My panels went well (scroll down two posts ago for details). All three were scheduled to be in the small rooms--so small that they were dubbed 'the closets'. They each had about 20 seats for the audience, and by the second day people realised that to get a seat you had to show up for a panel as the previous panel was letting out, and then sit in the room for 30 minutes to hold the seat for the next panel. By the time a panel started, every inch of allowable space (that is, leaving space for the door to open and people to walk down one side of the aisle) was taken up with people either sitting on the floor or standing. It was unfortunate, but it's difficult to find hotels that can handle cons and that have all the amenities, so we dealt with the small rooms as well as we could!
The first panel was daunting, as they always are--getting used to being on panels after several months is. And as I introduced myself, I realised that, once again, I am tired of being a short-story writer ('only') and am tired of feeling like the fraud police are going to come take me away because I haven't yet sold a novel. My friend Val Nolan (lecturer in creative writing in Wales) was on the panel with me, along with some other very smart people. One of the panellists (Matthew De Abaitua) is a novelist and lecturer as well, and was so smoooooth with the vocabulary of writing and analysis that later Val and I decide *that guy* was the grown-up we wanted to be one day.
My second panel was rockin'! It was me and four female scientists, all with PhDs! That is nearly unprecedented at a SFF con. I was the last to introduce myself again, and the only non-scientist. Again, the room was packed, but the audience was a mix of men and women, and they were eager to participate. We ended the world and then discussed how to re-populate it...and what to do about the lack of tampons and rubbers.
The third panel, which ended at the very moment I had to leave for a train, was schedule to be held in a closet. At the last moment, we realised a larger room was holding a panel with a small audience, so we switched rooms. The reason for our bigger audience? One of the Guests of Honour, Ian McDonald, was on the panel. The audience size and the other panellists--their achievements--made me nervous all over again. Plus, by that time, after 4 nights of drinking and staying up too late, I had lost the ability to brain. Luckily, my friends sat in the audience and live tweeted much of the convo, quoting me, and people were generously interested in my garden geekery. There is just no hiding your freak flag at a SFF con!
And then I came home, to quiet and a distinct lack of booze and work work work. It is 8pm on a Thursday, after dinner, and I am in my home office, looking at writing pieces, doing what I can so that next time I am on a panel, I can maybe put 'soon to be published novelist' in my introduction.
The things we want in life--we have to grab them because no one is going to hand them over.