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World Fantasy Convention 2008 wrap up (late).

Here's a quick World Fantasy Convention 2008 summary, before too much time gets away and I forget to post about it entirely. I really enjoyed my trip to Calgary last week, the cold winter hadn't set in there and the Halloween weekend was quite enjoyable. Well, here I go with an attempt to cover it entirely.

We arrived on Thursday, easy enough flight, and found the weather tolerable and the hotel easy to navigate. Pete and I found the registration area and were with badges and our bag of free books. I lugged home as many as I could, but did leave a few on the exchange table (a good idea I thought). One of the cool things is that Del Rey sent a few hundred copies of Pete's The Warded Man to be part of the gift bags, randomly put in. This was awesome, and it was exciting to see people walking around with, reading and discussing my friend's new book.

In true convention form, we quickly aquainted ourselves with the bar for a pint and a delicious lunch, and a quick cheers with Liz Scheier, Pete's editor at Del Rey. I attended a few panels over the weekend, took some notes, and the weekend was just getting started. I spent this first night in the bar talking about the industry, surrounded by some of the best people in in the business. Later on we ran into Sam Butler, an author and new friend we had met at Albacon last month. The night continued on with good conversation and a few more pints.

Friday was a big day. We had a lot lined up and I was happy to attend Pete's first public reading bright and early at 11 a.m. He had a descent crowd for an early reading, and did a great job with introducing the book and series. He read a snippet from early on in the book, a scene occuring in Cutter's Hollow and it was a good choice I think, ending with a strong demon attack. There was no table in the room, so Pete took up very comfortably in front of the room, and jumped into the story.

Later that afternoon I attended George R.R. Martin's reading. He read a segment from a 'Duncan and Egg' story, part of his Hedge Knight series. These stories take place years before the events in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and I enjoyed hearing of King's Landing again, even if it concerned events from an earlier time. George is such a great reader, his voice deep and strong, he pulls you in. He mentioned that he is aiming for end of year with, A Dance with Dragons. I snapped a quick photo as he put his watch on the table to keep an eye on the clock.

Friday night I was graciously invited to the JABberwocky Literary Agency dinner. I've done some consulting work with Joshua of JABberwocky and was glad to join Eddie, his trusty right hand, at this event along with several others. I was seated next to my good friend Pete, authors Bill Swears, Frederic Durbin, Tim Akers and U.K.'s newest literary agent, John Berlyne, also an associate editor at SFRevu. We had some great conversation about everything from books, comics, tattooes and even the lure of videogames. I also met Canadian bookseller, Chris Szego, we got a chance to chat about SF&F while walking to the dinner, she was really nice and knowledgable. Here is a shot of this dinner (for those whose names I have forgotten, please forgive me as I didn't get everyone's card).

I attended a few more great panels over the weekend, including the "What makes a good anthology" panel. John Joseph Adams, editor of Wastelands - a book I picked up for the trip - and several other panelists discussed the importance of establishing credibility with the reader base, providing a good variety of stories, and also the importance of offering readers material they may not already have. It was interesting to listen to the distinguished panellists (John Joseph Adams, Katheryn Cramer, Gary A. Braunbeck and Darrell Schweitzer) discuss the different ways they go about soliciting stories, selling their ideas to publishers, as well as bringing the projects together. This is something I think about often, as I'd like to work on an anthology project in the near future. I really enjoyed this panel.

On Saturday, I attended the Dark Fantasy Panel featuring David Morrell (one of the weekend's guests of honor, and creator of Rambo incidentally), Nancy Kilpatrick and U.K. writer Graham Joyce. This was another great panel, as 3 authors discussed very personal stories from their childhood, and how that shaped their storytelling techniques and outlook on the world. It was really interesting to listen to these three very different authors share very personal and difficult stories.

Then I was lucky enough to join both Peter Brett and Liz Scheier for dinner to discuss the con weekend at this lovely resturant right across the street called Saltlick. The wine was terrific, the food even better and the company superb. We kept an eye on the clock of course, as Pete had the last of his panels for the weekend, and we didn't want to be late.

This last panel, "Vampire Elves, and other lines that should not be crossed. Or should they?" This was the panel of the weekend, it was terrific. All the panellists: Louise Marley, Peter Brett, Jay Lake, Minister Faust, and Matt Hughes were great speakers. They hit on key topics, talked of successes and failures in trying to cross genres, and all contributed with witty banter that the large audience just ate up. I didn't get any pictures of this event but I was glad to attend, it really was a great panel - I wish they were always as interesting as this one.

Sunday was the banquet which I had to leave halfway through, as our flight was right at 5:15 pm. I got a chance to see most of the winners accept their awards, but missed most of the speeches afterwards. I was glad to at least make part of the event. I really enjoyed the weekend and was glad that I saved up to attend, as a freelance editor trying to survive these days, it was worth it to be there and part of the community.

Lastly, there are a few others I just want to mention that I had a quick chance to meet or talk to briefly, I hope we talk again soon: Bill Willingham (creator of the Vertigo series FABLES, I'm a big fan), Lou Anders, Marc Gasciogne, Christian Dunn, John Joseph Adams, Jim Minz, Patty Garcia, and Alaya Johnson.

It was a great trip. Now I'm spent.


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