From the perspective of all things Stikmantic, this past weekend at ConDFW was fantastic. I sat on seven panels, four as an author and three as an artist, moderating one of the literary panels and two of the artistic. My Saturday morning reading to a surprisingly full room—10:00 a.m. Saturday con events are not known for large audiences—was well received. Over the weekend I had opportunity to make or enlarge acquaintance with a number of wonderful talents, including Tim Powers, Brad Foster, Patrice Sarath, R. Cat Conrad, Stina Leicht, Julia Mandala, Ethan Nahté and K. B. Bogen, as well as hang with my good friend and fellow Blue Moose Press author, O. M. Grey. Wandering the party floor Saturday night brought me face to face for the first time with AggieCon 42‘s guest relations officer, Veronica Stark (lovely and charming with or without her enormous blue eyelashes). Wandering into the party in ConJour‘s suite brought an invitation to be a guest and dealer at that event in just a few short weeks. In short, the weekend was extraordinarily rich and uplifting.
Rising above all other events and encounters, however, was the further cementing of my creative association with Amanda Kimmerly. The weekend gave her an opportunity to step forward as editor of The Hidden Lands of Nod and co-author of the upcoming Dvarsh primer and glossary. This was important. It was important for me to let people know how significant a role she has played and continues to play in the development of my imagined realm, and I think it was important for Amanda to encounter first hand the community of speculative fiction creators and fans from which I draw so much inspiration. Those concerns aside, there is absolutely no way I could have participated in programming to the extent that I did had she not been present to staff our table in the dealers room. And staff it she did. Our sales were excellent, and she made very nearly all of them. If I have a regret, it is that I was off so often sitting on panels that Amanda had little chance to sample panels herself. My hope is that we can strike a better balance at upcoming conventions, of which there are several.
Rising quickly above the horizon are the cons of March. The next one on the calendar happens right here in Austin. Staple! The Independent Media Expo returns for the seventh year on March 5th and 6th, at the Marchesa Hall and Theater. While not strictly a sci-fi/fantasy event, Staple! features a huge sci-fi/fantasy component among the independent comic publishers, novelists, graphic novelists, artists, filmmakers, videographers, poets, small publishers and other freewheeling media freakers who come together every year around organizing sensibility Chris Nicholas (aka Uncle Staple). Exciting on many planes and many dimensions, one of the things I most look forward to with Staple! is that once again it draws my good friends Bram and Monica Meehan, of Panel Press, here to central Texas.
Close on the heels of Staple! comes ConJour 3, March 11th-13th, on campus at The University of Houston Clear Lake. Amanda and I have promise of seats on panels, as well as a table in the dealers room. Besides a chance to contribute to this up-and-comer among Texas cons, I look forward to catching up with newest Blue Moose Press author Paul Elard Cooley, whose first collection of horror tales is even now in production. The beautiful UHCL campus may be the only con host site boasting signs warning visitors to watch for alligators.
Bringing the month to a close will be AggieCon 42, March 25th-27th, at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in College Station. This will be my fifth AggieCon, with good reason. Organized by Texas A&M student organization Cepheid Variable, AggieCon is the oldest student-run sci-fi/fantasy convention in the country and—if I am not mistaken—the oldest con of any description in the state of Texas. It would be hard to say enough in praise of the organization and individuals that make this event a venerable and recurring success.
More events lurk further ahead in the Stikmantic calendar, but I’ll save details of those for another day. Before I sign off, however, I must announce that the Kindle version of Entranscing, the second book of The Hidden Lands of Nod, is now available through Amazon. I am happy this necessary placement has been realized (finally!), although I strongly encourage all readers of good will to purchase their ebooks—including Kindle editions—from vastly more author friendly Smashwords.
Last but not least, please go to the contact page of this very site to sign up for the Stikmanz News e-newsletter. This once monthly publication is another source of information about the doings of Robert Stikmanz, Amanda Kimmerly and the realm of Habdvarsha. I’m making a list and I’ll be checking it twice, although you have my word that never under any circumstances will I share it.