CONVENTION RECAP – BALTICON 50


Whew! Can you say exhausted? I took yesterday off to recover and I’m still beat!

Balticon was a series of new experiences this year. After almost 15 years of attending, the last ten or so at the same location, the convention moved back down to Baltimore’s inner harbor for it’s celebrated 50th con.

This was a big one, folks. Loads and loads of guests, new venue, bonus Guests of Honors from years past. Needless to say all of these changes elevated the level of chaos this year as everyone scrambled to figure out what they were doing, when and where. There was a lot of walks down long corridors and wandering the maze to figure out where such programming rooms were, but all in all–other than my feet–the experience was less painful than I feared it might be.

On Friday night my first panel was Starting Your Own Small Press. This was very well attended for 5pm on a Friday night. The discussion was informative and well received and the audience had loads of great questions. If only it hadn’t been such a hike to find the room.

The only other thing I had on Friday was Meet the Guests. I showed up at the right room a little early to find a sign saying it had moved to the con suite, but never did see any of those who were supposed to participate and so wandered off to the bar with Jennifer Povey and The Weird Wild West contributor Ken Schrader, after waiting about fifteen minutes for something to happen.

Oh…and a fire scare. The whole building was evacuated around 7:30pm. I’m told someone one thought a smoke machine would really add some atmosphere to a concert going on…they were right. But no one was there to enjoy it once the alarm went off.

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Me, Mike McPhail, John L. French, and Patrick Thomas waiting for the chaos to resume.

No programming for me on Saturday…or so I thought. Discovered that was when my reading was, and fortunately I discovered in time to actually attend because the room was pretty packed for the four authors reading. My Meet eSpec Books panel, however, had been moved to Saturday night without my knowledge and so I hung out for a little while in my room, then went to the game room where my good friends Alf and Cynthia regretted teaching me to play Ascension, then wandered off for a little while to Gail Z. Martin’s impromptu pre-release party for Modern Magic…instead of being where I was supposed to be.

0529161430a-1Now Sunday…we’ll have to talk about Sunday. The crazy descended. Con: I had to wake up uber early for a Book Design and Layout panel I was slated to give. That went REAL well, but was nowhere near long enough. Then right off to the dealer’s room where I got to meet Jody Lynn Nye and hug Larry Niven.

I participated in the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, organized by Randee Dawn, then I rushed off to organized everything for the Gaslight and Grimm launch party. Discovered a bunch of supplies weren’t showing up, then arrived at the party room to discover everything was half tables…only about one foot wide! We pushed two together for all the food tables and left the congregating tables as is. We had loads of people and load of authors0529161317b-1 showing up to oggle our books and covet the impressive array of raffle prizes we gave away at the end of the night. Everyone was wonderful helping out, especially the Chrises Hiles (squared) Alf and Cynthia, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Kelly A. Harmon, Jean Marie Ward, Wrenn Simms, Vickie DiSantos and loads of other people I can’t remember now because my brain was on overload.

The party was a huge success and surprisingly we were able to donate food to the Game of Thrones party following ours. Many, many books were sold and happy authors and attendees abounded.

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Back (left to right): Danny Birt, Jonah Knight, Jeff Young, Robert E. Waters, David Lee Summers, Chris Hiles, Eric Hardenbrook, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Dustin Blottenberger, Drew Bittner, Christine Norris, Ken Schrader. Front (left to right): Greg Schauer, me, Mike McPhail, Jean Marie Ward, Gail Z. Martin, and John L. French. Not pictured here: Vonnie Winslow Crist, Brigitte Winter, Kelly A. Harmon, Bud Sparhawk.

 

I don’t have any photos of the party, other than this one of the editors, authors and artists, but hope to share some once they are sent to me.

All in all a great time, though the added expense of parking and eating was a blow, as was the inaccessibility of places to pick up last-minute party supplies.  

 

CONVENTION SCHEDULE – BALTICON 50 MAY 27-30


LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #4


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

What?! You didn’t think we’d forget the sweets, did you? I don’t go for sheet cakes or anything…I found that much of the time the cake went to waste because we had so many other yummy things to eat first. Instead we go for other bite-sized yummies you can eat along with your savory items. This year I delegated so I only had to make one batch of cookies…my famous Limoncello Coconut cookies with Candied Ginger. These come with the CJ Henderson Seal of Approval. It is mostly the only cookie I make anymore because I just can’t beat it with anything else. (If you ask REAL nice I might give you the recipe 🙂 )

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Trust me, a photo doesn’t do them justice, but here they are 🙂 I took them to a party today and was surprised to hear someone say the cookies were a mistake…then they went on to say they’d already had FOUR. I’ll also be making rice krispy treats, but not until closer to the event

Now…about that delegating I mentioned. We have four other industrious bakers slaving over a hot oven to ensure there are tasty treats for everyone on May 29th.

Gaslight & Grimm contributor Jean Marie Ward will be serving up molasses cookies and snowballs with pecans, The Weird Wild West contributor Robert E. Waters will be bringing his wife’s famous peanut butter brownies, and my wonderful sister Barbara Miller will be making yummy, crispy chocolate chip cookies! (Disclaimer: the below photographs are for demonstration only and do not represent the actual baked goods my minions are working on, which may or may not have already been baked.)

In addition to these home-baked goods, we generally supplement with my favorite cream puffs and other commercially obtained treats. Will it be enough? Who knows! Will we endeavor to have no con-goer go hungry? You bet!

Have we tormented you enough? Because, you know…the party at this point is just four days away! Oh, and…don’t fight over the canapes, please!

LAUNCH PARTY UPDATE – THE MENU #2


For those who missed our earlier posts, Gaslight & Grimm will be launching at Balticon 50 this year, along with our other three anthologies: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, The Weird Wild West, and Dogs of War – Reissue.

The convention has moved back to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, at the Renaissance Hotel, over Memorial Day Weekend. The launch party will be the Sunday of the convention.

  • Where: MD Salon B (The New Garden Room)
  • When: Sunday, May 29th
  • Time: 7pm to 9pm

As a part of our updates leading toward the grand event, here is another peek at what we’ll be serving.

On Friday my kitchen–or more accurately, my whole house–filled with some very tempting scents as we made homemade flatbread pizzas. Mike first made the dough from scratch, adding fresh rosemary and garlic powder to the basic recipe, then I came in for the actual construction.

You can see photos below of the toppings we used, Mike’s lovely dough as I began to roll it out, then the three stages of the construction itself. The toppings, the cheese, then the glorious endgame of the baked bread. Once we reached this stage the pizzas were cut in half, then into strips roughly an inch and a half wide for easier serving. When everything cooled down they were frozen for the big day.

Again, we have to serve them cold, but it doesn’t seem to have an adverse affect on anyone’s appetite 😉

The mostly diced toppings–used in various combinations–are:

  • Baby Spinach
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Stewed tomatoes
  • Roasted red pepper
  • Fresh garlic
  • White onion
  • Green pepper
  • Black olives
  • Traditional tomato sauce
  • Pesto sauce
  • Sun-dried tomato pesto sauce

All in all, I estimate we made about ten pizzas in meat, vegetarian, and all-cheese varieties. This is in addition to the five we made previously for the event. (We couldn’t do a cheeseless variation because the toppings would have fallen off by the time they were served.) It sounds like a lot, but we serve a LOT of people and by Sunday at the con they are pretty hungry for “real” food.

Anyway, here’s hoping we see you there!