FantasyCon is a bit like a writers’ club, one that specialises in fantasy and science fiction. In spite of writing about things that hit the back of readers’ minds, scaring the hell out of them and stirring the ordinary into the extraordinary often with ghouls and black moments, those writers are wonderfully warm and friendly. Take Sam Stone, who writes about nothing but vampires, who want to rip out our necks or create the undead from the innocent: she is an effervescent blonde (this time with intriguing purple edges). Her fiction is edgy and sometimes eye-watering yet her hugs and welcoming eyes are so inviting. I couldn’t help noticing her hand stroking a thigh while she talked to me yesterday – pity that thigh belonged to her husband! Hah. Then she told me that her latest novel, Demon Dance, had my name on the back cover blurb. Yeay! I rarely offer to read pre-published books on the computer: I much prefer a printed version since my eyes spend too much time already scrolling and rolling on the small screen. I made an exception for Sam and her publisher, Terry Martin – again a friendly soul and publisher of Murky Depths that won an award this year – congrats! So my few words of favour won a place on the back of her book. To order Demon Dance here.
At FantasyCon 2010 – held in Nottingham where fortuitously my granddaughter, Amy, lives with son Rob and daughter-in-law, Tracey and her so cute daughter, Liddie Ann – I met up with good friends Steve Upham of Screaming Dreams; Ian Whates, who is a man of so many writing talents (including having a story in our Escape Velocity issue #4), organiser of NewCon5 in October in Northampton, and publisher of NewCon press - and who owes me £20 !; David Tallerman - extraordinary writer who will go far; Nick Wood – psychologist (yeay I spelt it right first time for the first time) and award-winning short story writer; Pauline Morgan, Andrew Hook and many other good ‘horrific’ people.
At FantasyCon is a table groaning under the weight of second-hand science fiction / fantasy paperbacks. I looked for a particular author, Christopher Priest, because Graham Weaver, the new member of the Chester Library SF book group is a fan of Priest and I felt ignorant. That is I am sure I have read his work in the past but couldn’t remember. So I asked the second-hand book owner for a Chris Priest book. He found one then told me how the author’s first wife, Lisa Tuttle, was standing in the room behind me! Coincidences? I have to believe in them. The SF / F writing world is a small world even with so much varied talent.
Steve Upham organised the art show this year. Andy Bigwood is an artist I have admired in the past and would pay good money to have his blend of photo-realism and creative painting (digital and paintbrush) grace the covers of my books. Chatting to him he wondered if I would be part of a project in which writers would add a 300-word-story to one of his paintings. I readily agreed. I recall doing something similar for Ultraverse. I wrote a story in which time changed velocity with height. Here it is. Ah, that reminds me, I must sketch out a draft for Andy. His website is here.
I only stayed at FantasyCon for a few hours on Saturday – so much packed in. Brilliant.