As it turned out, the guys who run MonsterCon were looking for people to help with Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones programming. I was put in contact with them via a mutual acquaintance and the next thing I knew I was slated to be on four panels - Battlestar Galactica, Song of Ice & Fire, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars :)
I arrived at Furman University on Friday afternoon of MonsterCon weekend last July, to take a little tour with VIP ticket holders and fellow press badge holders before my BSG panel. Because the convention had to make a last minute venue change, things were a little bit hectic in terms of what activities were being held where, but from the start it was clear that the organizers were doing a great job handling the situation.
There was a Literary Meet & Greet scheduled for 5 PM, right before my 6 PM Battlestar panel. Once my 'tour' was over I had a bit of time to wander around the dealer area and still make it to the Literary Meet & Greet. Though MonsterCon was taking up a good chunk of Timmons Arena, it was still small enough that everything was centrally located and easy to find.
(Unfortunately, due to the layout of the arena and the last minute changes that MonsterCon had to make, there was also no signage regarding where panels were located, but I'll get into that more later.)
The Literary Meet & Greet was actually more of a discussion panel, or perhaps roundtable, than anything else - there were six authors on it, all self-published or published via small press. They definitely had some decent input, especially about giving people 'tastes' of your work via blogs and whatnot, and I was sad that the event wasn't better attended. I did have to leave it a few minutes early to make my way down to the 'panel 2' area. This turned out to be a table in front of a section of bleachers, right on the edge of the dealer area. Not exactly the most suitable location for a panel, but again, I knew what these guys were working with.
And hey, at least I was properly dressed to talk about BSG!
There were a handful of people who attended, and one guy who actually came and sat at the panelist table with me so that I wouldn't have to sit there by myself ;) I simply wish we'd actually been in a room, because it was hard to hear in that area, and also people kept stumbling by asking what we were doing because of course it didn't really look 'official'. Still, it was a fun discussion between a small group of fans, and I'm hoping they'll let me do another one this year :)
Though there was a later panel that I wanted to attend ("Censorship in Entertainment"), at this point I had to head home to eat something and walk the pups. Unfortunately Furman is a good 20-25 minutes from my house, depending on traffic, so staying there until 10 PM just wasn't going to happen. But I was able to handle things at home and make it downtown for the first night's 'after dark' event - a sideshow put on by The Captain and Maybelle.
The choice of Ford's as a nightlife spot was a great one, though again a bit unfortunate in terms of its distance from Furman and the convention's daytime activities. However, the guys of MonsterCon busted their butts to have shuttles running for those staying closer to Furman, so again, they totally deserve props.
I would have liked to have stayed out a bit later than I did that night, but as interesting as the sideshow was, stuff like that isn't really, err. 'my thing'. Besides, I knew I had a long day ahead of me the next day, as my other three panels were scheduled back to back late Saturday afternoon. So stay tuned for a recap of MonsterCon day two!