FantasyCon 2014, anybody?

Having had a royally good time geeking out at last year’s World Fantasy Convention down in Brighton, I’m looking forward to attending this year’s Fantasycon in York all thanks to the really rather splendid She. (Thank you, She!)

While there hasn’t been a whiff of a programme yet, I know some of the events I’m keen to attend, namely:
– The book launch of Best New Horror Volume 25 (do you think Stephen Jones would mind signing my copies of volumes 1-23?)
– The book launch of The Spectral Book of Horror Stories (check this one out – the line-up is very impressive)
– The Pointless game, if it goes ahead (I’m not taking part, I hasten to add!)

Not me. Not quite, anyway.

I won’t be attending under this ‘ere pseudonym, which will make the book signings I attend that much easier. It also means I won’t be grabbing people by their conference badges and not letting go until they buy a copy of The Floors, which is probably best for all concerned. (That said I’ll probably stick a few copies on the freebie tables and hope they elicit a review.)

I’ll still be fairly easy to spot, though, what with my silly facial hair and all-new Gordon Freeman specs. (Three weeks later and my inner gamer is still squishy with nerdish glee about them.) If in doubt, you’ll probably find me in the dealer’s room buying every book and magazine in sight and having them all sent to the hotel room.

Incidentally, if anyone knows a good black market dealer for internal organs to help finance my book-buying habit let me know. I mean, they won’t be my organs, of course, but they don’t need to know that.

Much obliged,

LP

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Pros and cons

What’s that? The banner up there? Oh yeah, I see it too now you mention it. There’s a good reason for that little clicky graphic, however, because it neatly (ahem) brings me to a little bit of news. Your least humble servant, Mr Poll, will be attending the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton later this year. Hallowe’en weekend, to be precise.

Obviously I’m not going for the weather.

This will be my first convention so there’s nothing quite like jumping in at the deep end. Four (count ’em) days of author Q&As, book signings, readings, panel discussions, book launches, schmoozing and, most importantly, drinking. These are the good bits.

The bad? Well, my credit card will require mouth-to-mouth once the hotel and bar bills have been settled, and there is the somewhat terrifying fact that I’ve never done anything like this before. On top of that there is a significant risk that I’ll be suitably starstruck to need rushing from the venue on a hospital trolley.

Basically pick any favourite sci-fi / fantasy / horror author of yours and he or she is likely to be there. Okay, smartarse, pick one that’s alive. Except for him. Yeah, she’s not going to be there either. Keep going. Ah, he is, though! No really. Go to the member’s list and see for yourself: http://www.wfc2013.org/membership01.html

In fact, if you navigate to the P’s you’ll see a famous name I’m sure you’ll recognise. About two-thirds down the page. That’s right, Sarah Pinborough will be there too.

(And, just this second, Joe Hill as well. Crikey!)

I must admit, up until around a month ago the thought of attending a conference never occurred to me. I saw the adverts here and there, but nothing sparked in my noggin. I thought that, come Hallowe’en, I’d be too busy trying to get Title Withheld under people’s noses.

Then it hit me. Not only would there be a significant number of top-drawer genre authors in attendance, but also a sprinkling of publishers and agents. You never know, some of them may be receptive to a quick pitch after a dozen gins.

After that little lightning bolt I couldn’t hit PayPal quick enough.

The giddy high must have continued for a day or two because I then applied for a reading slot and to moderate a panel discussion on self-publishing. This, you must understand, would be at a conference that strongly favours the bound word, and with me as unaccustomed to public speaking as I am. Wish me luck on that one!

It’s a pity that it overlaps the start of NaNoWriMo 2013. Would anyone grass me up if I did three or four days’ writing in advance? I won’t tell if you won’t. 😉

So what else is new? Well, with the first draft complete and boxed up in a time capsule until Good Friday, I’ve spent a little time working on the next steps, chiefly in the areas of quality control and promotion.

Following a quick exchange of emails with John Jarrold, fellow WFC attendee and agent to such horror heavyweights as Ramsey Campbell and Adam Nevill, he seems happy to run my manuscript through a line edit, which, given his huge expertise, is excellent news. I’ll have a second draft to do battle with his red pen at the end of May. I also got a really good response from the regulars of Cemetery Dance’s forum when I broached the subject of test readings, which was very heartening.

I’ve also been getting busy with my GIMP and Inkscape, chiefly to create a book cover for CreateSpace, and advertisements for assorted publications. I’ll expand on these in separate posts as Mr Poll plays the numbers game. If you have a budding horror author in your circle of friends you may want to point them to my next post.

In short, it’s all coming together swimmingly, and I haven’t even gotten to the bit I’m dying to reach – the big reveal!

Stay tuned, folks. And if you’re also attending WFC 2013 leave a message, or find me on the SFF Chronicles / Cemetery Dance forums.

Laters, ‘taters.