The first rule of Fantasycon is you must blog about Fantasycon. And I do apologise, unlike many prompter writers, I've been a little lackadaisical in that respect. This is partly because of the massive over-stimulation caused by interacting with hundreds of different writers and publishers over the course of the Con, and trekking to event after event with barely a pause to absorb it all. (But it's also, of course, because I flew back to Ireland at 11pm on Sunday and was in work by 9am on Monday.)
...So here it finally is, in words and one very cluttered collage: Fantasycon 2016; Fantasycon by the Sea.
From the first event - the Terror Towers experience on the seafront, filled with set-scenes from classic horror movies and live actors to stimulate audience apprehension, to my last event, a lingering and late Sunday lunch with the great and good of British horror, it was a truly memorable experience. Thanks to Alex, Pixie and all those who wore the red shirts for endless help and kindness. Highlights for me included writing classes with Joe Hill and Andrew Hook, my panel on 'Real Life Horror' with Helen Marshall, Ramsey Campbell, Mark West and Victoria Leslie, Priya Sharma's reading of 'Egg', the crumbling Victorian splendour of Scarborough, Tom Johnston's reading of his peculiar Lovecraft-meets-bowling-green story, the 'Women In Genre' panel, having quality chats with Victoria, Priya, Georgina Bruce, Tej Turner, Simon Lewis, James Everington and Steve Shaw, Victoria reading one of my favourite passages from Bodies of Water, getting the chance to unleash my 'Looking For Wildgoose Lodge' story on a kind audience, meeting a bewildering range of new people who were uniformly awesome (Dion, Andrew, Georgina and Laura included), and hanging out at different times and places with some of the finest women writers working in horror today, Cate, Priya, Victoria, Georgina, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Laura Mauro, Lynda Rucker, Maura McHugh. (Oh, and not forgetting my haul of books which filled of all the empty crevices in my suitcase.)
It also reminded me of why we go to Cons: to connect, empathise, learn, network but above all, as Anne Of Green Gables would say, to meet 'kindred spirits'; those people who understand and share the strange, introverted, word-puddled life of the solitary writer.