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One of my favourite greetings at a convention is “How is your con going?” I love the implication that everyone is experiencing the same event differently, from their own perspective. I love that it’s implied that one person can be having a terrible time and that be completely unrelated to someone else’s ie a great convention is one that offers a diverse group of people that which they each need to have a good time. Not such an easy task to complete when you run a con and a very easy thing to attack when you attend. It also means that you can be hearing a lot of complaints about a con being boring or disorganised yet be having the best time yourself.

We just came off of Swancon 2014 (39 for those who talk SwanconGeek). It was the first con I’ve attended with my child in tow. That had its drawbacks – I didn’t manage to get to the Art Show for example, which I really wanted to (I think there was some work there I might have wanted to buy.) I couldn’t have done the con at all without Terri and Shani who did a lot (most) of the baby wrangling. The baby didn’t really want to nap too much, what with all the people and things to look at and process. So we had quite a grumpy baby by the end of each day and yesterday was painful trying to get her back into her routine. My favourite grumpy baby moment was when she just gave up on Friday night and sat in her highchair at a restaurant and squealed over and over and over like she was on total overboard (her daddy removed her from the situation and we went home).

But for me, a good con starts and ends with a good dealers room – decent size space for the traders who will be there, nice mix of traders offering different things, enough chairs for each table, access to power, aircon (that can be adjusted) and a good steady flow of people coming in to see us! This year Margaret was the dealers liaison and she was hands down the best liaison I’ve ever dealt with. She sent out regular but not too often emails ahead of the event with relevant information (and information gathering about our needs). She organised traders to bump in at 15 min intervals allowing only one of us to be unloading and using the hotel trolley at a time. She was hanging around and available to assist us when we arrived. She organised menus and took lunch orders, our money and then sent up the waiters with lunch for us at lunchtime. We DID NOT STARVE. And she did it in a calm, take charge authoritative manner. She made it an enjoyable breeze. The room was a good size and overall pretty pleasant.

Being a trader, my con basically looks like the inside of the dealers room. Hopefully trade is brisk and constant so I have things to do (and I sell my books to enthusiastic readers!). But also, hopefully everyone eventually comes past and says hello. I definitely feel like I got to have good chats with lots of people – new friends I’ve made in the last year on Facebook and old friends too. It’s also a good chance for writers to come past and talk about stuff, pitch projects or touch base on work we’re working on and so on.

We had a small Twelfth Planet Press event. I was quite worried I’d overcatered and that noone would come. Terri spent hours and hours conceiving, making and icing 450 macarons. I helped a bit with some oven management but basically that was all her. She made 9 kinds to match the covers of the Twelve Planets published so far and flavoured them according to themes within. (I’ll be posting more on that over on Pinterest). Shani kindly looked after the baby during this. As usual at Swancon, some lovely people popped in early to help me set up – thank you to all those people, I greatly appreciate your help. And I had Cat there who made sure all the champagne was served and drunk (I definitely was worried I’d overcatered). So many people came along and it turned out to be a really lovely event to celebrate the books we’ve done so far and the four more to come (yep – FOUR!).

And finally, for me, a good con has attracted some of my friends along so I get to catch up and hang out with people I love. That definitely happened this year and I can tell because I got given homework by Stefen, Nick and Jonathan as well as Cat and Bec. Should keep me busy for a while!

When you leave a good con you feel inspired to do something, be it consume or create. I came away with some ideas to mull over and a lot of reading to do. And I think we managed to feed everyone some Twelve Planets coloured and flavoured macarons thanks to Terri’s creativity! So I’m calling it a Good Con.

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Photos taken by Cat Sparks

 



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Several exciting things have happened about the offices (I mean house) this week.

First up, Kaaron Warren became the first Aussie ever to win a Shirley Jackson Award. This weekend she won for Best Novella with “Sky” from her collection Through Splintered Walls. The Shirley Jackson Awards recognize work that is innovative, disturbing and excellent. And I’ve long aspired for the work we publish at Twelfth Planet Press to be considered of this calibre.

“Sky” also won the Ditmar Award, the Australian Shadows Award and the Aurealis Award, becoming the first story to win all three. It’s such an astounding effort and I’m so proud that I had the opportunity to work with Kaaron on this collection.

Yesterday, we released this fabulously, deliciously inviting, scrumptious book trailer for A Trifle Dead which was made for us by Film students at Curtin University as part of their term work. It was a lot of fun seeing this come together and hearing about the progress and I think they really nailed the book in their interpretation. (We’re doing the ebook for $5.95 this week only to celebrate the release).

 


And finally, this week, all three of us at Galactic Suburbia got Mind Melded over at SF Signal on our favourite genre road trips of all time. I chose Star Trek Voyager cause I just started an entire series rewatch and I still love everything about a TV show with a female captain :)



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photo(35) Yesterday, I attended the opening for the Through Splintered Walls Art Exhibition at the new Rockingham Art Centre.

Background: Last year, around this time, we launched the sixth volume of the Twelve Planets series – Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren – at Natcon in Melbourne. We had a great launch and sold a bunch of copies and then later in the con, we discovered that there had been a printing error – the top line of every page was missing. After manic searching to check this error didn’t happen at our end, we promised everyone we would replace their copies and then we set about thinking what we could do.

It was such a let down and disappointment. You work so hard to get a book to print and then you proudly release to the world and anxiously anticipate how it will be received. And you hope it will fly. So when it dives and crashes and burns … well it’s a devastating feeling. And one I hope to never experience again. Whilst we stood around feeling sorry for ourselves, Narrelle Harris suggested that we think about turning the spoiled books into artworks – to find a way to get artists involved to use the books for art instead of pulping them. As an environmentalist, I was totally broken hearted about the idea of the waste of all that paper. So the idea sounded perfect. Plus, we had a chance to tank a mistake and turn it into something better.

TSW_1 The three of us worked on some ideas and a pitch and then I took this to Lee Battersby who works at the City of Rockingham (the city I and TPP are now based) as the Cultural Development and Arts Coordinator. His immediate response was “we can do that!” and when I turned around, he’d organised the whole thing. He organised four artists to give four different workshops for anyone who wanted to come along and learn about paper art techniques. And then he organised for the participants to submit their finished works (made from three copies of Through Splintered Walls each, the ruined copies which I donated to the city) for a final art exhibition.

And yesterday, we attended the opening for the exhibition. Here is the Mayor of the city opening the exhibit. It turns out, this is the very first exhibition to be held in the long awaited Rockingham Arts Centre!

Kaaron was brought over for the event and to give a writing workshop whilst she was here.

Here she is giving a few remarks and raving about how awesome the finished artworks are.

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I wandered around and took photos of most of the pieces. Here’s a gallery of them – every one used to be a copy of Through Splintered Walls!
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This one, the artist came and gave me the story to the piece. It’s not quite as she intended. You see, her new puppy accidentally chewed up that copy of the book and so she had to change her plans! I love this piece, I think it’s really great!

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And these are works that one of the workshop tutors made as examples:
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It’s quite an unsettling feeling to be pleased to see copies of your book shredded, cut up and folded. I’m so happy with the way this project turned out!



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