NorWesCon 35: Not A Virgin This Year

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Tomorrow the doors open on NorWesCon 35 and I’m excited but feel completely unprepared.  Last year I was a virgin to such a con. I was overwhelmed and overstimulated quickly. I got the high points of the conference, but plan to attend with a much more discerning eye and mind this year. So why the anxiety over preparation? I don’t have to travel — I can drive there and leave there each night and sleep in my own bed (albeit, last year I said I’d book a room; alas, it wasn’t in the cards for me this year). Also, it’s not like I’m on a panel, although I scored a professional panelist’s guest pass for the weekend, which is the only way I’m able to afford going. I plan to have my Creative Word Lab business cards; bookmarks (if the lot is printed by noon tomorrow as promised) for Martius Catalyst; and more bookmarks pimping SnoValley Writes!;, as well as, my brain in sponge mode to learn as much as possible.

Once again, I think my favorite part is going to be the Philip K. Dick awards.  For those that know me, it’s an award for which I’d be honored to have my work — one day — nominated.  PKD is one, if not maybe, my most favorite author. He and Vonnegut duke it out in my brain constantly. Vonnegut, obviously the more intellectual, but PKD pulls out some laser gun or little pill and the fight descends into more chaos, typically of the insane-making variety. Kind of like this blog post.  But back to NorWesCon and the PKD awards — I’ve read most of the books nominated (and should finish the last two before Friday evening). So, the awards ceremony this year should be interesting. Honestly, I’m having a hard time picking a favorite myself. I don’t envy whatever panel is choosing.  Last year the folks I was rooting for didn’t get acknowledged; but, it’s like they say, “It’s an honor to be nominated.”

Another favorite part is all the readings. The first I plan to attend is Thursday afternoon:  Jay Lake. I’ve been following Jay’s blogs and stories for a few years now. I was too shy to say hi to him last year; so I’m hoping the fan girl in me shuts the hell up and I’m able to say hello this year and wish him good health. I also want to see Cat Rambo read and Lisa Mantchev.  Cat is the consummate professional and each time I’ve been in on a panel of hers ore even just reading her blog and G+ posts, I learn something. As far as Lisa is concerned, I still want to know how she balances being a mother of domestic goddesses and such a prolific author.

I found last year I moved in and out of the reading rooms a lot. I’m a writer, a bibliophile, a story lover. Why wouldn’t I love the readings. And dammit, I know if I was the one reading, I’d want every chair filled. So, it’s the least I can do to support authors I like.

Another enjoyable part is all the costumes! The cosplay can be so intriguing and is as much a part of the con experience as anything else.  My cosplay will likely exist of notable “conversation” tees and hoodies and jewlery. I have no steampunky bodices or leather straps that turn into pistols; no fairy wings; no crazy colored hair. I look like what any person might imagine an introverted writer who lives in the Cascade foothills might look like. I may on Saturday evening don my “Inkster” persona. I don’t know, though, because I will have left Twin Peaks early in the a.m. and don’t plan to carry much with me. I’m more of a voyeur, in that regard, than participant. Regardless it will be entertaining to just watch.

I’ll likely be live tweeting from the con, so check out my twitter feed for my observations from the con.  If you’re going, let me know, too.

If you’ve been to this conference or others like it (maybe last weekend’s comiccon or the simultaneous Sakura-Con), what is your favorite part about it? How do you overcome your shyness? How do you keep your fangirl in check? And most importantly, how do you get the most out of it?




Well, I’ve been going to cons since (mumblemumble) years ago. I have NEVER overcome my shyness, except during Portland G.E.A.R. con, which had such low attendance that sometimes there were less than 4 people in a reading room, so we all talked to each other. It was a good con, but at the same time as ComicCon, so many folks were in San Diego. Except for signings, I rarely (never) have the nerve to actually come up to someone and say, “Hi. I love your writing/art/whatever and think you’re great!” When it comes down to it… I just kind of look from a distance and creep away. BE BRAVER THAN ME is my advice. My “costume” for these things consists of a cap with goggles strung over it and street clothes. I have ideas, but somehow never actually do anything with them, mainly for lack of skills. But I really love the cosplay! Bring a camera if you can. Folks in costume love to have their photos taken. My favorite part of the con? I have no idea how to answer that. It depends on the con. Usually I’d say author readings, particularly interesting panels, the art show and the dealers’ room, in that order. But if the film/anime room is particularly good, I’m likely to spend the whole convention in there.


So bringing my camera, too! I will try to be brave. I might dress up on one of the weekend days; but tomorrow is all about just getting the lay of the land. Maybe I’ll dress in all ninja black. hehe. I will try to be brave.

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