Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ad Astra and Beyond

The con is over, and Post Fandom Depression has set in. Or rather it did, back when I started writing this bit. Better late than never, I say. And I say it a lot.

I've since returned to the real world, where Violet and I must do our taxes, and I'm back in the wonderful world of temping.

But back to Ad Astra. The last day was memorable. There was the Mental Health and Fandom panel, which was reasonably well attended. All of us had a lot to say, in a compassionate and healing environment. I will always be grateful to this panel and its participants.

Violet wanted me to get a picture or action figure of one of her fangirl crushes, like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Chris Evans as Captain America. Preferably shirtless. I was unable to find exactly what she was looking for, so I got her this action figure. I have no idea who the character is, but he's shirtless and ripped, and he's got a sword. Violet very nearly liked him. Ah, well. Next convention, my Love!

The last panel I attended before setting off home was about Star Trek; I sat in attendance, and my friend and fellow author Sarah Water Raven was on the panel. I have to say, it went much better than my Star Trek panel back at Reversed Polarity (though not as good as the one I did at GenreCon). No Uber-Nerds, for one thing. And some interesting ideas were put forth. Well worth my time!

After that, it was time to say goodbye to a few stragglers before catching the VIVA buses back home. I sat across from a dude who had a bag of barbecue-flavoured sunflower seeds, and the area all around him was littered with shells. He taught me how to eat sunflower seeds, which apparently I'd been doing wrong all these years. You don't eat the shells - you suck the flavour out of the shell, crack them and eat the seed within, then spit the shells away. Good to know. Too bad he didn't feel like cleaning up after himself.

Monday, April 7th, involved a ridiculous amount of telephone tag with my temp agency to get me accepted into a mailroom job. It worked out in the end, though, and I was working as early as Wednesday. I've been sticking labels onto envelopes, stuffing envelopes, and lifting heavy boxes full of papers that will eventually end up in envelopes. Not the most challenging of jobs, but work is work. They are a good bunch, which certainly helps. Plus, my contact at the temp agency took me out to lunch last week! That's never happened to me before! Wow.

I've managed to get back into my novel Zombie Jesus Day, about which I am ecstatic. At the same time, my enthusiasm for my Doctor Who fanfic Bane of the Doctor has cooled a bit. I've got two more episodes still to post, so I'm not particularly worried yet. BTW, the latest installment can be found here.

Finally, I got back the processed German tax forms from Revenue Canada. I sent them off by Xpress Post on Thursday - did you know it costs $61 to send something from Canada to Germany via Xpress Post? Well, it does. It will be worth it, however, when they pay me the option fee for Evil. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ad Astra 2014, So Far

Well, I've been having a great time! Friends everywhere, good panel discussions, and that wonderful feeling of acceptance and home. Lucky, lucky me.

My panels on self publishing and never-ending stories went very well, and sparked some good discussions among panelists and audience. I didn't say as much as I wanted to, and feel I'm not as assertive as I could be. Still, I made a few good points, and I'm pretty happy with the way the conversations went.

The book-signing period was a dismal failure in terms of book sales, but a roaring success in others. I autographed one of my The Five Demons You Meet In Hell flyers for a fan friend, and chatted with three of my closest friends. One of them, Sarah Water Raven, sold me a lovely painting she'd done (image to be uploaded soon, I promise), and we discussed plans for the cover of my next book, Apoca-Lynn. Another friend posed for a photo to be used in that cover - a lovely bit of serendipity or convenient happenstance that we were all in the right place at the right time to make that happen!

My reading was moderately attended, but everyone who was there wanted to be there and had a good time. I read from 5 Demons and gave a preview of Apoca-Lynn, and got a good reaction to both. I also had tea with a couple of friends and discussed writing, and the conversation turned to call centres. All of us had horror/hilarious stories to tell!

I ended the night at the launch party for Suzanne Church's latest novel, and had further good conversations with friends. I was sad to leave but had VIVA buses to catch, and got home just after midnight.

Today I have the Mental Health and Fandom panel. I'm looking forward to it. Off I go!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ad Astra, Revised

Sadly, my 10:00 AM panel on Canadian YA has been cancelled. Tomorrow morning I shall be forced to sleep in. Darn!

Here is my revised panel/reading/signing schedule:

Author Signings – Richmond A – 2:00 PM
Advantages and Disadvantages in the Self-Publishing Game – Markham A – 3:00 PM
Never Ending Stories – Markham A – 7:00 PM
Reading – Oakridges – 9:30 PM

Fandom Mental Health Forum – Richmond B – 1:00 PM

Yep, only 3 panels now. I shall endeavor to make the most of them.

What shall I read from? I need to keep plugging The Cupid War and The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, hopefully encourage a few sales. I'm also working on getting a new novel ready for a Smashwords publication - I could read a bit from that project, too. Again, I open the floor to suggestions/requests.

I'll figure it out. Looking forward to seeing lots of you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ad Astra 2014 This Weekend

Well, I’m off to Ad Astra again this weekend. How many times have I been now? Almost every year since before my first book came out, so... a lot. Yes, definitely a lot. I'll be there Saturday and Sunday (April 5 & 6) with copies of Section K to sell and flyers of The Five Demons You Meet In Hell to hand out, four panels to speak on, one reading, and a signing, too. Haven't decided what to read from, yet. Requests?

They’ve moved again; I’d just got used to the last location, and loved that it was TTC accessible. Not so much the new location, I’m afraid, but that’s ok – it’s the Sheraton Parkway North, the same location Polaris has been in for the last several years. True, it will require the use of VIVA buses and the extra fare that goes with that, but it is a great hotel for a convention! Lots of space for the dealer’s room, plenty of rooms to host panels and readings... I have many happy memories of times spent in and around that hotel, although none of those memories involved actually staying there! One day, perhaps... when money is no longer an issue.

Here is my panel/reading/signing schedule for the convention:

YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Canadian Style – Aurora – 10:00 AM
Author Signings – Richmond A – 2:00 PM
Advantages and Disadvantages in the Self-Publishing Game – Markham A – 3:00 PM
Never Ending Stories – Markham A – 7:00 PM
Reading – Oakridges – 9:30 PM

Fandom Mental Health Forum – Richmond B – 1:00 PM

I'll be busy, but hopefully not too busy to spend quality time with my fandom friends. I look forward to seeing many of you at the con this weekend!