Swancon: There and Back Again

I’m still fairly new to the con circuit but so far I’m getting the impression that Australian conventions rock. Swancon was certainly no different. The long weekend started off with a HUGE surprise: I got my advanced reading copy of Bluegrass Symphony!! It’s a book! It’s a real book! So, basically, I was in such a good mood after receiving the ARC nothing after that point could possibly suck.

The next day, we kicked off the con with a massive Brains-storming session, in which Brain and I locked ourselves in our hotel, ordered room service, and plotted out the overarching story arc and the individual stories for our collection/mosaic novel Midnight and Moonshine. We’re so accustomed to collaborating via email that at first we were at a loss as to what to do – I mean, working face-to-face? What a weird concept! But we soon got used to seeing each other’s “I’m thinking” expressions… and five hours later we’d plotted like mad and now I’m uber-excited about the world, the characters, the magic… So much fun! (The Brains were collectively drained after that effort; so much so that we ended up vegging for the rest of the night. I highly recommend the movie ‘Red’ for post-writing entertainment!)

I attended several great panels over the weekend but there were too many highlights to list them all here – the program was chock-a-block with great sessions! Loved Kaaron Warren’s conversation with Ellen Datlow and thought the creepy doll session really engaged the audience in a dialogue with the panellists, which made it incredibly fun. I’ve expanded my podcast collection thanks to folks like Jonathan Strahan, Kirstyn McDermott & Ian Mond, Helen Merrick and the Galactic Suburbia crew, and I got to hear some of the experts (Ellen, Angela, Jenny Blackford, Amanda Rainey, and Richard Harland) talk about fairy tales – sooo awesome! Jeremy Byrne, Richard Harland and I had a blast on the Steampunk panel, thanks to one of the best-dressed audiences at the con. Their questions kept the session rolling along at a rollicking pace so that before I knew it, it was over! Thanks, all, for making it such an enjoyable hour.

The best thing about going to cons is catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I am always delighted to be reunited with Brain and it’s also so much fun getting a chance to raise a glass (or two, or three) with the likes of Dirk, Peter, Cat & Rob, Kate & Rob, Alan, Kirstyn & Jason, Helen… (If you’re interested in seeing everyone yourselves, check out Cat Sparks’ wonderful Flickr set!) Somehow I always seem to catch up with Tehani and Alisa while buying loads of TPP books… 😉 BTW: I read Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Love and Romanpunk on the plane on the way home – BUY IT, PEOPLE! BUY ALL 12 BOOKS IN THE SERIES! (Other con reading: I’ve got Sue Isle’s volume on the bedside table; have devoured much of More Scary Kisses; started N.K. Jemesin’s Hugo nominated novel, and am about to plunge into Tansy’s Power and Majesty thanks to the awesome con bags we all got this year!)

 Ticonderoga Publications celebrated 15 years in the business in style with a grand party (with cupcakes!) and launch of More Scary Kisses and Dead Red Heart. Warmed the heart seeing so many people there joining in TP’s success, sharing anecdotes, and taking us on little walks down memory lane. Russ called Angela and I up for an impromptu speech (I blathered something that got a few laughs, which was nice) and then we joined a bunch of incredibly talented authors at the mass-signing table.

It was really lovely getting to meet Ellen Datlow in person and even lovelier getting to have lunch with her on Saturday; just as lovely to meet FB friends like Pete Kempshall in person for the first time, and thanks to the Ditmar cocktail party I got to chat with Lee Battersby, Callisto Shampoo, and Nicole Murphy, all of whom are just as sweet in 3D as they are online. Raised a glass to all the Ditmar and Tin Duck winners after the ceremony was over – Locus has a list of nominees and winners over here – and I was so happy to see that Sprawl got a couple of nods, and that Kirstyn’s amazing story ‘She Said’ tied with Cat Sparks’ ‘All the Love in the World’ for Best Short Story! Congrats to all the winners!

Already Swancon feels like an ephemeral magic bubble from the past: reality slapped me in the face yesterday when I realised I was no longer swanning around, talking about fantasy stories, imagined worlds and creepy dolls, but was instead teaching three classes back-to-back and explaining to my students why their essays wouldn’t be returned until next week.

Le sigh.

 Already can’t wait until next month: Sydney, Aurealis Awards, and another opportunity to immerse myself in the spec-fic world I love so much. 🙂



  1. ‘Twas lovely to finally meet you in the flesh– although I somehow managed to miss Brains altogether– and to share too few words. Never mind: perhaps I’ll get my recognition software together sooner next time and have a proper confab.

    Still: as sweet in 3D as I am online? I didn’t realise I’d made *that* bad an impression >:)))

  2. LOL!!

    It was fantastic getting to meet you face-to-face, Lee. And you’re right: there just wasn’t enough time to have a proper chat (not to mention the fact that I think I only got a chance to say ‘Hi’ to Lyn!) A confab with the Brain conglomerate would be fun 😀

  3. HA! At least let us be Batter-Brains (a state I am all too familiar with, especially after a long day of teaching, or a hard day of writing!) LOL

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