Fun from StellarCon36

I was a guest at StellarCon36, a SF/F convention in High Point, NC, earlier this month. So, I thought I’d share some of the highlights.

I met Mark Poole, the StellarCon artist guest of honor. He’s from South Carolina and illustrated more than 1000 cards for games such as Magic, White Wolf’s Vampire, Battletech, and World of Warcraft.

Mark and I were on the Steampunk Artwork and Costuming panel together, along with Kelley Hightower and Markell Lynch from ConTemporal, an upcoming convention in June where I will be a guest and dealer. I haven’t published any steampunk fiction (yet) but the reason I was on the panel was because I’ve been designing steampunk jewelry for several years, and my work is featured in two steampunk art books.

I also met Batman. I grew up watching reruns of the old Batman TV show, and I geeked out over the earlier Batman movies, so I was pretty excited about that.

I moderated “The Role of the Publisher in Today’s Market” with panelists John G. Hartness, Misty Massey, Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf and Bull Spec founding editor Sam Montgomery-Blinn. Consensus was that publishers aren’t going anywhere, regardless of the ease of self-publishing, because creating a successful, widely-read book requires more than just writing a book and uploading it to Amazon — it needs things like good cover art, ads, promotion, accounting, quality editing, branding, wide distribution, social media and other elements that are very difficult to achieve alone.

Then I met the Green Lantern. OK, I know he’s not real. But, it was still cool.

I was on the Dystopian Literature panel with Nicole Givens Kurtz (author, publisher, teacher), Tedd Roberts (scientist, writer, teacher, moderator) and StellarCon special writing guest Michael Z. Williamson.

As the founder of my city’s annual Can’t Stop the Serenity charity event and a 2012 global sponsor, I represented Browncoat fans on the Westerns in Space panel, moderated by Karen McCullough. My fellow panelists were author/podcaster/historian Amy H. Sturgis, NYTimes best-selling author Michael A. Stackpole (who’s written Star Wars and Battletech books, among other things), and Albin Johnson, special StellarCon fan guest and founder of the 501st Legion, an international Star Wars costuming club.

R2-KT was also at the convention. R2-KT was created by the R2 Builders after the death of Albin Johnson’s daughter Katie from brain cancer. It was her wish to have a pink version of R2-D2. R2-KT travels the country to entertain children, raise awareness of pediatric cancer, and raise money for such charities as Make-A-Wish and Children’s Cancer Fund.

I hung out with author Michael D’Ambrosio, who I’ve known for a few years and who was so helpful to me during the process of finding Stellarnet Rebel a publisher. Firetower Studios was there with Jeremy Whitley. My kids love his Princeless comics–not only does it have a fun story, but ethnic variety and heroic females are a bit underrepresented in kids comics. I was also introduced to the art of Mary Layton, a very talented steampunk/fantasy/jewelry artist.

Had a great time and looking forward to next year!

J.L. Hilton



  1. Wow! What a busy and fun-packed schedule. Glad you had a great time!

    1. And I forgot to mention, I was also selling my jewelry and promoting my book in the dealer room all three days. I think, in the future, I will *either* be a guest or be a dealer. Doing both really kicked my butt!

  2. Oh, wow. I’m exhausted just reading this! But it sounds like an awesome event.

    1. I was wiped out for a WEEK afterward. It didn’t help that my hotel room was haunted and made more noise than a medieval torture chamber! lol

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