Last week’s entry was very grumpy but I have fuel for a much more upbeat entry this week. (Also presumably a subject upon which Wil Wheaton will not immediately release a column, but if he does it will be a cool trick) This past weekend I attended the Can-Con SFF convention in Ottawa and I had such a groovy time I wanted to talk about it a little today.
This was my first convention as a panelist and ‘guy with something to sell’ so it was all a very new experience. Getting to be a part of discussions that were all about the weird stuff I write, having intelligent, passionate people want to discuss them as well, was very cool and felt good. It was also just fun to get to sit around and talk about books and authors and ideas we all love for a while without feeling like there was something else that I was really supposed to be doing.
I had a good time hanging out at the Renaissance Press booth, meeting other writers and readers, and I got an amazing amount of support for my book. I hope everyone who picked up The King in Darkness enjoys the read and I hope to hear what they all think of it when they’re done. I spoke with people who have been at the stage of things that I’m at, and had great advice. I got my picture taken with the same crochet TARDIS that has posed next to Sylvester McCoy and Neil Gaiman.
I met Peter Halasz, who works with the Sunburst Awards and (I learned) is an amazing advocate of Canadian speculative fiction. He was also enthusiastic about The King in Darkness, which meant a lot to a beginning writer, even if he promised to hunt me down if he doesn’t like it. I also got to say a ‘thank you’ in person to Hayden Trenholm of Bundoran Press, whose comments on a ‘how to pitch’ panel at last year’s convention fixed mine and helped me find a home at Renaissance Press. Those are just two of the highlights but I met people that I am proud and pleased to share (in some fashion) a community with and it was immense fun.
Ultimately it was just very good to be surrounded by people who are writers and/or love writing and fans of fantastic fiction. It’s very energizing to be around people who value the same things you do and think that the kind of stuff I’m working on is (on some level) interesting and exciting. There is a lot of talk about validation and so forth that often ends up sounding very new-agey and motivation poster-y but I think it is true that sometimes you need a pat on the head or a slap on the back to redouble your efforts, and Can-Con was a big weekend long slap on the back for me.
So, because of all that, thank you to all the volunteers who worked hard making the weekend happen, to Derek Kunsken and Marie Bilodeau and all the other people who I don’t yet know who organized the con and did a fantastic job creating such a lovely environment for lovers of strange stories. I hope to be part of it again next year, and I’ll be there one way or the other!
Work continues on the sequel to The King in Darkness and early returns from the Eager Volunteers are positive on what I have done so far. I’m hoping to perhaps have a manuscript ready for the publishers by March, and then perhaps the new book will be out next autumn. We’ll have to see.
I will be at PopExpo in a couple weeks – details still to come.