Archives: OryCon

Pounding the Pavement and Knocking on Doors

Taking a look at the calendar, I noticed that the next couple of months will call frequently on my woefully lacking marketing skills. Oh, joy. Promotion. What’s that rising up within? Heartburn? Acid reflux? Incipient panic?

Some of us prefer to remain unnoticed, to blend, chameleon-like, in the crowd. Deliberately drawing multiple pairs of eyeballs to our existence can be a trifle uncomfortable. But, that’s the gig. I knew it was part of the deal when I signed up.

Orycon 36 Wrap Up


Another Orycon recedes in the rear view mirror. My second as a panelist. I felt more comfortable in the role this year and had a good time. Whether or not the other panelists or the audience members enjoyed my participation remains an open question.

I met a number of talented and interesting individuals. I have a pocketful of business cards to prove it. Here commences the name dropping. The prolific and colorful Annie Bellet endured my banter. I purchased the “Shattered Shields” anthology, containing a story she wrote and met the editor Jennifer Brozek. I chatted again with the obliging Steve Perry. I shared anecdotes with Daniel H. Wilson. I met the writers Ksenia Anske, Leah Cutter, Jonathon Burgess, Clayton Callahan, Cody Barrus, Phyllis Irene Radford, and many others. I spoke with the artist and cartoonist John Alexander, artist Adrian Bourne. I bent the ear of filmmaker J.R. Ralls of “Dark Dungeons” infamy. I bored to tears, I’m sure, many others and handed out stacks of cards.

Ending the convention on the same panel with William F. Nolan, co-author of “Logan’s Run” counts, I think, as a high note.

I hopped from party to party Saturday night up on the 14th and 15th floor of the Doubletree. I learned quite a bit and I hope to employ some of the knowledge. For good or ill? We’ll see.


The current work-in-progress, a short fantasy novel, looks to be near completion. First draft completion, anyway. I expect to write “End” by next weekend, in time for Orycon. We’ll see. The point is that the time has come to move on to the next project.

I don’t want to bore anyone with the sausage making aspect of writing, but I should probably explain why it is time to start something new. A first draft is far from a final manuscript. If you picked up a novel in the bookstore printed directly from an author’s first draft, you’d set it back down before you got through the first page, wondering how such crap could make onto the shelf. A novel requires several rounds of drafts and revisions before it is ready even for the publisher to see. More revisions follow.

OryCon 36

My invitation to serve as a panelist at OryCon 36 arrived early last week. This will mark my second year as a guest of the con. OryCon is Portland’s home grown science-fiction/fantasy convention. It is also the only one I’ve ever attended so I have no yardstick for comparison to other conventions. I don’t know if it is a tiny regional con or a moderately-sized stop on the convention circuit. I just know I generally have a good time.

I dipped my toe into OryCon in high school. Probably OryCon 8 or 9. I remember it was at the Red Lion near Lloyd Center, what is now the Double Tree. The following year the con moved to the Red Lion on the Columbia River where it remained for many years. I was able to attend only sporadically during those years: college, law school, military deployment occasionally intervened. But those were for me halcyon cons, for at least one reason if not more: the hospitality suite served beer on draught for a quarter a glass. If memory serves the keg-o-rator held two taps: Henry’s Dark and Henry’s Blue Boar Ale.

OryCon 35

I attended my first science fiction convention as a guest this weekend. Not my first con, but my first on the other side of the panel table. OryCon is the annual Portland convention, now in its 35th year. It brings together fans of the myriad interests lumped under ‘science fiction.’ So, you’ve got your klingons, your gamers, your costume makers, anime buffs, etc. I’ve attended about a dozen of these over the years, not with any particular focus, but simply as a reader of speculative fiction in general. It allowed me a chance to meet some of the authors of books I’ve enjoyed and to hear the authors discuss various topics at panels.