Conventionless Life

In which RVA talks about life without cons…

So, Sand Diego Comic-Con just wrapped up.  Along with some of the usual staples of the convention world – Otakon, Dragon*Con, etc – I’ve been getting inundated with stories about con life and narrated events of the con-going experience.  In some ways, they make me lament the loss of conventions in my professional world.  In other ways, they make me glad that I have no conventions currently slated.

To clarify, I haven’t retired from conventions.  I’m honestly not sure what my current convention dynamic is.  I just know I have no conventions currently scheduled, I have no plans to make any major convention pushes, and I’m strangely okay with that.  Conventions are a LOT of work.  Even discarding the panels – which can take a surprising amount of time to put together – a convention weekend generally involves about a week’s worth of work in either direction after the convention.  Whether it’s arranging travel, organizing supplies, orchestrating the whole process, it may happen in bite-sized chunks but it adds up.

Conventions have never been that big of a deal for me, commercially.  I sold a fair number of books at conventions, but what conventions really did was push my name into the spotlight (such as it was).  I might move a few dozen books at a convention, but that number would be dwarfed by the online sales that would follow in the days and weeks after.  But the thing is, that movement was likewise dwarfed if I could actually get somebody to write a review on Amazon.

I stopped prioritizing conventions chiefly because of burnout, and because a convention very near & dear to my heart really did me wrong.  But what made it so easy to stop pushing to do conventions was the decreasing gains from them.  Not unlike fanzines in the 70s and 80s, conventions were once the staple for artists and authors wanting to promote themselves.  Now?  Now, I’m not entirely sure what conventions meaningfully offer to creators.

The scary thing is, though, I’m not sure what’s taken their place.

In which RVA asks some questions…

“Is that the moon, or just a light that lights this deadend street?” – Metallica, The House That Jack Built


I have been struggling of late to get some bearings.  I feel like a lot of us have, for many reasons.  The easiest reason is the 2016 Election.  I think many people in this country are shocked by the turn that has taken place and are surprised to learn about our neighbors what we have.  It makes sense that many of us are wondering just where to go to next, and how. Continue reading “”

Katsucon and Responsible Presence

To paraphrase a personal icon of mine: ‘To Business!

Katsucon was, summarily, amazing.  The panels were huge hits, and then some.  I was really delighted by how the panels filled up and how engaging they were.  In years past, it’s been hard to guess how a specific panel might be received but every event this weekend was pretty much standing-room only.  It was a delight and thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came out. Continue reading “Katsucon and Responsible Presence”

Quick Update

There’s a lot going on!

When I sat down to write this update, I couldn’t figure out which direction to begin.  So how about all of them?

Rhest of the Time (Rhest for the Wicked 2) is nearing completion.  The manuscript is going through the last few edits and will be going to a copyeditor at the end of the week.  Assuming that goes well, it will be off to the presses shortly thereafter.  I don’t have a release date yet, but I expect before the summer.  Maybe even sooner? Continue reading “Quick Update”

MAGFest 2019

In all this hubbub about the Rhest for the Wicked Short Film (contribute to the Kickstarter here!), a con report on MAGFest had to be delayed.

This year was quite different from previous years.  I had a slightly abbreviated schedule with regards to panels, so I was able to stretch out a bit more.  Some of the panels were filmed, and I’ll be posting those links once they go up on the MAGFest Youtube Channel.  But I spent most of my time at my table, meeting people and selling books.  The 2018 Anthology was very well-received (and you can get your copy now), and RocKaiju sold out because giant monsters plus rock ‘n roll is a recipe for success.

The Punk’d Up panel – talking about cyberpunk, steampunk, etc – got off to a shaky start without any visuals, thanks to some ransomware.  But in some ways, I think that made the panel work better.  The sight gags would have been nice, but there was something visceral about talking uninterrupted about the origins of the 1970s Punk movement and its evolution in literature.

Top Ten Episodes of Transformers drew a huge crowd, as it tends to.  Reviewing and ranking every episode, from Gen-1 through the most recent episodes of Cyberverse, was a daunting task but it was/is done and the final numbers are tallied.  And wow did a lot of Beast Wars make the list!  😊

Transferring Game Mechanics into Literature was a shaky list.  I enlisted the help of some experts – Tee Morris and Azarith Stryffe – to help me with the panel, but it really just kind of turned into an occasional rant about Ready Player One.  We didn’t get to all the topics, but a good time was had by all.

There was a lot of talk about MAGFest’s origins, from ages ago when it was the Mid-Atlantic Gaming Festival up to its arrival at National Harbor.  Work is underway to do a picture book with accompanying oral history.  A lot of us reflected on the weekend’s evolution from niche event into a cultural touchstone.  As a Lumberjack Guest – an inside joke, referring to attendees who have been at every single MAGFest – it’s been amazing to watch the transformation.  MAGFest has always been a party, a good time, a delight.  But with each passing year, it has become all the more ambitious in its fun.  I can’t sing the praises of the convention enough and if you get the chance to go in 2020, I heartily encourage you to do so.

I also heartily encourage you to consider donating to the kickstarter, but that’s unrelated.  😊



Next up is Katsucon.  There was some confusion coming out of MAGFest about my ability to be at Katsu this year, but working with the convention – who were extremely kind and accommodating – I am going to be able to make it happen.  More than that, however, I will be announcing the results of the kickstarter at Katsu!  If possible, there may even be a surprise or two!