FenCon 2022 AAR

TL:DR: Had a blast, wore myself out, and have no regrets!

This year was the debut of the NTTM both and cooperative and it went really, really well.

FenCon last year was my first experience with this con, and on a whim I’d gotten a table to commit commerce, which also turned into having friend’s books and wares on that table. The week after the con, the vote was taken and North Texas Troublemakers was born. Even before I’d left the con last year, I’d committed to two tables, so I’d have room for more friends. Put a pin in this, and let’s get this crazy map going! 

FenCon is the only con that has gotten me involved in the staffing end of things, so it was a really fascinating glimpse into the workings behind the scene, and I have to say, we don’t give the staff whose boots are on the ground all year long nearly enough kudos for all their hard work juggling both what can be planned for… and what can’t. Like a large hotel having a personnel issue that leads to massive overbooking on the con weekend. I have to say that was handled remarkably well, but even better was the refusal to make their guest choices political. They brought in a fantastic array of guests, from the GoH Larry Correia to Chuck Gannon, and Rob Hampson. All of these gentleman are not only folks I’ve known for coming on two decades now, but consummate professionals who were there to work hard making it fun for the attendees, and from what I saw, they succeeded as I’d have expected.

Jonna Hayden, who ran the costume track, was a big part of getting the booth pulled together along with Kortnee.

For me? I had a blast. On Friday I kept seeing people across the room and saying ‘I didn’t know you’d be here!’ and by the end of the day I was laughing that LibertyCon had come to Texas for the weekend. It was truly delightful to see so many old friends, while meeting new ones and finally seeing online friends in person. 

The two tables I’d bought in on turned into three, and with the talented design of Kortnee Bryant (aka CV Walter on the NTTM page) we had a fantastic book and art and sundry selling booth. I’m no longer the only artist in the cooperative, so we had no less than four represented at the booth, along with books from about a dozen authors, plus Tully Robert’s selection of very choice collectible volumes. My Little Man (who isn’t so little any longer) and Kortnee’s son Logan staffed the booth for most of the con, freeing the rest of us up to work and play. They did a fantastic job, helping with everything from set-up to teardown, and my son was also volunteering for the con, so he helped set up starting from Thursday morning onward. As a mother, seeing him wrangle everything from sales questions to the unwanted presence of a Known Creeper, to helping a congoer jump their vehicle… sniff! I’m so proud of him.

Art! And books, and Art!

My con started on Thursday evening. This seems to have become a trend for me, and I’m not sorry about it. That before-time of chilling with the early arrivals, talking in small groups, is really nice. I worked Friday morning, moved hotels (the hotel situation was a PITA but totally not on the con), and then it all started in earnest. I’m not even going to try and name everyone. I will say that having Ray Krawczyk there was just the cherry on top… literally. We ran out to a great liquor store on Friday, and he bought a lovely rum and a bottle of amazing cherries that put maraschino to shame. I picked up a bottle of Oilfire, for the party later. I had my first panel on Friday, Science or Magic, which wound up being an interesting conversation about magical thinking around science, rather than just Clarke’s Law as I thought it would be when I walked in. Science isn’t magic, but the human nature is to give it magical status. After this, Friday really got started!

Lizz and Lawdog judging the Wendell costume contest

I will say, having a room full of people ‘Hoooning’ and the occassional ‘fleerp!’ is an awful lot of fun. After the MHN gettogether, the NTTM book party was on. And off, and on and finally! On for real. I spent the evening chatting and sipping some fine beverages and finally slipped into the hotel room about one, succeeding in not waking my son.

Ray K and Kortnee, with Ray modeling Kort’s Trailer Park Elf headband. Tully Roberts behind them tending bar. 

Saturday was a marathon of a day. Due to the hotel situation I knew I’d be out all day, so I thought I was prepared and ate a hearty breakfast. I was not. About 2 I had to eat, and a friend drove me for food because I wasn’t safe. This happened again on Sunday, only that time I made it all the way home before realizing it was food that was the issue. So suffice it to say, protein bars will be in the con bag from now on. 

Dan and Sarah Hoyt, and Lloyd Behm II

This was very much a level-up con in many ways. Not only for me personally, although that was true. But for the North Texas Troublemakers, as we hone our skills of “go to con, have fun, and sell books (and art)!” I didn’t take a ton of photos, as my phone was at the booth most of the weekend serving as hotspot for the point of sale, and this is a good thing. I mean… not the lack of photos. LOL! 

So to my level-up… I have a minion now. I’m laughing because she’s so much more than that, but it’s a funny way to put it. A friend approached me and we sat and talked through her idea. She’ll wrangle cat…er, authors for me. This will enable me to manage more anthologies, as I don’t have the spoons to run more on my own. About five minutes after that conversation started someone joined us, and pitched his anthology ideas at me! Proximity leads to professional connections, and as the timing had worked out with the one making the second possible, I accepted his pitch on one anthology… more on that next year. The other he was able to find a publisher who was a much better fit than I, and I’m so happy that he made it work. This is why cons may not be profitable on the weekend, but they lead to good things. 

Plus, you get to hang out with likeminded people.

Opening ceremonies: The audience
Opening Ceremonies audience part two
Book Party! L-R in foreground: Jonathon LaForce, Jonna Hayden (let down her hair even!), and a dapper Brian Lee Gnad. 
A gentleman I don’t know, Chuck Gannon’s head, Lawdog with a pan of cookies and Ben Hunsinger behind him. Then Alayne, talking with Julian Thompson, and a lady I don’t know reaching for the cookies.

Saturday I also had only one panel, which was on Desktop Medicine, and that was a really interesting conversation as well, covering the feasibility of making your own medicine. With Kelly Grayson, myself, Mel White, and Monalisa Foster we had some different perspectives but an overall agreement that as the panel on Friday touched on, a lot of people succumb to magical thinking about science in medicine, to their detriment. Dosing is difficult. Sunday I made my first two panels, Emergency Space Medicine, and Scientists Who Write SciFi, and then unfortunately due to having skipped a meal, I fogged out and managed to miss my final panel. I’m still kicking myself, but at the time I was feeling distinctly unwell and made it home with a whimper. Having left my son to help with the booth and catch a ride home with friends, I cut short my day and managed home safe and then rest, which I did all through Monday as well. Feeling much better now, on Tuesday, so if anyone caught me Sunday afternoon when my systems were down, it’s all good. Lessons were learned. Snacks in the con bag will be a Thing from now on. 

To recap! FenCon was a blast, and I’m looking forward to the next one. 

21 thoughts on “FenCon 2022 AAR

  1. A lot of fun – and a LOT of work! Wish I could have been there to help. And yes, always, snacks in the con bag. (I nearly always have protein bars and other snacks in a bag wherever I go.)

  2. I originally was going just to support Larry as an 1800 mile round trip was a non trivial exercise. Then the back happened. I may well try agan next year.

  3. I really enjoyed meeting you and the further conversations we had, you are so cordial that it really helped me appreciate my first Con.

  4. I really enjoyed it and thank you so much for including me in the NTT booth! I’m sorry I missed the parties, but I had no idea where they were taking place! Oh, well. Next time.

  5. Haha, the lady you don’t know was me trying to keep my overly-excited service dog from knocking over the cookie delivery person!

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