The Wrath of Con
The Wrath of Con entrance at the Marriott Bay Point Resort and Spa in Panama City Beach, FL, May 30-June 1.
This was the first Wrath of Con ever held, and I think it was the first science fiction convention on the Florida panhandle. The organizers went all out and put on a terrific show....
I got home on June 2 from Panama City, where I and the rest of the Aisling Press contingent stayed at the EconoLodge about 7 miles from the Marriott. We carpooled to the convention in Steven Mather's roomy SUV, stopping for groceries to fuel us during the day.
My room at the EconoLodge came with fridge, microwave, free WiFi, king-sized bed, and plenty of room.
The Aisling Press table did a brisk business, and we continued to bond (as we do at each of these events) as a small-press family. My display contributor's copies of Electric Velocipede #14 and the Riffing on Strings anthology also generated interest among the attendees.
I'm over on the left, with Carrassa Sands (coauthor with A.J. Rand of Sky Gold, contemporary SF) and Steven Mather, author of Three of a Kind (a psychological thriller to be released in August). On June 21 I'll be part of an Aisling Press book-signing at the Tampa Barnes & Noble in Carrollwood, which will coincide with Sky Gold's release party. Riffing on Strings will also be available at B&N. Thanks to Sean Miller at Scriblerus Press for including this photo and write-up in his June 6 blog entry here.
Carrassa with Bo Savino (a.k.a. A.J. Rand and Catherine Chase). "This is like the conventions I used to go to decades ago," Bo said, and I agreed. Though a small convention, The Wrath of Con had a huge heart and tons of grassroots involvement.
Carrassa, whose Saturday costume proved a good draw (and turned plenty of heads at the supermarket), directs Darth Vader to our table.
Beautiful art that multitasks! These miniature books by Kat Kan double as both earrings and autograph books. Kat uses Japanese papers to make these one-of-a-kind items. As a librarian who makes a living reading graphic novels, she was buying Aisling books to "vacation" with uninterrupted prose. Kat writes the "Graphically Speaking" column for Voice of Youth Advocates. You can find her article, "'The Dirty Dozen': Kat Kan's Favorite Graphic Novels from a Dozen Years of Graphically Speaking (from VOYA)" here (.pdf file).
Weatherly Hardy of Aardvark Screenprinting. I checked out his table after hearing about the "YAOI is my anti-drug" T-shirt he was selling, because it sounded like "YAHWEH" when somebody mentioned it. I thought it might be a neat gift for a friend with whom I have great fun deconstructing scripture. Then Weatherly informed me that Yaoi is a boy-on-boy action genre in anime and manga.
Michael Darling, stationed at the table next to ours (and also staying at the EconoLodge), sold copies of his novel Hoplite Renegades. He is currently writing a spin-off work.
In addition to being a vendor at The Wrath of Con, Zan Miller is a fellow member of the Florida State Poets Association and also expressed interest in the Science Fiction Poetry Association. I picked up a copy of her wonderful painting "Dreamfishing." Her table was next to that of caricaturist Paulette Perlman, "Artist of Whimsey."
Bo, Carrassa, and I all had our caricatures done by Paulette, and I suggested that we place them on the Aisling website as our "rogues gallery."
I have yet to get the name of the artist who drew this lovely lady (he had her in color, too, but I preferred the black and white version). This was his first convention as a vendor, and he is just starting out and had no business cards, let alone a web site. Although he signed his work, his beautifully artistic signature is even more indecipherable than mine!
This convention was very supportive of its participants. When he mentioned his wish to "break in," he was told, "You're breaking in now." He and other art vendors spent the convention practicing their craft, and he did a beautiful, customized "fire faerie" for Carrassa. When he wondered what other conventions were out there, I fired up my laptop, used the Marriott's WiFi, and got him the URLs of the Locus convention listings and other guides.
I gave myself an extra night at the EconoLodge, so that I could get a fresh start on Monday morning. Not far from home, I had to stop in Inglis to get a shot of this street sign:
Will do. Uh huh. :)
The other sign I would have photographed just south of Perry, but for not being able to pull off the road in time, was that for the Athena Baptist Church -- whose name evoked for me the intriguing juxtaposition of Greco-Pagan and Fundamentalist Christian religions. Not only does one exist in Florida (here's the shot from the Taylor Baptist Association website), but there's also an Athena Baptist Church in Oregon that dates back to 1890 (that history is here). Dang, now I want to see the ones for Zeus, Hermes, Artemis, Hera, Aphrodite (those services oughta be great) -- and other pantheons (Hecate, anyone?). Oh, don't get me started...
My entry covering the scenic drive to the convention is here.
Covenant, the first volume in the Deviations Series, is available from Aisling Press, and from AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Territory, Borders, Buecher.ch, Buy.com, DEAstore, libreriauniversitaria.it, Libri.de, Loot.co.za, Powell's Books, and Target. The Deviations page has additional details.