Common Con Conumdrums

               Since this blog is being posted right before I begin two weekends of conventions, I decided it was time to tackle some of the stuff people will ask me about during or before them, sort of an FAQ dedicated specifically to convention related stuff. Before we get directly into that, let’s knock out the first question that always comes up on these sorts of blogs: what conventions am I attending? Well, this weekend (Nov 11-12th) I’ll be at Phoenix Fan Fest in (surprise) Phoenix, Arizona. Next weekend (Nov 17-19th), I’ll be at Austin Comic Con in Austin Texas. Hopefully I’ll get to see lots of you there, and when you do come out…

               Feel Free to Ask for Signatures or Pictures. I’ve joked about this a few times on camera, saying I’ll even sign other people’s books if you want (still true) but I know some folks are unsure if its okay to ask me to sign a book they didn’t buy at the convention. Let me put that one to bed for good: I am always happy to sign stuff for fans who come out. Books if you have them, and I keep bookmarks on hand in case you don’t. Or business cards, or whatever. You made the effort to come out and find me at a con full of other fun stuff to entertain you, signing something is the least I can do to say thanks. As for pictures, I’ve seen people feel uncertain about asking for these, but as long as there isn’t anyone else waiting for something I’m happy to oblige. You might want to bring a stepstool though, I’m taller than you’re picturing. Taller. Taller. Scale it back a little. There we go.

               If I’m Passed Out At a Table, Wake Me With Gentle Shaking. I know, I know, it’s tempting to get a water bucket or something funny, but that risks getting the books wet, and nobody wants that. Just knock a few of the beer cans out of the way and give me a careful shake on the shoulder. That should rouse me to the land of the waking, if not the world of sobriety. You’ll know for sure it’s me by the Thunder Pear Publishing table runner, and all my neighbors whispering about the man doing a solo power hour in the middle of a convention’s sales floor.

               Should We Lock Eyes In the Elevator, the Duel Must Begin. Sorry, I don’t make the rules on this one, it’s handed down from that insane cult that raised me on the dirt streets of moonshine country for a few years. Some habits just can’t be broken though, and this is among them. The god of beer and fun demands we defy the slithering evil deity who lives in every unfinished drink, and to celebrate his law we must have a duel the moment our eyes meet in an elevator. Basically, Pokemon rules in that respect, although of course we don’t use animals in our contests. I will honor any of the traditional battles that you, the challenger, chooses: Speed-Chugging, Keg-Relay, or Finishing-a-Smirnoff-Ice. Brace yourself well if you select the last one, good challenger. It has felled competitors far stronger than either of us.

               Don’t Be Shocked If I Refer You to a Blog. This one is going to be a little more niche, but I’ve noticed that at some cons folks breaking into the business will ask me for advice on specific issues or have questions. Like with pictures before, as long as there’s no one else waiting I’m happy to help. The thing is, I’ve been at this for a long time, and while I try not to lean too much on advice blogs they have accumulated through the years. Consequently, sometimes folks will ask about an issue where the honest best answer I can give is to refer them to an old blog. Those are going to be more comprehensive than anything I can deliver in a fleeting conversation, and come with useful links, even sometimes pictures. This won’t be the case every time, of course, however if you inquire about a topic I’ve covered in detail then please don’t take me referring you to a blog as me brushing you off or anything like that, I’m merely trying to offer the most complete answer I can.

               If I’m In Costume, Just Roll With It. Generally, I don’t dress up at conventions for practical reasons. Packing costumes takes luggage space I don’t really have, and besides, the point of me being at these things is partially to make it easy on y’all by being as recognizable as possible. That said, there’s a lot of room for antics between breakfast drinking and the times that the vendor floors open, so I’m wearing half a dragon outfit and roaring, maybe just let it slide. And grab me some coffee if its convenient, probably going to need that when the buzz wears off. Also, if anyone asks, you were with me all morning at… sobriety prayer group? Yeah, that sounds like the activity of a man who wouldn’t drunkenly end up in part of a dragon suit.

               I Am No Longer Able to Engage in Improv Wrestling Matches. Sorry folks, I know the stories of me and John Hartness breaking tables at older cons have turned into the stuff of legends, but convention insurance has demanded that I no longer chokeslam opponents through other booth’s decorations, even the ones selling $30 t-shirts. It’s a big loss to us all, I know, however these cons belong to them, and we have to respect their wishes. From here on, I can only do works, not shoots, so all matches will need to be scripted and I can’t accept attendees as opponents any longer. If that last joke made no sense to you, look up what “work” and “shoot” mean, then read my blog about wrestling and writing. Oh shit, already doing that blog referral!

               I Am Always Thrilled to Meet Readers. So for the most part I’m sure you’ve all figured out this blog is 20% serious, 80% insanity to keep things fun, but I wanted to make crystal clear that this is part of the serious percentage. I love getting to meet people who read my books, especially those who care enough to spend the time and money on coming out to say hello. It’s one of the coolest parts of my job, and I am freaking jazzed for these next two weekends, and for Emerald City Comic Con in March. I hope I get to see loads of you at all of these!