2013 Convention Schedule

Photobomb by Amanda Rogers of mural-magic.com
Photobomb by Amanda Rogers of mural-magic.com

Another year means another bunch of conventions to attend and enjoy!  Unlike previous years, where I was either just an attendee or assisting with other folks’ tables, I will be peddling my wares at some of these events.  Buy or die!

While this isn’t a convention per se, I plan on showing up and selling my books at the St. Phillip’s Anime Club Anime Show held every weekend at Bubblehead Tea just south of downtown San Antonio on the first Friday of nearly every month.  I don’t know that I’ll have a table every month, but its a fun free event to go to and hang out at.

Ushicon, Feb 8-10, Round Rock, TX – Ushicon is an 18+ only anime convention, this will be the first time that I am attending, so I’ll be curious to see how different it will be without the usual Pocky and Ramune-fueled teenagers running around everywhere.

Furry Fiesta 2013, Feb 22-24, Addison, TX – After gushing over Furry Fiesta last year, coming back is a no-brainer, but this time I’m hoping to do a panel on e-book publishing, maybe sit around in Artist Alley for a day or so and have fun.

Mizuumi-Con 6, March 23, San Antonio, TX – San Antonio’s second biggest anime con should be loads of fun again, hopefully the gym won’t become a sauna like it did last year.  I plan on having a table at this one also.

Wild Nights, April 25-29, Robber’s Cave State Park – Despite Oklacon being an ‘okay’ event and not a ‘knock my socks off’ one, I am eager to try another outdoor convention.  Wild Nights takes place in a different part of Oklahoma and as there aren’t very many other furcons near Texas, let’s give it a shot!

Texas ComicCon 2013 June 21-23, San Antonio, TX – I like Texas Comic-Con, and I want to like it more, but its venue is a dump and the show has become the ‘same thing every year’ for me, so I’ll probably go just for a day to hang out with friends.

Anthrocon 2013, July 4-7, Pittsburgh PA – Anthrocon is the world’s largest furcon, and something I’d really like to go to, but I’m on the fence on making the trip because of the money involved.  Stupid car payment and rent going up.

San Japan 6, Aug 16-18, San Antonio, TX – The 500-lb gorilla in San Antonio, San Japan is a blast.  I’m not 100% sure of my plans for it right now, but I’m fairly certain I won’t have a table so I’ll get to actually have fun.

As most of these conventions take place in the first half of 2013, I may add another event late in the year, money permitting of course.  Hope to see you somewhere!

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A Name On Paper

I do put BBQ sauce on my burgers…it’s like HE KNEW

I am old enough to remember when seeing your name in the newspaper was kind of a big deal.  I think it has something to do with the idea that lots of people are seeing your name, even if it is alongside a bunch of other kids’ names on the honor roll or the perfect attendance list of your small-town newspaper.  Or it could just be a small-town thing, who knows?

I still get a kick out of seeing my name in the newspaper and it has happened a few times since then.  I submitted an idea to the “Pluggers” newspaper comic that was used (at right), and made a ‘guest appearance’ in the “My Cage” newspaper comic strip after winning a writing contest on MySpace (remember them?) and was mentioned in an article about First Storm Manga that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.

My Cage by Melissa DeJesus and Ed Power
We’re the ‘cool’ office

Every time it happened, I would buy a copy of the newspaper and cut out the article or comic in which my name appeared.  I even have the My Cage strip hanging in my living room.  I admit that it is a bit odd and probably the kind of thing that future generations won’t care much about as newspapers become less relevant in our increasingly connected world, but doggone it, its special to me.

I wrote a story named “San Japanic!” that became First Storm Manga’s first self-printed comic book.  I remember smiling when I opened up a copy for the first time and saw “Lead Writer/Editor: Eduardo Soliz” at the bottom of the inside cover.  While they weren’t my pictures, and not even many of my words, it was my story.

Furry Fiesta 2012 Conbook Cover
Art by Mary Mouse of micecomics.com

These days, as I try to get exposure as a writer, I have decided to send stories out to furry conventions in order to get my name out there.  I think its a good deal: they want the content for their conbooks, I like writing short stories, and unlike my usual lackadaisical writing schedule of finishing stuff whenever I feel like it, I have a set topic or theme and a deadline to work around.

The first one I wrote was “Bedtime” for SonicCon 2010, but I never heard back from them, so to this day I have no idea if it ever made it into the book…or if there even was a book for that matter.  The first one that I know was published was “All’s Well That Ends Well,” a short I wrote for Furry Fiesta that featured their mascot jackalopes. 

I remember being at Furry Fiesta and eagerly opening my copy of the conbook after receiving it.  I got that warm fuzzy feeling again as I saw my name near the top of page 28 in glorious black and white ink.  More recently, “The Hunter” made its way into the AnthroCon conbook, and I once again smiled as I saw my story in print.

It is impossible for me to know exactly how many of the folks that received those books actually opened them up and read my story, but knowing that thousands of folks have it in their possession feels much more real to me than anything I’ve ever put on a computer screen.

There’s just something about seeing your name on paper.

9 Questions and Observations from Furry Fiesta 2012

Some of the observations and questions that bounced around in my head during Furry Fiesta:

“If someone were to be tarred and feathered at a furry con, would it really be punishment?”

“You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and you don’t bring human art to a furry con.”

“I think some of these characters were born in a paint store, because THE COLORS, MAN!”

“At a furry con, the dogs have seeing eye people.”

“It is apparently possible to play the tuba while marching in a fursuit…wow.

“If human fighter pilots say ‘Fox-2” when launching missiles, do fox pilots say “Man-2?”

“Geez, the bronies can’t even catch a break here.

“I think this is that ‘world of pure imagination’ that Wonka guy sang about.”

And of course, last but not least:

“Its the same, but different!”

Finally, for no particular reason, Saturday’s Fursuit Parade:

RANDOM REACTION: Furry Fiesta 2012 Final Thoughts

D'awww
D’awww

I didn’t really have much planned for the last day of Furry Fiesta; just one panel late in the afternoon having to do with podcasting.  My partner in crime had to go to work (I wisely took Monday off) and so we couldn’t hang around, or go to In-N-Out, but such is life.

One thing that surprised me as I walked about the hotel early Sunday was how clean the hallways were.  The hallways of a con hotel on Sunday morning are usually pretty messy: people sleep underneath Artist Alley tables and flyers, and empty cups and bottles are lying everywhere as the con slowly lurches back to life while the hotel staff does what it can to clean up before it does.  In contrast, early Sunday morning the hallways of Furry Fiesta were almost as clean as they were on Friday.

Overall, I’d say that is a pretty good analogy for how Furry Fiesta 2012 went as a whole.  Except for one panelist running late, everything appeared to have gone smoothly as far as I could see.  The attendees were a bit more well behaved than I was accustomed to, probably because they appeared to be older than the usual con crowd. I had to get used to not overhearing security staff barking and yelling at attendees. If I had to guess, I’d say the average age has to be somewhere in the mid-late 20s, because there were a significant number of folks (including myself) that were over thirty years old at the event. Folks also appeared to be better behaved and even downright friendly at Furry Fiesta; it was easy to keep a smile on my face the whole weekend.

I had a fun time at Furry Fiesta 2012. As my friend Chris Holm surmised beforehand, it was the same, but different. It had many of the same things comic book and anime conventions have: special guests, a video room where folks could watch movies and series, a video game room, a dealer’s area, artist’s area, panels and big events.

Unlike other cons, the emphasis at Furry Fiesta appeared to be on originality. Except for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which is EVERYWHERE, for better or for worse) I saw very little, if any, fanart or even cosplayers dressed up as characters from TV, movies, or video games, for that matter.  Instead, people made up their own characters and dressed up as them. A significant number of the panels also focused on the creative arts: there were panels on writing, drawing, and even voiceover. I easily doubled the number of panels that I usually attend at a con and learned some good information.

The issues I had with the hotel and the people that were staying above me were the only negatives that I took away from Furry Fiesta.  I had a great time and will definitely be back next year for another fantastic furry weekend!

RANDOM REACTION: Furry Fiesta Day 2

Guess which one is "Dr. Nuka"
Guess which one is “Dr. Nuka”

Day 2 of Furry Fiesta 2012 began with a less-than promising start: the apes that were in the room above decided to start stomping around again at around 6 in the morning.  I made another fruitless call to the front desk but was able to get just a little more sleep before starting the day.

I had breakfast and then attended another voiceover panel.  This one was loads of fun, as everyone (that wanted to, at least) got to read copy and get feedback on their performances.  I also got to learn a few technical things that I can apply to my own podcast, which was cool.  It ended up being the only panel I attended all day: the “furry psychology” panel filled up, and I totally forgot about another writer’s panel after running into a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile.

We hung out, and as two of her friends happened to be fursuiters, I got to see them get prepared for the ‘fursuit parade’ which is a procession of the various fursuiters in attendance showing off their stuff around the convention.  I have even more respect for those folks now after witnessing firsthand the effort that it takes to put one on, never mind having the nerve to do so in the first place.  I also led one of them (fursuits are notorious for limiting vision) to the ‘headless lounge,’ which is a place for fursuiters to literally cool down.

After that, I camped out with some friends and shot the breeze as we waited for the parade to begin.  Once it began, we all had a ball watching them march, strut, and mug for the many cameras present.  It was really fun to watch, you’ll get to see it too once I upload it and can provide a link, because the only Internet I have is what I can squeeze out of my 3G modem or borrow from restaurants during meals :/  As an aside, you have to pay for internet here at the hotel, and the “Free Lobby WiFi” doesn’t seem to work…now isn’t that a conincidence?

I finally got around to filling out the Anthropomorphic Research Project survey; there were some interesting questions to answer and I’ll be interested to see what the results are, especially since I missed their panel.  The folks in the picture above ARE the researchers, and yes, that includes Dr. Nuka.  I grabbed a bite to eat and then hung out at the lounge area to do some writing. I didn’t really get much done, but I did write most of this blog post, while I was there, so I got something done at least.

I don’t really have much planned for tomorrow, just two panels (one on writing and one on podcasting and I may skip the podcasting one) and then it’s time to hit I-35 back to San Antonio.  We plan on leaving late in the afternoon, so I may be too bushed to post my final thoughts tomorrow, but I can do that Monday morning, good thing I took the day off.  🙂

RANDOM REACTION: Furry Fiesta Day 1

When in Rome...
When in Rome…

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my first day at Furry Fiesta 2012.  As mentioned during my pre-game podcast with artist Chris Holm, we really didn’t expect it to be that much different from other cons that we have been to before.  So far, that has held up.  Sure, the “Dealer Room” is called a ‘Dealer’s Den’ and fursuiters play the role that cosplayers would play at an anime con, but for the most part it’s the same song, it only goes to a furry beat.

The first thing that really impressed me about Furry Fiesta were the freebies that I received upon registering: a hard plastic badge that was of much better quality than the laminated ones one usualy gets at these things, and a 8.5 x 11-sized con book with a nice glossy cover, which made me even more happy to have my short story included in it.  The inclusion of a bar of soap felt a bit like a tongue-in-cheek joke, but it is honestly something that more cons should probably do.  There was also a furry survey that is apparently taken every year as part of a study on the fandom, I’ll need to fill that out and return it.

Aside from badges, the main way to identify someone is an attendee is by the wearing of a tail. Sometimes ears (the headband kind, not the ‘hat’ kind like I’m wearing in the picture) and fuzzy gloves are worn as well, but tails are pretty common.

While the panels I have been to have not all been as good as I initially had hoped for, I was still pleased that there are more panels that I was actually interested in. The five panels I attended on Friday easily equaled the number of panels I might attend during the three days of an anime or comic book convention.

There seems to be more of an emphasis at Furry Fiesta on the creation of art rather than the consumption of it. Instead of attending a panel where a voice actor answers questions from fans about the shows he or she has worked on, I. can attend a panel where I can learn about voice acting, writing, and art.

There are quite a few things to do here at Furry Fiesta for someone who is interested in creating. The vast majority of the costumes are of original characters; instead of pretending to be something that is the product of another person’s imagination, attendees create their own ‘fursonas.’  Oftentimes, they only exist on paper or in artwork, but a few take the extra step of bringing their creation to life in the real world.  They are known as ‘fursuiters’ and there are some REALLY good costumes out there.

The only horsefly (ba-doom, tissh) in the ointment has been the jerkasses that are staying in the room above the one I am in.  I have been hearing nothing but stomping around and horseplaying last night and into the morning. Two calls to the front desk and a chat with the Furry Fiesta security guy have proven to be pretty fruitless in getting anything accomplished.  To be fair, though, that is something that one experiences at all of these things, so I can’t really hold it against them.  That said, I think the fact that something hasn’t been done about this reflects poorly on both the hotel and the convention.  I will speak with the folks at the front desk again (and maybe even FF security) today and see if anything can be done.  I got a five-hour drive tomorrow back home and I need more sleep.

But yeah, that’s a problem one comes across at any convention.  Its only been the first day, but I have already had a lot of fun and even learned a new thing or two at Furry Fiesta 2012. I look forward to the remainder of the con.  At this rate, I will be attending Furry Fiesta 2013 without any hesitation.  If that isn’t the best compliment I can give, I don’t know what is.