Thank You, Balticon 50!

Cover art by me for a limited-edtion GRRM hardcover novella, exclusively available via the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

Cover art by me for a limited-edtion GRRM hardcover novella, exclusively available via the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

Great times this past weekend at Balticon 50, where George R. R. Martin and I were Guests of Honor, along with Mark Van Name, Fran Wilde, Alexandra Duncan, Kim Stanley Robinson, and an impressive roster of past GoHs such as Charles Stross, Peter Beagle, Connie Willis, Jo Walton, Joe Haldeman, Larry Niven, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, and more. The level of creative talent in the building felt like a miniature version of Worldcon.

GRRM and me during the onstage "Conversation" event. That was fun. :)

GRRM and me during the onstage “Conversation” event. That was fun. ūüôā

Huge congratulations to Nora Echeverria and the entire con com for achieving the single largest Balticon attendance ever. THANK YOU to all of the con attendees who packed the seats for my programming itemsРand especially my Loteria game session and onstage interview with GRRM, which were filled to capacity. Great job by Sarah Pinsker and Michael R. Underwood on their Dangerous Voices Variety Hour event. Thank you to Fan Guests of Honor Martin Deusch, Shirley Avery, Sue, Nora, Anna, Meredith, Filthy + the Art Show staff for setting up a terrific Art Show and thank you to all who made it a big success as almost all of my A Song of Ice and Fire artwork sold out, along with so many framed originals and prints. I sold out of Loteria Grande Card Sets and signed countless items at my Artists Alley table. Before the con even began, George and I pre-signed 500 limited-edition copies of a new GRRM hardcover novella that I illustrated called In The House of the Worm. (Special thanks to Sean Wallace for making it happen.) This convention was an intense and absolute joy.

I had a blast spending time with George, Parris, Lenore, and Jo. Enjoyed the conversations and quality minutes that I had with so many pros and fans. Always much love and best of times with¬†The Hardest Buckaroos — the Brotherhood Without Banners — Martha, Doug, Christine, Eddie, Neal, Yags, Pod, Kristina, Dave, Douglas, Caryn, Meg, Bill and everyone. Special shoutout to my IMPALED PHALLUS bandmates! ūüėČ

So many people gave their all to make this con happen, as is always the case with fan-run conventions (thank you, Allison, Adrienne, Joe, Roy, Anna, and all). Did Balticon¬†have massive problems with its programming schedule? Absolutely. And yet, thanks to the grit and resilience¬†of diehard volunteers, I saw nothing but joy from every fan I encountered. Romeo Capriotti, this is for you. (Thea, change the words to “woman” and “ma’am” and same applies.) You did a great job, Romeo. Best GoH Liaison I could ask for.

Linda Wenzelburger: Your take on my “La Calavera” is one of my favorite cosplays EVER! Gorgeous work! Made my con. <applause>

Linda Wenzelburger's completely awesome "La Calavera" cosplay (Inset: Cropped detail of my "La Calavera" Loteria artwork.)

Linda Wenzelburger’s completely awesome “La Calavera” cosplay (Inset: Cropped detail of my “La Calavera” Loteria artwork.)

You were amazing, Balticon. In closing, I’m going to share some words from Nora, who chaired this event. This is from her FB page, and I hope she won’t mind. I think it adds some¬†much-needed¬†context.

“i want to thank everyone who helped organize, work, volunteer and attend Balticon 50. You ALL made this an amazing show.

In particular i want to thank¬†Jonette Butler for¬†coming up with the idea for bringing back our Alumni Guests of Honor and for being the driving force behind that and our fundraising projects. Because of her, we were able to raise well over $55,000 AND bring back every Guest of Honor Alumnus who wished to attend. And they all had a wonderful time.”

And especially the following words:

“At the end of the day, Balticon is run by volunteers. We do not take a salary, we have jobs and families and other obligations, i.e., LIFE. We work hard but we make mistakes. We aim for the moon and sometimes we hit it and sometimes we crash back down to earth. We all come together to do this out of our love for the genre and of fandom.”

Well said, Nora — and thank you again, Balticon and the Baltimore Science Fiction Society! It was an honor to be with you!

George R. R. Martin and Nora Echeverria at the Balticon 50 Guest of Honor Dinner.

George R. R. Martin and Nora Echeverria at the Balticon 50 Guest of Honor Dinner.

Loteria in New Mexico! Sasquan Wrapup!

I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, getting ready to appear at George R. R. Martin‘s Jean Cocteau Cinema Thursday at 7pm for “Loteria Fest”. It’ll be an evening of Loteria games and prizes (think Mexican Bingo), plus an exhibition of large-scale prints of my work where New Mexicans can score my limited-run cards and posters. I’m stoked. Be here, Santa Fe, and bring your friends. Let’s pack that place. Come score your prizes and Loteria goodies.

I arrived here yesterday from Spokane where Sasquan ruled the town, or at least what you could see of it, as it looked like Mordor due to all of the surrounding wildfire smoke. The Sasquan con com put on a great event overall, and my hat’s off to them as well as all who attended my programming and events! Special shoutout to all who visited me and bought my Loteria merchandise in Artists Alley. I¬†SOLD OUT of all of the Loteria Grande cards I brought to the con. Well done, Spokane.

Favorite memories of the con for me? The Brotherhood Without Banners party and George R. R. Martin’s Hugo Losers Party at the Glover Mansion. The former was epic as always (missed you, Martha and Doug), and the latter was a night for the ages.

I thought DC17 assembled a helluva bid for the 2017 Worldcon, but they lost out to Helsinki. So congrats to the Fins! Back to work here in Santa Fe, prepping for tomorrow’s big ‘Loteria Fest’. For now, here are a few Sasquan memories.

SASQUAN4one

ABOVE¬†(clockwise from left): The Misfits were a terrific band at GRRM’s Hugo Losers Party. John Scalzi gets up close and personal with John W. Campbell Award winner Wesley Chu. Kristina Hiner and the legendary Lodey at the Losers Party. Packed house at the Glover Mansion as everyone gazes up at GRRM as he presents the inaugural Alfie Awards.

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ABOVE¬†(clockwise from left): Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear at GRRM’s party. LOCUS’ Francesca Myman and Gail Carriger. A special moment when the late, great Jay Lake’s family came to visit and expressed their approval for Jay being included in my Loteria series. (They were so incredibly gracious.)¬†Eddie Tannini, Nichole Giles, and Erik Kluth decked out at GRRM’s Losers Party.

HELSINKI

ABOVE: Helsinki 2017 supporters visited my Artists Alley table decked out in full regalia.