Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SFContario Weekend Part II

And now for Sunday, the second half of my SFContario experience. Although it wasn't really half the experience - I had only two events, compared to the five I did the day before. Nevertheless, it was a very full and rewarding day!

My first event was the Writing in the Digital Age panel in Ballroom BC, with fellow panelists James Bambury, Lynna Merrill, and my new best friend Sarah Water Raven (seen here stuffing a pen up her nose).
The panel started at 10 in the AM, which is a problem to anyone who understands the Sunday schedule of the TTC. Basically, the trains don't start running until 9:00 AM, with very little service before that (including my local bus!). From the time the first bus of the day picked me up, I had about 45 minutes to get to the panel on time! And somewhere in there, I had to squeeze in another cup of tea, too! Once more I was extremely grateful for that Tim Hortons inside Finch Station.

I got to the Ramada Plaza Hotel in decent time (read: not too late), but I still had to find Ballroom BC. See, the rooms in that hotel were tricky to find without a strong sense of irony. After all, the Gardenview had no view of a garden, the Courtyard wasn't anywhere near an actual courtyard, and the Solarium had no sun. The name Ballroom BC suggests a very large dancing room with a stone-age theme, so I knew I to look for a small room with lots of tech lying around. And that's pretty much what I found!

The panel itself was insightful and fun. I got a chance to gripe about how I had to learn Internet marketing by trial and error, and the others spoke about what had worked for them. I learned some good tips about ebook publishing, for which I am grateful to my co-panelists.

Afterward, I visited the con-suite with Sarah the pen-sniffer and her minion, Keli. It really is terrific for authors and other panelists to have a place to go and relax with a snack and a drink in-between our scheduled bits of programming. Having had a table at most other cons, I would often return to said table instead of taking advantage of the con-suitey goodness on offer. My lack of a table this time meant I sold fewer books, but I had the chance to unwind in the company of some awesome people. And Keli the minion bought a copy of Section K from me, so it was awesomeness all around (thank you, Keli!).

My last bit of official programming was a book signing, located in the Hallway. Which hallway was the Hallway? That's what I had to find out with all speed. Luckily I received directions, and was delighted to discover that the Hallway was, in fact, a hallway! No irony in that designation at all. I shared a table with Violette Malan and two other authors whose names I really should have written down (sorry, guys!). The Hallway was empty, with nobody for us to sign books for. It looked to be a very dull and depressing hour...

...but then my friend Rebecca Lovatt arrived with brownie cookies and chocolate chip & cookie dough muffins! And there was much rejoicing. Nom, nom, nom!!! Words cannot describe how awesome Rebecca's baked goods are, so I won't waste any trying. No books were sold or signed, but boy were we well-fed! Nom, nom, I say again, nom!

The signing ended, the muffins were woofed, and one last bit of business for me remained. My friend and fellow author Ira Nayman (Alternate Reality Ain't What It Used To Be) had requested a copy of my first published novel, Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters. Who was I to day no? He is probably the last person on Earth to have purchased a copy... at least until I sell it to another publisher!

I left that day feeling grand. SFContario had been good to me, and I definitely plan to return next year.

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