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AtomaCon 2019

by Dennis M. Myers, 11/30/2019

I was twice stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, so I expected that I might recognize quite a few things. I guess 1993 is a longer time ago that I thought. Pretty much everything was new, paved over, or different.

The convention was great. Not overcrowded, lots of interesting people, great conversations and a good deal of laughter. I walked into the hotel and within moments was getting a big hug from my old friend Teresa Frohock. That pretty much set the tone for the whole weekend right there. She's one of my favorite authors right now, and did I mention she's an old friend? Okay, sure, there was a thirty year gap in there, and we've both aged a little bit, but it's been a real pleasure to reconnect with her at these conventions.

I spoke with several authors who were very willing to give advice and encouragement. I don't want to pick and choose because they were all so nice, but I will be adding them to my links page over the next few weeks.

The one who struck me as the most interesting new friend was Gail Z. Martin. She writes epic and urban fantasy and has over forty novels out. She also writes as Morgan Brice. Now, that's the part that made me smile. She does it for the fun of it. It's gay male romance in urban fantasy. It actually exists in the same universe as some of her other novels, with connections between the two works. However, the Brice branded books are the ones you don't give to young children.

I asked Gail a few leading questions and she was quite willing to talk to me. I could easily identify with her love of writing and the pleasure she gets from her work.

I should mention that this was over breakfast. May and I sat near Teresa, and a very nice group gathered around her. People respect talent.

Gail's husband, Larry N. Martin sat quietly right next to me. He has plenty to talk about with his writing as well, but he ate quietly. Larry is a man who doesn't need to brag. His work speaks for itself. He shares the Ascendant Kingdoms website with Gail, so I'll link to one of his books below.

Another interesting person we met was Leona R. Wisoker, the owner of The Scribbling Lion, a small, ferocious bookstore. They work diligently to give voice to authors that traditional publishers all too often ignore. I think the most interesting thing I found out about Leona is that she reads every book that she sells, as well as being an author in her own right. Needless to say she sat near me because we were near Teresa.

Alright, so I've mentioned how good and talented an author Teresa Frohock is, so let me just say that I normally don't read a lot of fantasy. However, Teresa is a friend, so I read her first book, Miserere, and was transported by her wonderful descriptions and entranced by her plt that refused to follow the lines I thought it would. Right from the beginning I was hooked.

Her Los Nefilim series brings that same talent to a very different world. Spain, just before the civil war. This series is a roller coaster of family and friends, heartbreak and action. Angels and Daimons with the Nephilim in between. If anyone I am talking to mentions that they read, I recommend these books. I don't do this because I know Teresa. I do this because I think these books are amazing. If I never read another fantasy author's work, I will never stop reading hers. She has me hooked.

I met Christopher Ruocchio who is the author of The Sun Eater space fantasy series from DAW Books. According to my research, he began writing when he was eight years old and sold his first novel, Empire of Silence, at twenty-two. I found it fascinating that he writes about the Sollan Empire, while I am writing about the Automated Empire, both in the distant future. However, one should note that his distant future is 20,000 years from now, while I am writing a single thousand years in the future. I look forward to reading his books. As an important side note, Chris is also an editor at Baen books. He ran the roadshow this time and did a great job. Everyone there was able to score at least one book. Even my wife found one she liked. I came away with a compilation of stories by Jerry Pournelle.

Speaking of my adorable wife, May found the ghost stories of Charleston fascinating. She's a big fan of ghost hunters and the like. She bought a handful of books herself, and spent hours reading with her phone in hand so she could look up unfamiliar English words. She liked Charleston, of course. Who wouldn't. On Sunday morning I took her down to the Battery as I had promised. She loved the trees and the old gazebo. We walked to the water on both sides, then ambled through the neighborhood, and even took pictures of Rainbow Row.

On the way out of town we stopped at Northwoods Pointe for a bite to eat, and I stopped in at The Green Dragon. The comics and game shop I frequented thirty years ago. It's still there, but more games than books. The same owner still behind the counter. He didn't remember me, obviously, but we had a nice conversation about old times just the same.

May wants to come back next year, so I am going to book it early. We will plan to be at AtomaCon 2020.

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One Comment

Friday, December 6, 2019 6:56 PM
Just a heads up, I have already bought the tickets for May and I do go again next year.

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