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Her name is Rebecca and she runs a flea market in Harrison, Arkansas, called Beccaboostique. She set up a con in a town that had never had one before, with a vision of her town getting a taste of a new experience. She saw in her mind a celebration of games, anime, unique costumes, and even karaoke, and when I saw what she was doing, I couldn’t wait to join in.

She recognized me the moment I walked in the door. I set up and I was ready for the next day. In theory. In actuality, I was so nervous I had trouble sleeping in the hotel room we secured at the venue. Would I be able to face a completely new set of people in a new town and talk to them about my passion and my life’s work? Would they listen? Would they be interested? How was Harrison, Arkansas, going to take to the idea of Perilisc?

Dinner at a hole-in-the-wall diner called the Ranch House Restaurant, where I had the most delicious burger ever. Shopping, where I bought, among other things, two triple shot drinks of espresso, three cold brew drinks of coffee, two five-hour energy drinks, and two liters of iced coffee. I needed to be fresh, I needed to be awake. Needed a slightly sinking feeling to my gut that I could blame on too much coffee.

The day of, I had very little hope. It was the first year of the con. It was a relatively small town. And it was the first day of sales, a Friday, the day that is usually slow in cons like this. Now, I have a track record of being very successful at cons and author signings. I was told by a traditionally published writer that in my area all I could expect was to sell a single book every hour. If I could keep that pace, I would be going smashing. I have always crushed that pace, but That Geeky Con was insane.

In the first seven hours, I sold more books than I have ever sold before. More books than I had sold in the weekend-long Visioncon, where I had done well. It was an insane day of sales and I met people I will never forget. I learned that Harrison, Arkansas, is home to a great breed of people. People who are funny, interesting, and rabid for their fantasy. I saw truly amazing cosplay and so many interesting vendors that I actually spent more money than I really planned on. The first day was an amazing experience, but surely they could not do it again. The same people might show up the next day, but we would not get many new ones. I figured I had sold the books that I would, and even considered going home that night. As I said, it had already been more of a success than any other event I had ever been to. But I stayed, partly because I had one more night out of town with my wife, but also because, by this point, I had fallen in love with this town and the people who lived there.

The next day was even more than the first day had been. More cosplay. This was the day of the cosplay contest and the people who came out were breathtaking. I met so many more good, fantasy-loving people and I sold even more books. It was supposed to be a ten-hour day. I sold out of books in six. I got to talk about my Goats and the parties we have every year. I had people both days walking up to buy my entire collection. I had people standing in line to see me. I was humbled by these people’s devotion to the things they loved and their generosity and willingness to give my work a chance.

Every writer dreams of things we have seen on TV or in movies, scenes that are way too cool to ever expect to happen. We long for validation in certain ways that are rare and can never be expected to be real. Well, one of these happened to me. One young woman came to the con carrying a copy of Song she had bought online. She was coming to meet me, to try to get me to sign her copy, and to buy the only book I was selling that she had not read. I cannot express the joy this brought me, the hope for my future and the certainty it filled me with that I was, in fact, doing exactly what I was born to do.

Next summer, you will find me slinging books at That Geeky Con. But next summer, I will bring more books, because on the second day of the con, I sold out four hours early.

That Geeky Con

This is a glimpse into That Geeky Con 2019. It shows all the cosplay and some of the information about what was there. When it was over, I talked to the director and organizer, and she said, "Now you are family." I'll be there again next year with my new releases, and probably every year after, because after this event, I love Harrison, Arkansas! 

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Jesse Teller, 2443 S. Ventura Ave., Springfield, MO  65804 USA

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