C4 2016 Roundup

Another Central Canada Comic Con has come and gone.

Me and my boothmates! Clare C. Marshall and Samantha Beiko! (Photo by Scott Henderson)

2016 wasn’t my best year at C4, and I’ve been hearing that from a lot of other vendors, despite record attendance, anecdotally speaking, most folks I’ve talked to were down in sales from last year. I imagine those of us in Artist’s Alley were hit the hardest. The last two years, Artist’s Alley was on a separate floor than the Exhibitor Hall, and that worked out great (for me at least) as almost every attendee walked through Artist’s Alley before getting to the Exhibitor’s Hall. This year, not so much.

It was the first year in the newly renovated convention centre, so we’ll have to see. Just as in Saskatoon at Sask Expo, my booth was facing out into a very wide aisle, and there wasn’t much directly across from us, which didn’t help in encouraging people to slow down and linger. A reminder that table placement is always important and unfortunately, not something you can really control. I suppose I could shell out for an endcap booth, but the costs of those are definitely prohibitive for what I’m likely to recoup at one of these events. Maybe if two or three authors pooled to take it on, that would work. Or it might be too many books all in competition in too small of a space.

This year presented me with a lot of variables to think about before next year’s con. C4 wasn’t a disastrous weekend by any stretch, I covered all my costs, made a bit of extra scratch, and got to talk to some returning readers and make some new ones, but it sure didn’t meet expectations.

I hate to be doom and gloom, because I did have a ton of fun. I got to rub elbows with some awesome creative folks I’m fortunate to call friends. On the plus side, I got to share a booth with good friends Clare and Sam, and lots of my convention pals were nearby, even if we were all too busy to hang out much during the show. I was also right beside Shared World colloborators GMB Chomichuk and James Gillespie, who are an amazing font of creativity and energy. Jonathan Ball, the elusive fourth creator in Shared World 2, joined us on Sunday. It’s always nice to have great neighbours.

Also, huge congrats to Scott Henderson for winning a C4 Storyteller Award at C4’s Industry Night celebration!

scott-storyteller

(Photo by Scott Henderson)

Scott’s been a huge supporter of my work from pretty much day one of Thunder Road’s life, I’ve commissioned a bunch of artwork from him, and I’m sure to ask him to do more in the future.

Shared World authors put their editor to work numbering the limited edition print copies.

Halloween hats courtesy of Sam’s mom. Thanks, Mrs. B!

We formed Knife Club, which was mostly wearing promotional temporary tattoos for Jonathan Ball’s The Politics of Knives, and pantomime knifing each other when we weren’t jug banding (sans jug).

Also amazing, Sam and I launched Mythfits #1 and people bought it!

So cool to have a comic we created together out in the world! It was birthed a couple of years ago at C4 when Sam and I shared an Artist’s Alley table, so it was cool to launch the book here as well.

Having a booth instead of a table required a different setup than I normally use, and led to more stress and consternation than I would’ve liked on Thursday night, but I thought I had the problem licked, and the table looked good.

By mid-Saturday, I wasn’t happy with it. Despite being a bookseller for more than a decade, I am not a natural “active” seller. I’ve known this for years, that I’m more comfortable selling other people’s work than my own. It’s a different sort of taxing, and being “on” when you’re inviting people into the booth instead of having the separation of the table between you. It’s something I’ll think on for next year, or the next show I do.

I did an emergency rebuild of my table on Saturday. I think it helped. It’s hard to say, but I was happier with the result, and sales did appear to tick up from that point on.

After my redesign:

I didn’t have as much time as I’d like to peruse the floor and see what everyone else was doing, but I did still come home with a few gems:

It’s like Jessica at Sweet Adeline cross-stiched this just for me!

My contributor’s copies of Spacepig Hamadeus and the Captive Planet, which in addition to several talented creators, includes my story “The Great Martian Train Robbery”  featuring art by Nyco Rudolph! Collectors take note, this is the first sequential comic work for both of us. We were over the damned moon to finally hold the book.

spacepig-copies
Photo by my official-unoffical convention photographer, Andrew Lorenz.

Still getting caught up on Andrew Lorenz’ Legacy but I’m really digging what September17 productions are putting out. Also, can’t wait for Canadian Corps #2!

Once again, C4 fell on the same weekend as the World Fantasy Convention, and as I’ve been to a WFC in Columbus before, I chose the home con to try and make some money rather than spending it. On the plus side, it looks like next year’s conventions will be back to back weekends, not simultaneous, so that’s good (especially since I’ve already bought my membership for World Fantasy in San Antonio)!

Okay, now, for the cosplay photos!

Amazing Deadpool and Wonder Woman!

I am back on a Venture Brothers tear, and the Season Six Blu-Ray was my gift to myself for making it through C4, so it was cool to see The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch representing.

Killer Zatanna and Constantine. Zatanna has always been one of my favourite DC characters, and this duo was great.

Holy shitsnacks, it’s Pam!

There was somebody inside that Tardis, slowly shuffling around the convention floor.

The sons of Lugh were there in force.

This Hawkgirl was amazing. Easily my favourite costume of the year. Her wings could unfurl to probably 15′ across.

Fun Potter family cosplay!

Don’t see a lot of Scientist Princess Bubblegum costumes, and I love that Marceline chose to wear the floppy hat (she was out in the daytime).

R2-D2! I know it’s just a remote controlled giant toy, but it’s still damned hard to resist giving the bucket of bolts a hug.

Lots of Manitoba Ghostbusters out and about this year.

Not as much Thor and Loki cosplay as I’ve seen in previous years, (hopefully I’ll see more when Thor:Ragnarok releases…) but these two were great!

And let’s end the post with a sweet ride, it’s no GTO, but then, my first car was an Impala, so…it’ll do. What a beauty!

Write on!

Central Canada Comic Con This Weekend!

C4 is just around the corner!

I’ll be tabling with Clare Marshall again which should be a blast. We had a lot of fun being side by side at Sask Expo last month.

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(Here we are so you know who to look for! Disclaimer: Authors may not appear exactly as shown)

We went halfsies on a booth instead of getting side-by-side tables, so set up might be a bit different than I’m used to. Samantha Beiko will be hanging around a bunch too, and lucky us, we’re right by GMB Chomichuk and Nyco Rudolph, so that’s awesome!

You can find us at Booth A903. Do stop by and say hello!

I’m debuting four (FOUR!) new things at C4.

First up:

Mythfits!

mythfits

The comic that Samantha and I created together. It’s been a long time coming for the first issue, and Sam did wonderful work on the art. This book had its genesis at C4 a couple years ago, so I’m glad this’ll be it’s first foray out into the public. Make sure you ask Sam for a sketch!

Spacepig Hamadeus and the Captive Planet!

spacepig-hamadeus-and-the-captive-planet

I’m the writer of one of four stories set in Donovan Yaciuk’s Spacepig universe. Nyco Rudolph did the art, and man, it looks fucking amazing. I can’t wait to see the rest of the stories. I’m going to try and have some of these on my table, but your best bet is to track down Donovan at Table A308 at C4. I will happy sign any copies you bring my way.

Shared World 2!

sharedworldcover2-copy-2

GMB Chomichuk and James Gillespie and I were crazy enough to try and do another last minute book before C4, just like last year, only this year we brought Jonathan Ball along for the ride. My story takes place in Khyber, the city I’ve explored so far in “When the Gods Send You Rats” (Shared World) and “First They Came for the Pigs” (Fungi). Shared World 2 has cover and interior art by GMB Chomichuk, with an introduction by our editor, Samantha Beiko. As with volume one, this is a limit print run, there’s billions of humans but there will only ever be 100 copies of Shared World 2, so come to C4 and make sure you get yours!

Those Who Make Us!

Those Who Make Us Cover

Those Who Make Us contains a brand new Thunder Road ‘verse story, “A Door in the Rock” and heads back to Flin Flon where a young dwarf woman must clean up some of the mess that Ted Callan left behind him in Thunder Road (I could probably write an entire book of short stories of other characters cleaning up after Ted). There’s lots of other great stories in this anthology, and I’m super-chuffed to be included.

I’ll also have copies of my novels (of course) and I’m bringing a limited number of copies of most of my other magazine and anthology appearances if you’ve missed a story.

See you in Artist’s Alley!

Write on!

 

St. Valentine’s Day Horror Con Roundup

I spent the weekend at C4’s St. Valentine’s Horror Con. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as it was a first year convention, but I had a blast!

Table 1

Here I am after finishing my table set up and waiting for doors to open.

I sold enough books to cover my costs and make a little extra scratch, and considering that horror isn’t primarily what I write, I feel pretty good about that. I’ve even got some ideas to make things go better at my table next year (assuming there is a next year. Fingers crossed!).

The first books to sell were a couple of the anthologies containing my stories. Fungi went first, probably because of that beautifully weird cover. Then The Exile Book of New Canadian Noir. That reader was a fan of Silvia Moreno Garcia’s anthologies with Exile, Fractured and Dead North, so she recognized the brand. I told her about some of the upcoming anthologies they’re doing, and later she came back and bought Thunder Road.

I brought more copies of Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls than I normally do, because steampunk were-creatures! It was one of the most handled books on the table, but didn’t end up moving. Hopefully I at least let some of my readers know to look for it in the future.

Rock n Roll Werewolf 2

At least Rock ‘n’ Roll Werewolf stopped by.

Rock n Roll Werewolf 1

Rock ‘n’ Roll Werewolf won 1st prize in the costume contest, and was awesome every time I saw him.

Kane Hodder was the Guest of Honour, and he was great! Also, if you make Friday the 13th theme music noises when he walks past your table he threatens to kill you. Kane’s Q&A was packed, informative, and often hilarious.

Kane Hodder

Because Kane was there, there were a number of Jason Voorhees costumes.

Jason 1

This guy’s was THE BEST. He even had the walk down. He came in 2nd place in the costume contest, but it’s hard to top Rock ‘n’ Roll Werewolf.

Jason 2

Sometimes Jason would just stand around, motionless, and got mistaken as a statue at least once. Super fun when the gawker realized their mistake!

Zombies 1

Zombies!

Leatherface & Jason

Leatherface and another top-notch Jason.

Conrad 2

Conrad the dinosaur stopped by for a visit!Mummy Wolf

Sweet werewolf mummy!

Monster 1

Anybody recognize this monster?

I was happy to be asked to participate in a writing panel with fellow Winnipeg creatives, A.P. Fuchs and J.H. Moncrieff, ably moderated by Dan Vadaboncoeur from the C4 team.

Panel 1

We had a lot of fun! Once again, I was reminded that everyone’s process is different, and that’s a good thing. Check out A.P. Fuchs’ roundup here, and J.H. Moncrieff’s here. I was happy to see author programming, especially since I immediately sold two complete Thunder Road sets after the panel was done!  Buddy Christ

Buddy Christ!

Zombies 2

At the end of the con, I was tired enough to climb into bed.

Write on!

 

February Goals

I can’t believe February is half over before I got my goals post up for the month. Sure, it’s a leap year, but still…

How’d I start off the year?

  • Get my WiP done and out to my first readers so I can stop thinking about it and concentrate on other stuff.
  • Finish and submit a short story I’ve been noodling on for an anthology.
  • Finish my next chapter in An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish editing that short story from December and get it out on submission.
  • Get my short stories back out on submission.

Not great in terms of crossing things off the list, sadly, but I’m mostly okay with that. I finished two drafts of the WiP, but the book came in longer than I wanted it to be, so I’m taking another run through to tighten it up before I send it off. That’s almost done.

The short story deadline wasn’t end of January, it was February 7th. I still didn’t hit it. I like the story, it just didn’t have the right ending. There was no punch–or punchline–and it felt like something I’d done before, so I set it aside.

I reread that damned other story but then got sidetracked with more pressing projects, and didn’t actually finish my revisions.

I did keep my short fiction out on submission, as well as finishing another chapter in my collaborative novel.

And goals for February:

  • Horror Con! It’s this weekend! I’m stoked. Come by Booth 502 and say hello!
  • Keep my short stories out on submission
  • Get my WiP done and out to my first readers so I can stop thinking about it and concentrate on other stuff.
  • Finish editing that short story from December and get it out on submission.
  • Work on a new novel pitch.

I always seem to forget how short February is, time to get cracking!

Write on.