Multiverse Con Rundown

Okay, so buckle up, because this is going to be a long post. I will try to make it short, but there was so much awesomeness packed into one weekend, that will be impossible.

First, if you have not gotten your registration for next year, it’s never to early to head to the Multiverse site and register! Second, I was going to do this linearly, but I think I will chunk it out in a different way to try to capture everything… Let’s go!

Professional Stuff

Two pretty cool professional-type things happened for me at this Con. First, Crone Girls Press officially launched our first charity anthology, A Woman Unbecoming. This was a co-editing venture with Carol Gyzander, put together in response to the Dobbs decision that repealed the Roe v. Wade protections on reproductive healthcare. I brought 30 copies with me to Multiverse, handed out 12 to the other writers (including one for me to get signed by the folks who came!) and then set up at the Book Fair Sunday morning. By the end of the morning, every other copy was sold out. Many of the folks who came to the panels Carol and I had been on stopped by to check it out and ended up picking one up. It was a fast and furious production from soliciting submissions to editing to proofing to launching, and the response we’ve gotten made it worthwhile. A big shout out to Carol as well; without her, the book would not have happened.

As many of the AWU authors as we could corral at the Book Fair!
From L to R: Lynne Hansen, cover artist, Carol Gyzander, me (Rachel!), Bridgett Nelson, Jeff Strand, Jessica Nettles (front!), Samantha Bryant and Darin Kennedy.

The second cool thing to happen professionally was getting a chance to sit down with John G. Hartness, author of the Quincy Harker and Bubba the Monster Hunter series and founder of Falstaff Books. The topic of discussion? Falstaff’s new horror imprint, Falstaff Dread, to be headed up by yours truly. We talked number of titles per year, what year we are looking at launch, promo, marketing, and a number of questions I’ve learned to ask when taking on a new venture. There are a number of reasons why I’ve wanted to work with Falstaff Books as an author. There are ten times as many reasons why the opportunity to work with them as an editor is way too cool. It has been a career bucket list item to develop, edit, and publish full-length horror fiction, to be able to find new voices AND work with established authors, working behind the scenes on the developmental and line editor side of the house. It’s a bonus to do it with a house like Falstaff that works as hard as John and crew do to promote and market the titles they have under contract. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Programming and Activities

Multiverse Con is one of my favorites for a reason. Their programming is rich, diverse, and takes into account several streams of programming of interest to nerds, geeks, and fans of all kinds. There is a robust WRITE track, separate GEEK tracks for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror (oh, the HORROR! It’s so wonderful… so many great guests and panels and art and fun…) There is a LEARN track for academics, a MEET track for get-togethers, a PLAY track for games and gaming, and a GATHER track for things like burlesque shows and Marc Gunn concerts and even a dance party. I spent some of the panels behind the dais, and several more in the audience, listening with my ears wide open as people chatted about the things that keep them happy. Sheree Renee Thomas, the guest of honor, was fantastic on the many panels I attended at which she spoke. One in particular, was a Slush Wars panel, where she and Hartness and one more editor who I am blanking on, listened as a volunteer read aloud the opening lines of several anonymized stories. Each editor would say “Stop,” when they would have stopped reading the submission. She had fantastic advice which, as an editor, I am going to put into my toolbox.

During the Slush Wars panel, I also got to be present when one of the entries was read in its entirety, and when the sample was complete, all three editors were smiling and applauding. Hartness invited the author to come and talk to him, and I went up afterwards to congratulate and compliment them. It’s a special kind of magic to hear something at the beginning and know it is going to be awesome, and that kind of moment is one of the reasons this Con is so cool.

I can’t NOT leave a note about the ConSuite. I was so happy that the meals were vegetarian with a vegan/gluten free option. I’m not any of those things myself, but I have a number of friends who struggle with finding options they can eat, and these were delicious!

Finally, the hotel is a great space. There is space to move, to chill around the vendor hall, to sit around outside and visit with people. And that leads me to…

I Love This Con

I had originally applied as a guest, been accepted, and then withdrawn due to various other commitments that arose. As the date approached, I decided that fuck it, I was going to Multiverse. I needed a Con, and I needed THIS Con specifically. So many of the friends in my writing and fandom communities attend, and if I didn’t get a chance to sit down and have heart-deep conversations with everyone, I did get a chance to say hi and get a hug and a quick chat. I got to meet new people and listen to music and even let Paige L. Christie drag me up to the dance party (listen, you start playing GenX bangers, and you better move over and make some room for a six-foot overly Caucasian ME.) Carol and I attended a crazy fun event where writers would read a scene from their work, and then audience members would volunteer to act it out. Again, if you invite me up on a stage, you better just stand back and let whatever is going to happen just happen because the opportunities I get to participate in improv are few and far between and I’m going all in.

Post Con, I was expecting a huge Con Drop–the crash that comes when you have to come home to real life. That hasn’t quite happened, I think because I had a frantic day of catching up with Crone Girls biz stuff, and then yesterday I drove twelve hours (ten plus traffic) up to New Jersey, where I am spending family time and finishing my MFA thesis novel. So, no drop, but I am definitely still basking in the glow of an amazing event and wonderful time spent with friends and chosen family.

A big shout out and thank you to every single one of the directors, volunteers, managers, and people who made the Con happen. It really does feel like coming home when I am there. I one hundred percent cannot wait for next year. See you next October!

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