Adventures at Hal-Con

November 19, 2011 at 12:51 am (dark fantasy, fantasy, Fervor, horror, Links, Magic University, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

My very first convention was a Hal-Con, back in 1986, the first time the convention existed. It was Hal-Con 9, and I was a scrawny little fourteen-year-old with a crooked smile and lopsided glasses. My mother had sewn a costume for me, a dragonrider of Pern costume in greens and golds, and I made a little red fire lizard (yes, I know they aren’t red) to sit on my wrist. I entered artwork in the art show (an utter disaster), played a few games and met Guy Gavriel Kay for the first time.

That feels like eons ago, and I never imagined myself as a guest at a con, even as a “local celebrity”, but there I was at Hal-Con 2011, the revived version, with my table of books, my scheduled slots in panels, and my official “guest pass”. It was a first of a different kind, and one that was equally exciting and overwhelming. This time I was forty instead of fourteen, and trying to be noticed so that people might take an interest in my books, rather than to avoid being stepped on. I was nervous but ready to face the crowd.

The first challenge was lugging boxes of books to my table, bleary-eyed and a little lost. Luckily, I had the help of my trusty sidekick, Brad, and a friend who worked at the con venue, Pete, to get me loaded onto a dolly and into the Author’s Corner. The volunteers at the convention were priceless, helping me to get settled in and making me feel very welcome.

Later that morning I sat for an interview with Haligonia.ca (which were streaming live at http://live.haligonia.ca/halifax-ns/news-headlines/23669-haligonia-live-streaming-this-weekend-at-hal-con-sc-fi-and-comic-book-and-fantasy-convention.html ). They covered a lot of the action at the con, and added some fun to the hustle and bustle.

I then sat on a panel discussing zombies in popular culture. You can catch the highlights here:

http://hexedpodcast.blogspot.com/2011/11/i-dont-get-it-why-zombies-q-at-halcon.html

The rest of the afternoon was a busy blur at my table, handing out business cards, pimping Ren Garcia and Arlene Radasky’s works as well as my own, and selling the occasional book. The only real low points of the con, and they were minor, was not really having the opportunity to grab a bite to eat or a coffee, and the one fellow that soured my fun for a few moments when he looked at me scornfully and berated me for having a male protagonist in Fervor instead of a female one (yeah – I’ll fix that for you…just let me get right on that *sigh*)

I was pretty hungry when I got to the Stargazer Soiree, but the food there was scrumptious, the company was delightful, and along with a lovely lady named Heather-Anne, I stole away more than an hour of Kelley Armstrong’s time (she had the coolest laptop bag ever – with a werewolf face and red bows). The three of us snuck over and stole a hug from Nicholas Brendon. I was so happy I was giddy.

The next morning I dragged myself back to the con centre for a 9:00 author Q & A panel (I was in very good company). Then I returned to tending my table, where I stayed until closing with the exception of a stolen hour at Starbucks with a strudel muffin, an eggnog latte and my NaNoWriMo project on my laptop (Sleep Escapes Us, check it out at: http://www.scribd.com/chantal_boudreau ). I shared some friendly conversation with my neighbour, Mark Oakley, a talented cartoonist. I traded a copy of Magic University for a signed copy of Stardrop for my daughter (she loved it!) Check out his great work at: http://iboxpublishing.com/index.php .

All-in-all, it was an extraordinary experience and my thanks and kudos go out to all of the organizers and volunteers. I got an invite to return in 2012, which I gladly accepted, and I’m looking forward to an even bigger and better gathering of the fandom kind next year.

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