The big weekend has finally come and gone, the great coup for Calgary and Canadian genre publishing, the World Fantasy Convention. Needless to say, I had a great time. How could I not, with so many wonderful people there? The venue was the Hyatt Regency in downtown Calgary, and while the hotel was very nice, getting there by car was a nightmare -- I had to wind my way around the C-Train, several incomprehensible one-way streets, construction, and believe it or not, a movie set. I'm still trying to find out which movie it was.
Thursday, October 30th:
This was the first day of the con. EDGE had hosted a pre-con party the night before, featuring a band called "The Plaid Tongued Devils", but I had worked all day, was feeling a bit under the weather, and chose not to attend in favour of being fully "on" for the actual event. When I picked up my badge and banquet ticket at the reservation desk, they also gave me a little red chip, which I was instructed to take to "the book room" across the hall. On surrendering the chip to the book room attendants, I was given a large bag full of promotional books. It was pretty heavy, and in my estimation, worth the price of entry! I had intended to listen in to some of the panels, but got so caught up chatting with friends I hadn't seen in a few years that it fell by the way side. I also went through the dealers' room and found my publisher, Gwen Gades at the Hades Publications booth. We ended up going out for supper with some other writerly types and by the time we got back, it was a bit late and the day had caught up with me, so I sat in on a reading by children's author Simon Rose, and decided to leave after that.
Friday, October 31st:
I attended many panels this day, and they were truly excellent. TOR publisher Tom Doherty spoke about how he formed his business, artists discussed how to craft soft backgrounds, David Morrell and David Drake spoke about violence in fantasy, and Barbara Hambly, Patricia McKillip, Irene Radford and David Keck talked about Medieval Mysteries. Stephen R. Donaldson was supposed to be on the "violence" panel, but for some reason did not attend any of his panels or readings. Despite that, I felt this was one of the best panels, as horror writer David Morrell has a fantastic sense of humor, and David Drake, a Viet Nam vet, had plenty to say about how his life experiences affect his writing. He was bluntly honest and impressed me greatly. David Keck (another David!) must be one of the funniest and most inventive people on the planet. If the writing thing doesn't work out for him, he could easily pursue a career in stand-up comedy.
Gwen treated us to dinner at a local chinese restaurant, then the evening was left open for the "Autograph Reception". I had assumed this was only for the big names, but it was actually for anyone who had signed up as an author, editor or publisher. So when I was finished running around getting autographs from my favourite authors, I managed to get in on the action myself - I signed and sold one book. Well, I might have had more success if I set up shop earlier, but getting Barbara Hambly to sign my copies of her books might have been a once in a lifetime sort of thing. This was the only part of the conference where Stephen R. Donaldson was sighted!
Saturday, November 1st:
I went to a few panels and readings on Saturday, but spent most of the day at the EDGE/DMP booth. Gwen and I officially signed the contract for my second book, currently called Wicked Initiations, which is the prequel to The Longevity Thesis. I was interviewed for the EDGEcast, had a signing "appearance" (no one came so I just chatted with Anita Hades - don't schedule these things too close to lunch!!) and then went upstairs for a multi-author book launch put on by EDGE and DMP. They served lots of gooey chocolate.
Sunday, November 2nd:
This was banquet day, when the World Fantasy Awards were presented. Tad Williams was the MC, and he gave this absolutely hilarious speech describing the history of fantasy writing. He changed everything to say all had evolved from cavemen situated in the North American continent, specifically the US, and tried to convince us that fantasy has never been written by any non-American ever. According to him, apparent Canadian fantasy writers are actually "geographically confused Americans", and Guy Gavriel Kay does not actually exist. The event was over by 3:30, so I spent the rest of the afternoon in the pub with some other writers, gossiping and discussing business. Good times.