One weekend each year always makes me happy and it’s Fantasycon weekend. This one conformed to the trend. I had a hoot and was up in Scarborough for the best part of four days, and drove just shy of 700 miles to get there and back. I’m still unpacking …
A whole heap of people made it memorable and enjoyable, but I wanted to acknowledge a few folk on here. This was a weekend of curious personal synchronicity and completion, particularly when Mark Morris interviewed me. I first met Mark in 2004 at my first Fantasycon, after my first novel was published. Mark was, I’m pretty sure, the third person that I met at that con’, but also the first reader of ‘Banquet for the Damned’ (that was not involved in the publishing of it) that I actually met in the wild and in person. So to be interviewed as the Guest of Honour by such a good writer and friend, 12 years later, was special and all seemed to complete some part of my journey. And I glowed too when I read his piece on me in the program. Thank you, Mark! I’ve had two GOH gigs this year, one in Scarborough and one in Dublin, and they were both confirming and rewarding experiences, but made particularly special by two of my oldest mates in this genre world, Mark and Sarah Pinborough, who asked me questions that made me think, and who turned my aversion to public speaking into a chat about books with a friend.
A huge two horn salute to all who came to the interview and to my ‘Some Will Not Sleep’ launch in a really packed Fantasycon schedule. Again, I underestimated the level of interest that might manifest in the book, and was a tad startled by the amount of folks who showed up. We even ran out of the allotted hour and had to shift the launch into a corridor. Getting to that point in the book’s production, in three formats, has been a game of snakes and ladders (two hundred dust jackets destroyed in a jacketing machine the previous Friday), but that launch dismissed my last remaining doubts about the entire undertaking. Thank you from the bottom of my hooves to all who picked up a copy. Seeing so many Ritual Tees on display around the joint was also monumental! I went up with 72 books and came home with 5 … You rock and you roll!
Which brings me to my Birmingham road crew and “brotherhood”. It took five of us, plus one kind red shirt, to actually run the launch in the Cabaret Ballroom. So a massive thanks to my brother, Simon Nevill (and for doing the artwork and raffle), to my old friend and text designer, Peter Marsh, and to the two Paul’s, who all ran the show around me (while I just sat on my ass and chatted). The two Paul’s aren’t on here, but they were two of the first friends I made at school after coming to the UK from New Zealand (and they also converted me to their taste in music).
One thing I never anticipated was the potential for just how much ballache that my own stock and merchandise posed on arrival. And yet, the hassle was immediately headed off by the marvelous Karl Edward Wagner award-winning redshirts (notably Alex Davis, Pixie, Brendan and Patrice Hawkes-Reed), and then my baggage train was stored and administered by one of the warmest and most generous souls I’ve met in this game – Brian J. Showers of the marvellous Swan River Press. The reason the hardback came out in such fine shape was also down to Brian, who mentored me throughout the book’s critical path, while working and running his own press.
All in all, good dinners were also eaten, belly laughs were enjoyed, pints were supped, a couple of Slaughtered lambs were visited, books were bought, old and new friends hung out, fireworks even went off, and awards went out to some terrific writers and publications (I was really chuffed to see Catriona Ward pick up the Derleth for the super Rawblood).
And thanks to all my BFS mates too for being such great companions throughout the entire weekend. Hope to see you all next year, if not before.
Long live the BFS.
Scarborough, looking north from The Grand
South Bay, looking south from near The Grand
With the Brummie road crew – inc’ the two Paul’s on the right. Pic Pete Marsh.
Brian J. Showers and the Swan River Press table in the dealer’s room
With friends on Friday, Adam Millard, Andrew Freudenberg, Jim Mcleod
Gary MacMahon and Steve Harris in Ritual shirts!
Before the banquet with Catriona Ward, Gary Power and Sarah
With Kit Power at the Some Will Not Sleep launch
With Carrie Buchanan of Horror Blog UK at the launch
From inside the Terror Tunnel