Welcome to the limited series return of BETWEEN THE PAGES, running Mondays and Wednesdays now through mid-December 2020! Dubbed BETWEEN THE PAGES: FINDING MY VOICE, follow Shannon’s journey as she learned and grew to become more of a public speaker, and how she’s still learning today! Today is Installment 18, “Let’s Not Forget the Past”.
At this point, I didn’t expect to be appearing more in person on panels. However, in 2009, the programming team from a local convention called LosCon reached out to me – a longstanding convention operated by the Los Angeles Science Fiction and Fantasy Society. They’d been made aware of my connections with VOLTRON and in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the show, asked me to be part of a panel entitled “Voltron Goes Silver,” about 25 years of VOLTRON. Additionally, they asked me to be involved on additional panels such as “How Has Anime Impacted Western Culture,” on how anime has affected popular culture; “Web Comics,” with web comics creators and fans; and “When to Join a Critique Group” with with Ace Hall, Kelly Green, Sheila Finch. See a program book sample here.
LosCon proved to be the most intimate convention I’d been at to date – a big change from having started in the “big leagues” such as Comic-Con International: San Diego. For various reasons, it would be a few years until I attended again, but they would be top on my list when I began making appearances again about eight years later.
My last time speaking in front of people until 2017 came as an unexpected request. Peter Keefe, the producer who had been behind the creation of the 1984 VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE series based on the anime brought over from Japan, passed away from cancer. In 2011, I would be contacted my professional friends that I knew who also knew my personal story to speak about him at the annual Day of Remembrance put together by the Animation Guild. At first, this felt very awkward to me; in part because we’d never met. However, with a lot of encouragement I managed to do it. In an unexpected twist, the actor Michael Bell (who had played Lance in the 1984 VOLTRON series), was doing the tribute right after mine, and heard every word. He came by and “high fived” me after making his tribute to his friend. I’ll never forget that.
I started writing New Pulp prose in 2013, but due to my schedule couldn’t commit to really making any appearances. Finally, in 2017, I found the courage to approach LosCon again, and they accepted me.
In the next installments, I’ll talk about my adventures public speaking while promoting my prose stories.