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  • Writer's pictureShawna Reppert



Published July 9, 2013 | By Shawna

Samhain-kitty here. Just wanted to say that the writer-person abandoned me ^all weekend^ to go to some silly steampunk con. Sure, she came home every night to check my food and water, but, what if there was an emergency? Like I needed a lap to sit on, or someone to throw a toy for me–


Oops, gotta go!

Ahem. Sorry about that. Writer-person, er, Shawna here. And yes, I did go to Gearcon this weekend.

As I am an introvert, cons are a bit of a mixed bag for me. Even if I have fun, even if the people are lovely and friendly and fun, by the end of each day I feel like I could sleep a week to recharge my battery. But usually it’s worth it, and Gearcon was no exception.

I was dealing with the added adrenaline of this being my very first con as a panelist. Right before my first panel, I was so nervous that I was ready to throw up, but, the funny thing is, as soon as I got up there with my fellow authors and started talking historical research, I felt totally at home. It was one of those great panels where we were all taking notes while the others were talking. (Fellow panelists, I am sure, will be looking up Lee Jackson’s Daily Life in London: An Extraordinary Anthology. I know I will be looking for Bill Bryson’s At Home, which I’m told is an historical look at home life down the centuries.)

Due to concom deciding to leave panel descriptions out of the program (yes, it was deliberate; a cost-saving measure, I am told) I almost missed the panel on crowdsource funding, as it was titled, somewhat oddly, ‘Westward. Ho!’. Glad I found it. . .I learned all the things I didn’t know enough to ask regarding Kickstarter. Will definitely be checking out Jonathon Burgess’s blog for more details.

Saturday’s reading was lightly attended, possibly because I was scheduled opposite the panel on Victorian Working Girls. Honestly, if I wasn’t *giving* the reading, I would have gone to that panel! Still, the audience was appreciative, which warmed my writer heart.

Saturday afternoon I acquired some useful information at the Victorian Good Cop/Bad Cop program. Saturday night was playtime– my very first swing dance lesson. Or lessons, I should say. They scheduled beginner, intermediate and advanced back-to-back. Two and a half hours is an awful lot of lesson. Still, it was fun. Music wasn’t as good as ceili, (Irish social dance) but the style is much more knee-and-tendon friendly. I was surprised to see how much skills learned in ceili dancing translated.

Sunday morning I was scheduled for the Mega Writer’s Panel. I said ‘was scheduled’ because I certainly didn’t volunteer and wasn’t sure how good an idea it was to put all the writers together in one big panel to Talk About Steampunk. It turned out to be brilliant, mostly because of my wonderful fellow authors, who were very respectful of one another and who all seemed to have compatible views but slightly different takes on steampunk, where it’s going, and on writing and literature in general. Highlights include Canadian writer James Stafford, in response to the question on the American role in steampunk, describing the USA as being willing to go for any batshit crazy idea and give it a try. (:Lest anyone get offended, he said it was one of the things he liked about us.) An encouraging note from this panel was the number of panelists that seemed to think that crossover genres had a big place in the steampunk world. (Encouraging for me, anyway, as I seem congenitally incapable of picking a genre and sticking with it.)

Wandered through the dealer’s room a bit. Bought a pendant watch as a souvenir of my first con as panelist (also because I had no pockets and was sick of digging my cell phone out of the bottom of my purse–why are there no clocks in conference rooms?)

Found a gorgeous feathered monstrosity of a hat that I want to have made in colors to match my someday dress– when I get my first big advance. (yes, it was that expensive, at least by my budget standards.) Was told by the milliner that I have the ‘substance to carry it off’, which is by far the nicest thing anyone has said ever said about my generously proportioned figure.

Was treated to an impromptu magic show from one of the vendors–thought I knew how and where he had palmed the extra lengths of rope, only to realize I was wrong and I really had no idea.

Wandered into a bartitsu demonstration. That’s right, bartitsu. For years I had thought/been told that Arthur Conan Doyle had made up baritsu, the style of martial arts used by Sherlock Holmes. Turned out he just misspelled it. It’s a fascinating discipline combining jujitsu, Victorian-era pugilism, cane fighting and a form of French kickboxing. Maybe more on that later. I’m about ready to crash, and I need to be up early tomorrow to write before work.

Looking over this blog, I realize that it’s a disorganized potpourri. But then so was my weekend, so that’s all right.

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