Post Con Thoughts – Ad Astra 2017

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First Day at Ad Astra

I survived! Well, I suppose I did more than that, since there is now not one but two novels in the Q-16 series. The final short story will be coming soon, I promise, it just got crazy on my end in terms of organizing everything for the launch. I am, as many of you recall, on my own when I do these things, so in order to assure everything goes smoothly, I need to triple check everything to the max.

Back on topic. This Ad Astra was the busiest for me yet, and I don’t just mean in terms of sales, but events as well. I kicked it off on Friday with a reading which, to my surprise, actually had people waiting for me to read to them. I’ll be honest and say I thought I would be twiddling my thumbs for half an hour, but these awesome folks didn’t let it happen. Thanks, guys! About an hour later after checking the booth, which I left both Chris and Anthony to watch over, I headed over into my first panel: Exploring gender terminology in fantasy and science fiction, which was great that I got to be on, because I was the one who pitched it. Again, I was a bit blown away as I was not expecting a packed room!

Ad Astra Panel 1

Saturday, I once more hit the ground running, as I only had a short while to be in the dealers room before I headed for room 1086, where I was to host a launch party for the release of Q-16 and the Lord of the Unfinished Tower. Despite my best efforts not to, I did get a bit emotional during my speech at the beginning before my reading. For those who don’t know, when I returned to writing Q-16 and the Lord of the Unfinished Tower after an almost eight-month hiatus due to publishing Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds as part of my thesis project, there were many changes that had occurred in my life. My father had just suffered a massive heart attack (he survived) and a few months later my uncle passed away. These kinds of things leave you with a numbness on the inside and can rob you of your creative spirit. Despite this, I kept writing, or at least tried to maintain the routine of doing so. Some days were easier than others and I was fortunate to have an amazing support network, not only of people I knew but people who at events would be interested in my writing. This last group continued to give sparks to the flame when it was in danger of running out, because I knew there was someone out there counting on me to keep writing. To those of you, wherever you are, I sincerely thank you.

Q-16 and the Lord of the Unfinished Tower Book Launch

The launch having come to an end after a reading, Q/A and some socializing with tea provided by Galaxy Teas, I was off to the dealer’s room again for a short while before having to go do my own signing, after having had a copy of The Way of Kings signed by Brandon Sanderson. I was expecting to sit there twiddling my thumbs again, when all of a sudden someone comes up with a copy of Q-16 and the Eye to All Worlds to sign. Perhaps I’m being overly humble when I keep mentioning sitting around and doing nothing, but I spent the last few years going around conventions doing just that at times, since I am a fairly new author, so things like this always come to me as a surprise. Perhaps having more than one book out on the table had something to do with this, or the placement of the booth. Either way, it’s not something I think I will find out.

The evening was wrapped up with the pre-launch party for Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme, in which my short story, ‘Skyris,’ will be included. There were readings from some of the authors that were present for the anthology, which included Brandon Draga, Lisa Toohey and myself. Overall, the event had a relaxed atmosphere and once again, a big attendance.

The next day was no less eventful, beginning with a game of Pugmire hosted by fellow author Brandon Draga, followed by a panel called Fantasy from Trilogies to Television Series. Straight from there, I was off to my final panel of the weekend, which was The Border of Magic and Science, for which I thought I wasn’t nervous for until I got into the room and sat down with Geoff Hart and Brandon Sanderson. It was not that I was nervous sitting next to them, but rather I had an anxiety that as a newer author I might not have any valid insight to add to the conversation and that I might end up just agreeing with them the entire time. Nonetheless, I did my best, and even admitted to being a bit nervous to those in the room, because I’d rather just be honest in that sort of scenario.

Ad Astra Panel 2

Ad Astra Panel 3

The experience did teach me that I still have a way to go when it comes to public speaking, but did not deter me from doing so in the future. In fact, I will be on a few panels at the Limestone Genre Expo in June. I unfortunately possess a stubborn streak where if I want something, such as getting better at a skill, I will keep at it. I suppose this is why, despite my dyslexia, I took up writing. I had tales to tell and would do anything I could to be able to share them with others. I found ways around the shifting words on the page to understand what I was reading, and when I felt confident enough, I began to take the next steps in my journey. Over 20 years later, I’ve now published two books at the age of 29, not bad for a kid from Scarborough, I’d say.

Next stop is The Bookshelf in Newmarket this Saturday. I will be there from 9am to 2pm. Until the next time, keep it awesome!