Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | March 2, 2012

Mysticon 2012

Mysticon registration table

An inflated visitor

The Dealers’ Room


Through the dreary days of January and February I look forward to Mysticon, the first convention I attend each year. Conventions are a great way to meet people with similar and different interests, to reconnect with old friends, to cultivate new interests, and to learn new things.

Mysticon 2012 — held in its usual venue at the Holiday Inn Tanglewood in Roanoke, VA — opened on Friday, February 24 and ended Sunday, February 26. This year’s special guests included author guest of honor Sherrilyn Kenyon, artist guest of honor Ursula Vernon, media guests of honor Nicki Clyne and Richard Hatch (from Battlestar Galactica), musical guest of honor Bella Morte, fan guest of honor Rod Belcher, and master of ceremonies Rich Sigfrit.






Other guests included authors, artists, actors, publishers, editors, bloggers, filmmakers, costumers, gamers, podcasters, and wrestlers, as well as a photographer, magician, comedian, visual effects artist, graphic designer, web comic artist, belly dancer, and people with expertise in robotics, science, and martial arts.

The programing started at 3 pm Friday and finished at 3 pm on Sunday. Special programs included a magic show; author signings and readings; podcasts; the drum circle; workshops in writing, robotics, and belly dancing; a martial arts demonstration; the scholarship auction; the art show and auction; the Match Game; the Iron Author competition; the open-mike poetry slam; musical performances; the traditional costume masquerade; and much more.






Additional activities included the Dealers’ Room, Artist Alley, a photographer, gaming (live action role playing, video gaming, and open gaming), and awards for hall costumes.

Hungry participants could find food in the hospitality suite (providing drinks & light snacks), the 10 Forward Cantina (hot menu items & drinks), or the hotel’s Elephant Walk Restaurant (excellent food at reasonable prices).






Here’s a sampling of the panels in the various programing tracks:

    • Publishing: Editing Anthologies, Just the Nuts and Bolts, Small Press vs Self Publishing, Breaking Through the Mediocre
    • Indie Films: Declaration of the Independents (Meet Our Indie Actors), The Ins and Outs of Film Makeup, Set and Prop Construction

Panel: Kicking A** in Hyperspace — with Tony Ruggiero, Steven Wilson & Mike McPhail

        • Art:  History of Comics, Webcomics 101, Finding Your Medium in the Art World, Pixels vs Paint, Designing Book Covers that Sell
        • Writing: How and When to End a Series, Alternities, Adult Themes in Young Adult Novels — Is This Appropriate?, The State of Fear, Sympathy for the Devil — Liking the Bad Guy, Spirituality in Science Fiction
        • Gaming: Building Strange New Worlds, Intro to SHLARPing at Mysticon, Intro to LARPing with strange Aeons, The Real Gaming Wives of Mysticon, How to Run a LARP, Designing Games

Panel: Sympathy for the Devil — Liking the Bad Guy — with David Blalock, Kalayna Price, Rebecca Carter, Nancy Brauer & Gary Eatroff

          • Science: Is There a Future in Space Travel?, Crime Scene Investigation: How It’s really Done, More Than Human
          • Costuming: How to Costume When You Can’t Sew, Props and Accessories — Adding the Next Dimension to Your Costume, Costuming on a Budget
          • Children/YA: Books for Children and Young Adults, Children’s Bedtime Story Hour, Goth — Is It Part of Fandom?, Kids Literature Past Harry Potter
          • Podcasting: Podcasting Basics, Podcasting and Voice Acting: Effective Delivery
          • Paranormal: Hunting for Ghosts at Mysticon, The Next Great Monster Craze, Do Southern Ghosts Drawl?, Staking It All on Vamps
          • Pop Culture: Nerd Music
          • Anime: Anime and Cosplay — Why We Love It

Panel: Far Out Scientific Concepts You Need to Know About — with Tally Johnson, John L. French, Richard C. Cook, David Halperin & Barbara deBary-Kesner

          • Media: The New SF/Fantasy TV and Film Revue, Wrestling, When Did Geeks Get So Hot?, How the West Was Won and Lost in Space, Then vs Now, Books That Should Be a Movie
          • Steampunk: What’s With the Goggles?
          • Literature: Horrors Unknown, Modern Classics
          • Conventions: Everything You Wanted to Know about Running a SF Convention, Tales from the Darkside — Fan or Fanatic?, Come to Our Convention



With such a wide variety of activities and panels, the problem wasn’t finding something of interest but being unable to attend more than one thing at a time — which has me already looking forward to next year’s Mysticon, February 22 to 24, 2013!

Mysticon*cert with Catherine Asaro (accompanied by Marty Pell)

The Match Game with Danny Birt, Allegra Torres, Ursula Vernon, Richard Hatch, Nicki Clyne, Carla Brindle & Rich Sigfrit

Filking with Danny Birt









For more of my experiences and photos of Mysticon, check out my blog:


  1. So sorry I had to cancel; it looks like it was great fun. Hopefully, they’ll extend me another invite next year and I can be there…


  2. Some of the writing panels sound great.


    • They are. When I attended my first science fiction convention, I had no idea how much was available for writers.


  3. […] details of the convention guests and programs and more photos, check out my Author Chronicles post, Mysticon 2012. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]


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