I had a blast being a volunteer and attendee of RainbowCon 2014
this past weekend. It was so much fun I wished I didn't have to go home, but at the same time I was really happy to see my bed and my boy and my cats.
I flew down Wednesday, going from Buffalo to Philly to Miami to Tampa since they oversold the Philly to Tampa flight and I had time to kill so I figured what the hell, I'll be a good Samaritan and take a different flight. I am sooo out of shape. Walking all over the airports plus my asthma was killer, but I made it just in time to wait three hours for a room to be ready. Let me just say, the Embassy Suites near USF is soooo not recommended. Thankfully the con isn't there next year. They tried to give me a king room for three people, when my reservation was for a double. That was on top of waiting two and a half hours past when check in was supposed to start to even get a room. I got upgraded to a "premium" room (not much premium about it) for free so there was at least that.
My roomies were awesome, however. I had the best luck ever with random draw of rooming with people I'd never met before. Ann Anderson, Lor Rose, and Kassa were all sweethearts and we got along great.
Thursday started with working the reg line. Sorry to the people whose badges I couldn't find on the first try. The boxes got a little unorganized once we started digging in for name tags. I think everyone got their printed badges in the end, or at least got a badge so it all worked out.
My first panel of the weekend was Beginner's Guide to Con Going with Lori Toland and Roger Armstrong. We had a small but enthusiastic audience and it was a good panel overall. We talked about the 6/3/1 rule (6 hours of sleep, 3 meals, 1 shower, every day) and general tips on how to survive the con (lots of water, have a buddy, make a plan).
The first panel I attended was Author Etiquette with Amanda Ching, Martin Delacroix, Sandrine Gasq-Dion, Shae Connor, Anastasia Vitsky, and Kathleen Tudor. It was full of useful information, like avoiding GoodReads (at least for your own stuff) as an author and how not to get a bad reputation with readers. There was discussion on how to work with editors (Amanda and Kathleen are both editors with Storm Moon Press) and Twitter etiquette. All around a good panel and I wish I'd taken better notes to share with you all.
One of the things I really liked that the con did was schedule breaks for lunch and dinner were there wasn't content going on. For a smaller con like this, I think it was important because it gave us all time to socialize and get food without having to miss out on content. I have to say the content overall was stellar. There were times when there were two or three panels scheduled at the same time and I had a hard time choosing what to go to.
Another thing that was really cool was the con suite. There was free food (lunch meats, cheese and crackers, veggie trays, cookies, fruit, candy) and drinks (coffee, water, juice, soda/pop) available to con goers from 10am to 10pm the entirety of con. I never paid for lunch because I kept going up to the con suite and nibbling on the free food. Usually while I was there I got a chance to talk to other authors so it was a two for one deal with free food and great conversation. I met a lot of people just by being in the con suite.
Thursday night (and most nights) I crashed early, so I didn't get to see how the Relay Naughty Jeopardy turned out but I heard people had fun and were cursing me a little bit for the hard questions I put together. There was a low turnout so the questions will probably reappear next year with some tweaks.
Friday started off with a double panel header. First I was on Trends in Young Adult Fiction with Allison Cassatta, Beau Schemery (who wears awesome kilts), Cody Stanford, and David Berger. Our host was a no-show so we winged it but it turned out pretty good. We talked about the slow increase in trans and bi stories, though there's still a need for more of them. David Berger actually teaches high school so he was able to provide perspective on what teens are actually reading, which is generally above their grade level so most of the teens he knew were actually reading adult books in preparation for college.
After that, I was hosting Fifty Shades of WTF? talking about BDSM in fiction with Amelia C. Gormley, Andrew Grey, Michael Murphy, Vicktor Alexander, and VJ Summers. We talked about the kinds of things that throw us out of stories, examples of good and bad BSDM fiction, and about how realistic an author needs to be to both tell a good story and be authentic to real life BDSM relationships.
Then, later in the day, I was on Bisexual Mythbusters: Dispelling Bisexual Myths with Anel Viz, CR Guiliano, Grace R. Duncan, Sue Brown, Roger Armstrong, and K. Piet. Everyone on the panel was a bisexual and we talked a lot about bi erasure. Part of the problem is that it's not visible when someone is bi (unless they're poly) because they're usually either in a "straight" relationship or a "gay" relationship. We talked a bit about the stigma of being bi in gay communities and how it's hard for a bi person to attract a same-sex partner because of the fear that the bi partner will eventually end the relationship or cheat on their partner for an opposite sex relationship.
I ended off Friday by running Euphemism Bingo, which was a blast. I think people got a kick out of my dry pronunciation of each new euphemism. We had such wonders as "punching the starfish", "whore pipe", "jizz", and more. I learned a few new terms like clicket and crumpet.
Saturday I was working, so I didn't make it to any panels but there were several I wished I could go to like Writing Trans* and Genderqueer Characters, This is the Story that Never Ends: Series and Serials, Fade to Black? Erotic Content in QUILTBAG Young Adult Fiction, Won't Someone Please Think of the Children? QUILTBAG Young Adult Fiction, Appropriation and Fetishization, Worldbuilding Workshop, Behind the Curtain: An Inside Look at Publishing, and Handling Criticism.
Saturday ended with a con floor pizza party with rainbow jello shots and it was awesome. I ended up crashing early, but there were people in the con suite having a blast until 2am. Plus we had cake for Becky Condit's birthday.
Sunday I ran a game of Munchkin which only one person showed up to, so it was a short game. I ran Cards Against Humanity a little after that, which was much better attended and we had a blast. I won by one point. Then it was time for the closing ceremonies and the charity raffle. The con raised over $1000 for Equality Florida.
I'm hoping RainbowCon 2015 has an even bigger turnout. The details, for those interested are:RainbowCon 2015
July 16-19, 2015
Holiday Inn Westshore
General Registration is $75 and opens (iirc) in May 2014.