I arrived at BayCon 2018 the morning of Friday the 25th and checked in. I knew I was at the right place when I was greeted at the hotel check-in by staff wearing Star Wars shirts. Over the course of the weekend, I saw hotel staff wearing Star Trek and Doctor Who shirts as well. The San Mateo Marriott did their best to make sure that we felt welcomed as both individuals and a group, despite the craziness of the reconstruction going on at the hotel.
After a brief hunt for my badge, I hustled off to my first panel, “Mining the World for Story Ideas” with Maya Kaathryn Bonhoff and Heather Rose Jones. I won’t be lying if I said I got a few new ideas while at that panel. Later that evening I went to Meet the Guests and had dinner with friends.
Saturday was my first book signing ever. I chatted to many people. While I didn’t make any sales, I handed out a lot of ribbons and cards. I knew I struck a nerve when I gave a pitch to a person and one of the people at the JDRF charity table next to mine came over and asked me questions about it.
After my signing I was off to moderate “They Didn’t Stick The Landing – Disappointing Finales” with Melissa Snark and Eric Zuckerman. It was one of my best attended panels, much to my surprise. Similar to when I ran it at FOGCon, we came to the decision that it was a mismatch between expectations of fans and the vision of the creator.
Saturday night was the Chaos Wolf Launch Party. I was expecting maybe a half-dozen people to show up total. I think we had that in the first ten minutes. Our original plan was to shut the room at midnight. When we realized it was 1:30 AM, we closed the doors and went to bed. I lost track of how many times I recited my pitch, as well as talked about worldbuilding, where I got my story idea, and why I went with self-publishing versus traditional publishing. I also discovered that I can’t run Square payment system without killing the music. (Note to self – in the future run the playlist off the phone and accept payment off the tablet). Yes, I finally got to use my Square system and sell books directly! Books were also available through a vendor in the Dealers Room, which I had to restock once. It was also on display at the table of my awesome cover artist Fiona Jayde. Sidenote – Fiona also did my author photo through Flight of Fancy Portraits.
Sunday was the day of All The Emotions. I woke up to a sore throat. I babied it with tea and honey so I could take part in my group reading with Melissa Snark, Kevin Murphy, and Maya Kaathryn Bonhoff. Then I took a deep breath and went to my panel “Female Heroes and Female Villians” with Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Peter Beagle, and Tamora Pierce. Half the time on the panel I wanted to turn to them and ask “Why am I up here? I’m barely a published author and collectively you’ve all been publishing longer than I’ve lived.” The other half I attempted to be articulate and not make a complete fool of myself. Afterwards I was reassured that I did appear professional and had intelligent contributions to the conversation. Could have fooled me.
Sunday night was the Masquerade and Variety Show. This year, I opted to judge instead of participating. I couldn’t have handled the madness of showing off a costume and promoting a book. All the costumers were talented and did wonderful work. Due to a technical snafu, I ended up vamping on the main stage, giving the Chaos Wolf spiel. When I returned to the judges’s table, one of the members of Dynamic Cosplay leaned over and asked if I could sell him a book right then. He was rather disappointed I didn’t have any copies on me. And yes, I got him a copy later that night.
After the Masquerade, I figured I was done, and kicked back to watch the Variety Show. But before the show began, Steve Mix and Angelo Martinez presented the Mixy Awards which are awarded to presented to people who make the con a better place. Much to my surprise, I was one of this year’s recipents. I managed to not cry on stage, and to be honest, I’m not sure if I actually spoke other than choking out a ‘thank you.’ The last month has been one filled with intense personal issues, and all the emotions caught up with me in that moment. Afterwards, I attended the Worldcon 76 Party, and then crawled off to bed.
Monday morning I packed up the room and vacated it before “Hand Crafts in a High-tech Age” with Amy-Elyse Neer and J.S. Devivre. It was one of the smallest attended panels I participated in, but the audience was very engaged. It became more of a group discussion than a moderated panel. Since the panel was all made of people who create handcrafts, and most of the audience did to, it was safe to say that hand crafts will be with us always.
And there were a couple of other panels I attended just as an audience member – “Finding Your Place in Fandom,” “Fan Fiction: A Stepping Stone or a Waste of Time,” “Well, Actually… .” There were many more I wanted to attend, but they were opposite the panels I was on or moderating, so I couldn’t duck out.
To sum up, BayCon 2018 was a blast. It was a weekend of wonderful time spent with old and new friends.