I had the pleasure of appearing on panels and at book signings at Windycon, the ISFIC Science Fiction and Fantasy annual convention in or near Chicago, Illinois, held this year from Friday, the 13th of November, through Sunday, November 15, in Lombard, Illinois. Windycon is a place where I always connect with old friends, make new friends, and buy a lot of books to get autographed. Regional cons like Windycon and Wiscon and Capricon and Odyssey Con are easier to attend and navigate than Worldcons like Sasquon, MidwesternconII, Bouchercon, Stokercon, World Horror Con, or World Fantasy Con.
As many of you know from previous blog posts here and elsewhere, I attended science fiction and fantasy conventions regularly between the North American SF Convention held at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY in 1979 and the 1993 World Fantasy Con in Chicago. Gretta and I did attend Chicon, the world Science Fiction Conventions, in Chicago in 1982, 1992, and 2002 (and I attended by myself in 2012). We also attended the Nebula Awards in 2005. But from 1996 through 2011, Gretta and I stopped attending sf and fantasy conventions to primarily attend American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society (now called the Association for Psychological Science), Illinois Counseling Association, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Mid-American Hypnosis, and National Guild of Hypnotists annual conferences instead. As a degreed Educational Psychologist, Board Certified Hypnotist, and NGH Certified Hypnotism Instructor, I presented papers, appeared as a panelist, and earned CMEs. I wore a suit and tie instead of Jeans and T-shirt. I learned a lot and met lots of fascinating people, but I did absolutely nothing to advance my career as a novelist and short story writer.
After Gretta died in January of 2012, I began writing new fiction and I gradually began making the sf convention circuits to promote my novels. I continued my successful hypnosis practice until the lease ran out on my office, and I fulfilled my commitment to teach and mentor cohorts of hypnosis students through 2013. Then I closed my practice, and turned my clients over to my newly graduated students. I did attend the NGH and Mid-American hypnosis conferences in 2012, but I also attended Wiscon. Like Doctor Who, I invited a companion to join me on out-of-this-world fascinating fantasy adventures. Elizabeth Aisling (Lizza) Flygare has been my companion at SF and Fantasy conventions since Wiscon in 2012.
Lizza is a mainstream writer and retired Librarian Assistant and not into sf and fantasy. She does appreciate psychological horror and police procedurals, and I’m introducing her to noir. She loves to dress up and she loves to peruse books in the hucksters’ room, but sf and Lovecraftian fantasy isn’t her thing.
This was my schedule at Windycon this year:
Saturday 10:00 Autographing: Hallway: Paul Dale Anderson, Bob Garcia, M. Oshiro, Katherine Wynter
Saturday Noon: Beyond Adams and Pratchett: Junior A: What Humorous Science Fiction/Fantasy Do You Love? Paul Dale Anderson, Alice Bentley (Moderator), R. Garfinkle, C. Johns, Jody Lynn Nye
Saturday 2:00 Is World Building Necessary? Lilac C: Fritz Leiber, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and others created their worlds as their works evolved. Can that technique be used by modern authors whose readers have modern sensibilities? Tim Akers, Paul Dale Anderson, Rebecca Frencl, Tom Trumpinski, Gary Wolfe (M)
Saturday 9:00-9:25 Reading: Cypress A: Paul Dale Anderson
It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends like Bob Garcia, Steven Silver, Richard Chwedyk, Jody Lynn Nye, Bill Fawcett, Jim Frenkel, Eric Flint, Mike Resnick, Gary K. Wolfe, Glen Cook, Alex and Phyllis Eisenstein, and Blake Hausladen. I was sorry that Gene Wolfe didn’t make Windy this year. Gene was a guest of honor at WFC in Saratoga Springs last week. People of my age find it difficult to attend cons the way we used to. I had to cancel my appearance at WFC in order to make Windycon. There is never enough time and energy to do everything.
I am rethinking my scheduled attendance at cons next year. So far I am committed to the following:
April 28-May 1 2016, World Horror Conention, Provo, UT
May 12-15, 2016, Stokercon, Las Vegas, NV
May 27-30, 2016, Wiscon, Madison, WI
August 17-21, 2016, MidamericonII (World SF Con), Kansas City, KS
September 15-18, 2016, Bouchercon, New Orleans, LA
October 27-30, 2016, World Fantasy Convention, Columbus, OH
I do plan to attend Windycon 43 in November, but I don’t know the dates.
To be honest, that’s more than I can handle at my age. Add signings at bookstores and libraries throughout the year, and I feel overwhelmed.
But the thrill of seeing my own novels on display in the dealers’ room, the joy of having strangers come up to me at the autographing table to buy my books and get my scribble, the desire to stay in touch with old friends and make new friends of like-minded people, the pure pleasure of reading my tales to people who listen and ask questions, and the love of discovering new authors and new books drives me to overcome my introversion and participate in even more conventions. I have already signed up for Bouchercon in 2017, and I’m seriously thinking of going to Helsinki Finland for the 2017 World SF Con.
Here are a few photographs of Windycon and some of the more memorable conventions I have attended.