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The Joy of GenCon – A 2014 Wrap-Up

I know Dragoncon is coming up and GenCon is so “last weekend” but I had a fantastic time and so wanted to scribe a few memories on the immortal tablet of knowledge that is my blog page, which I’m sure will be dug up by posthuman archaeologists and preserved in a holographic museum in a few centuries.

That’s how blogs work, right? Like how you can get your Twitter feed printed out on toilet paper for bathroom reading?


10556254_10152571638245255_8194845093667884999_nSo it was my first GenCon attendance and even though I’m one of those people who tries to keep my expectations at the lowest simmer possible, I admit to heading there with high hopes. Happily, they were all quite exceeded, even then. Note: Random order of thoughts to follow, and if I get any names wrong, please let me know!

Got there via a red-eye flight Wednesday night which landed me in Indianapolis with enough time to snag my rental car, drop off my stuff at my AirBnB rental (a tactic I recommend for future con-goers who want to avoid high hotel prices), and then head to the convention center in  time for my first event, a 3pm panel. That was deftly moderated by Elizabeth Vaughan, and included Larry Correia, Geoffrey Girard, Aaron Rosenberg, and myself. My other panel wasn’t until 8pm Saturday night, and included moderator Dylan Birtolo, Stephen Hood, and Christine Thompson. Both were a lot of fun, good audience questions, and a chance to meet my co-panelists for the first time.


Many thanks to Marc Tassin for including me in the programming and for putting so much effort into the Writer’s Symposium. Many thanks as well to the kind and helpful volunteers who were always available with a quick and clear answer. Even if you aren’t a gamer, GenCon attendance is worth this track alone.

I attended panels with Jaym Gates (who ran an excellent mini-series for industry pros), Saladin Ahmed, Stephen Hood, Melanie Meadors, and Steven Saus. Never made any of the events with Jim Butcher, sadly, either because of scheduling conflicts or because people were arriving before dawn to line up outside of the room for his events that afternoon. He’s got a dedicated fan base, let’s just say that. Unfortunately the guy also came down with some food poisoning that limited his participation otherwise.

I met fellow Pathfinder Tales authors Chris Jackson, Howard Andrew Jones, and Gary Kloster, and also met my editor, James Sutter, for the first time. Got to have a delightful lunch with author and game developer Monica Valentinelli, and learned about Erik Scott de Bie‘s Kickstarter for a multimedia superhero book. And congratulations to Travis Heermann (an author in my critique group) for placing in the inaugural Baen Fantasy Adventure Award.

Many others were met during the meals and meetings in various hotel bars, includingErin M. Evans, Steven S. Long, David Coe, Susan Morris, Brian McClellan, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Ed Greenwood, Bradley BeaulieuKelly Swails, Andrea Howe, Howard Tayler, Kameron Hurley, Sam Sykes, Jason Pitre, Scott Westerfeld, Eloy LasantaMaurice Broaddus, Matt Forbeck…and there were many more. Quite the fun social time, to say the least.

10603721_10152571638325255_3538720932151793097_nNow, I consider cons something of a career investment, and not just because of everythingone can learn at the panels and workshops. On one hand, they’re a place to connect with peers, participate in panels, and meet readers who might just be interested in my stories. Plus, hopefully starting next year, I’ll have a book or two to bring along and actually sell! That’ll be an exciting first.
On the other hand, they’re excellent for networking with current and future clients. This was especially true with GenCon since gaming is its central focus and I’ve been building up a smidge of freelancing work for various RPGs and developers. So I helped at the Third Eye Games booth a bit, and met with folks from Privateer Press, Crafty Games, Posthuman Studios, Cubicle 7, Margaret Weiss Productions, Onyx Path, Obatron, Green Ronin, and Paizo.

10518640_10152571638425255_1789134701202790575_nYow. Not sure I’ve ever put this many links in a single blog post. I do so because these are all fantastic people and companies that at least deserve your attention, if not your support.

That was all between wandering the vendor and gaming rooms, gawking at the costumes, toys, games, and all the many shiny things. It was a whirlwind time, over too fast (as cons always are), but energizing and encouraging. By the time it’s wrapping up, you’re ready to dive back into the writing work…after you sleep for a few days.

Oh, and for those who go with the rental car option, I’d also recommend the ParkWhiz site and app for finding decently cheap reserved parking spaces downtown. I’ll definitely be using it for future cons where a commute is required.

I hope to make it to GenCon again in 2015, and if I don’t see you there, perhaps we’ll connect at another con or two.


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  1. Steven Saus
    Steven Saus August 27, 2014

    Glad you found it worthwhile, man! Hope to see you again!

    • JRVogt
      JRVogt August 27, 2014

      The same! Hope all goes well in your world until our paths cross again.

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