Getting Ready for Can-Con

The first weekend of October will be a busy one in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy circles. A number of writers I know will be in Vancouver for V-Con and CanVention, where the Aurora Awards are handed out. I’ll be sending my best wishes for several of the nominees, most especially my editor, Samantha Beiko, who is up in the YA category. She’s facing some tough competition – the YA slate was strong this year. There are no judges: the Auroras are fan-voted.

I won’t be there. I’ll be in Ottawa at Can-Con. See the Wikipedia article for an idea of what it’s about. This is the furthest I have travelled for a convention; up until now I have only been as far as Winnipeg for two Key-Cons. Scroll down a bit for entries on how that went, if you like, but the short version is that I learn more at each convention, and I’m moving slowly along the path to becoming a published author.

At this year’s Can-Con, I’ll be taking in the presentation on Rejectomancy, in which editors tells us what all those little comments in rejection letters really mean. I am proud to be at the stage where I get rejection letters with comments attached, because it means that my submission did not go straight into the shredder of shame. But editors are busy people, so their comments are terse. Understanding the code would help me to improve my stories.

Another highlight for me will be the panel on Getting Noticed (in the slush pile). My short stories are doing okay in this regard, my novel, not so much. Should be some good pointers there.

There will be a panel on pitches. I hope this will take place before the pitch sessions, but if not it can be a post-mortem.

Author Guest of Honour this year is Jo Walton. I read her Among Others, a fascinating tale of a young Welsh witch obliged to attend an English boarding school while recovering from a crippling injury. She copes by reading SF by the wheelbarrow load, which is exactly what I was doing at that age. Among Others won a Hugo and a Nebula. Ms. Walton is Welsh, as was my mother. This inspired me to begin a short SF story with the line, “You’re Human? My mother was Human!” It’s not finished yet, but if it ever gets published, I’ll dedicate it to Jo.

Editor Guest of Honour is Gabrielle Harbowy of Dragon Moon Press. Can-Con sent us some shared tweets, so we’re practically tweeps now. Looking forward to meeting her.

Media Guest of Honour is Jay Odjick. I don’t know a lot about him, but he’s a comic book guy, so there’s a high probability that he’s fascinating.

Hayden Trenholm of Bundoran Press will also be there. He was kind enough to blue-pencil for me at Key-Con a couple of years ago. His comments were helpful, and I believe well-aimed to lift my writing by an achievable but important notch. I owe him a handshake for that. He has writers and friends up for Auroras this year, so I am especially glad that he will be at home in Ottawa, not off in Vancouver.

As always, the chance to meet other writers, listen to them read, make friends and exchange ideas.

After it’s over, Caroline and I will be driving through New England to take in the autumn colours for a week or so. For anyone who wants to read about that and see one or two pictures, it will be written up on my other blog, Tim’s Road Noise. Warning: we’re foodies, and will be actively hunting for seafood restaurants.


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