Happy Monday everyone,
I’m soon off for work but beforehand I thought I would do up my monthly post here at IWAssocation. This month I thought I’d focus on conventions and attending them (next month will be as a guest/vendor) and how great it is to meet actors/writers you admire (at least it has been for me).
My earliest convention experience was here in Newfoundland, it was a small one in a hotel (it’s 20+ years ago, so I can’t remember much more). It didn’t have any guests, just people selling stuff and societies/groups giving out information. What I took away from it was a connection to a larger world of geekdom and meeting more people who had the same interests as me. Back then I was huge into Star Trek (I still enjoy it but don’t spend 10+ hours a week watching the various series). The Star Trek club I discovered at that convention was called the USS-Avalon. I used to love going to Sunday meetings, playing board games, watching the show and eventually I got more involved. I started out holding onto the records, then I contributed to the newsletter, than ran it and eventually the whole club. The newsletter was the first opportunity I had to write and see it published, I later enjoyed the control of picking articles I like and of course publishing segments of my first attempt at a novel (it was a Star Trek one of course and probably terrible). I experienced what it is was like to have my writing/editing/organizing skills criticized and I improved a little, but I’m getting off topic.
Move forward in time, the club becomes the Avalon Society and eventually ceases to exist (I got tired of running it and most of the people I liked in the club were gone). I decided to go to a convention in Halifax (Nova Scotia), while they now have Hal-Con, I think it was called something else back then. Here I got to meet a Star Trek writer, Marc Okrand (he also created the Klingon language).
I was a little star struck to be sure but I had a great time at the convention and felt once again the warmth and friendliness that geeky people have for each other. At this point, however, I’d moved from writing Star Trek to Star Wars and had begun to show the first few chapters to my friends (once more I don’t think it was very good.) I didn’t forget Marc Okrand though and later I would do a panel at conventions on the Klingon language, for now though, moving on again.
Sci-Fi on the Rock became the first serious convention here in Newfoundland (now in it’s 9th year) and I finally got to meet local authors, Darren Hann (who also ran the convention for several years) and a book company owner (and author) Matthew Ledrew (who owns Engen books). Here I saw people who did it, who wrote books, put them out (Darren is self-published) and promoted them. I was intrigued, I talked with the both of them and purchased their books.
I was a very shy person growing up, all throughout high school and into my early 20s, going to conventions and meeting outgoing people was a turning point for me. I saw that if they could do it, why couldn’t I? Eventually I got back to writing (this time a vampire book, which I had started in 2002 and finally finished in 2010) and by November of 2010 sent it off to various local publishers (including Engen) books. I’ve detailed my publishing history elsewhere so let’s continue with the convention theme.
Once my book was published (two technically) I started to go to larger conventions. This time one in Florida called Megacon in 2014. This was the biggest convention I had been to yet and had some people I really wanted to meet. Two of them being writers, first there was Wil Wheaton, who many of you may know from Star Trek: The Next Generation and more recently The Big Bang Theory, he’s a big geek like me and he’s written several non-fiction books. I really enjoyed talking to him and I gave him a copy of my first book. I once did journal/autobiographical novella type thing but I lost the only copy (it’s just as well, I’m sure it was terrible). None the less it was great to see a geek guy be successful and remain so friendly an down to earth, a genuine pleasure to meet him.
The biggest thrill for me was meeting Stan “The Man” Lee. As you may know he co-created so many Marvel characters, Hulk, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Ant Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, X-Men and Thor just to name a few. He was always the face of comics for Marvel and a personal hero of mine, he make comics fun and (in recent years) even cool (and most certainly successful). It’s not often I’m genuinely excited to meet someone but I was here, it was a nice moment in my life. As with Wil I gave him a copy of my book. I also thanked him for all the great characters he’s created. While his writing may now by dated, in the 60s to the 80s he was certainly one of the great comic book writers and certainly an inspiration to me.
So that brings me to now, I’ll be at a convention this weekend (Sci-Fi on the Rock April 24-26) as a guest. I’ll tell you about my experiences selling and talking a t convention, at another time.
So have you been to conventions? Did you meet any great writers? Was it everything you hoped for? Let us know!
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