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The first breaktime of my first day at secondary school, I was a girl with a mission. The class I had just been in was in a room by the library, and there was investigation to be done.

I went into the library and did a circuit, mapping it out. I found the found the Fantasy section, full of names and titles and pictures of swords and dragons and pirates… and this thinnish green spine with the words “The Wyrd Sisters” on it. The what sisters? I pulled it out to see if the blurb would give me a clue. It sounded a lot like the Macbeth story out of my comic-book Shakespeare and I liked the name Granny Weatherwax, so I opened it to see what it was like. A few minutes later, I hooked a chair towards me with one foot and sat down to read, with a feeling of having come home…

Until secondary school, I found the school library a bit frustrating. At my primary school if you wanted Nancy Drew or Mallory Towers you had a really wide choice, but there was virtually nothing in there for me but a few of Ruth Mannings Sanders’ excellent collections.There wasn’t even any decent adventure stuff and  I didn’t see why I should read girl’s books just because I was a girl. I wanted adventure and dragons and swordfights and pirates.Sweet Valley High was never going to cut it. As the teacher pointed out there was baby versions of fairy tales or girls talking about makeup and boys, and that was a pretty clear choice wasn’t it? Of course it was. I went for the fairy tales, or at least the ones with good pictures.

At the time, that was pretty much it for kids. Fantasy wasn’t really very fashionable. However, one of my sisters is ten years older than me and being a horribly precocious reader,  I’d raided her bookshelves for interesting-looking titles such as Lord of the Rings and Anne McCaffrey so I knew there were some really good fantasy books – but sadly, they were out there, not in my primary school.

When I hit secondary school (about age ten), I headed straight up to the library. The entire Science Fiction and Fantasy section was two and a half shelves long – but in terms of seedcorn, it was pure magic. There was everything from Azimov to Zelazny and a whole load more. I found there one or two books each by names that would then send me down to the town library, the bookshop and even (when it got to us in the back of beyond) the internet. Anne McCaffrey was there, a couple of Andre Norton’s sci-fi and the first book of the Witch World series, Arthur C Clarke, a whole section of anthologies by then little-known authors such as Julian May and Diana Wynne Jones. Not only were there interesting books, but some stuff by women, which meant that the girls in the stories weren’t all pointless and fluttery and were far more inclined to hit the bad guy with a chair (or sword) when threatened than they were to weep, faint or call helplessly for the hero. The world opened up before me and it was full of dragons, and pirates and sword fighting – heady stuff!This was, moreover, much more the way stories should be. I was hooked.

So I read voraciously, omnivorously, and quite often, all night. The high point of my year was waiting for the new Pratchett to come out, and I read and re-read the others, finding new jokes with each reread, as my knowledge of the rest of the world of literature increased.  I loved Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax and have never decided which of the two I identify with more, or wanted to indentify with more. I enjoyed the sillier books and in particular liked Death as a character (and felt a bit affectionately sorry for him). The wizards made me laugh. The Patrician is a particular favourite. So many characters to savour… It took me three books’ worth of accidental all-nighters to work out that Pratchett doesn’t even use chapters so just reading to the end of the chapter is never going to work…

Over and above the firings of his imagination, Pratchett’s attention to phrasing and careful sculpting of words have always been a source of pleasure. In his latter years, I admired the way he could take an issue from the real world and parallel it in his own in such a way that it was gripping and thought-provoking. It left you thinking about the issue without ever feeling preached at, and that’s a skill in itself. Furthermore, his timing was impeccable; not only his comic timing but his feel for when to change direction.

Somewhere about the sixteenth or seventeenth book I started to wonder if Pratchett had “done” humour. I read and enjoyed the book, but it seemed to be missing the exuberance of some of the earlier ones. I was still going to continue reading his stuff of course, but I do remember thinking that it would be sad if he had got bored, because the reader can always tell. And then as if he had read my mind, he brought out Guards! Guards! and the whole tone was different. There was still the city and the world we knew and loved, and the whole architecture of the Discworld, but this was darker and more dangerous. People got killed and things mattered and there were consequences. This was not the “light fantastic” we had grown to expect from Pratchett! Oh no – this was something much more gripping, and it took his writing up to the next level. I loved it.

Of course, Sam Vimes is a character very dear to my heart. He goes through the world trying to do the right thing in a world where almost everything else is trying to make him do what is easy and a little more…grey. But Sam Vimes is bloody-minded enough – and honest enough – to persist in the face of  opposition, to keep looking for the truth when it would be so much easier to stop asking questions and accept the facile lies. Sam Vimes, in fact, acknowledges and accepts the darker half of himself, and uses it to power that part of him that struggles towards what is right.

And he wins. Unlike anything in real life, the world parts to let him through. And that is a fiction I very much want to believe.

I have to say, though, I’m impressed and touched by the response to the news of his death. People around the world have written about what his books mean to them, of course, and he has had an immense effect; but what is striking to me as a writer is the sheer number of people who have stories about emailing Terry and getting useful advice back, even when he was incredibly famous. The footprints he left are larger than just his books; as an author he seems to have extended a helping hand to many, many less famous writers, and that is a little legacy in its own right. Such a talented man; such a loss to literature as well as readers across the world. He touched a lot of lives.

So; goodbye and thanks, Terry. Your world-building and characters led me along the path to telling my own stories, and the thought that my book will sit on the same shelf as yours in that little school library is frankly thrilling. We will miss you, but at least you have not left us alone. I for one will be seeking solace in the company of Granny Weatherwax, the Librarian, Sam Vimes and other old friends to whom you introduced me.

Perhaps we’ll have a drink. Perhaps we’ll play Cripple Mr Onion. Almost certainly Nanny Ogg will get up on the table to sing ” The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All”. And although we were not there, I hope you will not mind if we wear the lilac, in memory of a man without whom the world is a slightly poorer place.

JAC

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Images:

Basket of lilac: Copyright serezniy

Single lilac flower:Copyright Oleksii Mikhieienko

So. Anyone who’s been paying attention to this blog (& is still here) will know I went to Loncon in August, and haven’t had much to say since. Some of the time since then has been spent in the writing cave, but mostly I concentrated on sorting out the real-world stuff for a while. However, I’ve been writing this blog about LonCon ever since.

As it goes on forever, here is the TL:DR

WorldCon….

….So fantastic you will get higher than a kid on ALL the Haribo. You meet fascinating fans, authors, artists, publishers, translators, cosplay specialists, all sorts of people. It’s like a massive hub of goodwill and creativity all spiralling into critical mass of AWESOME!

And then it all ends. It’s back to real life, like Dorothy leaving Oz and going back into black and white. Concrash attacks with vicious teeth, and it takes a while to get back to normal. Then in the harsh glare of daylight you sit down and work out what you gained and what it cost you –  and of course, when you can next reasonably justify going again.

So there you go. If you feel inclined, jump to the learning points at the end and add anything I missed – or, if you want a bit more detail (er, a lot more detail!) read on…

===

Recently I have come to the conclusion that there is one major downside to spending your entire childhood up a tree reading (well, two if you’re including splinters) and this is that there were a whole load of excellent things going on in the real world that I missed out on. Namely, conventions… Whole conventions, full of people who liked the same books as I did! I vaguely knew they had that sort of thing for Star Trek in America but everything always happens in America and I was never going to be able to afford to go there, so I didn’t look any further. Yup.

< facepalm >

It wasn’t until  June that I came across the notion that not only were there conventions in the UK, but the WorldCon was actually going to be in London in the August! Well, that pretty much blew my excuses out of the water. Expense or not, if the WorldCon comes to you, as a fantasy author it seems a bit of a lost opportunity not to go and have a look at least.

So, World Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention came to the UK, and being the third time it has been in London, it was called Loncon 3.

Loncon. 'Nuff said.

Loncon. ‘Nuff said..

There’s loads on the Loncon website about Loncon, so there’s not much point me repeating it, but it’s well worth a look when you’ve finished here, especially for the programme which was amazing.

I volunteered to take part – when I did a bit of reading up, it said that was quite a good way to meet people, but the site said that they were pretty much covered so I was expecting to end up giving out leaflets or something. I was quite pleased to be asked to do the two panels, and frankly a bit baffled to be asked to do a signing. I figured there would be a dark little backroom to hide the dirty self-pubbers in but then I looked it up and discovered that the other people in the room at the same time were: Peter V Brett, Christopher Priest, and John Norman (yes, he of the Gor books) and then Jenn R Johannson of FSG Macmillan, Mike Shevdon of Angry Robot and …er… me. So of course it all became clear. The space was limited, the fans for the big names would be numerous – what they needed from me was someone who could take up a table but not crowd the room any more. Sorted! That I could do, and I figured, it could be that I could give some free stuff to all the fans as they came past. Bonus!

Because it was all a bit last minute, most of my prep ended up happening at 2am on worknights in the fortnight before the Con. Did this lead to some dubious decisions? Er… some. But mostly it came out okay. I designed business cards and a vinyl banner I’m pretty pleased with, bought a posh dress, watched both the Hunger Games films for the adaptations panel, read books by some of the people I was on panels with, and ordered jellybeans in tiny bags for the signing. Then I printed out little labels on with QR codes which I love and virtually no-one else seems to  use (Why? Why? So convenient!) for the ebook and vouchercodes I was going to give away, and spent a happy evening watching Galaxy Quest (again) and stickering my jellybeans ( not a euphemism).

Now, I commute into London quite regularly and was hoping not to spend too much, so I hadn’t booked a hotel. In retrospect this was a silly idea as I spent about 5 hours of each day on the train, was horrifically short of sleep all week and missed anything that happened later than about 9pm. This includes ALL the parties! Duh!

So first learning point: don’t try to commute.

On the Wednesday night after work I ventured over to Excel, sussed the place out and picked up my badge. Went via the boat and the cablecar, which I hadn’t previously been on. The journey was not the quickest and was a bit pricey, but what a way to see London! You should definitely do it. It was really quick and easy to pick the pass up and the following morning I knew I’d made the correct decision when I saw the Twitter feed which was full of the queues…40 mins earlier on, and later it was longer. Then home for the remainder of my last-minute prep. Business cards! Bookmarks! Banner! A whole bag full of paraphernalia, and I was prepared for all circumstances.
Thurs –

On Thursday I accidentally missed the opening ceremony, so went for a wander to get an idea of where things were before the main crowd turned up. After a general circuit and fact finding, it all seemed a bit empty, but I knew there was loads of interesting panels on so went to find a coffee and looked through the booklet with a pen to hightlight the ones I wanted to see. Sadly this turned out to be most of them and in any case, lots that were all on at the same time. Damn! SO much good stuff, all on at once!

I had just missed the start of one, so went back into the exhibit hall to kill an hour before the next. Stalls were being assembled there: I did a circuit, and by the time I got back to the beginning, there were a few more stalls up that had not been there before, so I went round again. And then more meant another circuit… I went round about sixteen times in the end! Sadly, I had missed the next couple of panels due to being distracted by shiny things (links in previous post) so went to chat to some strangers, saw some more shiny things and basically missed a whole load more. Damn.

I didn’t want to stop there too late that first day, but lurked around on Twitter a bit. This  turned out to be a great way to enhance the experience, as lots of the panels I didn’t get to were live-Tweeted, andall sorts of  people put up photos and subsequently blogs. Great stuff!

Came across a tweet from an editor who wanted to chat to authors and agreed to meet up with Abigail (Bothersome Words) to discuss role of editor in publishing from a self-published perspective (spoiler: for me, VITAL! I have two). Meandered home earlyish, ready to prep for signing and panel tomorrow.

Fri –

 Signing, Panel – Fake Science.

Signing in Exhibition hall was with: Jenn R Johansson, Mike Shevdon, Adam Christopher, Maurizio Manzieri, Christopher Guest (he of The Illusionist fame), John Norman (miscellanea Of Gor) and… Peter V Brett. Well that was only ever going to go one way. Three established famous authors, a famous artist, three up and coming trad-pubbers… and me, with a grand total of 2 self-published books. Bless.  I got my books on display and a hundred packs of labelled jellybeans and arranged the table nicely.

As expected, three queues formed, none for me. But on Thurs I had seen a load of authors sat in a queue-free environment looking cross and unapproachable, so I figured best thing to do was have a talk and laugh with the other authors around me; on one side it was Jenn Johansson, who had some really cool badges to give out, and on the other Mike Shevdon whose book The Sixty-One Nails I was reading (& enjoying) at the time. Anyhow, it was good to chat with them and pretty much what I expected, so at least I wasn’t too dismayed by that. At the end I went and put the leftover freebies on the table and ten minutes later they were gone! Clearly, with it being away from the main stalls and cordoned off, it was a bit daunting for random passers-by, and in truth I signed more copies at my own table later than I did during the signing session.

Went for a wander later – managed to miss meeting with Abigail again but caught a great panel on pseudonyms with Robin Hobb and  Seanan Maguire  and some others. Bella Pagan was entertaining and quite establishment, Seanan Maguire came across as no-nonsense and anarchic, Robin Hobb was softly-spoken and thoughtful. All agreed you can write different things under different names and you generally know which pseudonym goes with what you are writing. There was differences of opinion over whether subjects are still gendered, and a really interesting discussion about how you come up with a pseudonym and the fact that the name defines the character just as much for the auithor-name as for the character-name.

My panel was at 3pm, and was the Fake Science one with Paul Cornell, Dr Victoria Herridge and Andy Sawyer which was great fun. I had been boning up on  hoaxes and fakes, and had a few ready to discuss, and Victoria Herridge had a wealth of  conversation as she works in the Natural History Museum, while Paul Cornell was there with his Fortean hat on and Andy Sawyer kept us all playing nicely.

Victoria Herridge was in the panel about Dwarf Mammoths immediately before ours (another clash, regrettably, as it sounds to have beem a bit of a high point); in fact a lot of her audience came across to Fake Science. Add that to the popularity of Paul Cornell at several of his panels and the room was full, which was a nice way to start.

Conversation ranged from pranks and hoaxes to the really serious fakes, their consequences and the possible motivations behind them – joke, pressure, deception, malicious spite. There was so much to say that we didn’t cover the half of it, but it was a good rollicking conversation with a fairly engaged audience.  Topics discussed included: the Fiji mermaid, Roswell, crop circles, sad side of Piltdown man, responsibility of science, monetary  issues, Lary Niven’s Ringworld and Engineers of Ringworld being motivated by a group of high-school kids, duckbilled platypus, sightings of the Wright brothers plane as fakes, rhinogrades, dropbears and jackelopes. We discussed whether the role of science as a god-replacement in a non-religious world means that fake results = sin, and whether the pressure to find new discoveries leads to less flashy but equally valid results being overlooked or not developed.  Paul pointed out that science wants replicability and won’t look at individual sets of results as non-representative. Forteans argue extraordinary claims should not need extraordinary proof, just ordinary levels of proof, but science disagrees.

Eventually we ran out of time, but it was a highly enjoyable, rollicking discussion with some good points from the audience, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Having finished the panel and a few post-panel chats with audience members, I gravitated naturally back to the exhibit hall, where I did a few more circuits of the stalls and then paused at the Banned Underground banner to chatting with Will MacMillan, author of the same (Tolkien meets Spinal Tap, apparently – and yes they are on the TBR list now), along with sci-fi author Jim Webster, and then finally met up with Abigail for a good old gossip about the role of editors, writers’ expectations from publishing, expected vs actual differences between trad and indie publishing, and then onto all sorts of goss.

Lastly, although I was starting to flag a little, I went to the Newbies’ meet in the evening, which I had read was the one thing you should go to. In fact I would add a proviso: it’s the one thing you should go to if you don’t naturally feel like chatting to strangers and do need introducing. Given that I had been doing little else than talking to strangers all day, I didn’t necessarily feel the need for help of that kind! However, there were other people there who were less confident (less gobby, if you’re not feeling charitable!) so I chatted to as many of them as I could reach,  introduced a load of people to each other and sidled out at 10, shattered. Got the  11.35 train, getting home around 1am to have dinnger and sort out paraphernalia. Late night…

 

Sat.

On Saturday my long-time cyberfriend MTMaguire, author of the K’Barthan trilogy came out to play. This was particularly pleasing as I’ve never met her in the flesh before. She knows Jim and Will well, so much banter was flying back and forth. I was delayed on the trains as the Jubilee line went into meltdown, so by the time I got there, MTM had set up shop on corner of Gollancz stall with bookmarks and freebies; I joined her there and it was SUCH fun! The stall on the other side of us was a small press by the name of  Inspired Quills,  along with several of their authors. They are a friendly lot and there was much banter between us all – and much petting of MTM’s tribble. Turns out, quite a lot of people will stop if you let them pet your tribble (er… this is not a euphemism either…!).

Patrick Rothfuss spent a couple of hours at the next stall along, and was very goodnatured and highly delighted to get his picture taken with fans  dressed as characters from his book. More books to add to the TBR list…

Sadly, MTM had to leave while the night was yet young.  I continued on the stall for a bit. I have to say, I totally loved manning the stall. There were so many interesting people there to watch and to chat to. I really enjoyed the panel… but I did get rather addicted to having the stall. At six the Exhibition Hall shut, and we left.  A swift coffee and something of a snackish variety, and I headed home to sort out my things for Sunday.

 

Sun   Panel – Adaptations

Sunday was a bit strenuous, but still good fun. I made a really early start from home in order to get in on time, along with a draggy bag of books, banner and all the relevant paraphernalia. I set up on the stall and basically spent the day hailing passersby- notable characters included Pam, Daniel and Adora; Stephenie from Netherlands, Stephen and Barbara from Italy, a pirate from UK who said he wouldn’t have a freebie as he only bought from small presses and only pirated big publishers.

Sara from Inspired Quills suggested marketing my latest book “Song  of the Ice Lord” for the LTBG community – I had not thought of that. We had a really interesting discussion about books involving alternative sexualities, as she pointed out that if ever a book features someone who is homosexual, asexual, demisexual, transgender or any of the other variants, that as a general rule the alternative sexuality becomes the point of the story. In “Song” there is a subplot about a man who falls for another man, but that is mostly incidental to the main story (the war they are fighting).

I also met Gingerlily and Caspian who I had chatted to on email in a previous incarnation, and who was  now launching his book. Cool stuff!

Panel on adaptations with Paul Saxon Bullock, Jonjo, Carrie Vaughan, who, it turned out, is good friends with someone I went to University with, who was also there doing a maths talk.  I’d say this was random, but Professor Nick would quite possibly be able to disprove this and calculate the exact probability so may be best to leave that joke alone….

The panel covered such points as the fact that different media have different strengths and do different things well. We agreed that abridged versions are bad, and that getting an adaptation slightly wrong is worse than totally changing it beyond all recognition (though obviously ‘slightly wrong’ is always going to be quite subjective). In any case it does cause us outrage when a character in an adaptation does things the character in the original work wouldn’t have done. We asked the audience for their best or worst examples of this, and had a highly enjoyable fifteen mins back-and-forth on the following:

Hunger Games – a mixed bag though reminiscent of Battle Royale. The books become increasingly cynical and downbeat. In the films the use of colour and design is fabulous to look at and really emphasised the differentness of Capital vs districts. Will they fix the ending? Most of us hoped so!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Hamma Kavula was not a popular addition though most admitted the character was well-played. There was some grumbling about how they’d changed the story but it was pointed out that the book is an adaptation of the radio play by Douglas Adams in the first place, so is not necessarily the source material. All agreed that when they announce an adaptation of your favourite story, the first reaction of excitement is closely followed by gloom at the possibility of disaster…!

Tolkien films –Lord of the Rings was fairly faithfully done and the changes seemed true to the spirit of the story but Hobbit was much more ambivalently viewed because of all the added backstory – is it still cheating if you’re adding from Tolkien’s own mythology? No conclusion was reached.

Mon

On Monday I had nothing much planned so turned up early and chatted with passersby all day. No Will and Jim sadly! Pam, Daniel and Adora came past and Pam blagged a bag from Gollancz, which made me laugh. I had a wonderful day chatting to anyone who stopped. I also had the enormous good fortune to meet the lovely Robin Hobb.

A few years ago I introduced my mother to the Assassin trilogy and she’s been a big fan ever since. As it was coming up to her 75th birthday, I told her I would get the latest Hobb for her – but did not necessarily mention that if I possibly could, I’d get it signed. I couldn’t get to the signing session but bought my copy and had it ready to hand just on the off-chance – and I was lucky enough to catch Ms Hobb as she passed the table. She very kindly stopped to sign the book and wrote a lovely inscription which made my mum squee like a fangirl later, so that was really nice of her.

After lunch, however, everything started to go quiet. A lot of the stalls did not attend on the Monday anyhow, and many of the others started to shut down around 2 or 3pm. I shut down the stall early-ish with the intention of attending the closing ceremony  but foolishly stopped to sit down for ten minutes. Of course, I suddenly realised how tired I was and that if I went into the closing ceremony I’d only sleep through it anyway. Plan B, then: I grabbed some food  in the fan village and staggered off home to fall in a heap and consider the prospect of work tomorrow and the 0455 alarm call….

So, that was LonCon. It was  SUCH Fun.   I absolutely loved it and for the space of two days I was Googling every other Convention I might reasonably get to: but then came post-con-crash, and it wasn’t pretty. Also, it ate all my writing mojo for an unfeasibly large amount of time, and I can’t really afford that.

I have now come to the conclusion that I probably shouldn’t go to any more cons for a couple of years.  I just haven’t got enough books on the shelf to justify that sort of expenditure (in money, time and energy).   I’m not far enough along the path for it to make sense.  On the other hand, when I have half a dozen books out, I’ll ease back into it by taking a table in the dealer’s room for a day at one of the other more local events. I suspect fitting thatlevel of involvement in with real life will be much more sensible.

I don’t regret going though, not a minute of it, and if I could kick over the day job tomorrow I’d be at every convention I could reach. I had such fun, met some amazing people, and learned a whole load of things. What things? Well, in no particular order:

I should read Lovecraft if I don’t want to be eaten, apparently.

I should have gone in costume on one of my non-authorial days.

I love having the stall and chatting to people!

SF&F is under-represented in Dutch, Israel, New Zealand and Italy, most home-grown authors writing in English in order to have a market. Looking into translations for some of these markets.

Good coffee is hard to find in the Excel centre.

Clean toilets with no queues make a surprising difference to the experience. The Excel staff were lovely and kept the place excruciatingly clean.

I love meeting cyber-friends.

I love publishing and talking about publishing.

I need to write more books!!

Robin Hobb is lovely, very gracious.

Patrick Rothfuss was really good with his fans.

George RR Martin has a LOT of lookalikes in the fan communities.

I SO SHOULD HAVE TAKEN PHOTOS!! Having a camera on the phone and one in my bag with extra batteries is of no help whatsoever if you DON’T TAKE THE DAMN PHOTOS.

There are lots of cool people at cons (also,  a surprisingly high occurrence of kilts).

I can do a whole day on an outsized bowl of porridge and a lot of coffee.

Next time, will get a hotel so I can go to some parties. Or write, either is good.

I love panels. Next time I should go to more panels.

I love having a dealer table. Next time I will get help to cover the table so I can go to more panels.

Fans! Didn’t meet any of mine, obv (there’s time yet) but fans are very cool.

Notes / blogs. Make notes at the end of each day. I’ve forgotten loads of cool stuff.

Twitter is splendidly useful for cons. Got loads more info from Twitter.

Con app was very good – lots of info and updates.

I did collect cards and mail people after, which was cool as managed to meet up post-con with a friend I didn’t even know was there, who it turns out was meeting another cyber-friend I didn’t know she knew. Random!

Comfy shoes a must, and assorted ones. My trainers gave me blisters so I changed to horrifically ugly but comfy ones which were very good indeed. Heels for the signing, then took them off immediately after. This is something to consider when constructing costumes.

Pre-panel green room chats – a good opportunity to chat through and plan but also to meet people and put faces to names.

I WANT TO DO MORE CONS! I can’t afford to do any more cons yet but soon as I have the books and can afford the time and energy, I’ll be right back.

Reading books by people on your panel – a great way to find other cool books. Still working through the LonCon section of my TBR list. Have read three Patrick Rothfuss books now, and loved them. Bought a copy of the first one for my mum for Christmas. Word of mouth is powerful, and cons are good for spreading it.

All told, I did love Worldcon and am looking forward to checking out some of the smaller UK ones; but to justify the cost in time, money and energy, I think I need to put it on hold until I have a few more books out.

Which said, I guess I’d better go write a few more, eh?

Though obviously if any of you have a favourite convention, or good convention tips or just want to gossip about Conventions I Have Known, hit the comments. I’m open to persuasion, gossip and further learning points!

Catch you later, peeps:

JAC.

Hi all:

Just starting the sorting and tidying of the post-Loncon detritus, and while I’m working up to the full report, I thought I’d give you a quick list of links to be going on with. The dealer’s hall was an Aladdin’s cave of cool stuff, and on the Thursday I ended up walking round it about sixteen times, as every time I finished a circuit they’d put some more stalls up when I got there again!

I wanted to buy  SO much stuff: virtuously didn’t, and in all honesty the only thing I really regret is not buying the fab pic of the ferrets pulling the Celtic knots to pieces from Sophie Klesen(?) which I shall link to later, but then it was more money than I really could afford so probably for the best.

Anyhow. Take a look at these, and appreciate the splendidness!

Art

http://www.margaretwalty.co.uk – the most beautiful, luminous art. I wanted to buy all of it but sadly it’s a bit out of my pocket! Go and admire though – they are fab.

http://www.tekeli-li.com – this is where you can find all the various links for the Sophie Klesen whose fabulous mediaeval stuff is really gorgeous. In real life it’s dripping with gold leaf, and so unusual! If you check out her FB page, the one with the ferrets is the one I was hankering after. Isn’t it cool?! I did ask if they had it in postcard form, but they didn’t so I got the “Not available” one instead because it made me laugh.

www.annesudworth.co.uk – evocative, almost photographic paintings. Lovely stuff. They sold almost before I got to them!

Books

 www.glasgow.ac.uk/thesaurus – the historical thesaurus of English. Synonyms going right back historically; very pleasing.

www.inspired-quill.com – the excellent people at Inspired Quill who kept us amused in our bookselling endeavours. Buy their stuff! I have done.

And the cyberfriends from the Amazon forums who I finally met in the flesh, authors all:

www.willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com

http://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/

and my good mate and shameless tribble-petter MTMaguire: http://hamgee.co.uk/

Tshirts and other stuff

www.islandofdoctorgeof.co.uk – a fresh kind of madness. Slightly steampunk, very random. I particularly like the sleeve badges pertaining to tea, but sadly they didn’t have just straight black tea or I would have bought it on the spot. There were several other cool ones I meant to go back for, but when I did it was shut – another close call for the credit card!

www.londonmetalclay.com – pretty things! I did in fact cave annd buy a really pretty necklace from here. I wandered past every day for the entire con and still wanted it at the end so, y’know, it might have accidentally hijacked my credit card.

www.genkigear.com – Well, there were these Tshirts and I really wanted them and they were funny, so I virtuously bought some for pressies, you know, and accidentally maybe one for me and then it turns out they had a green one with weasels on and my press is called Weasel Green Press so it would have been kind of rude not to….

Anyhow, there are some links for you to be looking at while I’m writing up the rest of it.

Loncon was a most tremendous experience and I met some tremendous people, had some very interesting conversations and learnt A LOT. Part of what I learnt was that I really, really love meeting people and chatting to readers. Sadly I am a bit rubbish at selling my stuff, but you never know – maybe people will go and see what I’m rambling on about if I feed them enough jellybeans… but more of that anon.

Sadly being quite STUPID I took no photos at all of my first ever con.

< F A C E P A L M >

Still, I’ll find some Twitter peeps and get them to link in the comments if I can so you’ll have a bit more of an idea of what was going on.

Yet again – watch this space…also, if I find more of my links I may update it later on so do come back and check – and if you know something I’ve missed out, that’s what the comments are for!

More anon:

JAC

Loncon space holder….

Hey all;
Loncon. Fabulous. Blog will follow but not till I have cleared all the detritus from my desk/chair/office and can get to my computer.
Also, now back at work and that 0455 alarm? Ouch.

More eloquence and indeed detail later – fool that I am, I took NO pics so will hopefully persuade tweeps to let me link to theirs.

And I have some stonking links to send you to as well!

So much fun!
Watch this space….
JAC.

Hey all:

Here for your delectation is my schedule for LonCon3. If anyone is going to be there, do come and say hello – particularly at the signing bit where I am in the same room as some people like Peter V Brett and Christopher Priest whose books are spectacularly famous! Fortunately I will be there with my nonexistent following so the table will look nice but the room will not be even more crowded…! heheheh.  Though if it gives you any idea how seriously I am taking this, I have spent actual money on an actual dress. Yes, a dress.

Also, there will quite possibly be jellybeans.  I am have chosen those because I don’t like them and therefore won’t eat them all myself, which means that you lot need to help me with them.

So, yeah a signing (oooh get me). And then two panels, which should be really interesting, and bonus – I am meeting up with cyberfriends such as MTMaguire (if you haven’t read the K’Barthan Chronicles, go do so) and some of the guys from the Kindle forum, with a bit of luck. And who knows who else?

Looking forward to this…. So:

Autographing 3 – J.A. Clement

Friday 10:00 – 11:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

J.A. Clement (and lots of properly FAMOUS people!)

Fake Science for Fun, Profit and Disaster

Friday 15:00 – 16:30, Capital Suite 15 (ExCeL)

From Piltdown man to water powered engines and vaccine scares, fake science casts a long shadow. Why is this? Why do people fall for the same thing again and again? When does it matter? When is it good fun or is it always something that has to be stopped? If so, how?

Andy Sawyer (M), J.A. Clement, Paul Cornell, Dr Tori Herridge

You’ve Ruined It For Me

Sunday 19:00 – 20:00, Capital Suite 3 (ExCeL)

Screen adaptations of genre works are big business, and fan conversation about them often revolves around issues of accuracy and deviation. But what are the other discussions we could be having about the relationship between novel and film? How does our experience of an adaptation shape the way we read a particular book, whether for the first time or on a re-read? Is it possible, any more, to talk about The Lord of the Rings without reference to Peter Jackson? Are ‘book purists’ too defensive against what is, after all, simply someone else’s reading of a work with a budget, or do blockbuster adaptations carry a popular cultural weight that makes them hard to escape?

Ellen Kushner (M), Saxon Bullock, Jonjo, Carrie Vaughn, J.A. Clement

 

~~~

Other than this I will of course have my reader’s head on, and will be lurking in panels and workshops and  having a look round the exhibitor’s hall and all that.

And now, back to the prep.  Banners! Jellybeans! Bookmarks! It’s madness over here…

Catch you at the ‘Con!

JAC

 

Hi all:

Quickly- as warned, the price of Song goes up to $2.99 later on today. If you haven’t got it already, get in quick before they process the change!

Now gearing up towards LonCon so updates may be sporadic for the moment. If you’re going, let me know!
Otherwise, updates will be on the blog (possibly during but more likely afterwards )

Back to it!
JAC

Dear all:

Due to a mild disagreement between myself and my computer, the splendidly celebratory blog announcing that Song of the Ice Lord had now gone live…well, it remained in my computer. Unhelpful. I will be giving it a stern speaking to later. But Song is now indeed live, and at the introductory low price of $0.99 / £0.77 until Monday 14th July only.

SO

to celebrate (in retrospect) the release of Song of the Ice Lord, I am going to give away;

One signed paperback

One bracelet, handmade by a local glass artist

And one solar-powered hummingbird, would you believe?!

And (subject to availability) the pendant of the house of your choice from Game of Thrones).

Giveawayphoto 4

So – how do you win all this booty??

 

To enter, all you have to do is come up with songs for (dah dah dah…..)

“Game of Thrones – The Musical”.

 I want to know what the song is, who the artist is, and what character should sing it.

 

As an example, if this was Lord if the Rings you might enter

“Ring of fire” by Johnny Cash (as sung by Sauron)

or envisage a scene between Frodo and Sauron to the melodic strains of “Can’t Get you Out of my Head” by Kylie

or even

“You ain’t nothin’ but a Balrog” by Elvis, as covered by Gandalf.(Yeah, it’s cheating but it made me laugh)

 

 

So –

Same idea, but Game of Thrones-related please! The prizes will be shared amongst the ones that make me laugh the most (there may be ebooks or bookmarks for ones deserving of special mentions).

 

So that’s how to enter. And if you absolutely can’t wait till 13th July when I decide on the winner,  Song of the Ice Lord is now available for your viewing pleasure (rah!) at the following purveyors at the knockdown price of $0.99 / £0.77 until Monday 14th July at which point it will go up to $2.99: you have been warned.

 

Amazon UK:

Song of the Ice Lord (Parallels)

US:

http://www.amazon.com/Song-Ice-Lord-Parallels-Clement-ebook/dp/B00L72RTY0/

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/448648

B&N:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/song-of-the-ice-lord-ja-clement/1119745072?ean=2940046014785

Apple:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/song-of-the-ice-lord/id890151274?mt=11

 

It’s also in all the other stores Smashwords export to, so if not listed here, Google should find it.

 

but back to the giveaway! Game of Thrones – the musical, remember?.

Comment away peeps! there are prizes to be won, and if the entries are good enough, I might add more swag to the bag, esp if you send other entries my way.

I’ll start you off, shall I?

with an intro to the musical by the author himself.

George RR Martin, it’s time for your solo number! Roll the intro to: Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”….

after which the curtains lift on… what? Your turn – comment away, peeps!

JAC

 

 

Dear all:

Here comes the cover reveal, at long last – but first a couple of bits of info, if I may.

1) Places you can pre-order “Song of the Ice Lord” include:

Smashwords  – note – you can read first 20% here RIGHT NOW!!

Amazon.com (pbk only, can’t do Kindle pre-orders but CAN sign up for new release alert emails here)

Barnes and Noble is now up for pre-orders

Still waiting on Apple but watch this space.

2) Song is currently priced at $0.99 / £0.77 but will go up to $2.99 / £whatever is nearest equivalent at the beginning of July. This is because the regulars – the real die-hard fans who wait anxiously for new releases and buy them as soon as they’re out – tend to miss the chance to pick up on the deals, and THAT’s not fair. So here for you regulars is a special release-deal. I’ll update links as it appears on other sites.

3) Release date is 21st June, the Summer Solstice. Get it before then if you can, and if you’re on Kindle, put a reminder in your diary…

Right. Admin aside, the moment you’ve been waiting for….
courtesy of the talented and very obliging Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover Designs

Song of the Ice Lord.

My precioussssss…..
*********************************************************************************

 

 

3D-stack-promo

Fab, isn’t it!

….half….

Just a short update:

Song of the Ice Lord
Cover is done and rather splendid – reveal should be in a couple of days, and hopefully some time in the next week or so pre-orders should be available. Files for the paperback are uploaded and assuming they pass review, the first proof should be ordered later on today, and is likely to arrive in the UK this time next week. Excited!!

Flight from Shantar:
Currently just short of 110k words (I’m getting on with finishing that while waiting for Song to be processed). The story is nearly finished but will need a bit of rearranging and then some pretty hardcore editing for tone and consistency. It needs a deal more work, but hopefully it will make a good, taut story by the end of it. A couple more bits of tidy-up and then I’ll print it out and start scribbling on it!

Book 3:
Still lurking around 100k words but though not much writing is happening till I finish with the others, plotting and sense-checking is ongoing, which means all the various plot-strands and motivations are starting to fall into place in a more sensible manner. Again, lots of work to be done, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the wordcount gets split between two books eventually – the 100k is missing a lot of character’s storylines – but the frame is in place and the bodywork is starting to take shape. So even that’s progressing, albeit slowly.

Lastly there are three short stories embedded into the text of Song and I’m thinking of releasing them as free shorts, provisionally titled “The Last Dragon”, “The Scarred Artisan” and “The Widow’s Son” (though the last is a rubbish title and hopefully likely to morph into something snappier).

Get me with the progress!! I have a good feeling about this year though… Fingers crossed!
Right. Back to it.

Cover reveal for Song should be in the next week or so, and release date before the end of the month so as always, watch this space for progress.
All the best:
JAC
*****

Hey peeps!

Progress continues! Song of the Ice Lord edited, re-edited, re-written a bit and now undergoing one last read-through for typos before it goes off for formatting. WOOOOOO!

Cover has been queried – still waiting for an answer from the cover designer but specifics have been sent, so just waiting for a time-frame on that one.

At the moment and dependent on formatting / cover-making / proof-delivering deadlines, the release date is set for Midsummer’s day – 21st June.

Updates will follow, and I’m hoping that if it’s ready beforehand, pre-orders may be possible, but this is all subject to change.

More when I’ve heard back from the cover lady.

In other news, I have now officially bought my membership for Loncon  – the Science Fiction Convention in London in August. Negotiations are ongoing but I may be doing some programme stuff – more on this when I hear back from them – so if anyone’s going, do let me know and we shall cross paths in person, not just in cyberspace!

Rah!

Take care and keep an eye out for further developments, as I hope they’ll be forthcoming very soon…

JAC

 

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