It’s that wonderful time of year again: convention season! (Okay, so technically there are conventions year round, but up here in the Northeast we tend to hibernate when there’s snow on the ground.) This year’s kind of a messy and busy trifecta for me since I have BishounenCon, Yaoi North (Anime North), and RainbowCon in what feels like too short of a time. Since I’m either staff or a volunteer for all three of those, it’s a busy time of the year right now with planning and scheduling and marketing. Anyway, here’s what’s coming up:
BishounenCon – March 3-5, Providence, RI
Guests: Velvet Toucher (Japanese manga artist), Fox E (drag queen), Zack the Ripper (cosplay)
Cost of Admission: $35 for the weekend
Hotel: Crowne Plaza Warwick
BishounenCon is a brand new East Coast LGBTQ+ convention, based off the popular but always too expensive to travel to YaoiCon in California. While there is a fair amount of content devoted to pretty men (aka bishounen) and the things they might possibly do to each other, the con also has content aimed towards the other letters in the LGBTQ+ spectrum as well as a number of panels from professionals in the publishing and comics industries. Among the attending authors/presses are Jordan L. Hawk, Mischief Corner Books (with Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay), Less Than Three Press, Sparkler Monthly, Yaoi Revolution, Avialae/Lucky Juice, Magical Boy Basil, and Stay.
As for my involvement, aside from being the head of Programming and thus involved in the many social events and contests there are on offer, I’m also hoping to debut Cards Against Fandom and Gay Chicken in the game room and I’ll be running the following panels:
Yaoi North/Anime North – May 26-28, Toronto, ON
Website: http://yaoinorth.com/ or http://animenorth.com/
Guests: Alex Woolfson (Young Protectors & Artifice comics)
Cost of Admission: $60+ for the weekend
Hotel: We’re in the Holiday Inn East (next to the convention center), which is sold out, but there are a number of other hotels nearby
Yaoi North is my baby. I’ve been running it for over ten years and this is our first year with our own space in a separate hotel room. We’re really looking forward to getting out of being “those people in that corner over there” which was a step up from when we were “those people in that room over there”. We’re also closer to the center of the con, which will hopefully make us more accessible to people who didn’t want to walk or drive down to the Sheraton hotel. Also, we’ve now got up to 5 rooms of content going at once. It’s going to be amazing! There’s a drag show and burlesque and so many panels that I’ve actually had to turn away panel ideas for the first time ever.
One of the great things about Yaoi North is that, despite the name, we really do cover everything. We have panels on lesbian/yuri fandom, trans issues, gender diversity, BDSM lifestyle, polyamory… you name it, we talk about it. Also, we go beyond just fandom to talk about real life issues in LGBTQ+ culture and what it’s like living as part of the alphabet soup.
The schedule is still up in the air so I’m not sure what I’m doing yet. Yaoi North has grown to the point where I’m really busy running everything so I generally only panel on a few things, namely my pet panels like Lightbulbs & Corn or filling in on panels that are one person shy of being able to run. So far, I know I’m doing:
RainbowCon – July 6-9, Tampa, FL
Guests: Jason Frazier (voice actor and author) and a long list of attending authors
Cost of Admission: $125 for all 4 days, $60 for the weekend
Hotel: Holiday Inn Westshore
I’m still at the beginning of my career of a published author so the first and only author-centric conference I’ve been to is RainbowCon. (I still hope to go to GRL eventually. Kind of missed the boat on Authors After Dark.) This is the third year it’ll be running and I’ve had a blast every time. The thing I love most about RainbowCon is that it’s not just a standard convention where you go to panels and events and talk about the industry and genre and so forth, but it’s a great social event too. I’ve done a whole post on why I love RainbowCon and the great experiences I had there, so I won’t go too much into how awesome the past years have been, but I can say as a newbie author (or a reader) it’s a great way to meet and talk to some of your favorite authors in the LGBTQ+ romance genre.
This one’s a ways out still so panel assignments aren’t even out yet, but there’s a whole ton of fun stuff scheduled. It’s really worth taking the time off of work to attend all four days. (Though I’ll be down a day early for setup and to help with registration bright and early Thursday morning!) Plus, there’s free food in the con suite, which is open for all attendees and also a really good place to hang out and chat if there’s seating. I tend to spend the evenings there instead of going to some of the big events (though I’m usually at the Welcome Event).
Since I don’t know what I’ll be on, here’s a list of things I’d like to attend:
Best Writing Tools – What apps and programs do you use for writing? What works best with the cloud? Do you use any apps to reward or punish you when you write? Come and share your tools for writing!
Selling Yourself: Social Media and the Indie Author – Press and networking, blog tours, tweets, Facebook, etc etc etc… These days, it seems like the opportunities to market one’s work are endless. But what is the most effective way to reach your readers? How do you do it without overextending yourself (or making yourself unwelcome). Panelists will discuss beat practices in effectively managing social media as both an author and as a brand, without burning out.
The Art of the Podcast – Panelists discuss popular podcasts focused on QUILTBAG fiction: what works, and what’s missing from the landscape.
MPREG: What Is the Appeal? – Slightly taboo and certainly out of the ordinary, male pregnancy has been used primarily in fanfiction spheres but is now spreading into the mainstream. What’s the appeal? When does male pregnancy actually work? How does MPREG find an audience? All that and more at this panel!
When Two Won’t Do: Polyamorous Fiction – Polyamory is gaining in notoriety, slowly becoming a common trope in many erotic romances. But polyamory is about more than sex. Drop by to find out how!
Workshop: How to Build Your Author Website – (Note: pretty sure I’m running this…) Having a strong online presence is a must for any author these days, and a major part of that is a well-constructed website. Join this workshop to learn how (and how not) to design an eye-catching author website that will turn page views into book sales.
A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy: All About the Bad Guys – Why do we love a charismatic villain? Moriarty, Loki, Damon Salvatore… these are the boys we run to when everyone else is running away. These are the baddest of the bad boys, and we can’t get enough.
I’d like to go to FlameCon in New York City, but it’s right when I’ll be driving to Provincetown, MA for my yearly extended friends-group vacation. One of these years I’ll manage to plan my vacation so it’s not the same week but that hasn’t been the case for the last two years.
As always, I’d really like to go to the Gay Romance Lit Retreat (GRL) but that heavily depends on finances post-surgery.
Am I missing any queer cons? What are y’all going to?