbrai, actually had at Shari’s in Moses Lake, WA.

My home away from home for the week of Ragbrai. This year, I splurged and got the tent rental from Pork Belly Ventures. Worth it.

A nice, welcoming touch in Orange City, IA.

I think I got snookered with store-bought pie this time.

The best pie of Ragbrai 2017. Blueberry with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

A town called Mallard where they make duck jokes. I’m so surprised. There was a rubber ducky race in town, and a lady holding a sign that said “Release the Quackin'”. The picture didn’t turn out. Alas.

Breakfast on Day 7. By then, it’s just like, to heck with yogurt, let’s skip to the pie. The banana made it healthy, of course.

Me at the end. Look how relieved I am to only have about one mile left to go. It’s like Ragbrai is hard work or something.

If I ever go back, I’m going to angle for a really difficult year, like the least flat ever, or the longest, or something.

Next up is a trip to Indianapolis, IN for Gencon. I like the show a lot, and this is Gencon’s 50th year. If you’re going, take a moment to wander the Author’s Avenue aisles. I’ll be the one in the hat with the dragon on top. Say hi and ask for a demo of Dwago.

Road Trip Wrapup

I’m home. Finally. Because I had to fly across the country twice after I got back from Kansas City (for personal reasons), it’s taken me a couple of days to really recover from all the traveling. now safely ensconced in my bean bag chair once more, I have a lot of work to do. The goals I outlined earlier this year for my writing tasks won’t be met, and I already know that. Now, I’m focused on the most important things: Spirit Knights #4, Ilauris #3, cyberpunk, some dragons, and a few anthology submissions.

Coming soon: a cyberpunk novella still in need of a title! With luck, it’ll be available in time for GeekGirlCon.

In other news, while I was gone, someone stole the dragon from my front yard, which is a unique 70-pound reclaimed metal structure. May whoever took it get everything they deserve. I have serious doubts I’ll ever see it again, but it’s been reported to the police anyway.

I live in a dragon guarded castle

Should you happen to see it someplace, let me know.

And now, some pictures from the trip. In reverse order, because I’m ornery like that.


Nothing says excitement like Deadpool at WorldCon!


The debut of The Greatest Sin’s new covers at WorldCon. Aren’t they pretty now?


I’m still geeking out over meeting Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon at WorldCon.


From a much-needed few days of downtime.


GenCon had the truck and everything. They left markers so folks could write on the wall.


Myths & Legends Con in Denver–a small con with a big heart.


In Denver, I acquired a Temporary Helpful Writing Cat.


Best cosplay of Mawg ever. At MALCon.


Chimichangas, anyone? From GenCon


This dude rocked the Finn cosplay. At GenCon


I saw this guy and thought, “OMG, that’s almost Justin!”

#Gencon2015 Wrapup

Even though I’m not home yet, I have some GenCon wrapup to share. I had a great time and will definitely be going back (assuming they’ll have me–there’s an application process every year for authors). I had my biggest event sales day ever on Friday and handed out at least a few hundred bookmarks and business cards to folks who I hope will take a gander at my books on Amazon & Kobo. The other authors were awesome, and I have a stack of business cards for people I need to check out.

GenCon is pretty much like every other con, except bigger. Much, much bigger. It takes up the entire Indy Convention Center and spills out into the surrounding hotels. The exhibit hall–at other cons they call it the Vendor(s) or Dealer(s) room–was bigger than a football field and packed full of games, dice, art, books, dice, minis, games, and costuming. All of GearCon would have fit inside the exhibit hall with plenty of room to spare. I put up a video of a partial walkthrough on my YouTube channel, in the hopes I could give an idea of the enormity of the con for those who cannot attend.

I don't know who you are, yellow dude, but you're kinda cool.

I don’t know who you are, yellow dude, but you’re kinda cool.

I took the opportunity to walk around the hall in the time before it opened every day, so I saw a goodly portion of the offerings. Somehow, I managed to resist buying ALL THE THINGS and wound up only with a couple of music CDs for my daughter. I sat next to a graphic novel artist also named Lee the whole time, and as it turns out, he’s a member of a local Indy band that does pop/rock music based on My Little Pony. I got his CDs on the suspicion that my daughter would probably like it. When I get home and unpack all the business cards and flyers, I’ll be sure to give Lee and his band a proper shout-out.

This con seemed more exhausting than others, probably because I talked to a hundred people a day, spouting my pitches and chatting about what they do and don’t like in their fiction. During the slow bits, I goofed off with my fellow authors, sometimes making faces, other times doing my Mortal Kombat Scorpion impression, and still other times just being a generally silly whatsit. I excel at this, as my kids well know.

Privateer Press, you're awesome.

Privateer Press, you’re awesome.

Sadly, I didn’t get a glimpse of either Summer Glau or Marina Sirtis, though I did walk past Terry Brooks’s signing on my way to and from the bathroom. What I did get was a new fan or two. The moment Miss Lesa Hall walked away, I cursed myself for not grabbing a picture with her. This young woman bought a copy of Girls Can’t Be Knights on Friday (I think–it might have been Thursday) and came back on Sunday to tell me how awesome it was. It was a wonderful, delightful moment, and a first for me from someone I didn’t actually know. My friends gush over my books all the time, but I’ve never had a complete stranger do it in person.

That’s the gist of my first GenCon as a vendor and my first in about 20 years overall. See you next year, Indy!

Vacation! #Ragbrai

This post was written before I left for my trip because I know from experience that not only will I give a number of [fill in your preferred vulgar noun]s less than zero about writing, deadlines, and grammar while on my annual best vacation ever, but internet access is notoriously unreliable during Ragbrai.

Jeff and I at the Hillsboro Farmer's Market on July 11.

Jeff and I at the Hillsboro Farmer’s Market on July 11. We had an average amount of fun with no stories to tell. I’m okay with that.

It’s Ragbrai Day 2! Or, as I like to call it: The Day of Suckage. Day 1 is a bright, fun, happy, go-go-go sort of bicycling day. You hop on the bike and just keep going because the scenery is new and the whole thing is exciting a fresh and full of wonder and joy. Newbies draw black V’s on the backs of their calves (for “virgin”, of course) and everyone goes at a good speed. It’s all smiles and laughter.

And then we all sleep in a tent, and wake up stiff and sore, and hate the world. We get back onto our damned bikes anyway, because we paid for this, goddamnit, and it’s fun, goddamnit, and I want a piece of damned pie, goddamnit. Pop some painkillers and slather on the sunscreen and butt butt’r. Find something to laugh about or suffer my cranky wrath.

It gets better. On Day 3, I’ll feel mostly human again, and on Day 4, I’ll hit my stride and cruise through the rest of the week to glory. Or something horrible will happen, like I’ll blow my knee out or crash. You never know. Anything is possible. Optimism keeps you young, or so I’ve heard.

At the end of this week, I’ll pack up and head to Indianapolis for GenCon. If you’d like to stop by and say hi, I’ll be at table T in Author’s Avenue. That’s the puke green section of the Exhibit hall map. I’m on the right-hand side of that section, in the middle parts of the row capped by the memorably named Th3rd World Studios and Brain Lag. Hope to see you there!

GenCon 2015!

I normally have a book review on Fridays. This week, my Kindle had an issue. I had to switch mid-week to something else, so I didn’t finish either book. Hence, no review. Instead, I have brilliant news.

The official GenCon 2015 logo

I’m going to GenCon. The biggest, baddest, oldest gaming convention has accepted me into Author’s Avenue as an independent author. Unlike all my other convention appearances this year*, I’ll be there as me, and not as a member of NIWA. I love NIWA, it’s full of awesome people who are eager to help each other. I love me, too, and this visit to GenCon is so full of awesome, I’m having a hard time not running around the neighborhood, screaming my glee and scaring the neighbors.

My first GenCon happened *mumble* years ago, when I attended college in Wisconsin. At the time, the convention took place in Milwaukee, hosted by TSR, the original publisher of Dungeons & Dragons by Gary Gygax. They brought a giant reinforced cardboard castle and hosted Margaret Weis and her D&D-based books. FASA had a giant booth and held the Presidential election that put Dunkelzhan in office, and Westwood Studios gave away Command & Conquer (the original) t-shirts. (There was lots of other stuff, too.)

I attended three years in a row, then moved away after college. It became too costly to go when I needed airfare and a hotel room to manage it. Now, *mumble* years later, it’s held in Indianapolis and is even bigger (and older). Presumably, it’s also more awesome. I’m hoping I’ll have time to look around, while simultaneously hoping I’m so busy with the book selling that I can barely step away for five minutes.

*I am also confirmed to appear as a NIWA author in 2015 at Norwescon, GearCon, and WorldCon, all of which take place in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Portland, and Spokane, respectively). For anyone interested in NIWA and more of my blathering, you can find an interview for them I did here.