Redemption and Cons


A lot of things happen at a conference, especially one with both a writing fan angle. Add in a gaming element and it takes on a totally different atmosphere and feel. My previous exposure to conferences has been through the mystery genre, and let me tell ya. Them babies is very different from ConCarolinas. At no mystery con, would one walk into the ladies room and see a bikini-leather-clad dominatrix putting the finishing touches on her makeup…and then, later, leading Little Bo Peep around by a neck collar, leash, and handcuffs. It was … interesting. Hubby enjoyed every minute of the event. But I have a feeling that David and Nancy kept the girls away. *grin*


At a mystery con, people are desperately trying to get on panels, meet new fans, dress for success, meet agents, corner editors. Never have I seen a writer in flip-flops or shorts or anything but business or formal clothes. This past weekend, I wore sandals and skirts and splangly shawls and was totally comfortable. (Thank you again, Misty for the loaner. I *love* it! You can borrow it back anytime. *cheeky grin*) And we writers were way more comfortable than the girls in chain mail bras, corsets, etc.


For all the debauchery, private parties, game-playing, over abundance of panels, and exhaustion, there was a strong writing and fan contingent. People came to see us, buy books, talk about writing, and learn. It was so wonderful to be there with friends (Misty, David, Gail Z Martin, Edmund Schubert) and work hard as a team, that I am still glowing today.


Not to say that it was totally peachy. There was one writer who pushed all my buttons, with whom I disagreed on every single subject from the nature of good and evil to what makes a writer. I pushed his buttons too, and we butted heads every single time our paths crossed. Not gonna give you a he-said, she-said. Not gonna tell you his name. What I am gonna do is tell you how he redeemed himself to me. Yeah, Misty and David, he did. This happened after you left. My hubby told me about it, and here it is, as much word for word as he could remember.


Next to the signing table where some of us hung out, was a self published writer. She sold over 40 books that weekend by being charming, reading the crowd, and having a ready and versatile shtick. I never looked at her work, though we worked near one another, and chatted several times. Frankly, it never occurred to me. *slaps own head*


This other writer, with whom I was having words often, (in my sweet, Southern way) told her she wasn’t really published because she was not commercially published. And she agreed, with a gentle kind spirit.


I think her reply must have surprised him, because when she wasn’t looking, he picked up her book and he read the first couple pages. Yeah. I know. *He* read her pages. I didn’t. I never offered. And I am supposed to the helpful one, the nice one. Hah! Difficult as he was, he picked up her book. Started reading. And kept reading. Blew me away when I heard it.


When she came back he slapped it in her hand. He said, “No reason in the world why this can’t be published. This is good. Really good. Here’s some names in the business you need to contact. Tell them I said you can write and they should take a look at your work. Tell them I’ll recommend you. Tell them to contact me about it. Good luck.”


Within ten minutes after this um…difficult…man left, the girl had an agent and a small press publisher (who had been considering this all weekend anyway) who said, “If New York doesn’t want you, I do.” And her world took off, at speed, on a totally different angle.


So. People are amazing. And redemption is still possible. And if all fantasy cons are this much fun, I will never attend another mystery conference again.


Faith – who is still smiling.









14 comments to Redemption and Cons

  • Wow! I saw him reading the book, but I didn’t realize all that had happened because of it. I’m guessing I know said agent and small book publisher?

    That’s an AMAZING story. I guess it can pay to self-publish sometimes.


  • Isn’t that one of the signs of the End Times? “And lo, the angel did proclaim that *unnamed famous guy* shall declare another’s writing to be publishable.” *grin*

    Seriously, that’s wonderful for her. I had looked at her work at the NC Renaissance Festival, and it didn’t appeal to me. As we all know, one reader’s opinion has nothing to do with whether or not it was any good to a larger audience, so I’m tickled she found an agent and publisher (I’m like Christina…do I know them?)

    Gotta admit though, I’m still a little bowled over by the kindness of *unnamed famous guy*.

  • >>Gotta admit though, I’m still a little bowled over by the kindness of *unnamed famous guy*.

    Me too. And yes, Misty and Christina, you do know the agent and the small press pub who is interested, if NYC is not.

    End of the world, eh? Yeah. Could be.

  • What I’m most impressed with is the way in which the self published author carried herself. How wonderful that she didn’t rant and rave at Mr Famous when he tried to pull her down. You do get more flies with honey than with vinegar (wow finally I can use my mums old saying).
    It gives this as yet unpublished author hope…
    thanks for the story Faith.

  • Natalie, it didn’t hurt that she was pretty and flirted a bit with him, too. But, yeah, kudos to her!!!!

    I bought one of her books–I like buying books at the cons. I haven’t taken a look at it yet to see if I like it. I think she did a good job of grabbing sales, though I think some of the con folks called her pushy. But, hey, sometimes you gotta be, I guess.


  • Beatriz

    Agog. Simply agog.

    Faith, thank you for sharing this with us. I guess I can forgot my plan to put sardines in his air conditioning vents next year 😉

    I wish her– and the small, non-New York publishing firm good luck. Will you tell us if/when it comes out?

  • Not exactly all correct. Wrong publisher name and Holly isn’t my agent, and seh didnt; seem to hear all the VIP names our famous guy said to her, but hey, she was so excited she is lucky she didn’t swollow her tongue.
    I am very happy for her!

  • Well good for her, and if flirting doesn’t get you anywhere, well maybe kindness will.

  • Thanks for the blog linke, Misty. I’m jealous on the Holly thing. I’ve got to wait 3-4 months to hear if I’ll be a client. 🙁

  • Christina,
    There were some things that made Holly send the manuscript without an agent review process. And frankly, the speed that all this happened may be a problem to the writer, in the future. In no particular order are some positives and negatives about the speed.

    A pressing event in the gaming industry that would bring instant advertizing to the book, if it were to be released on time.

    No one knows if the writer who was so hepful will follow through and in such cases, speed is of the essence.

    if the book really needed a rewrite and didn’t get it, then speed will backfire.

    Holly had time to send it to two places before her own eye surgery. If they don’t want it then she has to start over, and any hope of buzz in the industry is lost.

    This young woman has been working on this book — with lots of refusals and nos — for years. For her, it isn’t all that fast.

    That is all I can think for now. Yesterday was a 13 hour rewrite day. Today was given over to writing a magizine article, dedication, acknowledgments, emails and such. Now I have to get back to the novel.
    I love my life.
    But it sure is busy

  • Not to change the subject, but on the ConCarolinas yahoogroup, there’s a lengthy (but civilized!) discussion going on about Little Miss Bo Peep and her invisible undies! Apparently there were two of them, one of which belonged to the Purgatory group, and one in attendance on her own. Neither of whom, however, were dressed for family viewing.


  • Coming to the discussion late, from vacationland (the beach doesn’t even suck a little bit….). I actually have known big-name writer in question for years. I was on a group chat with him for a long time and met him several times at cons. He can be abrasive and opinionated, but he has always been someone who goes out of his way to help young writers. That means a lot to me.

  • To me too David. I gained much respect for him for that. He is indeed a pro.