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So my first GoH appearance and it takes a week and change for me to write it up. This in turn tells you how things have been going - more updates soon. Whee!

Okay, so things that went well:
  • New ghost story was an audience hit (twice, even!)
  • Victorian Women Horror Writers and the Dark Fantasy of Angela Carter and Tanith Lee panels were easily some of the best panels I've ever been on - excellent co-panelists, good info, good audience engagement. Great stuff!
  •  Other panels mostly went well
  • Lovely friends showed up to support me and I had an excellent guest liaison
  • Proximity to the terrific Nelson's Deli in St. Paul 
  • Lots of prior convention experience (mine)
  • Some really fun and jolly conversations on Saturday afternoon
  • Met interesting new people
Things that could have gone better or lessons learned:
  • Friday night programming w/ the author guest of honor. Not because he did anything wrong but because the dynamics opened up some culture clash fannish stuff. I think I would have had a pretty rough time dealing with the difference between the squee that he got and the meh I got, if I had run into it earlier in my career. Being a published writer/editor/etc. and doing the con circuit requires a fair amount of ego, after all, and no one likes feeling like an afterthought. As it was, I was both cranky and amused but survived without having a tantrum (though there was a near miss about getting edited off the con website to put in more about him on Saturday, especially since I was the only one who'd made an attempt to publicize and promote the con to begin with. Okay, so maybe more bitter than I thought). In any case, he was gone the rest of the weekend due to another engagement so I got my star time too and things got better after Friday night. I think this was likely true for both of us as he was having a rough weekend and I think he also requires a larger playing field than this particular con could provide. I, on the other hand, needed to demonstrate that I could handle myself in the spotlight and that was much easier to do at a smaller con.
  • Sleep, hydration and well-maintained blood sugar are your friends. I didn't tank once all weekend, which was very nice.
  • Recruit a support network. In this case, I requested a guest liaison who I knew and liked and invited some of my friends to come and do panels. Other folks dropped by because they were in town or were interested in dark fantasy and/or horror. And that made it much better time.
And that's probably about it. In general, I had a nice time, hung out with friends, had some great discussions, enjoyed some good programming, met some new people, and really had perfectly good experience for a first time GoH run. I also may be getting some other opportunities through this, but nothing I can announce yet. If nothing else, I acquitted myself decently well and boosted con attendance (which they were quite happy about). :-)

Here's a nice write-up from local author and musician Conrad Zero, who had a fine time there too.


My fabulous Goth corsage, made by author Monica Valentinelli. :-)))


And Werewolf Ginger Beer, courtesy of Nelson's Deli:




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 I'll be reading with author Benjamin Percy tonight at DreamHaven Books at 6:30 to kick off Arcana: A Conference of the Dark Fantastic. I will have print copies of QUEERS DESTROY HORROR to sell and sign (and a brand new ghost story to read!) #Arcana45

Mr. Percy has a family emergency and can't make it tonight. Hopefully, he can make it to the con tomorrow (he was already booked in Toronto for the weekend so he was only going to be around tonight and tomorrow. In any case, this is why we always prep a second reading, just to be on the safe side. I'll be there with print copies of Queers Destroy Horror.

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As I've mentioned a time or 300, I'll be the Editor GoH at Arcana: A Convention of the Dark Fantastic, #45, this week. It starts Thursday with a reading by Author GoH Benjamin Percy and me at DreamHaven Books at 6:30, then conventioning at the Bandanna Square Best Western for the weekend. It is my first GoH appearance at a con and I am...nervous about all the things. Like people showing up. So there will likely be reminders, just saying. Many thanks to my friends who have committed to being on programming and/or just plain turning up to cheer me on and to Anton Petersen, Guest Liason Extraordinaire, who has stepped in for the weekend to herd me about as needed.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 CE:
6:30-7:45 P.M., DreamHaven Books, 2301 38th St E, Minneapolis
Reading/Q&A/Autographing/Reception for Arcana 45 Guest Editor Catherine Lundoff and Guest Author, Benjamin Percy.

Friday, October 23:

 8:00-8:55 P.M., Mainstage. Opening Ceremonies       
Catherine Lundoff and Benjamin Percy are interviewed by Tessa Johnstone Carlson and Eric M. Heideman.

 9:00-9:55 P.M., Mainstage. Panel: Wolves, Werewolves, and Wolfen in Fact, Folklore, Fiction, and Film                  Our Monster of the Year panel includes two werewolf novelists! Wolves, werewolves, and wolflike creatures have played an important part in popular culture at least since the Brothers Grimm. Why?                      Eric M. Heideman, mod.; Benjamin Percy, Catherine Lundoff, Cynthia Booth, Scott F. Wyatt

 BTW, Benjamin Percy's publisher is drafting him to leave us Saturday morning for an event in Toronto, if you were wondering why his name doesn't show up after Friday.


Saturday, October 24:

 The day begins at 10:00 with Meet the Vendors, followed by...

 11:00-11:55 A.M., Mainstage (Soo Line). Panel: Women and Victorian Horror

The Victorian Age was the heyday of ghost stories as well as other stories of Gothic suspense. Almost every woman writer whose name we recognize from the time period wrote at least one dark fantasy story, from Louisa May Alcott to Edith Wharton to the Brontes. We'll focus on the writers, their work and what made it a fertile time for these tales.                                                                                          
Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Tessa Johnstone Carlson, Roger Lasley

 2:00-2:55 P.M., Mainstage. Panel: Tanith Lee and Angela Carter and the Dark Fantastic

Tanith Lee (1947-2015) and Angela Carter (1940-1992) were both acclaimed writers of complicated female characters dealing with monsters, internal and external. Let's talk about their work and its influence on the field.                                                             
Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Michael Merriam

 4:00-4:27 P.M., Mainstage. Fiction Reading: Catherine Lundoff                                                                                       Our Guest Editor, also an author, reads from her work.

 4:28-4:55 P.M., Mainstage. Editor Q&A

Our Guest Editor answers questions specifically pertaining to the art, craft, and business of editing.                                 
Catherine Lundoff

 5:00-5:25 P.M., Railroad Lobby. Autographing: Catherine Lundoff, et al. ; followed by..

5:25-7:25 P.M. Dinner Break.

 

8:00-10ish P.M. Mainstage. Minn-Con Auction

Cool books, films, artwork, etc., the proceeds of which are used to keep Arcana's Sponsoring Organization afloat. The fun energy highlight of the convention. Dwayne H. Olson, Michael Waltz, Auctioneers; David Christenson, Materials Scrounger; Roger Lasley, Recorder; _____, Vanna; Catherine Lundoff, Moral Support

There will be a Catherine Lundoff-related item. Probably several.

 

Sunday, October 25:

11:00-11:55 A.M., Mainstage (Soo Line). Panel: LGBTQ Horror and Dark Fantasy, New and Old

A brief history and recommended works in a variety of mediums.           
Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Matt Coe

 
2:00-2:55 P.M., Mainstage. Panel: Penny Dreadful and Penny Dreadfuls

The penny dreadful has moved from Victorian supernatural pulp to a new HBO hit. What were the original penny dreadfuls about and what made them appealing? How does the show connect to its past as opposed to breaking new ground? What's next for this new style of Victorian horror?                                                                             Catherine Lundoff, mod.; Tessa Johnstone Carlson, Matt Coe, Steven Schroer

4:00-4:15 P.M. Mainstage. Closing Ceremonies

Wrapping up the official part of Arcana 45, with some words about Arcana 46.

Eric M. Heideman, MC; Catherine Lundoff

 

Followed by...4:15-4:45 P.M., Railroad Lobby. Milling about and fond farewells,

followed by...dinner.

 



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Sirens was very pleasant and relaxing. I heartily recommend it for anyone looking for a female-centric convention (transfriendly too, far as I could tell) that is intimately small and book-focused. I had some nice discussions, went dancing, talked about books, practice fan signals, talked about more books, but you get the idea. Glad I got to meet some of the many folks who I only knew from online and to hang out with them for a bit. I loved Tatter Cover Bookstore too! Excellent trip all around and I would definitely consider going back in future years!

This week has been fairly nuts and the weekend will be more so. Today, I met with my soon to be new attorney who will work on Queen of Sword Press contracts with me (as opposed to the other attorney who's working on my LLC and associated licensing). I must say that I now have a whole new vision of what "Lawyering up" actually entails. I like them both, but it is a tad intimidating to sort through. So I'm taking a legal issues for writers class at the Loft Literary Center tomorrow to demystify some of it. The copywriting class of a few weeks ago went well so I'm optimistic about this one too.

Off to the Twin Cities Book Festival after that, then catching the always terrific Theatre Unbound with their new production Title IX. This comes out just in time for our WNBA team, the MN Lynx to take their third national championship in 5 years; we caught one of the final games and Jana went to the last one, so we're less fair weather fans than our norm (one game a year, depending on our schedules, but we go regardless of whether or not they're winning). The Lynx got a dance party from Prince, a call from POTUS, an invite to the governor's mansion and a tickertape parade through Minneapolis. Let's hope they also get raises, given what female professional athletes actually earn on average.

Sunday will be a trip to the MN Arboretum Apple House, sundry errands and a Mom visit, to be followed by writing. I'm beginning to freak out about Arcana, which will be my first GOH appearance. I have a reading with the other GOH on Thursday night at 6:30 at DreamHaven  and publicity has not been spectacular. Add to that, another con scheduled for the same weekend and I've entered the spiral of mortal terror that says I will be looking at near empty rooms and trying to be entertaining for a loooonnnggg time. Here's hoping I'm completely wrong. I also need to finish a new story to read, or so i hope. Whee!

Off to bed now. More bulletins to follow.


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The Arcana 45 Con Com is releasing a series of online posters in the pulp tradition to promote the con. As can be expected, I like a few of them
but find others cringeworthy. But hey, it's publicity and I'm hoping we can really boost the numbers this year so I have lots of cool people to chat with.  Here's one I like - 

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Been another week of Hell Cold, Mom crises and novel revisions. I am finally doing better, hopefully on the mend though, and decisions about Mom's future get tackled next week. She's doing better, but it's not clear that she's going to do enough better to go back to her apartment. Still wrangling finances, seemingly endlessly (into Month 3 on trying to close her accounts now) so still good times ahead. novel revisions are picking up steam as are bit and pieces of press planning. Hopefully, a healthy ten days or so and I get caught back up.

In other news, I've added an event on Sunday, June 14th at noon. I'll be doing a Author
Koffee Klatch with MinnSpec, which is an hour long talk and Q&A session. They do these a couple of times a year and I'm pleased to have been asked to do one. Please register and come one by!

I'm also sponsoring a
Con or Bust membership for Arcana: A Conference of the Dark Fantastic, I'll be the GOH at Arcana this year and I've decided that i want to try and donate Con or Bust memberships where I can because it's an effort I want to support. I sponsored one for Diversicon this year in honor of GOH Ytasha Womack and it's already been accepted, so hopefully this one goes as well. Please spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested. Applications will open in a month or two. Also, check out the Con or Bust page for links to their terrific annual auction, which is is always worth shopping at and which opens on 4/20.

Re: other events of the week, I'm sure you're wondering if I have an opinion about the Hugos. Or not. And I do, though I don't know that it is necessarily more nuanced than those found other places. Short, consolidated version: I think the Puppy Slates (both of them) exploited some obvious loopholes in the Hugos nomination process, but I think other folks "helped" them along by not nominating more quality work and voting.That said, if this year provides nothing else, I think it's woken a lot of folks up, at least for the moment. I think the Awards will need to make some changes and I truly feel for the Administrators because this has got to be a hell of a lot of undeserved crap to deal with. That said, I'm voting No Award in any Puppy-dominated slot because I'm not a fan of playing footsie with homophobic white supremacists who like to throw in a healthy dose of misogyny (such a surprise!). I'm voting for the best of the nonPuppy candidates available in in each slot and no Award if I think there isn't one. As for those professionals  "drafted" on to the Puppy slates who have chosen to remain on the ballot, thereby benefiting however unintentionally from the system being gamed in their favor, I think that the ones doing award-quality work will deserve nominations in future years. As for the others, wails of "victimhood" and all, too bad. Many kudos to the two authors who took the high road and did the right thing by withdrawing their nominations; I look forward to reading the works of Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos  for future award consideration.


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which will be occurring October 23-25, 2015 in St. Paul, here. Arcana bills itself as "A Convention of the Dark Fantastic" and I'll be joining such previous luminaries as Robert Bloch, Melanie and Steve Tem, Neil Gaiman, Tim Powers and Pam Keesey. And they'll give out the Minnesota Fantasy Award to someone or other (it doesn't get announced much ahead of time so I don't know who's up for ti this year); last time I attended the Awards, it went to Lois McMaster Bujold, which was very cool. So, pretty impressive company for my second ever con-headlining experience. :-)

Why me? Well, I asked myself that a bit, too. Being local is not entirely off the table but they've certainly had plenty of headliners from elsewhere. In any case, I have edited or co-edited two award-winning anthologies: Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories and (with JoSelle Vanderhooft) Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic. I've also had 1 novel and 3 collections of short fiction published, much of it award-winning and/or included in sundry Year's Best anthos. My work has spanned fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, erotica, nonfiction, historical fiction and mystery, for a rough total of a half million published words. Between them, my books have won 5 awards and finaled for 5 others, to date. And I've been an awards judge and taught classes at the Loft Literary Center and sundry other places. So not a bad run, thus far, if not quite at the lofty heights of some of the previous guests, but I presumably still have time to catch up.

What's the con all about? Horror and dark fantasy, as a rule. It's a small chatty con so I'd love to see more folks come and check it out and broaden the conversations a bit. What do I plan to talk about? Werewolves and vampires and ghosts and the queer component in each of those subgenres and women in horror and dark fantasy. Penny Dreadful and penny dreadfuls. Sleepy Hollow. Diversity in dark fantasy and horror. Stuff that matters to me, and hopefully, to you. I'm pretty damned entertaining too, when sufficiently caffeinated (think sober geeky Dorothy Parker). And that's why you, yes, you! should join me for this shindig! Come for the dark, stay for the snark - which could well be the t-shirt for this year. :-)

Hope some of you can make it!

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