Can-Con 2017

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

This weekend was Can-Con. If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you’ll know that we’re big fans.

It’s a fantastic convention for two reasons. The first being how attentive and open the organizers are and the second because of everyone who participates.

I spent more time chatting in the dealer’s room than attending panels this year. There are a few panels I wish I had been able to attend, but was either too burnt out or doing something else.

Highlights from Can-Con 2017

Waiting to sign books. Picture from Lesley Donaldson‏

  • The Ottawa Writers community being awesome as usual
  • Listening to Steven Erikson being interview by Black Gate
  • My first signing session (didn’t sign anything but I was sitting next to S. M. Carrière, Steven Erikson, and Robert Sawyer, so I was in fantastic company.)
  • Watching S. M. Carrière geek out about Steven Erikson
  • The Renaissance reading that had a whole lot of people in it.
  • Getting to Pitch Everdome to Kim-Mei Kirtland
  • Having Kim-Mei Kirtland like my pitch for Everdome
  • The Asexuality panel which was so full I had to tuck myself into a corner. It was really interesting and illuminating.
  • The look of pure joy on an audience member when they learnt that Keladry (the Protector of the Small, not the Baby Dragon) was confirmed by Tamora Pierce to be Asexual.
  • Watching Keladry walking around smiling at everyone
  • Learning that Tanya Huff really likes our coffee
  • Meeting people that I’ve only ever interacted with online

Conclusion

Can-Con, for me, is about basking in the love this community has for genre writing and stories. I’m still a fledgling author and I never feel like anyone is judging. They are supportive, loving, and so kind.

 

Thank you to everyone who was there!

Éric

This Weekend is CAN-CON YAY!

JenEric Designs, JenEric Coffee, Blush, and Éric Desmarais will all be at CAN-CON: Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature this weekend.

The dealer’s room is open to the public all three days.

Both Jen and Éric will be available Saturday and Sunday in the dealer’s room. (We will be at a wedding on Friday.)

Dealers Room Hours

Friday: 17:00-19:00

Saturday: 10:00-17:00

Sunday: 10:00-15:00

Éric Desmarais’s Schedule

Saturday 2:00-2:30: Signing in the Dealer’s Room

Saturday 21:00-22:00: Panel Spam Meet Salon D

Sunday 10:00-10:50: Renaissance Press Readings Salon B

 

See you there!

Éric

Can-Con (No Dragon Sightings)

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Dragon is taking her time so I’m back at work this week (until I get the call, text, etc.) That means the super awesome story I have planned for you will have to wait for Thursday. It will hopefully not be postponed again.

This past weekend, despite being Dragon’s due date, we decided to get a table at Can-Con. It’s our favourite convention and is totally awesome.

Can-Con

One of the highlights of my weekend was selling coffee to authors I respect. It makes me feel all fan-boyish. The other was seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Can-Con people rock.

Not wanting to be too far away from Dragon, or the table, I only got to see one panel and give my first reading.

The panel I went to was about antagonists, it was incredibly interesting. The panelists were great (as usual).

Next year I plan on being on more panels. (I was asked but didn’t want to risk the chance of a Dragon hatching pulling me away).

THANK YOU!

To all the organizers, panelists, volunteers, vendors, and visitors to Can-Con; thank you so much for making it another great convention. I look forward to doing it again next year!

We’d both like to thank everyone who made sure Jen was ok and checked in on her throughout the weekend. You made her and I feel extremely loved and cared for!

My Reading

Taken by Madona Skaff
Taken by Madona Skaff

The reading was a lot of fun. Cait Gordon is a spectacular performer, Madona Skaff was fantastic, and Caroline Fréchette gave an impressive reading despite having bronchitis.

I learnt an important lesson about reading. Double check the passage before you read it. I just chose a random one and went for it, but didn’t account for how much extra set-up I needed. Seriously, I think I chose the part with the most characters in the entire book. I was sweaty, mumbling, and awkward, but people said I did okay. Next time I’ll prepare a little more.

Speaking of next time…

Mega-Multi-Author Launch!

This October 29th, Jen, I, and 6 other fantastic authors will be launching books and a game. It’ll be amazing. There are prizes, readings, food, and costumes!

There will probably be a baby Dragon there, in an adorable costume. (She’ll hatch by then right?)

This is the best place to get my book and some of my favourite reads from the past few years.

That’s it for now.

 

I’ll either be writing a new post on Thursday or you’ll get a story as I cuddle a Dragon.

Later Days!

Éric

 

CAN-CON 2016

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

CAN-CON is coming up pretty fast. (10 days) You could say I’m counting down the days until the 9th of September. Yes, we’re crazy enough to be selling at a convention the weekend that Dragon is due to hatch.

The reason we’re comfortable with that is simply that the people at CAN-CON are absolutely lovely and if feels more like a get together of friends than a convention. It’s a warm, inviting, and overall wonderful event.

This year I was invited to be on some panels but I declined so I’d be available in case Dragon shows up. I will however be doing a reading with my publisher and some other awesome writers.

Come see me at 2pm on Saturday the 10th if you’re at the convention.

If you’re not at the convention, feel free to swing by the dealers room and I’ll gladly sell you my new book!

Can-Con FINAL poster with text - 17 Aug 2016
Poster designed by Jay Odjick.

See you at CAN-CON!

Éric

Can-Con Report 2015

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

If you hear loud snoring coming from downtown Ottawa, know that I’ve fallen asleep at my desk. Between conventions and various stresses I haven’t slept much and when I have, it’s been filled nightmares.

I know what I’ve been stressing about and I’m dealing with it; both from the “let’s get this done so I stop stressing” and the “must learn to deal with stress” points of view.

One big stress, which shouldn’t have been, was Can-Con. Between selling, attending, and pitching novels, I was wired the entire three days.

Panels

Since I felt guilty going to panels when I should be selling, I only went to eight panels. Here’s a basic rundown:

Backstories and the Development of Villains

This panel mostly revolved around the difference between Villains, Evil-Overlords, and Antagonists. A lot of good advice on how to avoid creating cardboard cut-out villains.

It’s a great panel for someone who wants to write Bond or Adventure Fantasy.

“Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.” – George R. R. Martin

Preparing to Pitch Novels

This panel prepared me for my pitches, but I didn’t learn anything earth shattering.

Whether you pitch or submit, always remember:

  • Read the Guidelines
  • Follow the Guidelines
  • Present yourself professionally
  • Don’t beg, threaten, or cajole.
  • Be passionate about your story because if you aren’t, no one else will.

Serialization Past and Present

Everyone agreed that Serialization isn’t a fad and is probably here to stay. It’s also something that is changing quickly.

There are two major ways of serializing, distributing a finished and edited project, and writing it as time goes by.

The panelists agreed that the second way was less desirable because it meant less ability to edit and a higher chance of writing yourself into a corner.

I like the challenge of writing a serial novel/story as you go. If you don’t believe me, ask Felix Felicis, or Rachel of Only Human. However these aren’t stories that I’m writing for publication. I’m writing them for practise and enjoyment.

The Frontiers of Young Adult Fiction

This panel spoke a lot about normalization and the dangers of not giving social issues enough consideration. It’s not easy for someone like me (Cis-White-Male) to fully understand anything but my own experiences, but the panel seemed to think that with proper research and editing it’s important to have a diverse cast of characters.

This was something I already try to do as much as possible.

Advice to Aspiring Writers on the Craft

My wife and I both went to this panel, but I barely remember it. It must have been Saturday. The one thing I remember is the panellists explaining that there isn’t one way to write. All those “Rules” are really just suggestions and tools that you can use.

There seems to be only one golden rule of writing and that’s to finish what you start.

Fantasy Novels: A Readers’ Panel

The panel was mostly the panelists geeking out on their favourite authors. There were a lot of book names and author names bandied about.

It was very skewed towards Epic fantasy, Dark fantasy, and Literary fantasy; with little to no mention of a lot of the other subgenres of fantasy. I don’t think this was the panelists’ fault so much as the fact that they all wrote and read in those sub-genres and didn’t know that much about the others.

I was extremely happy to have Tamora Pierce mentioned in the positive.

Two things that seriously annoyed me were the lack of mention of Terry Pratchett and one panelists’ utter disdain for Urban Fantasy and Supernatural Romance.

Hopefully, there will be a better mix of expertise in future years. I would love to be on this panel.

Police Procedure: Busting Myths and Preconceptions

Wow! This was by far the most educational panel I went too. The presenter was engaging, fun, and informative. It helped me separate the major fiction of police dramas with real life.

I really hope they have him back next year, maybe for a double length panel.

Crowd-Funding

I considered crowd funding a book, but it seemed like more work than self-publishing it. I eventually dropped the idea because of the cost of editing. Trust me, a good editor is worth it. REALLY worth it! I love my beta-readers but it’s just not the same thing.

The panel did give me a few ideas for a crowdfunding project I have in mind for spring. Don’t worry. You’ll hear about it Ad-nausea in 2016.

More Panels

Check out S.M. Carrière’s write up of the panels that they were on and attended.

Parasomnia

This year’s Resolutions had submit Parasomnia to 3 agents and 3 publishers. I half accomplished that already.

I had three pitches to three different publishers and all three agreed to read my book. Two were extremely excited. Now it’s a waiting game. I’ve decided to skip the agents – I don’t need them.

So if you’re counting, that’s 2 novels with publishers right now. Hopefully I’ll hear by March if any of them will publish my books.

*Keep your fingers crossed*

Coffee

One of my thrills for the weekend was seeing authors, editors, publishers, and people, whom I greatly respect, loving my coffee.

So far most people love the coffee I’ve been roasting and it makes me really happy to hear. It’s been a little over a year since I started roasting my own and almost a year since I started selling.

After Pop-Expo I will sit down and see if it’s been financially worth it. If it has, I will consider expanding my operation. If it hasn’t, I’ll see what I can do to make it profitable without sacrificing quality.

Overall

This is one of my favourite Conventions. I love it so much!

I’m still not sure if I want to be a vendor, pitch a book, and attend panels next year but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be able to add panelist to the list…

 

If you like speculative or genre literature, this really is the Con for you.

Thank you to the organizers and see you next year!

 

Éric