I can’t believe it’s been over a week since Swancon already. I only went for a single afternoon, sure, but I had a great time there, and look forward to going again next year. Who knows, maybe I’ll stay for an entire day this time? Or… maybe more? You never know! Anyway, my memories are likely to be jumbled and inaccurate by now, so please take all facts entered below with a grain of salty goodness.
Anyway, I arrived around 3pm on Sunday, got my grab-bag (with more books than I’ve ever gotten from a con before, an awesome achievement! Some I might even read!), gave a glancing hello to Ellen Datlow, and immediately met up with my publisher-to-be, Craig Bezant of Dark Prints Press. No time for discussing The Collection just yet, though, we were off to Paul Haines‘ launch of The Last Days of Kali Yuga, a handsome tome (and probably the last, sadly) from Brimstone Press. It was excellent to catch up with Paul again, only for the second time mind you, the first being last year’s Worldcon. There will be more such occasions. The launch went swimmingly, and Paul managed to nicely shut the room up with his reading (especially as many of us were sitting on the floor, Playschool-style, which made the deeply dark story being read all the more disturbing!). This launch was one of a small handful of reasons I HAD to come on Sunday.
The next panel was another of them. “Remembering Eidolon” grabbed my eye in the programme, how could I possibly resist? I went along, intending to be in the audience, but it seems some of them remember that I worked there for a while (ah, that previous life that I’ve tried to cover up!), so I ended up on the panel itself, which was an honour. It was just amazingly nice hanging out with Jeremy and Jonathan and Robin and Chris again, and having Sean and Simon there to represent the writers was just perfect. I just wish Richard and Keira could have been there. Hopefully this won’t be the last time we manage to catch up like this.
Then there was the Ticonderoga fifteenth birthday party and book launch, which was also wonderful. Such luminaries as Grant Stone, Jonathan Strahan, Sean Williams, and Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett all stood up and said lovely things about Russell, many cocktails and cupcakes were eaten, I finally got a chance to speak to Robert Hoge (how have we been around so damn long and never spoken???) two books (More Scary Kisses and Dead Red Heart, both of which I’m proud to have stories in) were launched, there were a few readings (including the ever-lovely Kirstyn McDermott, who apparently toned her reading down when she realised there were kids in the room… judging by what she DID read, I hate to imagine what she was GOING to read, I’m just going to have to read the book and find out now!), and I got to meet Joanne Anderton for the first time, and catch up with Carol Ryles and Nicole Murphy and and and… everything!
Dinner next, which, after the reports of the previous night’s debaucheries by Alan Baxter, was a definite let-down. Too long to wait for wedges from the Hyatt bar (they were clearly unprepared for the onslaught of hungry fans!), and scuppered by a lack of open restaurants on Easter Sunday, a small bunch of us went to a nearby convenience store (including Craig, Pete Kempshall and Jason Nahrung, dressed in his usual dapper manner and thus completely out of place in a crappy quik-e-mart!), and I got a luke-warm pie that I swear I can still taste to this day. I managed to eat half of it, which alone speaks for my intestinal fortitude, literally.
(It was during this lull that Craig and I finally managed to chat about contracts. More about that in a future post, I’m sure!)
Time for the awards! The cocktail party wasn’t really my cup of tea, being a socially-awkward tea-totaler. In fact, a cup of tea would have been more my cup of tea, come to think of it! But it was good circulating as best I could, chatting with good folks like Rob Hood and Cat Sparks. I can’t help but think that the party should have been after the awards, rather than before, and as I took my seat in the ballroom I just prayed no-one had drunk enough to injure themselves on the stage! Luckily no-one did. The results of the Tin Ducks and the Ditmars are HERE and HERE, and I’m just thrilled that I can count most of the winners as my friends, so hearty congratulations to Pete, Alisa, Tehani, Tansy, Cat, Kirstyn and Shaun. And of course all the other winners who I DON’T personally know… yet.
And that was it. I gave Pete and his Tin Duck (made of wood???) a lift home, then lugged my loot back to show my lovely wife. Remember I might have said at one point that it wouldn’t be worth the money for a single afternoon? It was TOTALLY worth the money for a single afternoon. I actually wish I’d gone for longer, so I could have caught up with people better, especially Ellen, and I’d have loved the chance to meet Justina Robson, I’ve only met her briefly at the Glasgow Eastercon back in 2006. But this was all I could manage this year, due to a multitude of stupid reasons, so next year I promise to try to do better.
(and apologies to anyone I caught up with but didn’t mention… mea culpa, like I said, brain useless, memory gone, system crashed, reboot? Y/N)
EDIT - how could I forget meeting my fellow WA horror writer, and “The Tide” contributor, Daniel I. Russell??? Probably the same way I forgot to bring my copy of Samhane to get signed.