Ad Astra – Not This Year

I’m not at Ad Astra this year. I think it’s the first time I’ve missed one in nearly 10 years. It’s a shame; I genuinely enjoy the con and all the people there. And yet, when the invitation came to register as a panelist, I didn’t.

A couple of reasons.

Firstly, last year’s con was something of a disappointment for me. I’d expressed interest in a lot of panels, but was only offered one. And, it was scheduled at the one time during that weekend when I’d indicated I would not be available. I go to cons like Ad Astra primarily to promote myself and my work. If I have no panels, or readings, or any other opportunity to put my novels in front of people, then I’m losing my main reason to be there.

The second reason I’m not going also has to do with promotion – I have nothing new to promote. I’d hoped to have Young Nostradamus ready to go by now, but for one reason or another I haven’t been able to make it happen. My old stuff is just that – old. I’ll come back when I have more to show.

Those aren’t very good reasons. Honestly, I just wasn’t up for it this year, and I’m sad about that. Hopefully next year I’ll put in the effort.

Hopefully next year, I’ll want to.

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SFContario 2017

This weekend I’m heading back to SFContario! It went on hiatus for a while, and I’m delighted it’s up and running again.

What follows is my schedule for the con, with panel times and descriptions:

 

Friday 6:30 PM; Parkview, Reading

I’ll most likely be reading from The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, but you never know… I might decide to read from my Trump story. Or something completely different.

Saturday 11 AM; Parkview

Editors Are Not the Enemy: Editors and Author-editors discuss the role of editors and authors as partners in the creative process, how to identify a good editor, why you need an editor, and more. Erik Buchanan, Timothy Carter, Cathy Hird(M), Rati Mehotra.

Saturday 1 PM; Parkview

Plot Complications: Characters in a story are attempting to solve a problem. In the best stories, their attempts go horribly awry. Who can forget the moment when the Crew of the Enterprise, attempting to defeat the Borg, is faced with the announcement from their beloved Captain–“I am Locutus of Borg.”  And the course of the story is changed. Or, when Boromir falls to the lure of the Ring and tries to take it, splitting up the Fellowship and changing everyone’s paths. Panelists and audience are invited to present their own favorite heart-stopping moment from books and film.  Timothy Carter; David Clink, Alyx Dellamonica (M), Cathy Hird.
Saturday at 3 PM; room TBA

QUILTBAG in the media: Our media may be starting to feature more characters and situations from the queer/questioning, undecided, intersex, lesbian, transgender/transsexual, bisexual, allied/asexual, gay/genderqueer (QUILTBAG) perspective, but there’s still a long way to go. How do we move from tokenism to full inclusion?
Saturday 6 PM, Solarium

Hitting The Wall: How Not to Crash and Burn Before Publishing Your Story; From great idea to market-ready story. How to save headaches, heartaches, and $$$ while avoiding the Author Imposter Syndrome.  Timothy Carter (m), Herb Kauderer, Joe Mahoney.

Sunday 3 PM; Gardenview

“Aaaaaaaaassssssssssss You …………. Wishhhhhhhhh” An audience participation panel where the moderator will give a line from a SF& F movie, and the audience is invited to guess the movie and other details. And, since turnabout is fair play, the audience is invited to stump the panelists. An old favorite returns to SFContario. Timothy Carter, David Clink(M), Sephora Hosein.

 

Hope to see lots of you there!

Con-fusion?

So, it turns out I had a con to go to this weekend. I’d paid for a table and everything! But I didn’t go. Because I completely forgot about it.

Completely.

It wasn’t a case of “What? That was THIS weekend?!?” No, I didn’t even know it was coming up because it just wasn’t in my head.

Whoops. Crap! Opportunity lost… wasted.

Brain, you let me down.

At least I’m fully aware of SFContario, happening next weekend.

Win some, lose some. Blog about both.

2017 – A Year To Get Busy

It’s 2017, and high time I blogged again. I’d all but abandoned this medium – life got in the way. A lot of loss. Maybe I’ll write about that on my other blog. Suffice it to say, I’m back in blogging spirits again. Sort of. Kind of. Well, a bit.

Professionally speaking, 2016 started well but ended badly. There was the anticipation of the release of The Five Demons You Meet In Hell, and then there was the launch at Ad Astra. Things were great. I announced a sequel. Then, late in November, Pop Seagull closed its doors, and 5 Demons was orphaned.

It was a good year for fanfic production. I wrote three stories set in the Transformers cinematic universe, two of them featuring the Marvel character Deadpool. Those two got a decent number of views and even a few comments! That was nice, but not enough to significantly increase my brand awareness. If you are interested, you can read them here and here.

Oh, and Apoca-Lynn got one more sale. That brings its total to 9. Still can’t break double-digits. I’ve basically given up on that book. A shame, since I spent a considerable part of last year writing a sequel. And plotting the next several books. Sigh.

I wrote a considerable chunk of Zombie Jesus Day, too. More than 2 thirds. It won’t be much longer now before I write The End on the first draft.

I’m also typing up the third installment of my Merc vs. Metal fanfic. I have big ideas for further installments, too. No doubt that will keep me busy after I put ZJD to bed.

I’ve asked a bunch of friends to beta read an older manuscript of mine, titled Young Nostradamus. I’m thinking of taking the self-publishing route with it, depending on the feedback I get.

I’m also developing a pseudonym. I’m giving a lot of thought to branding, and there’s some stuff I want to write that doesn’t quite fit my squeaky-clean, goodie-two-shoes Timothy Carter name.

That’s all I have to say about that. For now, I’m keeping Timothy Carter and the new name separate. Soon, ‘he’ will be blogging and promoting himself, and I hope the right audience finds him.

2017 looks promising. A year for hard work, certainly. For creating product to put on shelves in 2018 and 2019. A year to rebuild my career as an author.

A year to get busy once again.

I Didn’t Go To GenreCon 2017

Last weekend, GenreCon returned to Guelph after a two-year hiatus. And I wasn’t there.

I went to GenreCon twice before, and had a wonderful experience both times. And, both times, the programming team asked me to come! For an author still trying to find an audience, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I was greatly saddened when the con went on hiatus. When I learned it was coming back, I was overjoyed.

But I didn’t go. There are a few reasons why. I wasn’t asked, for one thing. That meant I would not get a complimentary membership like I had in the past. My request for programming information went unanswered, so I didn’t get a jump on panel selection.

I also have very little to promote this year. Yes, I released The Five Demons You Meet In Hell less than a year ago, but without Pop Seagull to back me up, I’d have to do all the work myself. Normally I’d be happy to do it – I’ve done it many times before – but I’m not prepared to this time. Not for a book that no longer has a home.

In the end, though, it all comes down to money. It would have cost around $500 to attend, with hotel, transport, food and membership. More, if I’d wanted to rent a table to sell books from. There’s just no way I could do it this year.

Hopefully next year my fortunes will have changed, and I’ll have something new to promote. Until then…

Can-Con 2016 – An Overview

Another of my favourite conventions has been, come and gone. Here are the highlights.

The venue was new: the Novotel beside the Rideau Centre and the Byward Market. It’s a nice hotel, if a little cramped. The hallways were difficult to navigate between panels, the right staircases were not obvious, and there were two towers and therefore two different 3rd floors. A bit confusing, but hardly enough to stop the fun.

A new feature this year were the name cards/character sheets. Designed like Dungeons & Dragons character sheets, the id badges provided a game element to the con. Points could be gained by attending panels and readings, getting signed copies of books, meeting new people, and other fun con activities. I myself did not take full advantage of this new element – I kept meaning to update my card and have boss battles with the con organizers, but I just never got to it. Very creative idea, though.

My panels went well. Friday night I had my reading, followed immediately by the Batman vs. Superman panel. There were roughly ten people at my reading, including fellow readers Ada Hoffmann and Timothy(!) Gwyn. I got some laughs, and we were all well-received.

The BvS: Cataloguing The Badness panel was surprisingly civilized. We debated the pluses and minuses of the film, and agreed on quite a few things. Attendance was low for a Friday night panel on a divisive movie, though.

Saturday gave me mixed feelings. I attended a couple of afternoon panels and hung out with friends, then made my way to my Can The Exorcist Work In The Modern World panel at 5. This one didn’t go the way I’d expected – I’d thought the discussion would be about religious-themed stories like The Exorcist and whether they can resonate with secular audiences today. Instead there was very little of that, and most of the time was devoted to the Exorcist novel and movie and what everyone thought of them. And, the moderator warned everyone to be respectful of religious beliefs, which troubled me a bit. It’s not that I wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I did want to speak freely about why I felt Exorcist-type stories could still invoke fear. For me, the realization that the nuttiest of religious extremists were right all along is a concept too terrifying to accept. I managed to make that point anyway, but felt unable to really contribute to a conversation that centred around a movie I saw once (and a novel I hadn’t read) rather than jumping off from it. A shame – I was really looking forward to that one.

The Spam panel would have been a lot more fun if we’d had more participants. As it was there were two of us, and a moderator acting as referee. I’m pretty pleased with the spam story I pieced together, but this event wasn’t as enjoyable as it should have been.

The highlight of Saturday was, of course, the Paper Airplane Contest! Marie Bilodieu was once again running the event with an iron fist of fear, even though her voice was half-gone. I feared her, but I also wanted to give her a ginger ale or something. My plane did a spectacular belly-flop into loserville, but my rendition of Monty Python’sAlways Look On The Bright Side Of Life” was a smash hit (Marie insists participants sing for their paper, or tell a joke or something).

I ended the day with a couple of book trades (those count as sales, right?) and generally good spirits.

I had no programming on Sunday, so I went to hang out and go to the readings of S.M. Carriere, Erik Buchanan and Nicole Lavine. Made a couple of (heavily discounted) sales, too! Less stuff to carry back.

And then it ended. Sadness. But good memories. Not as successful promotion-wise as Ad Astra or last year’s Can Con had been – really hard to sell books without a dealer’s room table.

And that’s it, con-wise, for this year. No SFContario to look forward to, unfortunately. I shall miss my fandom friends. They are a good bunch, and really help to make life worth living!

TransFormerCon 2016 – Belated Post

I typed this post a while back, but life was in the process of happening and it never got posted. Here it is at long last:

 

After a year’s absence, I returned to TransFormerCon last month to promote my books and sell my toys. The former didn’t work out so well. The latter, however, was extremely lucrative.

The con was held at the Hilton Meadowvale in the wilds of Mississauga. Once again I booked a room (at the reduced TFCon rate, thanks to the con staff), and packed up all I could carry – 2/3rds of my collection in two suitcases and an enormous Tardis bag. Good thing Tardis bags are bigger on the inside!

Last time I spent about 3 hours getting to the hotel on Mississauga Transit. This time I took one bus from Finch Station. Thank you, GO Transit!

And thank you to Marco, the stranger who helped me get my luggage from the bus stop to the hotel lobby. I figured him for a fellow con-goer. Not so! He’d been driving past, saw me laden down with all my stuff, stopped his car and came to help! What a terrific guy. Who’d have thought a convention about robots would provide such a fine example of humanity?

Checking in was no problem, nor was setting up my table. I also had no issue at all with waking up with plenty of time to check out before I needed to be at my table. What became problematic, however, was finding a cheap breakfast. Unless you have a car (which I did not), there is nowhere that can be described as close by when it comes to fast food or coffee shops. No Tim Horton’s, not even a Starbucks or a Coffee Time! I spent a fruitless half-hour walking and getting nowhere before I returned and settled for tea and a muffin from the hotel cafe. Why is that an issue? One cup of tea cost $4.50. And I blew $20 the night before on a plate of poutine and an ice-filled glass of Coke (itself $3.50).

Once the con started, however, all thoughts of overpriced food vanished. I got down to business, made lots of sales and earned some serious money. After the first hour I’d covered all my costs for the weekend. Good times!

I was also delighted with all the Transformers cosplayers I had the pleasure of meeting. Here are just a few…

I also couldn’t resist making a few purchases. I kept it to a minimum – I was there to purge, not replace one batch of toys with another – but some new acquisitions were inevitable. The Ice Cream Twins, for starters. Only $10. In package! Darth Maul Infiltrator and Obi-Wan Starfighter. Brown Wreckage (technically Bludgeon), with swords. Sky Hammer and Generations Kickback, just because. But the pride of my new buys, hands-down, is a giant Darth Vader (supreme class?). Who transforms into the Death Star! For $20!!! I could not say no to that. I wanted a few more, which is like saying I wanted to breathe oxygen, but I restrained myself.

Were there disappointments? Yes. I still haven’t been able to sell my Powermaster Optimus Prime. It doesn’t help that he’s damaged – a shoulder cannon broke off transporting him back from TFCon 2014. It seems that every collector who wants one, has one. I also couldn’t sell Rodimus Prime. He’s my favourite character, so putting him up for sale was hard. But nobody wants him, either. 😦 However, I did sell Pretender Bumblebee to a friend for a price we were both happy with. He’d been eyeing that one for four years, so I’m glad it finally worked out.

And, I parted with my collection of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future action figures (and Lord Dread‘s Interlocker Throne), too. Don’t know who Captain Power is? Don’t worry about it. Maybe I’ll blog about them someday…

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I couldn’t leave my table for any great length of time and by two o’clock I was pretty darned hungry. Lucky for me the guy at the table beside me made a run to McDonald’s. A quarter pounder, poutine and large Coke kept me ticking over, for less than the cost of my previous night’s hotel meal!

As far as promoting my novel went, the weekend was a bit of a bust. I only sold one copy of The Five Demons You Meet In Hell. However, the man who bought that copy was none other than Flint Dille! Yes! Writer for the 80s G1 series. Script supervisor and writer for the animated movie in ’86! Personal hero of mine! It doesn’t get much better than that, folks.

When the dealer’s room closed, I’d managed to move 2/3rds of what I’d brought with me. Not bad at all! I stayed for the screening of Transformers: The Movie, hosted by Flint (who also provided commentary). I ran into him afterward and we chatted – how cool was that! – but eventually I had to leave to catch the bus home.

All in all, a great weekend. Will I go again next year? Not sure. I don’t have enough toys to sell to justify getting a table. At least, not at the moment. A lot can happen in a year. Especially with a new movie – and movie toyline – due next summer!

Can Con 2016 Approaching

In a month’s time I will be back in Ottawa for Can-Con. As usual, I can’t wait to go. I’m signed up for at least 3 panels, and I’m trying to get a reading lined up, too.

I’m hoping to get onto the Deadpool panel, which will not be a Batman vs Superman bitch session this time – there’s a separate panel for that, and I’m on it. I will be defending the film, so I have my work cut out for me.

I’ll be promoting 5 Demons – hopefully all those fans who flocked to the launch of Robotica last year will also come running for Boston Lefebvre!

More news and updates when I have them.

Ad Astra & Book Launch

This was a special Ad Astra for me. Well, they’re all special, but this one was doubly so. I launched my latest novel, The Five Demons You Meet In Hell. I haven’t had a book launch at Ad Astra since Section K, back when the con was at the Crown Royal, off Eglington East. I have to say, this year’s launch went a lot smoother than that one! We had cupcakes. Demon cupcakes! Baked by the awesome and talented (and awesomely talented) Elizabeth Hirst, the big cheese at Pop Seagull.

I did four readings, all well-received (including a reading from Robotica!). There were two waves of launch-goers, with people leaving for or arriving from panels over the two hours allotted to us. Many of them were good friends come to cheer me on, and the others were new friends well-met.

We played around with my Play-Damn, but not as much as I’d thought we would. We had a Make Your Own Damned contest, and the winning entry I named Mr. Pointy. Because of his tail. At least, I think it was his tail… Anyway, that went very well. The other game I came up with was shooting Damned figurines from across the room with elastic bands, but that one failed to garner interest. Oh well. It was an experiment in promotional marketing material stuff, and fun to try.

The rest of the con was the usual blend of joy, fellowship, and rushing around. I spent a lot of time in the dealer’s room, at the Pop Seagull Press table, promoting the new novel and pushing a couple of old favourites. Sales were good, and I was able to get a couple of my friends’ books.

Cathulu

Also, I couldn’t resist Cathullu here. Isn’t he cute?

My panels went very well. Friday night was the Deadpool panel, which I shared with two close friends. We had fun with the Merc with the Mouth, but the conversation kept coming back to how much everyone in the room hated Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I had to bring us back to the subject at hand a few times, not that I minded. Not that anyone in the audience minded. Bashing BvS (and praising the Deadpool movie in comparison) was extremely popular.

On Saturday, I had two panels, but I had to skip one of them (Joss Whedon: Femenist) because it happened at the same time as the book launch. A shame – I always have plenty to say about Joss (and I finally saw Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog the other day, woo-hoo!). The other one was about used bookstores and whether they are good for authors. All of us on the panel thought the answer was a resounding yes.

I attended a few fanfiction panels – always a fun subject. They should have a drinking game next year – every time someone mentions 50 Shades of Grey in a fanfic panel, take a shot!

I had three panels back to back on Sunday. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me on a con Sunday before. Nostalgia in Fiction, Stephen Moffat’s Dr. Who Legacy, and Mental Health in Fandom, in that order. All three were reasonably well attended, and good discussions took place. By the time I got to the mental health panel, however, I was pretty drained.

The end came, as it always does. I helped Elizabeth pack up her table, and then I was on my way back home.

Ad Astra 2016

Ad Astra is this weekend! I’m going to be a very busy author the whole weekend through. Six panels, an author meet-and-greet, and a BOOK LAUNCH!!!

Good times. Oh yes.

The programming schedule is still being finalized, but this is a rough look at what I’ll be up to at the con:

Friday

Deadpool: A New Kind of Hero

10 – 11, Markham A

 

Saturday

Do Used Books Help or Hurt Authors and Publishers?

11 – 12, Richmond B

Self-Published Author Meet & Greet

1 – 2, Con Suite

 

The Five Demons You Meet In Hell – Book Launch

3 – 5, Room 1086

Joss Whedon: Feminist?

? – ?, Newmarket

 

Sunday

The Place of Nostalgia in the Stories We Tell

12 – 1, Oakridge

 

The Legacy of Steven Moffatt’s Doctor Who

1 – 2, Markham A

 

Mental Health in Fandom

2 – 3, Richmond B