EasterCon Program – or, Books, Monsters and Popping my KaffleKlatsch Cherry

dysprosium_final-01_200Just to be difficult, my schedule at EasterCon is going to differ from that listed by the program.

As ever, you can find me nailed by my knees to the Forbidden Planet stall, safely secure behind our groaning tables of titles, and drinking lots of tea. Please come and say hello, buy books, sign books (your own by preference, but, you know…) and keep us entertained.

On Saturday evening, you will find me in Armstrong at 21:15, with wine, and reading one of my favourite scenes from Ecko Endgame. No spoilers (promise) but action-packed and definitely worth tearing yourself away from the bar to enjoy. With me will be Tej Turner, reading from The Janus Cycle.

And on Sunday you’ll find me popping my Kaffeeklatsche cherry at 13:45, also in Armstrong, along with the Mighty Jim Butcher, Gareth L Powell, and Caroline Mullan.

Posted with thanks to a thoroughly stressed Judi!

LOOSE!!

Ecko is loose in the wild. Lock up your flamethrowers!

Cheers for Titan Books who’re doing an absolutely storming job of getting his ass out there – initially at EasterCon, with samplers and badges and readings, oh my.

Reading in public for the first time scared the absolute bejesus out of me. Bless Cory Doctorow for a 30-second pep talk that proved invaluable – through even the mighty Captain Boing couldn’t save me from knees shaking so badly I had to lift my Mac off them (be easier when I have a book!) Thank you to everybody who turned up – and didn’t throw things.

The remainder of EasterCon involved a great deal of badge-pinning – onto anyone who’d stand still for long enough. And many of you were good enough to actually keep them in view. More than a few people came past the FP stall with compliments on the sampler – and I managed to sign my first proper official author-type signature for Paul McAuley.

(And you bet I’ll be watching eBay when the book comes out…)

I also managed to sign the MonQee – in the same room where the project was launched in ’08. For anyone who remembers that, it was a suitably surreal moment.

Apparently, Ecko samplers have also been seen out in the open at the London Book Fair this week – along with a whopping great poster up at the Titan Books stall. As Ecko’s flanked by Bats on one side and Kick-Ass on the other, I figure he’s in some pretty august company and he’ll behave himself – but you just never know.

Anyway, I have a scattered few badges and samplers left over. Not really enough to support an event – but if you want one, please holler!

 

 

 

EasterCon – The George Effect

You know how it is – when you’re at a Con, you do kind-of concoct the blog post in your head as you’re going along. (Or maybe that’s just a side-effect of being behind a table in the Dealers’ Room?) Either way, this one was going to be all about The George Effect. How GRRM was an absolutely lovely man – and about the effect that having Game of Thrones on prime-time TV, and then at the Con itself, had opened the doors to a whole new range of fans… fantasy becoming mainstream, new credibility and community, we know how it goes…

But hey, looks like David Barnett in the Guardian has done it for me.

Instead, there was a second thread to EasterCon, woven in with the first – and one that’s becoming more predominant with every event we’ve attended…

Costume.

Championed by the wondrously tea-making Doctor Geof, Steampunk, specifically, is becoming more than a thread, it’s becoming a full-on machine. Costuming has been loitering at Cons for decades, but it’s not about Trekkies any more – it has a new glamour and elegance, a full-on social involvement brought in precisely by the media that’s now representing our genre/s. Not only is George bringing in new fans, but the new expansion of the literary into the visual is opening events like EasterCon to a different swathe of people.

Rita’s absolutely right when she uses the word ‘inclusivity’ – this was an event that was all about the welcome. After the SFX Weekender, we were thinking about book conventions and how they’d have to adapt – and lo, here is EasterCon doing exactly that. The changes were obvious, even among the traders. More people, younger people, are attending and reading and and becoming involved.

I’ll talk about Ecko (you know I will!) but not here – this is the place for the ‘thank you’. This EasterCon was about the opening out of traditional social cliches and barriers…

George, genre, glamour and garment, I think we’ll look back at Olympus 2012 as a new beginning for us all.

 

 

 

Acquisition Announcement!

Titan Books to Publish Genre-Bending Debut Novel by Respected UK Science-Fiction and Fantasy Professional

Titan Books are delighted to announce the acquisition of worldwide rights to the extraordinary novel Ecko: Rising and its sequel by first time writer, Danie Ware.

Ware is the publicist and event organiser for cult entertainment retailer Forbidden Planet. She has been immersed in the science-fiction and fantasy community for the past decade, and has worked closely with a wide-range of genre authors. An early adopter of blogging, social media and a familiar face at conventions, she appears on panels as an expert on genre marketing and retailing.

Ecko: Rising is a unique genre-bending fantasy–sci-fi epic following a savage, gleefully cynical anti-hero. After awakening in a dimension-jumping inn to find himself immersed in his own sardonic fantasy world, Ecko joins a misfit cast of characters and strives to conquer his deepest fears and save the world from extinction. Danie Ware says, “I’ve been writing fantasy since my twenties, and Ecko has been a new set of eyes with which to see the traditional genre. Working with Titan has been fantastic as they have really come on board with both the concept and the project, and have brought an original idea to life.”

Ecko: Rising is scheduled for publication in the UK in autumn 2012, and the US in 2013. Fiction editor Cath Trechman bought the rights from The Cooke Agency. She says, “Danie has created an extraordinary fantasy world, filled with rich, vibrant characters, and a story that is thrilling, compelling and wonderfully unpredictable. We at Titan feel very lucky to have found such a remarkable talent.”

Ecko: Rising will be launched at the Olympus EasterCon 2012 with an exclusive sampler and a reading from Danie Ware at 1pm on Friday April 6th in room 12 (Tetworth). She will also be on a panel discussing promoting yourself online on Sunday at 10am.

For press please contact: Sophie Calder – sophie.calder@titanemail.com / 020 7803 1906

(I love the phrase genre-bending. Just saying!)

Reading? At EasterCon?

Yes, I will be reading at EasterCon!

It’s at 1:00pm on the Friday, so will be unfortified by alcohol (though possibly not by cake). Please come along, listen, point and laugh, and throw things.

I figure, after Rock Band…

I’ll be sharing the hour with Emma Newman, reading from 20 Years Later – so please bring enough ammunition for both of us!

There will also be panelling, a little later on during the weekend – this one equally unfortified by booze (unless you count the glasses guzzled on the previous evening)…

If you’re awake, I will be moderating the ‘promoting yourself online’ panel with Elspeth Cooper, Paul Cornell, Tom Hunter and Simon Spanton – all of us bright-eyed and busy-tailed at 10am on Sunday morning.

Otherwise, you will find me tied to the Forbidden Planet dealers’ table, as usual, or in the bar!

Oh – and don’t forget to ask us for a Bingo card. Convention Bingo – we’ve been threatening this for at least a year and now we’re committed…

EasterCon 2011: RandomCon

In the early 1990s, we used to save up for months to go to EasterCon.

A pack of us, crammed in the back of a van, laden with re-enactment gear and scrounged-together dressing-up kit (the word ‘cosplay’ hadn’t been invented). We’d rent a room between us, two in the bed and six on the floor; we’d sneak out to the local corner shop and come back laden with cheap food and salty snackage and two-litre bottles of bad white cider.

And it was awesome.

I remember attending Writers’ Workshops, wide-eyed and wanting to learn everything, participating in the Masquerade (the immortal comment, ‘S&M rubbish, 8/10’ has stuck in my mind ever since) and falling flat on my face when a picture of my mate and I in full (brief?) costume appeared in centre spread of Starburst magazine. I think it was Issue 5.

This year’s EasterCon, then, was rather a landmark event.

I’ve grown out of my costumes (sadly sideways) and these days the van is packed with books and not people. I’m still not quite over the novelty of having a room to myself, never mind the engorging breakfast… and the use of swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam was verging on surreal.

Not as surreal, though, as the deluge of congratulations and questions that followed the announcement of my deal with Titan Books.

The wide-eyed twenty-something that attended those Writers’ Workshops is not really that far in the past – and the realisation that sometimes these things do come true is still a little overwhelming. It’s magical, it’s scary, it’s not quite solid. There’s a part of me that still expects to wake up with my mates all snoring round me.

Slotted in with all of this were other moments of bizarre comedy – moderating a panel with the Guest of Hono(u)r and a line up of fantastic authors, being asked to attend a Con event as an author in my own right (which I didn’t) and seeing my name in print for the first time… it all added up to blow my little mind.

Though that might’ve been the (cringe) Johnnie Walker…

Back to the point though. Thanks to the ludicrous overpricing of the hotel, Alex and I resorted to sneaking carrier bags of provisions into the building. Between gasping in horror at the bar prices, and counting out our pocket-change like skint and errant kids, the irony of this wasn’t lost on either of us.

While ‘Illustrious’ could well have been renamed ‘RandomCon’, the humour of it all did reveal one core truth. Seems time goes in a circle – no matter who you are, where you go, or how your life changes, it’s all comes back to where it started.

And to who you started it with.

Book Deal Announcement!!

From the Titan Books website – as I’m still kinda speechless…

Titan Launches Original SFF Initiative with First Time Author

In the week preceding key science fiction and fantasy convention, EasterCon, Titan Books are delighted to announce the acquisition of worldwide rights to a fantastic debut fantasy novel and its sequel by first time writer, Danie Ware.

In searching for fresh talent to kick-start Titan’s new SFF enterprise, editor Cath Trechman unearthed exactly the kind of inventive manuscript she is looking for from within the Titan Entertainment group itself: a fantasy story written by historical combat enthusiast Danie Ware. As the publicist and event organiser for Titan sister company and cult entertainment retailer Forbidden Planet, Danie is already known and respected by many in the SFF community and has been writing epic fantasy at every opportunity her busy work schedule allows.

The currently untitled novel following Ecko, a cybernetics-enhanced warrior, is scheduled for publication in 2012. Cath Trechman says “Danie has created an extraordinary fantasy world, filled with rich, vibrant characters, and a story that is thrilling, compelling and wonderfully unpredictable. We at Titan feel very lucky to have found such a remarkable talent so close to home.”

(Ummm – Squeeee?!)

Flash Fiction: The Sixty

A shout of thanks to artist Andy Bigwood, who asked me to contribute a piece of flash fiction for his forthcoming title The Sixty.  Launching at EasterCon, containing no less then forty authors who each add a thought to one of Andy’s superb illustrations, The Sixty is a collection of science fiction and fantasy art illuminating brave new worlds, dark realities and fantastic realms.

Andy was recently shortlisted for the BSFA Award for best artwork for his cover for Conflicts. You can see some of his artwork on his deviantART page – and you can check out The Sixty, here.

And in case you have any doubts:

Gorgeous juxtapositions of the nearly familiar and the oddly alien – of textured other-world terrains and the strange beings that belong there, even if they’re us. City architecture merged with airships or deep space, forming poignant gestalts that always work. Inspired stories in a book of images. Everything combines to produce art that is new, lustrous and haunting.
– John Meaney, Author of the ‘Ragnarok’ Trilogy

Andy’s beautiful, unique artwork, blended with gems of fiction by exciting contemporary writers, creates a most original dream world. It’s a treasure trove, a box of gorgeous delights that you’ll want to dip into constantly. Just curl up by the fire and lose yourself!
– Freda Warrington, Author of ‘Elfland’ and ‘Midsummer Night’

Andy Bigwood has created a wide and varied range of images and has brought them together with an impressive collection of fiction. His passion for his work shines throughout and the whole book is a treasure-trove of creative minds.
– Anne Sudworth, Fine Artist

Privileged to be a part of the project – thanks, Andy!

Odyssey 2010 – Breaking Into The Future

And so, to the Heathrow Radisson, two years on from my own return to fandom – and with a wash of déjà-vu borne by the wings – and the scent – of the aircraft overhead.

This year, we finally witnessed the fusion of fandom with social media – the Saturday afternoon saw a plethora of panels discussing blogs, soc med platforms and the glory of the #EasterCon hashtag. Saturday membership soared from speculative walk-ins – not fans, just people who’d seen the chat on twitter and wanted to see what was happening.

My own Social Media panel was live-streamed – huge thank you to Nik Butler for the tech spec and to Lee Harris, Del Lakin-Smith and Paul Cornell for their expertise – but the hotel was full of many digital champions. Mark Charan Newton, John Coxon and the ever-blogging Cheryl Morgan only touched the screen-surface – for one glorious moment on the Sunday, the #EasterCon hashtag hit as a world trend.

As ever, I spent much of my time behind the Dealers’ Table – but, with MacBook open, was able to track the Twitter backchannel and attend events by proxy – something that was happening with fans at home, I’m sure. Cheryl’s panel on Virtual Attendees opened this concept wider – a huge potential for people to attend Conventions all over the world, for knowledge and family to be shared. Not only that, but the huge out-spilling ripples caused by the Award announcements each made more noise than the Heathrow runways outside.


My work-mate Mat commented ‘you know everybody’ and it did feel like that – an odd two-year jump from ‘08 where I sat scared on the Thursday evening knowing one name from the 1,000 plus in attendance. This year, I could stroll the semi-marble oddities of the Radisson, from the Corner of the Damned (Smoker’s Terrace) to the Atrium Bar, and there would always be someone to chat to – and always something to chat about. Reading, writing, gaming, fighting, costume-making, publishing, tech spec and social media – whatever your part in it, the SF/F industry is a strong community; it embraces its own and no amount of hashtagging can equal a Con’s strong feeling of extended family.


‘I like Cons’ I overheard one fan said to another ‘It’s okay to be weird’.

In the Venn diagram of real and virtual, this was an EasterCon that occupied the centre – where we watched as the two things met and overlapped and enhanced each other, working on dual level to share information within the Con itself and to broadcast that information to the outside world.

I know ‘everybody’ because of Forbidden Planet – but also because of Twitter – and because of the way I’ve woven them together. Watching this happen on a bigger scale, on a Worldwide Trending Topic scale, was astounding.

Fandom’s gone digital. And high time!
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