I returned last Monday from a wonderful convention in Missoula Montana where I hung out with many friends and compatriots in this writing game. I mingled with fellow authors and pros, and found myself invited to participate in an anthology for which I am now writing a story that I have long wanted to write. I gained pounds from good eating I now need to work off, and over a dozen titles for new potential stories that will go into my to-be-written file, but I gained so much more. I made friends.

MisCon is one of the best genre cons in the country and is now attended by big name pros/ guests of honor who tend to return even after their appearance as GOH has ended. They return for many reasons but I think a strong one is for the flavor of this con. It is a great place to make friends. Award-winning GOH artist John Picacio sums it up even better than I can here on his blog:

Most of the time we write in our own personal space, winging along on our own creative power. Unless we are working on a collaborative piece we don’t want other input in our heads. Heck we have enough input from our characters. We need to stay down deep in story. However, when we emerge we look to others of our tribe and friends at all levels of this industry for inspiration.

Inspiration exists everywhere of course, but I am enlivened to take in my world when I’m with friends.

Friends provide me with serendipity–a shot in the arm of new ideas and a tease of laughter. At a con I come across cos play,  demonstrations of weaponry and an opportunity to heft a sword, to watch a combat demonstration or shoot a cross bow. In my genre this kind of hands-on understanding is invaluable. but also it is an opportunity to make a friend. Matt is not only a weapons master, he is fun! A generous guy who introduced me to some of the foods of his Scandinavian heritage.

This week I happened by a corner in the leather-chair lounge where wonderful former GOH artist Rob Carlos was drawing a young woman and her parrot–both of them magical creatures, so colorful, so filled with grace, I was stunned and transported into story. You can see some of Rob’s imagery here:

MisCon was friends all the way from the extraordinary con com (thank you Justin Barba, Kendra Lisum, Amy Farrington, Bob Lovely, Clay Cooper, Matt McAdoo and the whole crew) to the amazing visual artists, (John Picacio, Todd Lockwood, Rob Carlos, Jean Carlos, Betsy Mott, Vandy Hall, Jeff Stugeon, and so many more) authors (Steven Erikson, Terry Brooks, Carol Berg, John Pitts, Shawn Speakman, Peter Orullian, Mark Teppo, Patrick Swenson, Rhiannon Held, Ann Gimpel, Sue Bolich, Laurey Patten, to name but a few of this stellar group of pros) and attendees who return every year.

Friends provide antihistamines to control allergies, muscle relaxers and massage. We celebrated the release of my new story St Jean and the Dragon in FICTION RIVER’S ALCHEMY AND STEAM ANTHOLOGY. Friends supported me at my reading of my ghost story The Crow War of Willows Beach. Friends are often my first readers and I am theirs. It is friends who support me when I go dark.

I could not do this without friends. They make the impossible possible. They keep me on this path.

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