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Archive for the ‘Science fiction conventions’ Category

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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Over the labour day long weekend, I attended Conflux SF Convention. It was a local SF convention with a nice, cozy crowd. On the Saturday morning, I was being the timelord for the pitching sessions. This means I wrangled the editors taking pitches and the authors pitching novels. It was a really good space to be in. Full of hope and anticipation on both sides. It also stopped me being nervous about my launch.

Just after that was my scheduled book launch for Shatterwing. Shatterwing is a dark, epic fantasy, set on a post-apocalyptic world where mankind is at its lowest ebb. It has dragons, but maybe the humans are the worst kind of beast on this world.

In the lead up I wasn’t sure I was going to get books. But they arrived on Friday. I was so excited I couldn’t sit still. Yes, I almost wet myself. A guy I work with helped carry the boxes up to my office and then he bought the first copy. I liken it to receiving my first degree. Something I’d never thought would happen to me and a great personal achievement. So publishing Shatterwing is up there with that.

I’ve had ebooks published before, and that was amazing. The launch for Rayessa and the Space Pirates was so much fun and real highlight in my life. Here is the picture of the UFO cake I made for that launch.

ufo cake 1

There are two things that make this launch extra special for me. This is Dragon Wine. The book I’ve been working on the longest, the book that I poured a lot of myself into. It is special to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all my stories and the characters, but this has my blood, sweat and tears in it. The other thing is that this has a print copy! Like wow! I can hold this, wave it about and I can see it. This is useful when you know a lot of people who don’t read ebooks, don’t get ebooks and don’t really think you have published anything.

Me with the first copies of Shatterwing

Me with the first copies of Shatterwing

So even though I didn’t think there would be books, I wanted to have the launch anyway to celebrate with my spec fic buddies, because well why the hell not. As it turned out there were books. Thank you to my publisher Momentum Books. They look lovely btw.

In a previous post I talked about the launch shoes. I didn’t quite organise the dress so I wore this lovely retro dress.

Launch shoes from the UK (Irregular Choices)

Launch shoes from the UK (Irregular Choices)

Me in my dress and shoes

Me in my dress and shoes

I stole Keri Arthur’s shoe mojo when I got those. I was also inspired to buy them by Nik Vincent in Maidstone, Kent. The dress is my own kind of weakness. The swing style hides a lot of flaws.

The launch was heating up. The books were on display. The drinks were arriving. My son, Taamati and my daughter Shireen (Beans) came along. Beans isn’t in the photo as she looked liked she’d been a the gym. My friend Deb Kelly came down from Queensland to be at the launch. Waves to Deb. That was an amazing thing for her to do. Thank you so much Deb.

Taamati and me

Taamati and me

The wonderful Cat Sparks agreed to launch the book for me and good buddie Nicole Murphy was the MC and my lovely partner manned the receipt book.

Nicole, dragon, me and Cat (photo by Robert Hood)

Nicole, dragon, me and Cat (photo by Robert Hood)

Cat just happened to have this amazing dragon at her house, which matched the colours of Plu in the book. Here is a shot with Cat and her dragon. It is beautiful and enormous and I have envy.

Cat Sparks and her dragon

Cat Sparks and her dragon

 

 

Cat launched the book, highlighting some of the world building elements and stuff about me. She gave people a warning about the darkness in it. Nicole made me read while people got their drinks and pizza.

Me signing Shatterwing (photo by Cat Sparks)

Me signing Shatterwing (photo by Cat Sparks)

 

Then came the signing. People bought books and I signed them. People who I knew and some of whom I didn’t and that was very touching. Thank you all for coming and celebrating with me.

Me reading a scene from Shatterwing (photo by Cat Sparks)

Me reading a scene from Shatterwing (photo by Cat Sparks)

Nicole chose a scene for me to read because I hadn’t prepared anything and I couldn’t decide in case it was a spoiler. A bit pathetic of me I know.

Donna-dragonAnd to finish a shot of me signing again. A great photo by Cat Sparks. I am very grateful to Cat for reading and launching Shatterwing. I know she is very busy with her PhD and writing so I appreciate it, heaps. Many thanks to  Nicole Murphy for MCing and being a great support. Hugs to Russell and Kylie for making the launch. And Keri Arthur and Tracey O’Hara! Thank you to my Canberra Speculative  Fiction Guild buddies. Thank you to those of you who attended who were too many to name. I really am humbled by your support.

Donna Maree Hanson (photo Cat Sparks)

Donna Maree Hanson (photo Cat Sparks)

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I’m sadly behind in the blogging. Sorry but it’s been a bit of a whirlwind during this trip to the UK with not much internet. The few windows of access I’ve had I’ve peppered Twitter and Facebook with photos and stuff.

I’d thought I’d back track to talk about Loncon3, my fifth worldcon. Wow. Loncon 3 was huge. That has good sides and bad sides. To accommodate so many people meant the venue was big. But it was a convention centre after all. Despite having edits I did get to a few things.

We stayed in this fab apartment in Limehouse with Kimberley Gaal and Shauna O’Meara, fellow Canberrans and CSFG people. It gave us a bit more freedom than a hotel as we had a sitting room and a washing machine and two bathrooms. Loncon 3 was about catching up with people and about getting to see famous people in panels.

I managed to catch up with old friends and meet some new ones. Glenda Larke, Karen Miller, Cat Sparks, Robert Hood, Amanda Bridgeman, Abigail Nathan, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Alisa Krasnostein, Russell B Farr, Liz Grzyb, Ben Peek, Jenny Blackford and Janeen Webb, Justin Ackroyd and a wave or two to Jonathan Strahan. The new acquaintances were entirely international Alistair Rennie (Scotland), Fabrizio Luzzatti (Italy), Teador Relijc (Malta), Gert (Netherlands) and Isabelle Varange (France). These guys were fab.

 

Robert Hood, Ben Peek, Cat Sparks and Firenze?

Robert Hood, Ben Peek, Cat Sparks and Firenze?

Me and Glenda Larke

Me and Glenda Larke

Alistair, Fabuzzio and Teodor, with Matthew

Alistair, Fabuzzio and Teodor, with Matthew

I went to a few things. Not as many as I would have liked because it was a big con and the rooms were full. I sat on the floor with Glenda Larke to hear an interview by Paul Cornell with George RR Martin and Connie Willis and that was fab. My first taste of the convention really. We went to a panel on full time writing, which was one of the best we saw. It had Scott Lynch and Juliet E McKenna, who we chatted with later. Actually Kim hijacked Juliet and took her to dinner with us. Alas, her meal didn’t arrive in time and she had to leave for a panel. The service was pretty bad at the Fox@Excel that day. Lots of people. Scott Lynch was really interesting too. The interview with Robin Hobb was very interesting. Her childhood was so interesting. In Alaska!

Scott Lynch and Matthew Farrer, Loncon3

Scott Lynch and Matthew Farrer, Loncon3

Here is one of Matthew and Juliet E McKenna and then Kimberley Gaal doing the high five.

Matthew Farrer and Juliet E McKenna

Matthew Farrer and Juliet E McKenna

Juliet E McKenna and Kimberley Gaal

Juliet E McKenna and Kimberley Gaal

I also met up with the lovely Tsana Dolichva too. She very kindly name-checked me in a panel.

There are other photos but they are on my iPad and as I’m travelling I’m not sure how to get them off. Ahah! secret missing to swap to iPAD accomplished.

I’ve now switched back to the laptop because I can’t control where the photos are going from the iPad. But here are a few more.

 

Here is Shauna on the Throne of Swords (Yes there was one in the fan lounge)

Shauna O'Meara, mother of vets, Queen of everything

Shauna O’Meara, mother of vets, Queen of everything

 

I have to put up a picture of the lovely girls, who are so good to room with and hang with.

The lovely girls, Kimberley Gaal and Shauna O'Meara

The lovely girls, Kimberley Gaal and Shauna O’Meara

 

Did I mention this thing where Kim takes her little Russell Bird and poses him with people. Well here is Russell B Farr with Russell Bird.

Russell B Farr with Russell Bird

Russell B Farr with Russell Bird

And to round things off, this is Matthew and me being very relaxed at Kensington Gardens in the Orangery.

Matthew Farrer and me

Matthew Farrer and me

So overall we love travelling around Britain and the food and the people and the accents so there will be more blogs to come. I also want to congratulate the London3 team for a brilliant job of organising the convention. The program was varied and interesting and events were well organised.

And finally from me. A photo that says everything.

Me, mother of swords, Queen of food

Me, mother of swords, Queen of food

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So there’s a lot going on. Edits! Getting ready to go away to the UK for 6 weeks. Promoting books. Doing blogs and other stuff. To tell the truth I’m a bit all over the place.

Today I saw the cover concept for Shatterwing today and it was bloody amazing. I love it. I will share when the publishers are happy with it. I must say that Momentum are taking very good care of me. I saw the maps today as well. Awesome!

It’s weird to think that my drawings of Margra are now maps, maps that are going to appear in a book that I’ve been working on for 10 years. Talk about a long time coming. I’m still wanting to pinch myself.

I was interviewed as part of the Aust Spec Fic Snapshot at Tsana’s blog.

I’ve got a couple more coming up. An in-depth one with Ian McHugh and one on Karen Miller’s blog.

I best go and think up another blog post. I’ll be at the RWA conference in Sydney this weekend and at Loncon3 the weekend after. Oh boy. I’m getting around. I’ll also be at British Fantasy Con in York in September before heading back to Canberra and where I’ll be attending Conflux 10. BTW BIG NEWS. I’ll be launching Shatterwing at Conflux and maybe Skywatcher too if it’s ready.

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So after my news, I find that things are moving along very quickly. This week I’m hoping to see the concept art for the cover of Dragon wine  1: Shatterwing. You can’t imagine how excited I am about that. Momentum have been great to work with so I have expectations!

Then it’s just over 5 weeks before the book comes out. I mean how quick is that (I mean 10 years in the making).

I’m heading the UK for Loncon 3 and I’ll also be at British Fantasy con in York in September. It will be fab to catch up with friends and acquaintances and also do some research. I need to trawl through the streets of London for the Ruby Heart sequel Emerald Fire and maybe get into a sewer (but as London’s sewers are closed when I get there I may have to settle for a sewer tour in Brighton). While I’m away I’m expecting the edits to Dragon wine 2: Skywatcher and I don’t know how hard that will be doing those while travelling. The edits of Shatterwing required a bit of effort. Not that I’m complaining. I’m very glad to be put through my paces. I just don’t know how that will mesh with travelling and conventions etc. However, as my partner is a writer I’m sure he’ll be supportive and it will all work out. We even bought a mobile office thing to carry my laptop safely.

Travel is also a time to get inspiration and to research streets, buildings and people for future work. It is also a time when I can relax and my mind can invent new scenes.

I’m going to have print copies available and I will be doing a few launch type things when I get back in October. I’ll keep you posted about that.

Meanwhile, Dragon Wine 1: Shatterwing is turning up in places for pre order in ebook. Here are a few of them.

Amazon

Amazon Australia

Google Books

iBooks

 

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