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.
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.