ConQuesT 45: Noir

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May 27, 2014 by Tiffany A. Robbins

This past memorial day weekend was filled with the beauty of writing and fandom as I attended ConQuesT 45 in Kansas City, MO at the Marriott hotel downtown. I wasn’t sure how much fun I’d have for two reasons. 1) I didn’t really know any of the guests of honor’s work. 2) My sister didn’t get to come with me. Fortunately, I had developed a bit of fandom for some of the returning panelists from last year, and my husband joined me.

So, I’ll get right into the amazingness.

This year’s theme was Noir-trying to embrace the dark side of the science fiction and fantasy spectrum. One of the first panels I attended on Friday was “The Changing Face of Fear.” One of my favorite panelists from last year, K.D. McEntire was there along with one of my new favorite panelists, Sean Demory. I found Sean’s take on fiction in general to be beautiful and refreshing. I can’t wait to read some of his works. I’ve been trying to add a touch of fear to a couple of my story lines, and I feel this panel helped immensely with that goal.

Next, I attended Hobbies as Research, mostly because I wasn’t interested in the other options. There I was introduced to Patrick Stutzman and found his story about a rogue decimal point inspiring. It was an interesting and entertaining panel from the perspective of an up and coming writer.

There was more I wanted to do after opening ceremonies, but I needed food, so I left for the evening. Saturday began with my husband by my side who had no idea what to expect from the world of ConQuesT. We started the day learning about how to get started doing stained glass, and followed up with another fear panel entitled “How to Scare Your Reader” where we heard from Sean Demory and were introduced to Robin Wayne Bailey. It took me a little while to warm up to Robin, but I quickly found myself admiring his opinion and viewpoints. This only increased throughout the weekend, and I must now call myself a fan of him if not yet of his work.

After lunch I attended a “Finding Your Audience” panel that was geared not so much on writing for a specific audience, but on physically finding who and where your audience is in the world. I was most impressed with Selina Rosen on this panel. She runs Yard Dog Press, and has a lovely, jaded view of the world of publishing. I loved hearing from her because she doesn’t bullshit at all. She tells it like it is, and I can’t help but feel that her opinion matters. I can’t imagine that her voice isn’t a representation of the jaded world of publishing in general, and as an unpublished writer, I feel it’s important to hear that voice. The publishing world has been burnt and financially devastated. Those who have come out the other side of watching people stop reading, are the ones we need to listen to. Money matters to these folks. It may not matter to me as a writer, but it matters to the people who are publishing us. It is nice to be reminded of that. Plus, she’s a funny lady, and newly married. So Congratulations to you and your wife, Selina! P.S. I got one of your books, and I can’t wait to read it.

That afternoon, my husband, Cameron, struck off on his own and found the realm of the hard sci-fi geeks. You guys made him a very, very happy man. They also scared poor Clair Ashgrove to death when she accidentally attended the “Where Has the Hard SF Gone?” panel instead of the “Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance” panel. She finally came into the latter panel wide-eyed, saying, “They started talking about grey matter.” Of course, she recovered quickly, and switched to her usual romance genre with her usual grace. I later attended her self-editing panel and finally introduced myself to her as one of her clients. I was flattered that she knew who I was right away, and had some very nice things to say about my story that her company has helped me with. I have nothing but nice things to say about the folks at Finish The Story.

We finished the day with “The Art of Adaptation: Different Media, Different Approaches” where there was a lively discussion of book to movie adaptations. There, I fell in love with Mark Oshiro. He’s a witty man with very similar viewpoints as myself and my husband. He’s quite lovable as well.

By Sunday, I was started to lose steam, and was grateful to attend a few panels that were more entertaining if not intellectually stimulating. There was a very nice panel on “Space Opera: More Than Mind Candy.” The highlight of my day was the “Queer Eye for Sci-Fi” panel that left me really wanting to add LGBT representation into my writing, though still feeling a little unqualified to do so. They were such a great group of panelists and they left me feeling warmly awash in their “Avalanche of Gay.”

I went into the whole weekend with few expectations, and I left inspired and feeling warm fuzzies all over. We have such a great group here in Kansas City. I love the writing community here, and I can’t wait to one day be an asset to that community. Also, Cameron got one of his favorite Glen Cook books signed, and got his first experience meeting and visiting with a beloved author. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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One thought on “ConQuesT 45: Noir

  1. […] 2) I have never had a personal conversation with Mark Oshiro, but I have sat in on a few of his ConQuesT panels. I do not know his work, so I can’t really call myself a fan, but from listening to him talk on panels, I had really liked the man. I’m going to quote myself here “We finished the day with ‘The Art of Adaptation: Different Media, Different Approaches’ where there was a lively discussion of book to movie adaptations. There, I fell in love with Mark Oshiro. He’s a witty man with very similar viewpoints as myself and my husband. He’s quite lovable as well.” from my blog post Conquest 45 Noir. […]

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