So last weekend I was at FantasyCon. It was only the second fantasy/sci-fi convention I’ve been to after the SF Weekender, and felt very different – much fewer people and no cosplayers, for a start. Thankfully there weren’t any more six-hour train delays either.
I’m finding that for me, the most fun part of cons/similar events is getting to meet other writers and people involved in the sci-fi and publishing world. The thing about being an author is that cons, etc. are one of the very few ways you ever meet other people in your profession, so it’s really, really nice for me to have other people to talk shop with (and who understand what you’re on about). In this case I got to re-meet a bunch of authors I first got to know earlier this year, including Tom Pollock, Francis Knight, Stacia Kane, and Adrian Tchaikovsky – Adrian also moderated the Saturday panel I was on, which was not only one of the more interesting ones, but had the benefit for me that I actually knew a good 50% of the other panel members, which is my highest percentage yet.
One of the more specialised interests for cons for me is getting to meet the other UF authors whose books you get shelved with. The last one was Ben Aaronovitch, whom I’d had the chance to meet and chat with about his Peter Grant series at the Goldsboro Book launch last month. This time I got to hang out with Kate Griffin (aka Catherine Webb) – I’d met her once before at Forbidden Planet (when my Fated and her Minority Council were being launched at the same time) but we had a lot more to talk about this time round due to having read each others’ books in the intervening months, and I ended up really enjoying the evening.
The mass signing and my reading were less well attended than the panels, to put it mildly. The authors at the mass signing outnumbered the readers, and me and Kate Griffin and Stacia Kane ended up seated in a corner with a lot of time on our hands. In fact we had enough time on our hands to share personal histories, do a count of every other author in the room, start a Chinese Whispers campaign, have Kate teach me cat’s cradle, take a few minutes to go beg free books off Adrian Tchaikovsky, and still leave early at the end. My reading made the signing look busy, but like the signing the fact that I had some good company (the Orbit team and Kate Griffin) turned what would have been a dull experience into a nice one.
I had one last thing to do over the weekend of FantasyCon – my contract deadline for the as-yet-untitled Alex Verus #4 was 30th September. Which I hit! (By about 1 hour and 30 minutes, but on time is on time.) The first draft of the fourth book in the Alex Verus series is now with my editors, ready to start the long winding road to publication. Don’t hold your breath just yet though – the provisional release date Ace and Orbit have set is early September 2013. Still, it’s definitely coming out, even if you’re going to have to be patient for a long while yet!
I’ve also updated the website to include brief info pages for Alex Verus #4 (US and UK) and Alex Verus #5 (US and UK). I keep getting asked if there are going to be more Alex Verus books, so hopefully a few people will see these and get the answer. I had thought about putting up a FAQ, but I’m never sure if anybody actually reads the things . . .