Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday Thirteen -- 297 -- 13 Things About My Hal-Con 2013 Weekend

My second Hal-Con is wrapped and in the can. A fantastic weekend! Thanks to all of the organizers who put on the event, especially since -- as you'll see -- things went a little off-script on Saturday...

1 -  This is my husband Brad and me at our booth on the main retail floor, Day 1. We had an awesome spot, and I did the best ever at this show. Thanks to everyone who dropped by my booth, with very special thanks to all who bought my books. That's a thrill that never gets old.

2 - Upstairs on the second floor, in the official author area, my friend Shawna Romkey, a fellow member of our writers' group Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada, had her booth ready for Hal-Con pass holders. Shawna had an especially great con. Go, Shawna!

3 - Across from Shawna was bestselling fantasy author Terry Brooks, who came with his own legions of devoted fans. Witness the Terry Brooks lineup.

4 - When there was a moment between signings, Terry Brooks made his way along the other author tables, chatting with fellow writers.

Here's what happened immediately following the convention, in Shawna's words:

"Ummm...Terry Brooks just contacted me. He read my book on the flight home. He asked for my email to send longer comments than my website form would allow. YIKES!!!!!!!!!"

Then --

"Terry Brooks emailed me!!! He had some really positive things to say and also gave me some great feedback! *faints* "

5 - What book is that, you say?

6 - One of the good news / bad news things about taking part in events like Hal-Con as an author is not being able to see everything that's going on. I did manage to stop for a few minutes on one of my trips upstairs to see Shawna, and watched these historical warrior reenactors demonstrating sword fighting.

7 - Sometimes the best place to see the headliner guests is just by staying put at your booth. That's Robert Maillet at right, from 300, Sherlock Holmes, Immortals and Pacific Rim checking out a jewelry vendor across from my table.

8 - Day 2 started out with a very large line-up stretching around the Metro Centre, with the interior crowds noticeably bigger. This shot of the corridor immediately outside of the room where Shawna and I did a Heroes and Villains panel on Saturday at 12:45 is a good indicator of the Day 1 crowd. Busy but still lots of space to move around.

Halifax is a little city, and Hal-Con is still a young event -- only a few years old. By about 10:30 on Day 2, having been a former Toronto's Fan Expo participant, as well as an eight-year veteran of working front of house for what is now the Sony Centre, I could sense that the building had reached maximum capacity and that people were no doubt being turned away.

I attempted to head upstairs to meet with Shawna before our panel, only to be faced with an unmoving wall of people being held back on the first floor. Using my Toronto Big City skirting-around-the-mob technique, I managed to get to the escalator where I thought I would have to plead my case as to why I had to get to the second floor.

However, the staff waved me along when they saw my vendor pass -- thank God!

9 - Somehow our panel started on time, with a packed audience and even standing-room-only at one point. Shawna talked Heroes and I talked Villains, and we had great questions from the audience.

This was the first-ever panel at an event like this for both of us. Thanks to everyone who attended and took part in the discussion.

10 - Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us at that time, Hal-Con was enduring some rather extreme growing pains. Here's a link to a news report on Hal-Con's Day 2 fiasco:

11 - I salute the 5th Dr. Who, Peter Davison, who waded outside into the cold where all of the incredibly disappointed turned-away convention pass holders were lining up for refunds.

Peter Davison walked up and down the line to chat with those who couldn't get in, showing wonderful generosity and kindness.

Here's a clip from Dr. Who, with the 5th doctor in action.

12 - Shawna got to hang out with him at the Stargazer Soiree later that night. A jolly good fellow, what?

13 - The best part of taking part in cons like Fan Expo and Hal-Con is the incredible costumes that go by my author table. Here's a small taste of some great ones. Join me next week when I turn Thursday Thirteen over to the costumes of Hal-Con 2013.


CountryDew said...

Looks like a great event!

Shawna Romkey said...

It was so much fun! Why did it have to end? Can't we just live there forever?

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I'm with you, Shawna -- let's find our secret portal to Hal-Con Land. Maybe it's in a discarded Tim Horton's cup...

Only 11 months or so till the next one!