Tag Archives: fantasycon

Fantasycon 2015: Aftermath

fantasycon2015 Ah, Fantasycon, how do I love thee.  Fantasycon was my first con, and thus the con that raised wee!Jen! in the genre.  It’s also the convention that introduced me to a wild and spendid bunch of utter nutters folks who have become my extended family and like this year’s GoH Jo Fletcher (and many others) are frequently heard to say, I wouldn’t be where I am now without Fantasycon and the BFS.  So Fantasycon has always been my home con.  There’s been ups and downs over the years, great venues, seriously crappy venues, shenanigans and hijinx aplenty, but after a rather excellent time in York last year, I was looking forward to more of the same. In that I was not disappointed as this year by far exceeded it.

So the hotel – from an accommodation standpoint, the De Vere Orchard is one of the better Fcon hotels.  Plentiful free parking, comfy chairs and actual stable free wifi y’all! (What? This is a vital part of any con!)  And yes, many hated the limited menu the hotel decided to shove in the restaurant especially for us, but hey, it was cheap and suited my (admittedly unsophisticated) palate perfectly so I had no problem with it.  Everything with cheese? So in!  (The epically slow service was a whole ‘nother thing though.)

The con itself had an excellent vibe to it – with tons of new people, a generally relaxed and friendly feel and plenty of light spacious rooms to hang about in between things.  And oh so many panels.  In an alternate universe, where hive mind clone systems have been invented, Jen #1 did alllll the panels, Jen #2 did allll the other panels, Jen #3 scooped up the random panels, launches and miscellanea missed by #1 and #2, Jen #4 lurked in the readings and hung around gossiping all day before storming the karaoke and disco, while Jen #5 got on the tram to Nottingham and hasn’t been seen since. At some point later the multi Jen collective merged brains and the full con experience was had by all.

Alas, no hive mind clone club in this universe, so while many panels were seen, many panels were not and conversations were fleeting things that happened as people passed on the way to other stuff.  But the people I did get to see, albeit briefly, were fantastic. (Cheers folks! Big hugs!)  Shout outs to Adrian, Ruth, Alasdair, Marguerite, Pete, Jan, Debs, Mike, Paul, Marie, Steve, Jo, Amanda, Simon, other Simon, other other Simon, Cate, Liz, Gary, Karen, Heidi, Adele, Mr Fox and all those peeps whose names are currently on the edge of m’wossname but who also increased the general loveliness of the con.

The editing panel I was on went well (despite the fact I was on it!).  James Barclay is a stunning moderator, and m’fellow panellists – Pete Crowther, Nicola Budd and Simon Marshall Jones – were both erudite and excellent! (I said not much, and possibly answered questions that hadn’t even been asked. Er. Whoops? Mooooving on.)  The other panels were a wonderfully varied selection including the fun and very educational writing in a franchise panel, the excellent present and future of horror panel, the equally excellent epic fantasy panel, the panel interupptus that was the marketing panel (cut short by fire alarm and ensuing congregation in the car park), and the fascinating future of publishing panel (phone fic, yo!).  The Jo Fletcher interview was also brilliant.  (Jo F. = actual goddess. No question.)

We had to leave early Sunday so missed the last day of fun, but awards can be found here – and are they not a fantastic bunch of winners?   Alchemy picked up Best Collection for Adrian Cole’s Nick Nightmare Investigates (co-published with Airgedlámh Publications), Fox Spirit picked up Best Independent Press, and with Holdfast and Women Destroy SF among the other winners, happy Jen is very happy.  🙂

Massive kudos to the redcoats who kept things running smoothly and huge thanks to Lee and the committee for organising such an amazing con. I had a blast!  (Now go get some sleep, peeps!)

And so onto next year… early news in says that next year Fantasycon will be in Scarborough (23rd – 25th September), organised by Alex Davis of Edge Lit fame, with the lovely Adam Nevill as first guest – so naturally I’ve already booked. (Well, it has to be done!)  Should be fun, so get yourselves signed up already!

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Fantasycon 2015: Where’s Jen?

axe1 picWheee! Fantasycon approacheth, and I’m on a panel!  And a rather fabulously titled one at that.  Behold the glory of the Hack ‘n’ Slash panel!

On the Saturday, 11am, in Suite 2:
Hack ‘n’ Slash: Editing Dreams and Editor Nightmares
Editing is a form of surgery: we may not want to go through with it, but we are almost certainly better off for it. But how do you learn this vital skill, and work collaboratively with others in the editing process? A panel of editors, writers, agents & publishers share their experiences.

  • what to look for: how to polish a manuscript
  • working with editors
  • the editing process for self-publishing writers
  • the value of copy-editing

Moderator: James Barclay
Panellists: Jenny Barber, Nicola Budd, Peter Crowther, John Houlihan, Simon Marshall-Jones

Soooo, yes, I’m on a panel with professional type people then! Not at all nervous. Ohhhh no.

Elsewhen, I’ll be lurking at the Alchemy/Shadow Publishing joint launch thingy – 10am on the Saturday – Alchemy’s launching Marion Pitman’s collection Music in the Bone; Shadow’s launching Allen Ashley’s latest anthology Creeping CrawlersIt’ll be awesome, y’all should pop along.

Other than that, I’ll be fervently wishing I could manage some sort of hive mind clone thing as there’s So! Many! Things! I want to go see. All at the same time! Also, karaoke!

Oh, and, also, not forgetting that Alchemy Press and Fox Spirit Books are up for allll the awards this year.  Well, most of them.  Which they will win because my publishers are amazeballs.


*Clip art image by Cliparts.co

British Fantasy Award Nominees 2015 (all the squee)

UrbanMythic2bDon’t mind me, I’ll just be giggling madly in the corner here…  So, this morning the ever lovely Stephen Theaker posted the BF Awards shortlist for this year…. on the BFS website here, in full.

This is such a fantastic list with some fab people on it (Lightspeed’s Women Destroy SF! Jen Williams! Spectral’s Book of Horror! Mark West! Holdfast! Lightspeed!) so huuuuuge congrats to all the nominees….

The absolute highlight though is in Best Anthology where Urban Mythic 2 scored a nomination!  To say Jan and I are insanely pleased would be an understatement of epic proportions.  We are INSANELY pleased!

And! Wicked Women copped a sorta mention too as the awesome Gaie Sebold got a Best Short Story nom for ‘A Change of Heart’ which appeared in it.  Babylon Steel stories for the win!

Did I mention Jan and I are insanely pleased? There is happy dancing.

And! Not only that!  But my beloved Team Alchemy and Team Skulk picked up all manner of noms, namely –

Best artist – 
Ben Baldwin – who did the gorgeous cover for Urban Mythic 1
Les Edwards – who did the equally gorgeous cover for Urban Mythic 2 as well as covers for other Alchemy titles
Sarah Anne Langton – who did the wonderfully gorgeous cover for Wicked Women as well as covers for other Fox Spirit titles
Daniele Serra – who has done lovely covers for both Alchemy and Fox Spirit

Best collection
Nick Nightmare Investigates, Adrian Cole (The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications)

Best fantasy novel (the Robert Holdstock Award) –
Breed, KT Davies (Fox Spirit Books)

Best horror novel (the August Derleth Award) –
The Unquiet House, Alison Littlewood (Jo Fletcher Books)  – Who also had a story in Urban Mythic 1.  🙂

Best independent press
The Alchemy Press (Peter Coleborn)
Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)

Best non-fiction
Touchstones: Essays on the Fantastic, John Howard (The Alchemy Press)

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday, 25 October 2015, at FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham, and, obvs, Alchemy and Fox Spirit will be winning alllll the awards.  And getting a joint win in Best Inde Press, just cos.  😉

Back to Life

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00024]Climbing slowly out of the mire… mostly due to this current and last OU module being the most challenging I’ve done yet so occupying alllll of my brain since October.  Fortunately I’ve only got two more assignments left then the course is done, the degree is done, et voila a happy dancing Jen.

Meanwhile, fings wot have happened so far this year –

I had a review of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower up on the fabulous King for a Year project site thing.  As King is one of my go to genre comfort reads, I was dead chuffed to be involved.  They’re doing King books all through the year so go check them out here!

In January I was also a Friday Fiver over at Pornokitsch talking about my five favourite wicked women in comics.  Theme not uncoincidentally tieing in with our fabulous Wicked Women anthology.  😉  (Wicked Women and Urban Mythic #2 and the stories within are eligible for alll the awards… hint hint nudge nudge… Or just buy yourself a copy or two! Each book comes with awesome stories and bonus epic love from the editors… Who can resist a deal like that?)

And on the Fox Spirit front, at some point this year I’ve shorts coming out in Fox Pockets Volumes 6, 7 & 8….’In Darkness Dreaming’ in Fox Pockets Vol. 6: Things in the Dark, ‘The Strongest Conjuration’ in Fox Pockets Vol. 7: In an Unknown Country and ‘ Dead Women’s Tales’ in Fox Pockets Vol. 8: Piercing the Vale. (Give or take publication schedules…) All three stories are set in the same world and roughly connected both to each other, and to my stories in the earlier Piracy and Shapeshifters Fox Pockets – with the mermaid pirates from Piracy dropping by in two and the fox shifter from Shapeshifters turning up also in two.  With bonus ghost towns, underwater ruins, sea monsters and genderfluid parenting…

Oh! And! Eastercon! I’ll be mooching around there this year.  I’ll also be around the fabulous Nine Worlds Geekfest and Fantasycon (the original UK one, not that rampant pretender that’s emerged in the States ;-)….)   So say hello if you see me!  x

Oh! And! Also! If you tumblr, I’m on tumblr here if you’re so inclined.  It’s where I indulge my fannish tendencies so that’s what you’ll be getting there… 😛

Urban Mythic 2: Cover, Launch, ToC

Darlings! Hello!  We have a launch date for the ever marvellous Urban Mythic 2!
We will be unleashing the Anthology of Awesome at Fantasycon in York, on Saturday 6th September at 2pm.  Hurrah!

Not only that, we have cover!  Well, prelim cover.  Slight changes may be made to the font-y bits, but, hey, look… pretty picture from Edward Miller!UM2 prelm coverAnd! Final order of contents!

The Mermaid  – Tanith Lee
For the Memory of Jane  – K T Davies
Where the Brass Band Plays  – Adrian Tchaikovsky
How to Get  Ahead in Avatising –  James Brogden
 La Vouivre –  Sarah Ash
Trapped in the Web – Pauline E Dungate
 The West Dulwich Horror  – Carl Barker
The Cupboard of Winds  – Marion Pitman
Blood*uckers –  Chico Kidd
High School Mythical: Asgard –  Christine Morgan
Paradise Walk  – Andrew Coulthard
Death and the Weaver – Lou Morgan

Are you excited? I’m excited! 😉

The Post WFC 2013 Post!

View from my window - the only bit of Brighton I saw!

View from my window – the only bit of Brighton I saw!

Well, except for this bit of Brighton, also seen from my window! If you squint you can see the pier in the distance!

Well, except for this bit of Brighton, also seen from my window! If you squint you can see the pier in the distance!

Phew. World Fantasy Con then. That was a thing. An exhausting thing, for the most part, given the whole working rather than con-ing, but the work was extremely enjoyable.  I’d probably have to say that’s the most fun I’ve had yet working a con.  Most of which is down to the awesome Team Red Coat and the con-com who remained relentlessly cheerful and friendly and efficient throughout.  Lou Morgan especially deserves a whole swimming pool of gin. 😉

And the mass of people we saw through the doors added heaps to the buzz of the thing.  (Is it weird I actually liked being swamped on the Reg Desk.  Over 1400 people we checked in! 1400!!! Egads! And most of them on Weds & Thurs! I seriously could not even stand up, let alone walk both those nights.)  We’ll pass quickly over that thing where I checked in one of the GoHs and completely missed the fact that they were one of the GoHs.  Or the famous SF author of very long standing who I totally didn’t recognise at all and who was very amused when I asked him his name and couldn’t quite believe I was seriously needing to be told. Or the well known ghost story anthologist who I got chatting to about anthologies without realising who he actually was.  Um, yes. Brain went splat many times.

And one of the perks of Reg Desk duty is getting to say hi to the many-many folks I follow on twitter and facebook and various blogs, though in the rush of the check in, mostly all I could manage by way of conversation was something like ‘oh, you’re X, brilliant/awesome/excellent!’ which possibly saved multiple bouts of fangirling and ‘OMG! I loved your story/book/blog post!’ followed by the inevitable utter panic that goes with total brain-freeze as I then forget everything I ever knew about why they’re awesome.

And I did, amazingly, manage to get out to a couple of actual con-events too.  The Urban Mythic Launch, of course, was the essential go-to event.  And we sold books, many books, and many more than we sold of Ancient Wonders last year, which is very cool. (There may be an Urban Mythic #2 next year, we’re in talks…)

I also did the Fearie Tales launch party and brought an actual hardback book (shock! horror! Didn’t-wait-for-the-ebook-scandal!) and got it signed by all the peeps that were there.  Which is not a thing I usually do.  (It’s a fab anthology, btw, only a couple of stories I wasn’t keen on but all the rest rocked!)

And doing the FT party introduced me to the merits of chairs! Which there weren’t any of. Which there really needed to be as there was no way I was going to be getting up again if I sat on the floor like many other people did.  Luckily there was this little stage thing that was perfect for perching on… But yes, con organisers of the future –  more chairs please! Many more chairs. Whole rooms of them. Chair-con! That’s what we need!

Um. Yes. Right. Anyway. Else?  There were a million free books on offer, which I somehow managed to not get around to getting any of. Got hugs off all my favourite people as well as some shiny new ones! Had to rush off Sunday morning so I missed the awards and wind down parties and sudden appearance of a wibbly-wobbly portal that let loose strange beasties from another dimension that no-one is talking about (conspiracy!) but totally happened, honest…

And if you want to take a gander at what else went on, the inexhaustable Stephen Theaker has compiled a list of pre and post WFC reports on the BFS forum here.

Am now looking forward to not working any cons next year so I can doss around and gossip with allllll the people at Fcon and Nine Worlds, and possible Edge Lit and Bristol Con too…  😉

BFS Awards 2012

Am back from that there Fantasycon (post later on that!), so for now, here be the 2012 BFS award winners!

Main Jury Awards:
Jury: James Barclay, Hal Duncan, Maura McHugh, Esther Sherman, and Damien G. Walter.

Best Novel: 
August Derleth Award/Best Horror – The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Robert Holdstock Award/Best Fantasy –  Among Others by Jo Walton

Best Novella: 
Gorel and the Pot Bellied God by Lavie Tidhar

Best Short Fiction: 
The Coffin-Maker’s Daughter by Angela Slatter

Best Anthology: 
The Weird, ed. Jeff and Ann Vandermeer

Best Collection:
Everyone’s Just So So Special by Robert Shearman

Best Screenplay: 
Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen

Best Magazine/Periodical:
Black Static, ed. Andy Cox

Best Comic/Graphic Novel:
Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Then the Special Juried Awards (which a lot of blogs keep forgetting to mention…and, yes, I’m slightly biased because I was on one of the juries for them, so don’t forget that they are actual proper BFS awards as well, right? All right then! x )

The BFS/PS Publishing Best Independent Press Award: Chomu Press
(Jury: Sandy Auden, Peter Crowther, Nicholas Royle, Peter Tennant & Darren Turpin)

BFS Best Artist Award: Daniele Serra
(Jury: Guy Adams, Anne Sudworth, Christopher Teague)

BFS Best Non-Fiction Award: Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Super Hero by Grant Morrison
(Jury: Djibril al-Ayad, Roz Kaveney & Adam Roberts)

BFS/Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award: Kameron Hurley
(Jury: Adele Wearing, Jenny Barber, Lou Morgan)

BFS/Karl Edward Wagner Special Award: Peter & Nicky Crowther
(Jury: BFS & Fantasycon committees)