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Archive for the ‘Science fiction conventions’ Category

After partying at the Hugo Losers party, it was a slow start to Saturday at Worldcon. Thank you to WorldCon 76 and George RR Martin for a great party. Saturday for me was a panel on Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. I received an email from program ops saying the moderator for the panel was sick and could I take over as moderator. I said yes, but then put myself in stress mode. It is much easier to answer questions than it is to ask them. So while we had slept late and I did the blogging for post #6 I was hard pressed to get to Mesukeskus in time for my panel. I managed to get on the tram and brainstorm. Then I realised I left my bag of koalas and chocolates at the hotel.

The panel went really well I thought. I went to the green room first but couldn’t see any fellow panelists and we hadn’t talked beforehand. When I got there the panelists were already assembled. They were Delia Sherman (USA), Russell Smith (UK) and Elina Rouhiainen (Finland). The panel were mixed in their writing on paranormal romance and Urban Fantasy. Only Elina and I wrote paranormal romance and urban fantasy. It was interesting but in my brainstorming I came at the topic from a  romance side of things and it was good that Delia and Russell reminded me there was/is a different style, genesis of Urban Fantasy starting from Mary Shelley, but also, Charles De Lint an more recently Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. I was able to clarify the paranormal romance/urban fantasy divide from the romance perspective. It was an interesting panel for me, particularly learning about the other panelists’ work but also Elina, whose work is not translated/published in English. It was sad for me because her work sounded so interesting. Apparently it is in Finish and also translated into Chinese.

We finished that panel on time and my next assignment was the Fan Fund Auction, which as GUFF delegate I needed to attend and I had donated quite a bit of stuff. First up I have to say the fan fund auction did not go off as I expected. I had expectations that it would be fun and entertaining as they are done in Australian conventions. I also thought it would be more organised. But a few things went wrong, particularly the last minute change of venue. Jukka Halme did take time out of his busy schedule to do some auctioning but he couldn’t stay long and as there were 4-6 auctioneers it was a bit chaotic from my perspective. However, we did sell at lot of stuff and that makes it a success! I did hear that the Brits do auctions differently. I thought it was odd that I had culture shock, but that’s my fault for having expectations. A learning experience all round. As the auction took a few hours and I was on my feet, I had serious issues with my feet.

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A shot of Paul Weimer selling stuff for the Down Under Fan Fund.

IMG_8426[1].JPGMy daughter had come to bring me my Koalas and chocolates and she urged me to go back to the hotel. By the time I got there I could hardly walk and my feet were so sore and swollen I was in agony. This meant that I could not go back into worldcon in the evening for the parties. I really should have sat down instead of standing up. Again, my own fault!

My daughter made me lie down and she went out to get us take away dinner. However, just after she stepped out a massive storm hit. It was the weirdest thing. The air just went horizontal and swept over Helsinki bringing rain and lightening and wind and thunder. A nice Finish man on the tram warned us the storm was coming and told us to stay safe, but we could hardly see it and then it just hit. There were sirens and trees were blown down. I turned myself around on the bed so I could lie down and look at the sky.

My daughter came back safely but wet. She said it was rather dramatic being out in the storm. Anyway, I had an early night but was rather sad about missing the last night of parties.

The next day, the last day of WorldCon75, was walking stick day. My only seeming duty on Sunday was to be at the closing ceremony as it was on my schedule, but I had not been informed if I was to do anything so I sent a query to Events. Eventually I found out that I didn’t have to do anything, but I was invited to sit up the front in the reserved seats.

My daughter and I did the hop on hop off tour around Helsinki, before heading to the con. I got to sit on my butt which was good for my feet.

So I spent my time meeting some fans in the fan lounge and checking out the dealers room before it shut down. We caught up with our Finish friends, Thomas and Alex 11, Craig Cormick (Aus) and Robert Hood (Aus) and Lawrie Brown (Aus). I also caught up with and said goodbye to Paul Weimer and met Cora (Germany) again. I met another lady but I’m sorry to say I can’t remember her name. Forgive me!

This meant that I didn’t get to any panels as the last couple were few. I caught up with Sam Hawke as she was taking some Finish coffee and sweets back to Canberra for me. They will be sold in the Fanfund Auction at Conflux when I get back. She sent me a message this morning that she made the allowable weight by .14 of a kilo. She just scraped in.

We have weight issue because two of our flights have 15 kilo limits. One to Iceland and one to Ireland. To get some stuff home we had to beg space in other Canberran’s luggage. I was lucky that Rob Porteous and Sam Hawke came to my rescue. Now that I have been raving about Finish Blueberry flavoured coffee my daughter wants to buy some.

When the time came we went to the closing ceremony. It appears someone didn’t get the memo about being invited to sit up the front and we were tossed from our seats. My daughter went outside and I found a place somewhere else. They were very pressed for space again. The closing ceremony was full. The numbers were so encouraging because usually a lot less people go to the closing ceremony.

There were dead dog party details which was to be held in a nearby hotel. It was being sponsored by another convention. Well that was a really sad thing because we walked over there and were refused entry. Some not quite nice guy had the tough job to tell us to bugger off. It was a mistake he said. The venue was only expecting 400 people and we couldn’t go in. That’s it. So the plans to say goodbye, to celebrate a wonderful convention were destroyed. It was a sad, brutal cutting off of a lovely convention. What was said to us and how we were treated was not good. I don’t know who he was but it was so badly handled. I can’t begin to express how hurt I was feeling and how upset people were.

Really bad planning. If the closing ceremony has 1000 people then clearly you are going to have a lot of people come to the dead dog party. So heartbroken we trailed off into town.

Then I had the absolutely brilliant idea to try the Viking restaurant that Thoraiya had recommended. We found it once we had wifi access and we got in. You see there was only one waitress when we turned up. Another came to help out. We had a fab meal. We had picked up some other fans along the way but getting a table for six wasn’t going to happen quickly. So three of them peeled off leaving Lawrie Brown, my daughter and me.

Some pics of the Viking meal. Haralds was very cool. We had cider with cranberry in these cool mugs. I had beef stew in bread (like a trencher I suppose), ligonberry relish, baked garlic in tomato, parsnip mash and baked root vegetables. It was delicious and rich. My daughter got a vegan vegge/bean thing. We tried two desserts and shared them. There was also a vegan dessert by my daughter was too full. We tried tar and bramble ice cream. I will tell you a secret. It tasted like tar, or how tar smells.

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Later on Twitter I saw that the venue for the deaddog opened an upstairs bar and people were allowed in and they had a wonderful time. I am trying not to feel bad about this. I’m glad people got to go and have fun but I’m said we were turned away so callously, with no information no alternative, just go away. This was not the Worldcon 75 people doing this by the way. They were awesome. I messaged Jukka Halme about it and he was very sorry and distressed to hear what happened.

Now this morning, we are packing up. We had walk in the gardens and then a Finnish Sauna, which was quite nice. I don’t normally do sauna but I managed okay.

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I’m sad to be leaving Helsinki today. Such a great place, such lovely people, such a fantastic convention. I’m really looking forward to going to Stockholm on the ferry. I am not looking forward to moving our luggage from the hotel though. Who likes moving their luggage while on holiday? No one.

 

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Friday was a big day at World con. For me it was all about the Hugos as I was so honoured and delighted to be invited to co-present an award. And my daughter came in with me and also did my hair for World Con. We went with an Austenesque style but we had to do it in the morning with the hope that it would hold until the evening.

We were going to take the tram, but another tram had broken down and we couldn’t see how our tram was going to get through as there was only one track. After thinking about it for like 30 seconds we decided to catch the train in instead. The train and tram are so convenient from our location.

We had packed all our gear in case we needed to change on site. My first item was to go to the Hugo rehearsal session. I had arrived in good time but was so directionally challenged I couldn’t find the hall. In an act of desperation I ran up to a security guard. She said you can’t go there as it is shut. After I explained I was going to the rehearsals she directed me to an inconspicuous door. I would not have found it without help.

I made it in good time and watched a few of the run throughs, met people and then John Purcell turned up and we were able to go through some minor edits I made to the text and then it was our turn. Things were a little rushed and we had marks to move to. John and I did a vocal run through off stage just so we knew we could say it all. We needed one name, and Irish one, to be tutored. Lucky the Hugo Award administrator is Irish and could help out.

After that, there wasn’t much to do. We had lunch and hung out with Robert Hood and then Cat Sparks briefly. Cat has donated a signed copy on her Blue Lotus book for the fan fun auction.

The pre-Hugo reception was to start at 5.30 so my daughter suggested we take the tram back to our hotel and come back again. We were having vigorous discussions about shoes and in the end she decided to go to buy some.

I was going to rest but by the time we got back there wasn’t much time. My daughter went out to buy shoes and a big hand bag. We needed extra shoes because we couldn’t stand in high heels all night!

We made it to the reception with the aid of directions. This is the closest I’m ever going to get to a Hugo so it was a pleasure to be there. It was really quite crowded. I guess you can’t experience the impact of all those names until you see them gathered. There was rumours of food. I did see people eating but by 6.15 there was no more food, but some chocolates out for sweets. Lucky I wasn’t too hungry.

I was handed a cocktail/drink when I arrived. I think it was a long gin with Lingon berries (sp) and I had to make sure that was all I had. On an empty stomach too much alcohol is not a good thing.

I caught up with Carrie Vaughn, Paul Weimer, Nalo Hopkinson, Mihela and others. I met CE Murphy, from Ireland via Alaska she tells me. Then it was photos. I was going to get a photo with Jukka Halme, but I lost Paul Weimer so I had to scrap that idea. Then I lined up with Beans for a photo but just as it was nearly our turn, they announced they were taking official photos of the different categories of nominees so there went our chance.

Later though, Jukka grabbed me and said, come and have a photo with my official photographer and so I got my photo after all.

Then it was time to go in and take our places. We made sure to sit with John and Valerie Purcell (TAFF delegate and his wife) as we were presenting together.

This is the shot from inside the auditorium.

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There was type written script on the screen. It was for the hearing impaired I think but it had problems at times and some of the mispelt words were hilarious.

“I am slighted to be here” etc. I forgot most of them but really, 6000 delegates from 6000 countries. Hahahaha.

Then it was our turn to go on stage. The ceremony is on You Tube I believe and was webcast. We were in the beginning section. There was an International group of people presenting, South Africa, Poland, China, US and Australia. We had to sit on a sofa on stage and then after we presented we had a short interview. Amazing, John and I got to plug the fan auction to like 5000 people! They had John’s name wrong in the script so Karen Lord called him Jeff. We gave John a hard time. So Jeff what did you do with John etc.

After the awards ceremony we were invited to the Hugo Losers’ Party. There was a shuttle bus (a small one) so a lot of people took cabs. We waited with C E Murphy and ? (I’m sorry I forgot your name again) and Nalo Hopkinson, George RR Martin, Pat Catigan and others. A Finish fan guy leaped on the bus and Nalo can I come with you and did.

The venue was Helsinki’s steam punk nightclub. It was crowded by the time we got there. Winners turn up and are boohed and made to wear ridiculous head gear. There was an amazing steampunk cake. Lots of booze. Lots of food and desserts in mini containers. The music was good at first but then we tried to dance and the music went to shit. Go figure. I had a blast but wanted to go home. Beans, my daughter, wanted to party and dance and I didn’t get out of there until around 2 am. But I met people, talked to people. John and Valerie turned up late dressed in their steam punk gear. So cute.

Here is a collection of shots, including the steampunk cake. The steampunk couple are John and Valerie Purcell.

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And well today is Saturday and I must get out of here.

 

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I thought this post would be delayed. My head is not feeling too good. It may have something to do with the two long gins I had last night while I was at a party. I think it was the Dublin party but it was hard to tell. Or it could be the dreaded con lurgy.

Thursday I went to Messukeskus on my own. My daughter could not be brought to attend. However, she did do my hair for me. I love it. She took a photo while I was blogging yesterday and I said ‘Don’t I have resting old bitch face.’  Here are some shots of my hair. Totally frivolous of me. Usually I just have boring hair and I’m not an elegant person, but I felt it after this.

 

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I had two panels that I was appearing on so I made sure I arrived in time for those. I decided to try the tram. From our hotel it is route 9. I waited on the wrong side because that’s what my daughter and I thought was the right direction. However, I saw people with worldcon name tags on the other side so I skipped over the tracks to the otherside.

I managed to tag on with the free transport card that the city has given to all the worldcon attendees. This is a wonderful thing. Kiitos Palion to Helsinki!

I was sitting there staring into space (as you do) when I hear an Australia voice at the next stop. “How do you use your ticket?” Or something like that. I recognise the voice. It’s Cat Sparks and Rob Hood. We greet each other and then I face forward and see Janeen Webb tottering down the aisle as the tram had pulled away. So we had more greetings and I met Janeen’s friend Dena. It was a happy little group setting out to Worldcon. The tram drops us right out the front of Messukeskus. It’s a wee bit more convenient than the train, but the train is great too.

I had arranged to meet Paul Weimer before our Fan Fund panel, but first up I sat down and put my feet up in a lovely collection of easy chairs. There was an American woman doing the same so I joined her. My feet are still swelling but are thankfully not too painful.

I met some Danish fans while I was waiting for Paul by the bear. We chatted about fanfunds, I gave away chocolate koalas and I also told them about my other panel, Romance and the female gaze in science fiction. They were very keen to see that panel. I did see them there and they waved. My Finish geekgirl ribbon continues to be of interest. I think they have run out.

Paul showed up so went to grab something to eat and a coffee. We tried this little cafe, Street Food I think it is called. It had a few options and all seemed to be regional/Finish. I had a baked potato stuffed with shrimps in a dill mayonnaise. Paul had the crum chicken drumsticks with a coleslaw and the other option I saw was potato salad with bratwurst sausage. These were about 8 Euro each. Coffee was 3 Euro. The coffee (Kahvi) was filter I think. Sometimes that stuff is like sludge. My daughter tells me that Fins drink the most coffee per capita in the world. She reads the guide books. Well I think that means that Fins have caffeine in their blood. You would think that would make them quite tense but they appear quite laid back.

Paul chatted about his DUFF trip report. (He visited Australia from the USA and visited us in Canberra). He pulled out this massive document with great pictures, including the kangaroos near my place and the yummy pavlova. The fanfunds require a written report and these are sold to raise money for the fanfunds. Paul is selling his for $7US. I thought that was too cheap because it is a massive document, really. I mean really big. So I paid $15US for it as I had some money in my Paypal and it’s for a great cause and I’m really, really looking forward to seeing all those pictures of waterfalls etc. If you see Paul you should ask him how to get a copy.

We went to the Green Room to meet our other panelists. It’s a smallish room and I found it a bit overwhelming because it has people in it, people I don’t know and you are there to meet people you don’t know and that can be hard when you don’t know what they look like. However, Paul knows people and we met some people and Jonathan Strahan and then we met Ben, our chair and then the other people. We had a bit of a run through of the order of business and went to our panel. Luckily, this panel had a small audience and that made it cosy instead of daunting.

You know I’m an extrovert but maybe I lost my extrovertness somewhere. No that’s a lie! I had no trouble talking on the panel. In fact I had to stop myself from grabbing the microphone. I met Claire, who I am meeting up with in London and also Marchin from Poland who wants to run for GUFF. He said he was disappointed I did not choose to visit Poland on my GUFF trip. I said I’d like to visit Poland in my next visit to Europe.

Here is a selfie shot of the fanfunds panel, Paul, Mira, John, John and Ben.

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We were chased from the room after the panel as there was a huge crowd waiting to get in. With such a large number of people it is a huge job moving people in and out of rooms and you need to queue early if you want to get into a panel. I had another panel around three and now that I’m writing this blog post I fear I have lost time. I had more books and chocolates to drop off for the FanFund and I was lucky enough to bump into Kylie Ding who took them off my hand.

Oh now I remember, I went to the dealers room and the fan lounge because I saw there was NZ ribbons. I caught  up with Maree, who I haven’t seen for years who is representing the NZ 2020 worldcon bid. As an aside, I’ve met people who are looking forward to coming to NZ 2020 worldcon and who would like to visit Australia too, so we need to have a convention just before or after NZ 2020. I also picked up a mini Whittakers Hokey Pokey slab. Eat your heart out Russell!

I gave away more chocolates and clip on Koalas during the day. However, it was a bit of a whirl so I don’t recall. I saw some kids in costume and gave them one each. One had a Kylo Ren costume and at the Welcome to Finland Party last night we met Nina who said she had been commissioned to make two costumes. I asked if the costume had been made by Nina and the girl said yes. I think she thought I was rather strange…but that is okay.

The Romance and the Female Gaze panel was full. There were probably 10 seats vacant. That was an interesting panel. I met Carrie Vaughan beforehand in the Green Room, but we didn’t spot the other panelists or more importantly the moderator. We had not chatted via email about what we were talking about so there were a few anxious moments until Fiona turned up. She was a great moderator and had some hard and interesting questions. The panel sessions are only 45 minutes long so there wasn’t time for questions after. I had some lovely feedback afterwards and one lady came up to me and said thank you. The gist of my argument is. Why can’t we imagine a world where women can initiate sex as equals? Where there isn’t slut shaming. Maybe I was a wee bit passionate!

And the deed was done!

I went for a walk and took a shot of Gillian Polack doing her book signing. I didn’t get a chance to say hi as she was talking to a reader. I met Houston, a fellow Australian, in the queue.

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I met up with Robert Hood in the small collection of comfy chairs and he was going to see Cat Sparks in an Australian literature panel. I thought I’d join him and support my fellow Aussies. We were amazed that there was already a line forming and we were about number 70 for a room with 100 people and it was half an hour before. As the queue kept growing, I realised that I was taking the space of someone who really wanted to hear about the Australian scene and I already knew about it. So I left to go back to my accommodation and to see my daughter. On the tram, Robert said hello. He’d also had the same idea. We had fun on the tram. We didn’t have a clue where to get out. We struck up a conversation with a Belgian who was married to a Fin and they gave us advice. It all turned out well, Robert spotted his hotel and I found my stop.

I managed to convince my daughter to come back into the convention centre to the parties. An essential part of Worldcon for me is the parties. They are fun. You meet people. You perhaps drink a little or eat strange foods. At first my daughter was no, I’m not coming. I’m tired, she said. So I resigned myself to going alone and said. I really wish you were coming with me. And she changed her mind.

On the way to Messukeskus we saw a police bust. We were quite surprised. A man was stopped and pulled out of a car and placed on the ground and more police arrived. It was strange. People in the street were drinking coffee and gawping at the goings on. Helsinki, according to my daughter, is the safest city in Europe and one of the safest in the world. We had not seen a police bust before.

I thought I should take steps to meet Einar, the Icelandic fan I had made contact with. As it happened we got there early. The parties hadn’t started. We bumped into John Morris and watched him eat dinner while we drank tea. Then we hit the parties. Like the panel sessions you need to get in early. There were lots of people, the free vouchers for drinks and the food was gone. The bar started running out. Apparently there was only one type of beer left and the queue was so long.

After a bit of phone tag, I met Einar and he joined Thomas and my daughter. Einar and I went to get a drink and it was surprising the but the queue moved quickly. The bar staff were very efficient. Then John Morris and Sara Lindberg joined us so we were very multicultural. So with all the crowd around us we talked stuff. I talked convention running and Iceland with Einar. Then when it came time to leave, I called Thomas, James. OMG! Then he told me I called him something else earlier in the day. I’m so embarrassed.

Here is a shot of us.

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I must remember to call him by the correct name. Einar had left and it was then we realised it was 11.30 and there was a mad panic about whether the trams were still running. All was good though, as there were people waiting and the board said the number 9 was due.

We made it home in good time and went to sleep. I’d had two long gins and maybe…that was too much. I am slightly hungover or at least have a headache today.

My daughter asked if I mentioned the green smoothies she makes every morning. You see she had this goal of making me slimmer, healthier and possibly converted to veganism on this trip. As I normally gain weight when I travel I did not fancy her chances on any of her goals. But I do drink the green smoothies she makes. Actually, she stands over me until I drink the last drop.

Here are some photos of the smoothies my daughter lovingly prepares. They contain baby spinach, cucumber, broccoli, apple and banana and water.

I told my daughter about my blog post. She says. ‘I don’t want you to become a vegan! I want you to go on a plant based diet of six months and lose weight.’

I laughed so hard. A plant based diet is vegan!

Before shot because my daughter says it’s pretty.

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The after shot

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The me drinking the smoothie, in bed, in my nightie with my normal hair. The normal, raw me with hangover.

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Also, I should mention that one of my books, Argenterra, an epic fantasy, is free on all eretailers (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble etc)  so if you want to try some of my fiction then help yourself.

And if you see me today at Worldcon 75, stop me and I’ll give you a koala or chocolate. Until I run out. Also, if you see me with glamour hair, that’s because I’m presenting a Hugo Award later on tonight.

 

 

 

 

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I’m heading off next Friday!

The GUFF tour begins.

I thought I should put up my itinerary so you can anticipate where I’ll be blogging from.

Friday 4 August, depart Canberra on a bus to airport. Fly Sydney London and arrive 5 August. Take a rest for the day in swanky hotel then fly to Helsinki arriving near midnight. Book into Hilton at the airport. (long story and daughter is not happy with expensive hotel).

Sunday 6th Helsinki move into con hotel, get to know Helsinki and meet locals.

Monday 7th take ferry to Estonia for a day trip and arrive back late.

Tuesday 8th to 14th is Worldcon activities.

14 August take ferry to Stockholm, Sweden. Catch up with local fans.

19th August fly to Oslo, Norway. Catch up with local fans.

21 August take train to Bergen. Hope to meet local SF fans but not confirmed.

25 August fly to Reykjavik, Iceland. Hope to meet up with fans (in progress). Also hope to get a day trip to the geothermal area)

29 August fly to Glasgow (also my daughter’s birthday). Catch up with friend and fans. Train to Edingburgh 31 August for day trip to meet a fan or fans.

1 September fly to Dublin to be hosted by lovely local fans James and Fionna and fan meet up in Dublin on 2nd September.

4 September fly to Manchester (just hanging and being tourist)

7 September train from Manchester to London to meet fans at Ton meeting. Still to organise where I’ll be that night. Daughter will stay in Manchester.

8 September going to a cottage near Bath/Bristol because Craig Cormick showed pictures of this place on Facebook and we fell in love with it. Also, catching up with Cheryl  on the 9th hopefully.

11 September Nottingham

12 September Nottingham

13 September Brighton. I have booked a tour of the sewers.

Then I’ll either be hanging around Brighton or London visiting friends and family until I leave on Sunday 24 September arriving home in the early hours of 26 September then a bus to Canberra…Ug!

 

 

 

 

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Perth, oh Perth, your weather was fabulous. It was an warm oasis for my Canberra ice-tinged life and you beat Sydney’s raining chill the weekend before. For a small city (in comparison to Sydney) the turnout was amazing. So many people. So many great costumes.

I arrived late Thursday night. I left work and headed to the airport. I had trouble checking in but that was because Qantas was offering me a direct flight rather than going through Melbourne. I said yes but forgot to check the seating. So I was in the middle seat, but I just finished listening to a book and watched a movie.

Friday morning, Glenda Larke texted me and I had breakfast with her and Karen Miller in the hotel. I’d been awake since 3.30am. We had a leisurely breakfast and then parted ways. Karen went to her room to write and Glenda took me shopping and sight seeing. First stop was Stefen’s Books in Shafto Lane. Stefen’s was the official book seller for Supanova this year. I was very impressed with the store and his knowledge of genre. He back orders authors’ books so the whole backlist is on the shelves. Here is Trudi Canavan’s shelf space.

Trudi Canavan Books

Trudi Canavan Books

It was a lovely day and then in the afternoon Keri Arthur arrived. We shared room and we sat and chatted to Glenda before she headed off and Keri and I got ready for the opening ceremony. This is where we authors get paraded to the audience. I think the audience is made up of the special whole weekend ticket holders and VIPs. It was a reasonably sized audience and we did our elevator pitch (with video and sound effects of a lift). The ceremony had a great vibe.

I’m not sure I did my pitch well. Lady writes grim dark, post-apocalyptic fantasy with dragons.

Dragon Wine Series

Dragon Wine Series

Then we searched for dinner. I was pretty hyped. This is a shot of me and Keri before I took a drink.

drinks David Henley and Wanda Wiltshire were at dinner with us. Or us with them. Or we went together. A mutual shuffling off to eat, I suppose.

David Henley

David Henley

David Henley and Wanda Wiltshire

David Henley and Wanda Wiltshire

I just realised that I don’t have a photo of CS Pecat. Oh No! She was such a wonderful person to chat to. She was sitting in the Penguin booth and sold out of books. She was so dedicated that she didn’t even get to the green room much.

Day one, Saturday, was quite awash with people. Where the author signing booth was, though, was a bit out of the way. Busy, but not standing on other people’s toes crowded. It meant we got good views of some costumes. These lovely ladies came by. I guessed they were the twins from The Shining. I’m so proud of me.

#Itsatwinthing

#Itsatwinthing

These ladies hand sewed these. They also got a shot in our hotel corridor that it looked like a shot from the movie.

Saturday night we had the VIP party. Great venue. Larger and more spread out than the Sydney venue. You could have a conversation at least. Keri and I were holed in a corner and then later on we discovered the other authors and we joined them. By then I had too much to drink. I’m a cheap drunk but apparently my conversation was interesting! We figured that the VIPs come for the actors and other celebrities, but we did have our own author fan.

At the bar I chatted to some of the guests. Here, I learned that many of the guests played Cards Against Humanity at night. Apparently, some of the actors played in character. So I have to use my imagination to think how Bender sounded playing Cards Against Humanity. They also had the expansion pack. Awesome. I would have loved to have joined them.I love that game. I was a bit shy to do so on the Sunday.

Keri thought my hangover was hilarious. I had a sinus/cold thing happening at the same time so I felt especially crap. I shuffled and groaned like a zombie to the loo in the middle of the night and then again and again. Lucky the authors are good at exchanging vitamins and meds. I had bacon as my hangover remedy. As the day progressed Keri has less to laugh about as I normalised.

baconSurprisingly, Sunday was much busier than Saturday for us in the author booth. Wanda had a fan who couldn’t find her. Wanda was doing people’s fairy names and colours and he wanted to do  his. During dinner the previous night she had given him directions via Twitter. He said ‘I’m blind and dressed as a dragon.’ When he turned up we were so happy to see him and his guide. He was an awesome green dragon.

Green dragon

Green dragon

The twins came back in new costumes (handmade).

#itsatwinthing

#itsatwinthing

Lots of cosplay. Some we got shots of.

queen of the damedAnd the Queen of the Dammed from Anne Rice

Queen of the DammedSad we had to say goodbye. There was an author dinner with the lovely Ineke, Kevin Hearne and family, Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moestat and we didn’t get photos! Shame. Apparently there was an official author shot in the Green Room but I missed it.

I did get a shot of Keri and I feeling exhausted.

Keri Arthur and Donna Hanson

Keri Arthur and Donna Hanson

But really we looked like this.

Keri Arthur and Donna Hanson

Keri Arthur and Donna Hanson

Luckily I was still in Perth for Monday so I was able to slowly wind down from all the hype and excitement. It was a hard withdrawal, but I had Keri to help. She is an excellent person, a wonderful roomy and an inspiration in so many ways. I heart her!

Many of the guests went off to Freemantle on Monday. Keri and I went shopping. (shopping with Keri is a dangerous sport).  I bought stuff, but the most excellent thing I bought this leather jacket. ( I will own that I did not intend to buy this jacket. I will also own I had to do some bank gymnastics to effect the purchase but that I don’t regret it. It’s lovely and will last forever). (BTW you can tell I’m in denial.)

Retail Haul

Retail Haul

So that was my Supanova put very simply. It was hard not be dazzled by the other guests, about being a guest myself. But I’m back in to real life now and I will file it away under great experience.

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Wow, just wow!

I took to Supanova like a duck to water. I embraced it like it was a once in a life time experience and enjoyed it immensely. I’ll have to split this post though. This one will be about Sydney and the next about Perth.

Firstly, it was fabulous to be in a place with so many geeks. The cosplay was amazing and some of the people spend ages designing and making their costumes. So much creativity there. Others like dressing up. It’s all good!

In Sydney we stayed at the Rocks and it was rainy and cold. Rainy view of Sydney Harbour

This is the view from the window. Me with the umbrella. Yes those are size 8 jeans!

Donna in size 8 jeans, The Rocks

Donna in size 8 jeans, The Rocks

Me, with attitude and umbrella at The Rocks

Me, with attitude and umbrella at The Rocks

Some more pics of The Rocks, which is a very historic part of Sydney.

This original house is now a museum, The Rocks

This original house is now a museum, The Rocks

Convict hewn step, The Rocks

Convict hewn step, The Rocks

The whole being a guest thing was wonderful and new. Matthew went with me and he spent all his time in artist alley and going to seminars. I was between the Green Room and the author signing tables so we only caught up in the afternoons.

I had a fly!

I had a fly!

My Supanova Guest Pass

My Supanova Guest Pass

I met some lovely people who bought Shatterwing and  Skywatcher or who took away post cards for my ebooks. Thank you so much people!

Jack Dann dropped around after launching his book.

Jack Dann, Supanova Sydney, 2015

Jack Dann, Supanova Sydney, 2015

I was partnered with Keri Arthur mostly as she is an old hand and I was a newbie. Keri has lots of dedicated fans.

Keri Arthur, Supanova Sydney 2015

Keri Arthur, Supanova Sydney 2015

Keri Arthur signing, Supanova Sydney 2015

Keri Arthur signing, Supanova Sydney 2015

On day two the weather cleared somewhat. We had a lovely view of the harbour from the hotel. It’s not often I get to do five star! It was nice.

more sydney

I did get to chat to the other guests and got a meet a great bunch of people. The guests had a lovely vibe. I did put my foot in it but calling Kristen Bauer, Pam! during afternoon tea. She was pretty cool about it. I had my squee moments. Some actors we didn’t know by sight so we were checking the Supanova brochure putting names to faces. Without name dropping, I’ll just say that they were all fabulous and welcoming. We teased Graham McTavish about his kilt! For a Dwarf he is very tall, handsome and has good knees btw). (As an aside there were quite a number of tall people among the guests–impressive!) ( I think that counts as a name drop. Sorry!)

At the start of the tour (Sydney and Perth) the other authors were virtual strangers. By the end of the tour, they were bosom buddies who are hard to part from. Sniff!

Starting out I knew Keri Arthur and Karen Miller. I got to know Kevin Hearne, CS Pecat, Wanda Wiltshire and David Henley in Sydney as well as a re acquaintance with Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta.

Here is a shot I grabbed of Kevin Hearne. He does this author bomb shots and they are cool. So is he and so is his Iron Druids series.

Kevin Hearne, Supanova Sydney 2015

Kevin Hearne, Supanova Sydney 2015

I did a panel with Kevin and Rebecca. It was slightly scary in that Kevin has published 130 books and me…well…not that many yet.

Here are some highlights of the cosplay. There are too many wonderful shots to do them justice.

Red Skull

Red Skull

Female Loki, Sydney Supanova

Female Loki, Sydney Supanova

Boba, Supanova Sydney

Boba, Supanova Sydney

Overall it was a great vibe. I signed books, gaped, talked, drank and ate. We were looked after most admirably by Ineke and the Supanova volunteers and crew. Thank you guys.

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This is a long time coming. I’m so sorry to be so distracted to write this up. In my own defence I did write up the Ditmar awards straight away!

I headed to Swancon a few days early to hang out with Glenda Larke. We came into Perth on the Thursday night and attended the guest of honour dinner. It was a great meal and I got to meet a few of the committee and the guests of honour, John Scalzi, Kylie Chan and Anthony Peacey. The committee had a really cool thing going. They moved the guests of honour around with each course of the meal so we got to talk to all them over the course of the evening.

This photo so Sarah Parker, Swancon programmer and Glenda Larke at the GOH dinner. Did I mention one of the best things about conventions is socialisting?

Sarah Glenda GOH dinner

The Hugo results were due out while we were at Swancon so Glenda and I got a crash course on the Sad and Rabid Puppies. The next morning we saw the Hugo nominations and continued our education.

On Friday, I had a number of panels. The first one was Food as Worldbuilding, which was really interesting panel. Food is such an important part of our lives and it was stimulating to think about how what our characters eat tells the reader about the world, or even what they don’t eat. Even rituals about food, either religious or other were discussed. I know have a lot of ideas from this panel that I can put into future writing.

lounging about

My second panel was Terrors of the Second Draft, which was fun. The other panellists had different views-I think I was the only one to find second drafts hard work. It is taking a draft, crafting it, to make it into a book and that takes work, consistency and day after day of sitting in front of my computer. Maybe I’m hyperactive but that’s hard sometimes.

My third panel that day was The End of the Printed Page: Are Books (as we know them) Dead? This was a wide ranging discussion covering selling ebooks, piracy and print books. No, we didn’t think books were dead.

The audiences in the panels were really interested and well informed and were a joy to talk with. I took some photos of the panelists in other panels I went to.

SwanconKeith

John Scalzi, Guest of Honour Speech

John Scalzi, Guest of Honour Speech

The convention had a lovely vibe and it was quite surprising to me that I didn’t know most of the people. I haven’t been to Swancon for ten years. It is also a vibrant SF community. It was great to see the committee had some many people supporting it.

Anthony Peacey picture below hosted and organised the first Swancon. I had to pleasure of listening to his speech on listening, technology and the changing world.

Anthony Peacey, Guest of Honour Speech

Anthony Peacey, Guest of Honour Speech

I visited the dealers’ room on Saturday. It closed on Sunday and Monday. I raided the small press tables and also bought a Lost in Space Robot for me and a talking Bender for Matthew. I already posted about the Ditmars so I’ll skip that.

Lost is Space Robot.

Lost is Space Robot.

Book haul. One of the best thing at a con is picking up books, particularly small press books that aren’t easilybook haul

Scalzi and Cat Sparks at the Climate Science Fiction panel.

Scalzi and Cat Sparks at the Climate Science Fiction panel.

available in bookstores.

Cat Sparks talking clifi

Cat Sparks talking clifi

Keith Stevenson on the climate science fiction panel

Keith Stevenson on the climate science fiction panel

Glenda Larke talking climate science fiction

Glenda Larke talking climate science fiction

I attended some great panels. John Scalzi’s guest of honour speech was entertaining. He was talking to us while waiting to start his talk and then was 20 minutes into it before realising it had already started. Kylie Chan’s guest of honour talk was also fab and Anthony Peacey’s.

So many interesting panels. Keith Stevenson talked about constructed languages in his panel, using his novel in progress.

The panel I had the most stress about was Spec Fic Writing – Science Portrayal in Fiction on Sunday. It was a panel with John Scalzi, which is awe inspiring to say the least. Tsana was also on the panel and she’s a scientist. But I stressed for nothing. It was a really great panel and there was a lot of hand waving going on (people’s use of science in their writing). The conversation also covered some movies, particularly Interstellar.

The hotel, Pan Pacific, was lovely. Very flash. There was food available for lunch at a reasonable price. So well done to the Swancon 40 committee. I hope to go to a Swancon again in future.

Great opportunities exist at SF conventions to socialise and talk to other writers.

A few photos from dinner or just hanging.

Glenda Larke and Amanda Bridgeman

Glenda Larke and Amanda Bridgeman

Amanda Bridgeman

Amanda Bridgeman

Glenda Larke and me

Glenda Larke and me

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