First, let me admit to my technological deficit: I don’t have a smartphone. I almost never use a cell phone at all. The cell phone I do have doesn’t take photos… or, if it does, then I don’t know how to use it like that. So, second, let me confess that I forgot my camera.

Sorry folks, I have no pictures.

I attended GenCon 50 yesterday. This massive gaming convention is held in Indianapolis, IN, attracts 65,000 attendees, and boggles the mind with the sheer multitude of games (card games, board, games, role playing games, etc.). I attended on Saturday in the company of my youngest brother Robert and his wife  Jenny.

This scouting mission pretty much involved a full day ambling up and down aisles in the main vendor room. We started at one end and slowly worked our way to the other. Of particular interest, of course, were the artists and authors exhibiting their wares. I did find a print that fell into the “must have” category and bought that. Now I have to have it framed. I found another painting that also called to me, but I resisted. One was sufficient.

Overall, the talent of the artists and illustrators impressed me, even if they’re work didn’t suit my tastes. I can recognize the excellence of talent and skill when I see it, even if I don’t particularly like it. When I took a look at the books being promoted (and sold), my editor’s hat immediately activated. I spoke with several of those authors, trying to get a sense of whether participation at next year’s event–assuming I could even get accepted as a vendor–would be justified. While the personal promotion is good marketing, the ROI has to justify the expense incurred.

Of particular mention, I reconnected with S. A. McClure, whom I met at ConGlomeration in April. I hope she does well at the event.

The event featured some big name authors, primarily Margaret Weiss, Mercedes Lackey, and Charlaine Harris. I remember reading Lackey’s Herald Mage series back in the 1980s. I never read Weiss’ Dragonlance Chronicles, but she’s practically a legend in the fantasy genre. Harris is also a stunning success with her books having been adapted to HBO’s True Blood series. There were others on-site Saturday for book signing events, but I can’t remember who.

It’s encouraging to see women authors being promoted and recognized for their work. If there’s one thing I appreciate about the fantasy and paranormal genres, it’s that acceptance of women are accepted as equal partners and contenders.

My sister-in-law Jenny crafts chain maille jewelry and spoke with several of the chain maille vendors with the aim of showing at events to promote and sell her jewelry. Upon arriving home, we talked about participating at smaller events together. Her chain maille jewelry complements my fantasy and paranormal work, don’t you think? There’s comfort in a smaller event: let’s face it, GenCon is overwhelming.

Yeah, it sounds like I’m talking myself out of next year’s event. And I probably am. The venue ain’t cheap, with the cost of a tabletop display area, five days of parking in downtown Indy, mileage, and the cost of the stock I’d have to purchase for inventory. But smaller events… that seems to be a better match for me. Regardless, I’ll be keeping an eye out for smaller events in western Ohio, northern Kentucky, and eastern Indiana–something within a 3-hour drive of home. Cities at the outer limits of my travel distance include Louisville and Lexington, KY; Columbus, Lima, and Cincinnati, OH; and Indianapolis, IN. If you hear of anything where an author might be welcome, let me know.

I will be exhibiting at Imaginarium on October 6-8 in Louisville, KY.

And, just in case you didn’t see the Facebook and Twitter posts, check out Holly Bargo’s author interview on the Ink & Magick website. The interview aired on August 18.