What to Expect at CONtraflow

                For those who haven’t been following the Authors & Dragons podcast (shame) or checking my Upcoming Events section (double shame) then you might not realize that on the weekend of September 30th – October 2nd I, along with most of the A&D crew, will be at CONtraflow in New Orleans. I’ll pause while all of you race to buy tickets to the event and then plan out your plane/driving schedule.

                Everybody booked? Awesome, let’s continue.

                So what should you be braced for in this awesome convention headquartered in one of the most debaucherous cities in the U.S.? A lot to be frank. I could write a dozen blogs on the fun, wild, cultural, and culinary aspects of New Orleans (I’ve got family there so have been visiting regularly since childhood) but since that would also involve a fair amount of self-incrimination (if you’re not going to fight a statue, why even drink?) I’ll skip it for now. Instead, let’s focus on what to expect from CONtraflow itself!


                1) Let’s get the saddest part out of the way first: Neither Joseph Brassey (Bjorg) or Steve Wetherell (Brandon Thighmaster) will be attending. When asked, Steve drunkenly mumbled an explanation that none of us could really understand through his accent, although we did get the words “public intoxication” “NSA” and “zoo robbery” so let’s just all assume he’s got a good reason for skipping. As for Joe, we’re not even sure he knows about the con, the last reports of him were that he’d taken his sword into the mountains and was challenging bears to duels. Every few days an injured bear limps into town, so apparently he’s doing well.

                They will, however, both be digitally present for the first ever live Authors & Dragons podcast, so you needn’t worry about turning up to watch an incomplete shitshow. Oh, which I guess leads to:


                2) There will be a live Authors & Dragons podcast! Yeah, sort of gave that away on the last one, huh? Well it’s still true, damnit. Finally, you, yes you, can come watch a bunch of guys poorly play Pathfinder and then take questions from the audience. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we have been reading your dream journal. On that topic, you need to talk to a therapist like fucking now. The dream with the whales and the buttercream? Sick shit. Get help. But get it after CONtraflow, because you don’t want to start making rational choices before New Orleans. Where’s the fun in that?


                3) John Hartness and I will probably put on an amateur exhibition wrestling match. This one isn’t official or on the schedule or anything, but we’re going to be in a town that is functionally made of alcohol, plus John and I are both big old school wrestling fans. Sooner or later we’re going to get into a drunken discussion of which era was better and what superstar had the best moves, and after that it’s a short hop to choke-slamming each other through some poor vendor’s table to prove that it’s really all in how you take the bump.  That vendor is going to have it coming anyway. $30 for a t-shirt? Fuck that dude, he deserves a table choke-slam.


                4) Robert Kroese and Robert Bevan will at long last engage in a battle to the death over who can be called Robert. I mean, it’s confusing to everyone, right? Sure, I guess we could just keep calling them by their last names like I do, but no, this is a matter of manly pride, and I know neither of these gentlemen will be denied. While the exact competition is still in debate, we’ve narrowed it down to doing shots, duel by pistol, and Parcheesi. Both of the Roberts are really pulling for Parcheesi, saying they in no way feel the need to die over rights to a name, however I think we can all see that for the bluster it really is.


                5) Rick Gualtieri is going to cosplay as every single character from each of the Authors & Dragons writers’ books. Granted, he doesn’t actually know that yet, and it will mean having to change clothes approximately every five minutes with no time to eat or sleep, but it’s such a fun idea there’s no way he won’t be down for it, right? And of course, he’ll be taking pictures with everyone in those various costumes, as well as doing live-readings featuring the character he is dressed as from their respective book.

                …okay, full disclosure, no one else wanted to dress up, so we may have collectively decided to shove that duty solely on Rick. So if you see him sans costume at any point, it is your duty and obligation as a reader to ask where his outfit is. Of course, seeing as a huge chunk of my characters dress like college students, he might actually be in costume, at which point I’d say you owe him a beer for challenging his work ethic.


                6) For those who survive, we’ll be doing a Drinkalong Power Hour with the A&D crew. I’m actually not kidding at all about this one; we’re absolutely doing a Drinkalong Power Hour with all the A&D players who come to CONtraflow. Now while encouraging binge drinking isn’t something the con or we can do for liability reasons, we are going to try and have it in an area where alcohol is freely available, so that any fans who want to play along could make the choice to do so of their own volition. It’s a free country, we can’t very well stop you from drinking.


                7) The Authors & Dragons team will be at a table, selling our wares and greeting fans. When we’re not at the bar, I mean. Okay, so there will always be at least one person at the table, probably more if we’re allowed to fill up a cooler and bring it to the table. Maybe a grill too, for when we get hungry. Small TV to watch when we get bored… and I’ve now accidentally turned the A&D table into a tailgate, haven’t I? Fuck it, that just means it will be even more fun to visit! Don’t tell the $30 shirt guy where we are though, don’t want him trying to plot revenge. Then we have to call Joe down from the mountains, the bear population rages out of control, and it just becomes a whole big thing.


                8) Panels! Seriously, there are a lot of cool panels at this thing, and I hope you can all make it out to at least one. I don’t expect even my most devoted fans to hit all of them though, because it’s freaking New Orleans and I know my drawing charisma isn’t nearly high enough to justify skipping Bourbon Street. But for those who do attend and wonder where you can see me, aside from the A&D table and, let’s be honest, the bar, below is my Panel schedule for CONtraflow:

Fri 5:00 PM: Opening Ceremonies (110 minutes)
Sat 10:00 AM: Can Superman Be Relevant In 2016 and Still Be Superman?
Sat 1:00 PM: Authors & Dragons Podcast
Sat 6:00 PM: The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Where Is It Going and What Would We Like To See. Or Not
Sun 12:00 PM: The The DC Cinematic Universe: Where Is It Going and What Would We Like To See. Or Not
Sun 2:00 PM: Making the Fantastic Make Sense in the Modern World: Creating Modern Fantasy
Sun 3:00 PM: Podcasting

                I hope to see you all there for as many of these as you can make, but even if all you do is stop by the table to say “Hi” I know we’ll all appreciate it. Meeting our readers is always the best part of getting to do these sorts of things. Although the potential for a Robert vs. Robert Death Match is a pretty close second.

                See you all in New Orleans!