Octocon – 16th – 17th October, Camden Court Hotel, Dublin
Ok, this was all very action packed so these are highlights otherwise it will go on forever!
Guests and friends
The Guest of honour was George R. R. Martin, who was truly charming and fascinating. His reading from Dances with Dragons was spellbinding. Sadly I had to leave before the Q&A. He was awarded a special Golden Blaster for his work on New Twilight Zone and seemed genuinely touched. He then went on to graciously thank by name all the people who wrote the stories the episodes were based on.
Fabulous Lorraine – I can indeed confirm, she is FABULOUS! 😀 And so are her Fiends. We accidentally had breakfast together on Sunday morning and exposed them to the munchkins in a feeding frenzy. Sorry about that.
But of course there is my Shyness! While I can sit on a panel and pontificate (and oh yes, I can) I tend to panic when faced with a conversation with someone, particularly someone I admire.
I was much too shy to accost George and Parris, even politely. I am a total coward. I did say hello and goodbye as I was leaving on Sunday night but I hate to feel like I’m landing in on someone’s conversation. Plus I never know what to say. “Oh hi! You’re awesome!” sounds a bit needy. Plus there’s the whole Irish thing of “oh a famous person, DON’T LOOK AT THEM!” However EWH was on a panel with Parris (And Lorraine and Ted) on Sunday and had an absolute ball.
It was wonderful to see so many friends again this year. I haven’t mentioned everyone. I can’t! This post is long enough already! You were all wonderful!
Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance
C.E. Murphy, Sarah Rees Brennan and myself – we had a wonderful panel and all wore fabulous Urban Fantasy-esque boots. Generally we decided “vs” wasn’t really the right word. (Is it a word?) They are complementary and focus on different things in the story. Wonderful comment from the audience suggesting that “the first dealt with conflict with the Other while the second romanticised the Other.” I am paraphrasing. My memory is not that good. Well done audience member. I told you I would steal it!
Where’s the Money Honey?
Alternative funding models – making money from other means: epubbing shorter stories (my contribution), Catie’s awesome patron-funded novellas, self publishing and self promotion and the eternal question of why we think its crass to ask for donations for stories. Because we shouldn’t! Not really. It’s just… GAH!
Managing the Writer in your life (EWH’s Panel)
I was not allowed to got to this panel, which was grossly unfair. Of course, I would have heckled so it was probably just as well. He had a wonderful time talking with Parris, Lorraine and Ted, even if he was the grasshopper amongst more experienced people. I still maintain that “No” is not really a word my husband should be taught! Not by anyone. Not even someone as fabulous as Lorraine!
Promoting Genre in Dublin, City of Literature
This was fun, a small but interested crowd and there was lot of back and forth. Wayne Simmons, myself and Deirdre Thornton. Actually this panel came about thanks to a conversation Deirdre and I had on Twitter and my innate inability to shut the hell up before landing myself with work. But it really was fun.
Generally we came to the decision that Genre fiction is not well respected, that it needs to be and that we need to start with ourselves as fans. Then the conversation morphed into discussions of Dublin as a setting for fiction, the settings of our fiction (which involved spectacular gaps in my memory of general geography of the UK) and the nature of the city as character in Urban Fantasy – including where it works and where it does not, and why. Really interesting stuff. Just not technically what we were meant to be talking about. Sometimes we really need a moderator.
Oh how I wish I could have made the whole thing. I was just in for the second hour as I was child-wrangling while EWH was on his panel. Claire Hennesey is just wonderful and has a marvellous way of putting something so simply when you’ve (as in “I”) been grasping around trying to explain it. Sarah Rees Brennan is wonderful and funny! David Maybury made lots of faces from the back row! 😀
I managed to get a copy of the notes, which I am keeping and treasuring.
I also went to a number of panels – the Ethics in YA fiction stands out for me, really entertaining and lots of food for thought. Similarly Likeable Anti-heroes sparked off all sorts of ideas. The Weapons demonstration was great. Working in Other People’s Worlds – a number of the panellists want to be Batman, did I get that right? And the kids had fun at the Fantasy Art Workshop with the wonderful Vicky Stonebridge.
Dealer’s Room: Jewellery – OMG Jewellery!
Most common phrase of the con (among those who wear jewellery anyway): Want. Need. Must have! Ula’s Wirewrapped Steampunk Jewellery.
After I had emptied my wallet of notes and had the most beautiful necklace in the world in my hands, I turned to poor husband (who was wrangling two munchkins again) and in a plaintive tone said “I need earrings!” Amazingly (because he is as you know the Ever-Wonderful-Husband) he gave me his wallet. The earrings are lovely! (I still maintain there is no need for “No” to enter his vocabulary – and yes, I will get into trouble in the comments!)
Sarah from Geek Girl on the Street came along to a couple of the panels I was on and kindly interviewed me afterwards. Strangely enough this is the first face to face interview I’ve ever done so it was really exciting and I am now deeply concerned that I made no sense whatsoever! Oh well, time will tell, I suppose!
Very chilled evening in the hotel reception, eating dinner, chatting with friends and generally winding down. Photos with Lorraine as promised to Billy Bones! Photos and farewells. Left me a little verklempt as I left. Sadly I missed Lorraine’s ninja gig (but had caught a little the night before).
Aftermath: heading home
The process went something like this – Headed home. There was no bus. So tired. Sat at stop in cold. Figured bursting into tears took too much effort. Waited for bus. Got on bus. Cuddled signed books. Got off bus and walked home. Had cup of tea. Fell on bed. Tried to twitter but couldn’t form a coherent sentence.
On seeing that I gave up, got into bed and passed (blissfully) out.
On Monday (which I had carefully taken off work) I ended up setting up broadband for my parents and then headed into the dead dog (the traditional post convention lunch/drinks) in the Porterhouse on Parliament Street. It was lovely to see everyone who could make it, and nice to have a chat with some of the organizers who had been pretty much blurs over the course of the two days.
And later I got an invitation to Wexworlds in November. Yay!
So it all begins again!