September 20, 2016

Rob Howell shares a report on DodecaCon

Olathe, KS writer Rob Howell has graciously allowed us to share his report on DodecaCon 4, held this past weekend in Columbia, MO. For his complete comments, see his blog, "Howell's Howls." 

"This past weekend I went to DodecaCon 4 in Columbia, MO. Despite some huge challenges for the con organizers, I had a great time.

One of those challenges is perhaps the worst thing that could ever happen to the con organizers a couple of weeks ago. They lost one of their daughters to complications from sickle-cell anemia. How they continued is beyond me, but despite their grief they kept smiling and working. Kudos to Toni Westbrook-Taylor and Randy Taylor for somehow plowing through.
"Knowing that makes it no surprise that many of the things they wanted to organize ahead of time did not have a chance to get done. Despite this added work and extra adjustments on the fly, they managed to get things covered reasonably well.
"A second challenge was the fact that the original football schedule had this weekend marked as one without a home game for Mizzou. The schedule changed. If you know Columbia, you know it’s awful for traffic in the first place for such a small town (the I-70 / US-63 is one of the worst interchanges I’ve ever seen, even counting some in places like Boston and Montreal). Home games, shockingly enough, makes traffic problems get worse.
"Not only that, many of the people who might have come to the convention, especially students, were at the game or tailgating. I’m sure this dampened attendance from last year.
"Finally, the other complication was the site itself. It was held in the big aisles in the middle of Parkade Mall. This meant extra security and less than ideal room arrangements. Still, they made it work, though they got an extra curveball on Sunday morning when the mall decided it was that morning they needed to paint new parking lines in the lot, meaning half the spots were roped off. I actually liked my spot in terms of how I was arranged, along a wall with an electrical outlet.
"There were other issues, too, that I’m aware happened but not any details of what happened.
Andy Waldron gets his costume weapon checked at DodecaCon 4. Photo by Kiet Le Design
"And yet, people had fun.
"I was on two panels and moderated two others.  I like moderating panels where I’m not an expert on the topic, but still can periodically add things . . . . 
See Liz Schulte's books on
her Bat Country website.
"I did make some good new contacts, as usual. I’ve some potential plans to do a show in Columbia in December. Also, I had a great conversation with Liz Schulte about some of the differences between writing fantasy and writing romance, even if it’s a genre romance.
"My favorite new work that I saw, by the way, came from Scott Schmidt and his Steele Vs. comic book series. How did I never think of having mounties fight monsters?
Mounties fight monsters in the
Steele Vs. comic book series
"DodecaCon did two things I thought were really cool, though I couldn’t take advantage of one because I eat low-carb. They came along throughout the day and offered us food. Bagels for breakfast, spaghetti for dinner, periodic candy bits, and then also brought us water as needed. It did not match the variety of things at many con suites, but bringing it around to people stuck at booths was very nice.
"The more important thing was how much they reached out to the local jr. high and high schools. Friday for most of the day busloads of students came to the con. I’m guessing that the schools relaxed dress codes, as many of them came in costumes. Some of their parents joined them. From a merchant perspective, it was mostly just work with no real chance of sales, but it is the kind of thing that I think keeps all of this sort of thing going . . . . 
"Despite all of the challenges, it was much bigger con than I expected and I think it will be even better in a year where things aren’t conspiring against it." 
Rob Howell, author
MANY THANKS, Rob, for sharing your con report with us! As noted above (see the ". . . ." markings), this is not a complete transcript. If you'd like to read all about Rob's panels and other observations, please read his complete report on "Howell's Howls." 
Rob Howell is the author of the World of Shijuren series. Thee titles have been published so far. Read about them or buy them on Amazon.
IMAGES: Many thanks to DodecaCon for the 2016 convention banner; to the MU Tigers athletics page for the tiger logo; to Kiet Le Design for the costume programming photo (see a large and wonderful album of costumes from the con on Kiet Le Design's Facebook page! Great pix, Kiet!); to Liz Schulte's Bat Country website for her Bat Country button; to Comic Vine and Pistol Whip Press for the Steele Vs The Ghost Walker cover image; and to Rob Howell's Amazon Author Page for the photo of him. 

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