There was a lot to enjoy at Swancon but for me the writer oriented parts were the most appealing. I did miss a few sessions in the evenings. I'm still recovering from a recent illness and I was exhausted by 6.30 pm most days. That was a pity because I also missed the book launches. Belong, an anthology edited by Russell B. Farr and published by Ticonderoga Publications features my KSP Speculative Fiction mates, Carol Ryles and Sonia Helbig, among a host of talented writers including Patty Jansen, who is also a finalist with me in the Fist Quarter of Writers of the Future. The other book is Scary Kisses, another Ticonderoga Publications anthology, this time edited by Liz Grzyb, and includes a story by another KSPSF member, Annette Backshall, in an equally exciting list of authors. I have both books in my hot, little hands - and signed by the editors for an extra bonus - and I'll put up reviews soon.
Among other things I was surprised at just how many people had heard about my shortlisting in the Writers of the Future.
There were other highlights though too and here are a few of the sessions - and other activities - I particularly enjoyed.
I got waylaid chatting with various friends: Satima Flavell, Carol Ryles, Annette Backshall and Sonia Helbig in particular so I missed most of the morning sessions. Yes I know - naughty - but that's all part of the con experience too.
I did get to Scott Sigler's GOH speech and interesting it was too. Scott has made an art form out of promotion of his work, going to places I would never have thought of including giving away free downloads of his books on line. It seems obvious now he has pointed it out - and this was recurrent theme from all the professional writers - that publishers have limited funds for promotion and it's down to the writer to do as much as they can to promote their own work. I will certainly be applying some of Scott's suggestions because they make sense.
Ian Irvine's talk, 'Getting Published', was another useful - if depressing - session giving an introduction to the realities of the publishing world.
Yes well mornings did seem to disappear in chatting but it was fun.
A session by Gina Goddard on trends in YA proved interesting and her list of recommended books - and there are a lot on it - will certainly be getting checked out.
Ian Irvine's GOH speech was illuminating as much of what he talked about added to his talk on the previous day. His ways of promotion are different from Scott Sigler's but equally effective. He's a good speaker and I learned a lot.
Ah yes the Xena Warrior Princess retrospective with Sarah Parker. What a hoot. I was always a fan of Xena and I was surprised to see how well the series had aged - and now, dammit, I'll have to get a complete set of the series.
I was somewhat late due to injuring myself in a fall on Saturday night but I still managed to browse the market stalls - and, of course, chat some more - well, a lot more - and I have still more books, A Book of Endings by Deborah Biancotti, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Ben Payne and Roadkill/Siren Beat by Rob Shearman and Tansy Rayner Roberts, both published by Twelfth Planet Press.
The Promoting Your Book session with Ian Irvine and Narrelle M. Harris was, for me as a writer at this stage in my career, invaluable. Their advice was sensible, practical and entertaining. I have notes to transcribe. Boy, do I have notes to transcribe.
Somewhat miraculously I got to a 10:30 am session where Richard Harland, Ian Irvine, Dave Luckett and Stephen Dedman talked about the differences inherent in writing short and long fiction. There were a few light bulb moments for me in there that are going to be very useful.
Richard Harland followed on with a session on the art of telling speculative fiction and again, I have notes, many notes.
Only two sessions to go by then - one on how to make science work in speculative fiction and finally SFF and Romance. Both gave fascinating insights into how different writers work but also showed their similarities. All good stuff.
I bought one final anthology, The Starry Rift, a prize winning anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan.
And then we were done. I grabbed a coffee with Satima and Juliet while I waited for my lift for a lovely end to a great con.