I went to ChattaCon in Chattanooga TN this weekend and had a great weekend. Ironically, it was great because the writer's track was, to be blunt, kind of lame. But that just made it the perfect opportunity to spend time with the TWO guests of honor, Kevin Anderson and Rob Sawyer. I'm still trying to figure out how a con can have two guests of honor of that caliber and not draw more fans. I guess ChattaCon just one of those cons that primarily draws the gaming people. But I'm not complaining; the lack of competition for their time made it that much easier to hang out with the GOHs and I'm not too proud to admit that I'm a big fan of both of these guys' accomplishments and relished every moment of their time.
For purposes of clarity, when I say "we" in this blog entry, I mean: Kevin Anderson and his wife (and frequent collaborator) Rebecca Moesta, Rob Sawyer and his wife Carol, my friend Alethea (who works at Ingram), Alethea's friend Eddie, and myself). Anyway... we hung out all weekend. We had a late night pizza Friday night, we had lunch together in the hotel Saturday, we went out to a Greek restaurant for dinner Sat. night (minus Rob and his wife), and we all went back to that Greek restaurant again for a late lunch on Sunday. Great guys, Rob and Kevin. Open and helpful, willing to answer just about any questions. We laughed, we talked about old movies and comic books and politcs and anything else you can think of. We even talked about the writing biz.
Kevin was particularly impressive to see in action. Whenever he didn't have a panel (or wasn't being dragged off to another meal), he was prowling around the parking lot with his micro-recorder dictating chapters of the novel he's currently working (the final installment of his Seven Suns Saga). What a work ethic that man has! Sunday morning Alethea and I were standing in front of a table in the dealer's room (Apex Digest's table - a magazine worth checking out) and I said to Alethea, "You know, if either one of us were Kevin Anderson we'd be off somewhere writing right now." And that's what it takes to succeed as a writer: discipline to write, every day, no matter what. Kevin has tremendous discipline and that's probably one of the biggest factors behind his tremendous success.
If there's a moral to this story it this: don't write off the small cons. Big cons like Dragon Con and WorldCon and World Fantasy have a mystique all their own, but the little cons give you access to all sorts of people that you'd have a much harder time getting with at the big ones.