Eastercon: Why I love a good con.

Sooo, Eastercon 2012 has come and gone. I have returned home so tired you could bottle it and sell it to insomniacs. I have lost my voice from yakking too much. Many awesome things occurred.

So, where to start? The highlights for me:

Meeting up with the T-party-my writers’ group. Due to work shifts, I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, so it was great to catch up with Gaie, and Martin, with Dave and Sarah and Tom and everyone else. And, you know, shoot the shit.

I got to meet some great new peoples, chat with Charlie Stross (wearing his Internet Puppy T-shirt. Way to really own that bad review!) and David Hodson, moderate Cory Doctrow and Nick Harkaway on a panel about e-pubbing (I sat between them and felt like I’d been hit by the stupid stick!) Gail Carriger was fab, and so elegant I immediately felt like a total scruffball. I met up with some peeps I’d met before too, which is always good. Especially when they are your editor :D The highlight may have been the utterly charming Adrian Tchaikovsky asking if I remembered him…Um, yes, cos you’re the famous person lol.

Doing my usual trick with a certain Andrew J Wilson–it seems every time we meet, we start to talk and then at some point one or other of us will say ‘Holy crap, it’s 5am!’ Which is probably why I’ve lost my voice, but Andrew is a darling so I forgive him. I just hope he forgives me!

Highlight for me was the Sunday panel on Robot Elf Sex (great name, huh? Loved it) All about how SF and Romance can inform each other as genres. I was waaay less nervous than I expected to be–it helped tremendously that the lights were so bright I couldn’t actually see the audience at the start! Tanya Brown was a gracious and funny mod, and it seemed to go quite well. Very odd to have people recognising me from it afterwards – and I got a possible interest to interview off the back of it (more on that when I have deets). I got a couple of laughs, that’s the main thing….

Monday was pretty much taken up with the T-Party writers’ workshop, which the group holds every year. People sub a short story or novel opening, and we critique them. Our little group had me, Martin and Helen as critiquers – a good mix as we all see different things, and approach crits in a different way, but to the same end. I am particularly jealous of Helen’s mad crit skills. It’s actually nerve racking from both sides – from the writers’ end, it’s OMG what will the crit be like? From our end it’s ‘OMG will they come over all precious, or break down in tears or….’ I mean we aren’t there to stamp on dreams, but you never know quite how people will take it (especially if it’s the first crit they’ve ever had). But we had a really GREAT group of people and we all talked writing for fours hours, with extra derails and hand gestures. Got two very sweet thanks from two of the submitters. Always nice to think you may have helped in some small way.

I did think about commenting on the whole gender disparity thing, which almost came across as a theme, but decided that discretion is the better part on not having blood all over the floor. Then I thought..,well, it can’t come across much worse than some other stuff I’ve read on it.

Suffice to say that I think a couple of panels that are all men (particularly when you consider some panels are more women than men) is a mere annoying blip compared the very real oppression many women in the world suffer today – female circumcision, forced marriage, being banned from working so if their husband dies they can’t support themselves or their children, honour killings…That is oppression.

Gender parity is a subject that needs to be discussed, sure, but, because I feel that most men are not inherently sexist, merely maybe that there’s been a little thoughtlessness, what is needed is a dialogue between men and women, and to that end, a more gender equal panel on the subject would have been more useful. Parity for the parity panel.

Also, mansplaining my experience of male oppression to me is actually humorous in retrospect, and there are bigger barriers than my gender to me becoming a bishop. Like I am the wrong religion. :D My own reaction to any perceived ‘oppression’ is this: It’s been a very long time since a man stopped me doing/getting what I wanted because I am a woman (they have for other reasons, which I then think about before I do it,or not). I fail to see how me doing what I want is me being ‘oppressed’. Because while slaves may say ‘I am not oppressed’ so do people who are pretty much free to do as they will. To say I am oppressed, when I can do all I dream of, is to belittle the women who really are.

So why don’t you sit right back…

And I, I may tell you a tale.

Internet brownie points for anyone who gets the reference without looking it up.

So, it all began in June ’11. After polishing my MS to within an inch of its life, and until I never wanted to see it ever EVER again, with the help of the squirrels at Absolute Write‘s Query Letter Hell, I got my query into shape. I decided to send out three – one to a small agency which was the only one I could find who said they were specifically looking for fantasy noir. During the course of my nosing research, I found that Alex Field was the agent for an online acquaintance (a lovely chap who I had the pleasure of reading a story for, TC McCarthy whose books you should totally read, because they’re great), and had scored him a sweet deal.

So, I sent out my little batch, the first one being to Alex, and three days later, he requests a partial. Two days after that, he asks for the full. Woohoo! Ten days after that he emails me to say he’s still reading but asks a lot of encouraging questions. And then, the biggie. Roughly two weeks after me sending the query, I have an offer of rep from someone who is a) hugely enthusiastic and b) has recently sold something in a similar vein and has several editors in mind to sub it to. After a little back and forth with questions from both sides, I sign. Three queries, two requests for partials, one signing.


So I spent the next couple of weeks furiously working up a proposal for a trilogy (because series sell better in fantasy). After a mix up with mailing the agent contracts (Read: I am a complete ditz) and a couple of tweaks to the proposal, it was sent out about a month after I got the ‘I would like to rep you’ email. Sit back and relax, Alex says. It’ll take a while – we’ll nudge after X weeks.

A week before X weeks, I got an email – Alex had received an offer. Actually he received it earlier but was waiting on the details before he made my day.

An offer.

For three books

From Orbit.

Roughly three months after I sent the initial query.

I ran round in circles, saying a rude word.

Sooo, long story short – I have the first book of my trilogy coming out in 2013. From Orbit. Details here

*runs round in circles* Wheeee!

You have no idea how hard it has been not to say anything!