Can*Con Day 1 – October 30

Remember how I said that I’d try to live tweet during Can*Con? Yeah, that didn’t happen very much. As I’ve already mentioned on Twitter, this is mainly because the weekend was absolutely amazing, and there was way too much fun stuff going on and interesting people to hang out with for me to be spending time on social media.

As promised, though, I’ll be recounting this year’s Can*Con experience over the next three days, for anyone who would like to reminisce or learn what this crazy conference is all about. Starting today with what went on Friday night:

So this was my second time attending Can*Con. Last year I was pretty shy and nervous, basically thinking “What the hell am I doing here, surrounded by actual writers? I’m a nobody. Maybe I should go home.” A year later, I was a little worried the people I’d met before wouldn’t remember me. Credit goes to Gabrielle Harbowy and Fanny Darling, from Dragon Moon Press, for destroying that admittedly-stupid notion right from the get-go. I bumped into them right after I registered, and had a blast catching up, and got to meet fellow writer Leah Petersen – one of my fellow panelists for “So This is Your First Con” at 7 that night.

The panel, I thought, went really well. I don’t know what our audience thought, but I know I had a blast. Ryan McFadden was a great moderator, and each of us – myself, Leah, Lisa Toohey, and Leo Valiquette – had a lot to say about what to do and what not to do at your first conference. Our advice basically boiled down to meeting new people and not being afraid to branch out and network – exactly the advice I needed last year, when I was a Can*Con newbie. And I actually sold a copy of Science is for Real afterward, which was pretty cool.

The rest of Friday was pretty low-key and fun. I got to hear Leah read a story she and Gabrielle have been working on – that thing needs to be published somewhere – come on, editors! Later on was Bundoran Press’s launch party for two new books: Falcon’s Egg by Ed Willett, and the anthology Second Contacts. The latter features a few writers I know, including Matt Moore, who I appeared alongside on CBC Radio a couple weeks ago. Really looking forward to cracking into it this month.

I bailed on all the parties last year, and seriously missed out on a good time. This year was all about making up for that, as well as soaking in knowledge and advice from excellent writers. The best part of Friday for me was the chance to escape down to the hotel lobby where it was quieter, to chat with a few other writers – I won’t name names, just since that’s not my bag, but suffice to say I had the opportunity to shoot the breeze with some big names, which was really fun mainly because of how unexpectedly casual it was. Pro tip if you’re planning on attending a writing conference: don’t be afraid to talk to whoever is there. I spent a bunch of time trying to figure out how to introduce myself to one of this year’s Special Guests, and he ended up wandering over to me and introducing himself before I got the chance!

All in all, the first day of Can*Con was a phenomenal introduction to the weekend. And it only got better from there. Stay tuned for some more shout-outs to my fellow attendees, and some of the advice I learned on Saturday and Sunday.

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