WisCon Report #2: Stories and Panels and Parties, Oh My!

Book View Cafe FlyerI’ve been home from WisCon for a full 24 hours and I’m still exhausted. But the con was great fun — as usual — and we did manage to tell the WisCon world about Book View Cafe. And — as the flier illustrates — we did read our stories to an appreciative audience.

The Book View Cafe members at WisCon were Jennifer Stevenson, Madeleine Robins (making her first trip to WisCon), Nancy Jane Moore, Sylvia Kelso (all the way from Australia), and Anne Harris.

The panel discussion was marked initially by technological glitches: I have a Mac and the screen I needed to hook into was set up for a PC. We had to settle for encouraging people to move closer so they could see my laptop. But despite that problem, the audience was interested and asked good questions about everything from how we’re structured to how the site works. We even got a new registered member during the presentation! Afterwards, I had a long conversation with Eleanor Arnason who, like many authors, is very interested in investigating online publishing.

We read at the Madison coffee house Michelangelo’s, allowing the audience to enjoy lattes and pastries, and giving us a background of art on the wall instead of the dull conference rooms at the Concourse hotel.

Sylvia, Nancy Jane and Madeleine listen to Jennifer read

Sylvia, Nancy Jane and Madeleine listen to Jennifer read

Anne Harris clearly had fun using her Kindle to read from her forthcoming novel:

Anne reads

But of course, WisCon was more than our presentations about Book View Cafe. I participated in another panel about developing intentional communities for writers and also hosted the annual Broad Universe Rapid Fire reading — 12 readers in 75 minutes at 10:30 PM! I even went to a few panels and readings and learned some new things.

The incredible Nisi Shawl was given the Tiptree Award for her excellent collection Filter House, published by Aqueduct Press. Geoff Ryman talked about one of my favorite stories — Joanna Russ’s “When It Changed” — in his guest of honor speech. Ellen Klages gave an emotional and moving speech about discovering her tribe at WisCon.

But I confess that I had the most fun late on Sunday night (actually early on Monday morning) when Mary (M.K.) Hobson, Heather Lindsley, Therese Pieczynski and I left the hotel in search of new and different places to drink. We closed down the bars and ended up in a lounge in Heather’s hotel solving the problems of the world until someone finally announced at something close to three in the morning that she really had to get some sleep.

Truth be told: the whiskey was good, but the conversation was even better. In the end, that’s why I go to WisCon: It’s the best place in the Universe to have a good conversation.

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Nancy Jane’s story this week is “Salvation: A Flash Memoir.” Her collection Conscientious Inconsistencies is available from PS Publishing and her novella Changeling can be ordered from Aqueduct Press.

Check out Nancy Jane Moore’s Bookshelf for more stories.

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