Tag Archives: convention

BristolCon 2018

Despite feeling snuffly and tired, I got myself to BristolCon 2018! (Well, with the help of Sammy and Joel, who assisted in dragging me out of bed and into a car at a far-too-early hour of the morning…)

Kate and Lia snugglingIt was a much more chilled BristolCon than I’ve had previously; as I was expecting to be on the Grimbold stall for the day, I hadn’t booked myself in for any panels, and only had a few people that I was wanting to see. It was a definite bonus to arrive and find a wonderful gang of people that I did want to talk to – including the ever-deadpan Dave Hutchinson, Pete Sutton, Chloe Headdon, Stephanie Burgis, all of the Grimbold team (including our newest arrival, 5-week old Lia!), Anna Smith-Spark, Anne-Mhairi Simpson and Nick Hembery! It was great to meet faces that I either knew and hadn’t met in person, or were completely new – and to manage to snatch words with old faces too (hi Bav!) and catch up with some people I’d briefly seen at FantasyCon.

Grimbold stall at BristolCon
Photo from Sophie E Tallis

I got to one panel on books that the panellists held dear to their hearts, despite problems; the GOH interview of Joanne Hall by Roz Clarke; and Pete Sutton’s launch of Seven Deadly Swords, which I edited – and is excellent, by the way. Historical thriller. Go read it. Beyond that, I was mostly chatting or chilling or sitting at the stall.

I did get more of a book haul, though! Two freebies from the goodie bags; Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The War of the Worlds from Wordsworth Classics. A copy of The Magicians from the freebie table, along with Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd, The Affinity Bridge by George Mann, Autodrome by Kim Lakin-Smith, and a random copy of Your Favourite Band Cannot Save You by Scotto Moore.

Book haul from bristolcon 18

So, congrats and general awesomeness to all the volunteers and organisers – everything seemed to be running smoothly and it was an excellent con! And lovely to see everyone who was there – including all the people I spoke to or met that I haven’t managed to mention!

I’m now absolutely exhausted after two cons in a row plus a busy week at work, so please forgive me if I’m not entirely with it for the next week…or I may just have my nose buried in a book…

FantasyCon 2018: I did the thing!

I was at FantasyCon 2018 in Chester over this last weekend, and it was alternately fabulous, tiring, wonderful, weird and overall pretty exhausting!

First, huge props to the organisers (Allen and Karen) and all the redcloaks – they did a hugely fabulous job with panels, organising, events, answering questions, herding cats… and it was marvellous.

I was on two panels. The first was blogging in genre fiction (which Alexandra Peel did a lovely review of)  – it was great fun as I just got to chat to Alasdair and Kit, and then Micah when he arrived! They’re all always interesting so it definitely felt more like a natter than an actual panel. I did manage to dodge out of my panel on punk on Saturday evening, although I went along anyway – and I’m actually very glad that I did, as my views were very different to everyone else’s! I appreciate that it probably would have made for a good panel, but I also would have got flattened by the combined coilsprings of cheerful rage from Ren Warom and Kit Power, so… selfishly, I’m very glad I didn’t have to talk! (I do want to write a blog post on the subject though). And the second panel was fandom on Sunday, which felt like another natter – we got to talk Marvel, shared worlds and Star Wars!

I also got to see several panels; Writing on a Contract on Friday, which was really interesting; one session of readings from the wonderful Steven Poore, GV Anderson, Allen Stroud and Hal Duncan; a panel on publishing on Saturday afternoon, and one on editing anthologies on Saturday evening; and then a panel on starting out in genre fiction on Sunday morning, followed by underrepresented voices. All the panels were really interesting, and it was great to see so many subjects and voices talking about things they were passionate about – and I learned so much! Plus my reading pile and research list have grown exponentially, as usual… I didn’t haul many books; I picked up Steven Poore’s Heir to the North and Pete Sutton’s Seven Deadly Swords and promptly gave them away to someone who NEEDS TO READ THEM, but I did pick up Margaret Helgadottir’s The Stars Seem So Far Away for myself. I did, however, get a stack of suggestions – as if my reading pile wasn’t bad enough…

In between, I got to talk to people, talk to more people, eat stuff, talk to even more people, get a brief walk around Chester’s wall in the sunshine (absolutely beautiful!) and then keep talking…I spent most of my time with Rebellion’s lovely PR person, Remy, but managed to catch up with a whole bunch of Grimbold Books people, Fox Spirits, some old faces, some people I’d only met so far over t’interwebs, and some new introductions!

I did feel pretty weird throughout the con; I’ve gone from indie author and writer to editor for a mid-list publisher, and I felt I couldn’t win with how I spent my time – I loved seeing everyone I did, but I didn’t feel I spent enough time with anyone! It was very strange meeting so many people as well, having gone from someone who didn’t matter (not in a bad way, just…frankly, I didn’t, two years ago) to someone who might be a good recipient for writing, stories, agent subs, anthology ideas…

So…yeah. I’m still feeling pretty unsettled from that. I was definitely feeling both imposter syndrome and that I was supposed to be filling more of a role that I’m not sure how to work yet; I should have talked to more people, done more deals, found out more about what could be coming our way – but I’m also still the person who was looking at everyone else with wide eyes two years ago, and I still don’t feel I have anything to say. I don’t yet know how to combine those two roles, or how to fill shoes I’ve only been in for six months; I don’t know enough people, don’t know enough about how this world works, don’t know what I can do. I don’t know what my role is meant to be, yet, and every time I stretch I’m wondering when I’m going to hit a boundary or look like someone I’m not.

But. BUT. I’m still the writer, author, editor, the person who loves chatting to anyone and everyone about what they’re writing and hearing about amazing stories. That was my sanity when I was feeling lost, and I think – I hope! – I held on to that well enough to be able to talk coherently to everyone that I did get to speak to! It was amazing to meet so many writers and professionals and enthusiasts; everyone who talked to me was absolutely lovely, and the con has such good energy. Despite feeling unbalanced, I loved meeting everyone.

I’m going to do another post in a sec with some thoughts I had, partly about the above mix of emotions and partly some advice, so keep an eye out for that.

But overall: a fabulous weekend, even if I did manage to miss the karaoke – oh noes! (Apparently it was epic, so I’m half sad to have missed the amusement…but not sad to have missed the chance to demonstrate my awful singing!)

FantasyCon 2018 Schedule

So I’ll be at FantasyCon 2018 in Chester from the 19th-21st October this year! As well as hanging around, chilling out, talking to everyone and generally having a good time, I’m also on three panels:

Friday: 3.30pm – Blogging in Genre Fiction [Kit Power (m), Alasdair Stuart, Micah Yongo, Joel Cornah, Kate Coe]

Saturday 10pm – Putting the ‘Punk’ in Fiction [Andrew Knighton (m), Kate Coe, Lee Harrison, Marian Womack, Ren Warom]

Sunday 10.30am – From Fanon to Canon [Cheryl Morgan (m), Allanah Hunt, Chris Jarvis, Kate Coe, Andrew Knighton]

You can check out the rest of the events on the FantasyCon website.

The Sunday 10pm panel means that I may give actually participating in the karaoke a miss (oh noes) but will certainly be hanging around for bits of it. I’ll also be hanging around the Grimbold Books table, and may or may not have my Cat Hat on – so keep an eye out for the ears, and please do come chat to me if you see me!

P.S. Unofficially, I’m happy to be pitched if you’ve got anything in mind that you think would suit Abaddon and – more speculatively, as I’m just the subs reader – Solaris. I’m more than happy to hear about diverse, interesting fiction!

Nineworlds 2018 Roundup

So I am back from Nineworlds 2018, and it wasn’t as chaotic as I was expecting! We actually took things very easy,  and I’m glad that we did. My colleague said that usually it’s a bit of a party-hard thing, which I can entirely see (and did struggle with, as I worried I was missing out/not making the most of it/not seeing enough people/not doing all the things…) but at the same time, I have to accept my energy levels – and I’d just come off a week of horrible cold! So we took it easy, and it worked.

We were nominally there to sell books, which we did – and talked to a whole bunch of amazing people, some with some absolutely stunning cosplay (dwarf with a knitted beard! The brain slug contingent! A knitted Dalek dress! The Thirteenth Doctor! A knitted Wonder Woman! Princess Unicorn! A mermaid with a knitted tail and fantastic jewellery! Two amazing Reys! I did feel like I was squeaking every five minutes and we ran out of tokens quite fast…) and had a lot of discussions about books. A lot of people found out their Machineries of Empire faction (there’s a lot of heretics around, but also quite a few others!) and I got quite a few book recommendations in return. So overall on the book sales front, it was great, and a lot of fun!

I also talked to so many people…I definitely don’t remember all the names, but it was great to meet everyone! And I’m so sorry if I was shouting at anyone…I got back and my ears popped, and I COULD HEAR. Which meant I probably couldn’t over the weekend…whoops. Sorry!

The convention overall was very geeky (in a good way!) and it did reinforce my opinion that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t been there as a Publishing Person to Sell Books – I’m either not immersed or not interested enough in a lot of the geek culture to appreciate many of the panels (although they did sound fantastic for anyone who is into those fandoms!) I went to a couple of panels; one on villains, one on female tropes in TV, and one on rewrites and reworks – and they were all brilliant, really interesting and with some really knowledgeable panellists. But…I’m just not super into the topics being discussed, mostly – which is definitely a me thing. If you’re into TV or film culture, nerd culture, fanfic….Nineworlds is definitely your place.

And, honestly, it was the most chilled-out and randomly friendly convention I’ve been to so far, even though I didn’t really know anyone. I had random discussions with a whole bunch of people (and spent a lunchtime discussing Battle Unicorns…as you do!); I loved the interaction system that they’d set up (you could put a colour on your badge to say how much – if any – interaction you wanted) and while I was blue (“talk to me!”) the whole time, I could definitely appreciate how amazing it would be if I didn’t feel like talking to people – and I also appreciated it when talking to other people! That was alongside preferred pronoun stickers, no-photos-please lanyards, access need stickers/chairs/lifts, and there were several quiet areas set up as well, alongside quieter sessions. I spotted a lot of people knitting/sewing/stimming, and if I’d been doing more panels I definitely wouldn’t have felt out of place with my cross-stitch (which I definitely did at FantasyCon back in 2015). So it’s amazingly inclusive and it felt really welcoming for it, for all that it does add some elements of stress for me as I really don’t want to get things wrong! While I didn’t necessarily feel like it was “my place” and I didn’t have points of connection with a lot of people – so it did feel lonely in that sense – it certainly wasn’t an unfriendly con. (And major shoutout to the tech and ops teams for being amazingly wonderful!)

I’m feeling much more confident about FantasyCon and BristolCon in October (book people!) – but I’m definitely appreciative of how much effort goes into Nineworlds, and it’s a fabulous con. I’m trying to convince a geeky friend to come next year, as I think it’s totally his space – and I’d definitely consider going again next year if Rebellion are selling again! So overall, a lot of fun, and a very relaxed, friendly, geeky con.