Monday, April 19, 2010

Ad Astra 2010

Last weekend I attended Ad Astra, Toronto's convention for all things SF and Fantasy. As usual, I had a great time!

I was unable to attend last year, partly due to my financial situation. It was important for me to make it this year, and I'm very glad I did. I shared a table in the dealer's room with my friend Monica S. Kuebler, editor and publisher of Burning Effigy Press, who published my adult-themed sci-fi comedy Section K. Sales were adequate but not fantastic, but they paid for our weekend expenses. My wife, Violet, also attended, and helped us to run the table.

I spoke on four panels: Choosing A Format, which was about deciding if a story idea should be a novel, a story, a movie script, etc...; Fandom and Mental Health, examining the link between mood disorders and creativity; Who's Your Doctor, a panel on your favourite incarnation of Doctor Who; and Torchwood Children of Earth, One Year Later, a discussion of the brilliant miniseries that aired last summer. That last one was my suggestion, and I was the moderator. Unfortunately it wasn't very well attended, as we were on at the same time as the masquerade. We had a good discussion, however, and that's what counts.

I wasn't originally supposed to be on the Fandom and Mental Health panel; I asked them politely if I could join, and when one of the panelists didn't turn up I got my chance. Having a mood disorder of my own to deal with, the subject matter was very important to me.

This year I got to sign in the autograph area! That was a very big honour. I only stayed for half an hour, though - by that point I'd left Monica alone to watch the table for nearly five hours, and she was more than due for a break. I also did a reading on Sunday morning. Sadly, the room hadn't been cleaned out after a party the previous night, and my friends had to ask the maintenance staff very politely, five times, to please do the vacuuming after the reading, not during. I shared reading time with Kate Story, there to promote her first novel, Blasted. We had Violet and three of my friends in attendance, but that was it. Morning events on a Sunday morning at a convention are rarely well attended. We made the most of it, and kept our small but very dedicated audience well entertained.

I made new friends, some of whom I've friended on Facebook. I'm still hoping to get friended by Ian, Lisa and Cyn, the cool cats I ran into in the Tim Horton's on Friday. Are you guys out there? Do I have to start stalking you again, Cyn (inside joke)?

Violet and I also made friends with Bumblebee, as you can see from this photo.

Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun. I may not have made fantastic book sales, but I did promote myself and get myself out there, so to speak. When it comes to self-promotion, every little bit counts. I'm currently planning to attend Anime North in May, and Polaris in July.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Review from CCBC

My publicist at FLUX sent this to me a while back and I've only now gotten around to posting it. Evil? was reviewed in the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Choices 2010, which is a publication of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The CCBC reviews around 3,000 titles for children and YA, and EVIL? Was selected for inclusion in this year’s publication. The review is below:

Another stellar review for my collection!