Another Weekend, Another Convention to Panel

CapClave 2022

I’m taking a quick break from my ChiCon8 notes to talk about my most recent weekend!

As September turned into October, I drove around the Beltway and attended my first CapClave. Now, I’d gotten a little stir-crazy last fall and swung by the lobby to say ‘hi’ to friends who were in town, but this was the first time I’d ever attended CapClave. It’s a small con, with lots of familiar-to-me faces, several fun guests, and they let me chat about some of my favorite topics. All-in-all? I would definitely go back.

Last weekend, I attended a small local convention called CapClave. Now, I didn’t escape my house on Friday quite as quickly as I’d hoped, thanks to some AC installation guys doing their best as hurricane Ian was starting to send stormy weather our way, so I hit a bit of weekend rush hour traffic, but I did manage to make it to the hotel and check in before 5pm.

Picture of a stuffed dodo bird wearing antlers, with a name label: "CapClave 2006: ROSIE the DODO"

Getting my badge had no line, so I scouted around the convention, with a pass through the lightly filled Dealers Room, and caught up with friends. At 5:30pm, I checked the schedule and decided “Facing Mortality: Writing Death and Dying in Fiction” sounded good, (besides the fact, my dad Mark Roth was on the panel). It was a heavy topic but well handled. After that, I wandered to the lobby and ended up tagging up with Ian (eye-an, not ee-an) Strock and Randee Dawn (who I’d met through the Broad Universe) where we walked a little way to The Silver Diner. We were far from the only con-goers there, and while I regret not getting the deconstructed chicken potpie, my lemon salmon was tasty. After dinner, I found my way to “Too Soon? Writing and Reading About Pandemics” to do some research, since my NaNoWriMo project next month is going to be set in the near future.

My dad’s partner, Ellen, was trying not to fall asleep in the ConSuite at 8pm where Dad was volunteering, so I let her nap in my room. Then, I wandered the halls, found a few conversations, and headed to bed by midnight! *gasp*

The Hilton in Rockville, Md has a lot of rooms where they have doors on the hallway, but also on a balcony around the atrium. Mine was one of those dual-doored rooms, with my only window opening to the atrium. It makes all awareness of passing time more challenging, because of the lack of daylight. (Not that there was any daylight last weekend.)

Morgan selfie, with a black steampunk owl shirt and black pinstripe skirt, and red boots.

I’d hoped to make a 10am panel, but realized my first panel of the day was the one of the four I was on at CapClave that I was scheduled to moderate. I tossed a few notes together and got there early for “Toxic Productivity” with Ann Chatham, Lawrence M. Schoen, and Sarah Avery. It was a solid conversation on a topic that far too many of us are susceptible to. I left my stuff in my chair because I was in the same room for the next panel, “Grammar Wars and Pedantry“, which I was told and have confirmed is not pronounced “peh-DAN-tree”. Clearly one of those ‘nouns have different emphasis things’ I didn’t know about before. A lively conversation was had with Ian Randal Strock, K. Ceres Wright, Sarah Avery again, and moderated by Mary G. Thompson.

Panelists for "The DMV in Speculative Fiction" with Jean Marie Ward (M), Brick Barrientos, T. C. Weber, Randee Dawn, and Martin Berman-Gorvine.
The DMV in Speculative Fiction:
Jean Marie Ward (M), Brick Barrientos, T. C. Weber, Randee Dawn, and Martin Berman-Gorvine.

I thought about making a break for it and finding lunch, then decided I wanted to hit a panel in 20 min too much, so found 2 of the last 4 pieces of pizza in the Green Room (a snack space and room to hang out in for panelists and guests). Next up was the “In Defense of the Standalone Novel“. Before the next panel, I let Ellen nap in my room again, and grabbed a sweater, because that panel room was BRISK. Oh, and my Dad had remembered he’d forgotten to get me my birthday gift at the last con, so handed me a cheesecake. I stored it in the fridge. I caught most of “The DMV in Speculative Fiction“, all about writing in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area, since my NaNoWriMo project is not just in the near future, but actually nearby. I got tagged out to help prep for the awards ceremony during that panel, so missed a little, but it was solid. To end my Saturday panels, I enjoyed “Positive SF“.

Getting dinner was a bit of a struggle because I wanted to be back in under an hour, but the hotel restaurant was severely understaffed. Eventually, I managed to grab a table with a fellow congoer named Steve who shares a lot of overlapping circles and was a lively dinner conversationalist.

Picture of a silver leaf art piece suspended in a hotel atrium, with tables at the perimeter and folding chairs lined up in rows in the center.

Next up was the mass signing and the Awards Ceremony. I managed to hit half the tables and get new books to add to my 5-years-deep to-read pile before the ceremony started. As the signing tables were encircling the chairs set up for the Awards Ceremony, it was easy to hit both. I was pleased to witness the ceremony first-hand this year, since the convention I work, Balticon‘s parent club, the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) presents their amateur writers contest awards at CapClave.

Editor Guest of Honor: Irene Gallo holds her bronze Dodo statue gift.

After snagging photos of the winners, I went to make sure all of my payments went through at the signing tables… and found out when I unpacked at home, I’d left one on a table. *facepalm* My bag was trying to rip, though, so I had to drop those books off in my hotel room. I managed to find a friend’s room party and chatted a bit and shared my belated birthday cheesecake. Then, I wandered for a bit, looking for conversation, and ended up chatting with Suzanne Palmer and Neil Clarke. Good solid conversation to end my night with.

Morning came early. Shocking no one, I yet again failed to hit any 10am panels, but managed to check out, load my car, and still made it in time for my own panel: “Promoting Your Writing”. It was a very full panel with our Author Guest of Honor, Ursula Vernon (who also writes as T. Kingfisher), Alex Shvartsman, Leah Cypess, and Leslye Penelope, moderated by Jeanne Adams. We more than filled the panel time.

Selfie with Morgan and a gracious Ursula Vernon

Yet again, I had back-to-back panels. This time, I snuck off to the ConSuite for a snack/lunch before: “What’s in a Name?” with Jack Campbell, and moderated by Leah Cypess where we talked about pen names.

After a quick pass through the halls to say goodbye, I hit the road. Well, twice. I had validated my parking and not told the lady at checkout, so I had to double back in when it came time to leave the parking garage. Traffic was smooth, Catticus happy to see me, and I had enough time to get ready for my weekly productivity stream.

I was glad I went, but ready for bed.

Morgan on her couch, petting a sleepy looking Catticus.


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