FanExpo 2017 Wrap-Up

For some reason, I always seem to wait until I have the energy of an opiate-addled sloth to get around to these posts.

By my watch, it's nearly 1 am on Friday, September 8th, a full eight days after FanExpo 2017 began. As ever, it came and went like some sort of pop-culture maelstrom, replete with tens of thousands of metaphorical storm chasers descending upon the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in the hopes of basking in the four days of near-chaos that always ensue, and hundreds of celebrities, industry pros, and Artist Alley creators (or artisanerds) looking to offer their own piece of the action to those looking for some.

As with last year, Deanna and I shared a table in Artist Alley with A.A. Jankiewicz, author of the Q-16 books, personal friend, and all-around good egg. Much like our previous forays with this convention, our days were largely relegated to trying to catch the eyes of passersby, in the hopes that we might invoke the Vaudevillian Gods of old, pitching our wares to potential readers. Sometimes it worked, more often than not it didn't. It's a fact of this convention that I came to grasp in or about two years ago: FanExpo, due to its size and the breadth of modern fandom, is not heavily populated by readers. That said, our table was, all in all, far from bereft of people who looked excitedly as they saw that there were authors, selling books. Not all nerds are readers, but most readers (especially genre-heavy readers) are nerds, and often it felt like an errant sock finding its mate amid piles of laundry. We even had a few return readers swing by to pick up Collapse and Lord of the Unfinished Tower, which is always a great feeling.

For her part, Deanna decided to try and branch out from art prints to something a bit more functional. This year she tried a limited run of tote bags featuring some of her original artwork, and suffice it to say we were all pleasantly surprised by the result, so much so that Deanna is now excitedly designing a number of items, and between you and me, expect a Etsy store in the near future.

I seized the opportunity on the Friday to get a meet and greet and photo op with the inimitable nerd icon Felicia Day. I have never really been one for such things, but the fact of the matter is that Felicia's once-production company Geek and Sundry, and by proxy Felicia herself, were hugely influential for me getting serious with writing, and I wanted to tell her as much. I also wanted to give her a copy of Summerlark, and a copy of Dragon for her daughter. I won't bloviate further past saying that she is simply a genuinely lovely person, and that it was two-hundred-percent worth the time spent shuffling through the crowded convention centre and waiting in line.

The evenings after the con had closed for the night were, for the most part, quiet nights filled with Deanna and I procrastinating on getting caught up on Game of Thrones. The exception to this was Saturday night, in which Deanna, myself, Agnes, and her boyfriend Chris were joined by the inimitable Jason Wiseman, Peter Chiykowski, David Daneman, and nearly a dozen other creative professionals in what I can only describe as the most sober bar crawl imaginable. The long and short of it is that the Steamwhistle Brewery does not, contrary to my assumptions, have a restaurant therein, the Amsterdam Brewery is a lost cause during FanExpo for any party larger than two, and it you want some of the best fries in Toronto and a shot called the Burt Reynolds, look up a little place called The Pint. It was there that our quest ended, our merriment found root, and conversations got crazy enough that the DJ started to play the music louder. 13/10, h*ckin' great time with h*ckin' great people.

The Sunday, as it always is, was bittersweet. The feeling was all the more amplified, however, by the fact that Deanna and I won't be there next year. With our wedding at the end of August 2018, FanExpo is going to coincide with our honeymoon, and despite our mutual adoration of the convention and the friends we've made over the years, the choice was a bit of a no-brainer. Weddings are hectic business, and so our conventions schedule for 2018 is pretty well up-in-the-air.

And so with that I bid farewell to this, my fourth convention season as a professional. A huge thanks again to Agnes, to the organizers, and to each and every person who stopped by, even just to take a look. See you all in 2019.

In Which I Actually Update My Blog

"I'll see you in March." I said.

"I figure I can update monthly." I said.

This is why you all have trust issues, I'm sure.

God, has it really been six months? Yes, yes it has. I kept telling myself I would update this blog when I had something worth writing a post about.

I didn't write a post about my reading at Whitchurch-Stoufeville Public library, which went really well.

I didn't write a post about Ad Astra or Atomic Lollipop, both of which which also went really well.

I didn't even write a post about the fact that Realmwalker liked my Legacy submission so much that it was accepted on the spot, coupled with an offer by them to publish the Four Kingdoms Saga, and Dragon in the Doghouse.

Incidentally, I'm now a traditionally published author. And I never blogged about it, surprising no one.

The transition has been kind of weird. I would go into it in detail, but frankly one of my fellow RPG authors, the incredibly talented Graham Austin-King did a perfect job describing it on his own blog, which he manages to actually update.

So, all that said, I guess I'll tell you guys about what's going on for FanExpo. This year, I've upgraded from piggybacking table space off friends, and have moved onto bigger and better things; sharing a smaller (read: less expensive) table with Deanna. We're going to be at booth A75 all four days, where you can get the shiny new RPG editions of The Summerlark Elf, and if you're early/eager enough, the last remaining self-published copies of The Missing Thane's War and Dragon in the Doghouse. Additionally, Deanna will be selling tons of really cool prints, from cubicle-friendly postcards to dorm-appropriate posters, and everything in-between. Long story short, booth A75 is where the coolest stuff is. (Except for everyone else's really cool stuff. Buy all that stuff, too.)

Now, of course, there's always more to these cons than just the dealers' rooms. The Thursday and Sunday nights will be pretty quiet for Deanna and I (unless something REALLY awesome comes up, that is), but Friday and Saturday are for PARTIES!

So to speak.

Friday night, come and join me, Deanna, game designer/writer/artist Corey Reid (Dino Pirates of Ninja Island, Reform School Ninja Girls), my brother Ryan, and whoever else we can drag along as I run them through the latest DnD 5e adventure Harried in Hillsfar. Spoilers: Deanna will play a halfling.

Further spoilers: that's not really a spoiler if you know Deanna at all.

Saturday night you'll be able to find Deanna and I at the RETRO CONSOLE GAMING AFTER PARTY! That's a thing that's actually happening! Specifically at the Loose Moose on Front St.

Alright, everyone, I'm pretty sure I've filled my blog quota for the next six months, I'll catch you all next February.

Just kidding, expect a recap post in a couple weeks.



FanExpo 2014

In all honesty, I did not think FanExpo was on my radar, not for 2014.

I mean, Deanna and I talked about splitting the cost on a Small Press table, but opted to wait for 2015, so as to assure we'd both have a body of work to make the cost of a table worthwhile. I did not expect to receive an offer from Jason Anarchy like the one I did this past Anime North:

"So, I have a table for FanExpo this year, but I'm also doing some panels. I had a friend who was going to help me run the table, but he's got other obligations. If you give me a hand, I can give you some table space."

I still cannot believe it, doubly so because this isn't just a Small Press table. Jason is a featured Gaming guest, and as such, that is where the table is located. Let's just say I owe him a few pints, at least. This is FanExpo, the biggest con of the year in Canada.

There is a part of me that is sufficiently terrified.

I mean, I know it's just jitters. I know I'll be fine, have a great weekend, and hopefully sell some books, but it's surreal. On top of the con, Jason, Deanna, and myself are attending Jim Zub's launch party for his new comic tomorrow night, and the Cyanide and Happiness Banana Bar Crawl on Saturday. While on the more casual side, these are very much industry events, with industry people, and I will be commingling with them, as an industry person (sort of).

As it stands, I still have to pack (I will be at Deanna's during the con), but I did want to let you all know what my schedule was going to be like, and where you could find me, provided you'll be attending.

I'll be at the con all four days, so you needn't worry if you only plan on making it out for only one. I will be at table 563 (just a couple tables away from the LEGO booth). Keep an eye out for the big Drinking Quest banner. I will more than likely be there constantly over the four days, so come by and say hello, buy a copy of The Summerlark Elf, and a copy of Drinking Quest. If perchance I am not there, there is a good chance I'm attempting to find Ed Greenwood and give him a copy of the book, so you could likely find me there.

Anyway, I have clothes, books, cards, and DnD stuff to try and pack, so I will see you all later (hopefully at the con!)