Holy stars, as Xax the Draga warrior would say in my book. It has been less than one year since I lost my virginity at Ottawa PopExpo, my first-ever con of any kind. That’s when I cosplayed as a fashionista dalek, got lost, and met Caroline Fréchette and Madona Skaff-Koren from Renaissance Press. Caroline had shouted, “Hey, I like your costume,” and that was how I found my publisher.
Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump. Without making any kind of conscious effort, I stumble into great things. Meeting the gang from Renaissance Press last November turned into an invitation to submit Life in the ‘Cosm in March 2016, which I thought was magical. As I waited their response, my BFF Talia “The Brain” Johnson messaged me about going to Can*Con in September. I had no idea what Can*Con was and she explained that it’s a literary conference for speculative fiction in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. I thought it sounded interesting and booked an early-bird ticket.
Then Renaissance Press contacted me in June and said they wanted to publish my book. After dancing all around my house in my underwear and fuzzy slippers, I wrote them back. I signed a few days later and was told it might be several months or maybe next spring before my book comes out. That was fine with me because I was working on book two.
When Talia told me she wanted to be on a panel at Can*Con, I was a bit jealous. I wished I could participate in some way but didn’t know what to do, so I put on my pompoms and cheered my friend. Little did I know that in a few days Renaissance Press would call and tell me they wanted to publish my book for Can*Con 2016. It was an EEP! and SQUEE! situation. Let’s call it SQUEEP! (And let’s make it happen better than fetch did, okay?)
So, I went this past weekend. WOW! I could tell right away how much the organizers love this event by how well it was planned, how welcoming they were, and how happy the attendees were. Everyone seemed so thrilled and excited to be there. It was infectious.
Also, did I ever learn stuff at the panels! I wish I could have attended more of them. Laurie Stewart gave a stellar presentation about the financial aspects of being an author and the importance of incorporation. Since my small biz is incorporated, I was riveted to hear about how this applies to writers. Great tips! Angela S. Stone and fellow panellists created a safe-space for us to not only discuss sex in writing, but share our own experiences. (Or was that just me who shared personal experiences? Well, I felt very safe and respected anyway.) Talia, Caroline, Nathan Bourgoine, and Derek Newman-Stille gave a fantastic panel about going beyond the queer narrative in storytelling. As a cishet woman, I sat still and put on my listening ears. It was so informative and I’ll remember that panel for a very long time.
Readings were fun, too. I not only read from Life in the ‘Cosm, but I also listened to my fellow Renaissance Press authors reading their books. Caroline read from Making a Living, Éric Desmarais read from A Study in Aether, and Madona read from Journey of a Thousand Steps. On Sunday I listened to S.M. Carrière’s Sky Road Walker, Nicole Lavigne’s Phantom Sting and Soil of Truth (yay for sentient plants), and Erik Buchanan’s True Magics. The atmos in the reading rooms was so chill and funny. I could have sat there all day.
I was originally afraid that because of my spoonieness caused by my disability, I wouldn’t be able to make it through the weekend. Luckily for me, I’m an extrovert, so all these fun and friendly people were like batteries for my soul. It was heaven! Peoples, all the peoples, give me more peoples!
I am so glad that Can*Con 2016 was my first time for seeing my novel in print, signing my book, and reading in front of an audience. (Thanks for laughing, peeps. We humour writers like when people other than ourselves laugh at our work.) I am definitely going back next year. How could I not? Losing my literary-con virginity at Can*Con 2016 was well worth it. Gosh, do you think they’ll call me? Or was it a one-weekend stand?😉
Seriously, you must attend it next year. In the meantime, you follow Can*Con on Twitter and Facebook.
Again, to the organizers, thanks for everything. We know how hard you worked for this awesomeness. Cheers!
Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, published by Renaissance Press. Available now!