Fantasycon 2014: Cloaks, Curry, and Karaoke

fawkes

We did not actually go to this pub, but it is my favourite, so here’s a picture.

This last weekend I attended by very first Fantasycon, which just happened to be in York, one of my very favourite places. I was initially quite nervous about the whole thing – my lovely bloke wouldn’t be attending this one, I’d be staying in the B&B on my own, and I had both a panel and the super mega bumper edition of Super Relaxed Fantasy Club to attend. I suspected I would get lost, or not know anyone, or feel terribly homesick, or simply fail to interact with people successfully. My experience of talking on panels in the past has been somewhat mixed, and I have to admit that over the last year I have wondered whether it’s something I should do at all, given it seems to be against my nature in lots of ways – I always enjoy listening to people, and having opinions on things (ye gods, do I ever have opinions on things) but I’m generally better at writing these opinions down, rather than managing to verbalise them in a witty and concise manner in front of a whole bunch of people. That, I’m not so great at.

As it happens, I think this time I managed to get away with it. The panel, which was titled “Beyond Grimdark”, featured me, Adrian Tchaikovsky, James Oswald, and Martin Taylor, with David Moore moderating. There appeared to be lots of people attending (I can only be vaguely certain of this, as once I’m in the chair I’m usually too scared to look at the audience) and the discussion was lively and interesting, AND, get this, I even managed to say a few things that might have made sense, and that were quite important to me.

My attendance of Super Relaxed Fantasy Club was almost scuppered by dinner at a curry house that had a) the cheapest glasses of wine I’ve ever seen b) narn breads so big they hung them from metal trees c) a casual approach to actually bringing the food, wine, or the bill, and c) a window seat that was apparently cat-nip to all of York’s drunkest and most exhibitionist citizens (thanks to Lucy Hounsom and Max Edwards for a dinner I won’t forget in a hurry). Having finally coaxed the waiters into bringing both the cheap wine and the bill, we necked the booze and made a hurried and dignity-free journey back to the hotel (who coincidentally had the most expensive glasses of wine I’ve ever seen) so that I was just in time to stumble apologetically into the room just as Den Patrick was contemplating throttling me, no doubt. Luckily, the event itself went swimmingly, largely thanks to Den, and as well as top readings from Laura Lam, Ed Cox, Emma Newman and Niel Bushnell, we also had a bonus section where James Barclay interviewed Simon Spanton – a lot of great people, talking about great books. It was fab, and I felt a tiny sliver of pride at how this odd little joke on twitter has turned into an event that people actually enjoy. (A note for newcomers to SRFC – the fantasycon edition was somewhat less chatty than usual, partly because we were overexcited and packed our time with readers, but normally there is a greater ratio of sitting around drinking cider)

Other highlights for me included my first ever win in Cards Against Humanity, watching the marvellous Juliet Mushens and Andrew Reid belt out “A Whole New World” at the Karaoke (some things cannot be unseen), almost getting Adrian Tchaikovsky to recite some Dr Seuss for me, the excellent lady who ordered a copy of my book on her tablet while I was standing next to her (hooray 21st Century!), being a nuisance in the sword shop, and listening to Charlaine Harris talk – she has the most wonderfully reassuring voice. I chatted with tons of marvellous people and caught up with lots of friends (I won’t attempt to name them all here because I will forget loads) and now I am absolutely knackered. Really, fantasycon has broken me. Big thanks must go here to the Redcloaks, as ever, who were simply fabulous. Roll on next year!

Fantasycon and Super Relaxed Fantasy Club

dino

Big and Little

 

It’s been a crazy busy month, so crazy busy in fact that I’ve completely failed to blog about the Mega Genre Fortnight of Events – Fantasy in the Court, Gollancz Fest, LonCon – but in an effort to avoid a meandering blog post where I attempt to summon memories from my incredibly tired brain, I will just say that I had an awesome time and was very lucky to chat to a lot of fabulous people.

Talking of awesome conventions, Friday sees me venturing up to York for Fantasycon. I love York: it has lots of history, lots of pubs, and you can buy mead and swords there. Obviously my sort of place. On the Saturday I will be taking part in a panel called Beyond Grimdark, which should be interesting, and in the evening at 9pm we have a special bumper edition of Super Relaxed Fantasy Club, including readings from Laura Lam, Ed Cox, Emma Newman, Niel Bushnell, AND the excellent James Barclay will be interviewing Simon Spanton for us, Gollancz editor extraordinaire and all round good egg. This along with all the usual chat and relaxed attitudes.

Guys, it’s going to be epic.

Super Relaxed Fantasy Club – York edition!

princess-bride_2460761b

EDIT: Unfortunately Adrian Tchaikovsky can no longer make it to the York meet, although I am pleased to tell you that David Tallerman will be reading instead, along with some other authors yet to be confirmed.

Exciting news! Super Relaxed Fantasy Club is heading up to York (only one of my favourite places ever). Details below!

WHEN: Saturday 2nd August

WHERE: Brigantes Bar and Brasserie
114 Micklegate, York, North Yorkshire YO1 6JX

MORE WHEN: the first reading will be at 5pm, so best to turn up before then.

WHO: the amazing Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of the Shadows of the Apt series, will be reading and doing a Q&A, with further readings to be confirmed.

WHAT THEN: drinking, chat, the usual SRFC shenanigans

HOORAY!

 

Small Update Time, or, “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded”

2013-09-17 11.52.52

Just a quick note, like Granny Weatherwax’s, that I aten’t dead, I’m just super busy. Well, super busy in between spending a lot of time in pubs and learning about Vikings – I’ve just returned from two weeks of being very self indulgent, as well as hanging around York for a while, which was marvellous.

Much of my time off was spent knee-deep in the wobbly insides of Book 2. Previously on the blog I talked about how difficult it can be to get back into the swing of the first draft when your inner editor goblins are still clinging to your heels, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve finally shaken them off, and Book 2 is beginning to morph into its own strange, messy story. The scary part now is all about not quite knowing where certain paths are leading, but then it’s time to put on my Big Girl Writer Pants and go boldly down those paths, armed to the teeth with character development and snarky dialogue.

So before I vanish back into the mists of writing, here are some random observations from the last few weeks:

Agents of SHIELD was fun.

Breaking Bad was amazing, and I’m sorry but I rooted for Walt right up to the end.

York is lovely and the people are friendly and I’m not used to that.

The Welcome to Night Vale podcast is both soothing and scary. Goodnight, listeners.