Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ad Astra 2009

Yes my third Ad Astra convention was this weekend, and I have to say that it was by far the most exhausting one I've been to. But this of course had something to do with the fact that I was on many more panels this time round, and was doing a co-signing/reading with the lovely Lesley Livingston (author of Wondrous Strange). I've also made some amazing friends over the years at the con, so there were also their events to attend as well. In all, it was an amazing event, but I'm not sure I've quite recovered yet!

So . . . the story!

Lesley and I arrived around 9am on the Saturday to put up some posters about our reading. We'd changed the time so as not to conflict with the awesome and extremely prolific Ms. Julie Czerneda, so we needed to inform the general populace of this. We had decided to call our event, "Dark Power and Mouthy Cleverness: together at last!" in honour of our awesome shared Globe and Mail review.

We were both a wee bit tired that morning. It did not bode well for the rest of the weekend.

Then we had to hustle to our first event which was a panel on getting into writing YA, which we shared with Michelle Rowan and Marc Mackay. We were certain no one would show up, it being first thing in the morning, but as we went on, by the end of the hour, we had a full house. 'Twas awesome.

Next was Lesley on a panel about putting combat in books. Lesley was fantastic and more than held her own despite the fact that she was slightly hidden behind a post.

We then went to listen to Julie Czerneda read from her latest book, in a very crowded room, and then we were off to support the amazing Douglas Smith, who has had a collection of short stories published: Impossibilia. This really impresses me because in the publishing industry I'd say short story anthologies, along with poetry and picture books, are one of the hardest things to get commercially published. So it was very cool. Got to buy a book and have it autographed of course.

Then Lesley and I parted ways as I was to help Julie Czerneda teach a writing workshop to teens. Really I'm more like her assistant and comic relief, Julie is so awesome at leading these workshops, but we had a great time with the teens, and they seriously came up with some truly original ideas. Really fantastic ideas. Pretty marketable ideas too.

Then, finally, I got a bit of a break. By now it was 3:30pm and I hadn't really had anything to eat. Of course I actually didn't get a chance to eat anything at that moment either as Lesley and I had to set up for our reading, but I did snag a few of the mini cupcakes I brought along for the event. Heck they were my cupcakes and I can eat them if I want to.

The reading was well attended, despite the change in time and location. We hadn't really prepared what we would say or how we would start it, so we kind of just looked at each other, and then Lesley read first. She did a great job, getting tons of laughs, and then I read, doing a great job and getting tons of laughs. We really are fabulous, what can I say?

Then we had a draw for a cover plate of her book, and the audio book of Alex. And then we signed books (which had been provided courtesy of the lovely Chris Szego at Bakka Phoenix Books).

Finally we were done for the day. At least, professionally. It was 6pm and we stuck around until midnight, hanging out in the bar with the likes of Martin Springett, S.K.S. Perry, JM Frey, Steph Lalonde, Joe O'Brien, Caitlin Sweet, Jonathan Llyr, Gabrielle Harbowy and Russell Winkelaar (and many more, but there was so much coming and going it was hard to keep track, apologies for leaving anyone out, trust me I adore you all!). I had a ridiculously long and wonderful conversation about how awesome Pixar is with Karin Lowachee and Derek Molata (which basically consisted of us saying, "What about Finding Nemo!" "Oh yeah that one is awesome! You know what part I like best. . . ." and then "What about The Incredibles!" "Oh yeah that one is awesome! You know what part I like best . . ." etc etc).

Then Lesley and I got rides home from the lovely Mr. Perry, and I fell asleep the second my head touched the pillow.


I didn't need to be at the hotel until 11am the next day, and my dad was kind enough to give me a ride again. I met Lesley at the coffee stand. She was very frustrated that she had only managed to fill her cup half way before the pot had run out of coffee. But we had no time to wait for a fresh one as we had to go to the launch of Julie Czerneda's latest anthology Ages of Wonder, for which the amazing Caitlin Sweet had written a story. All the authors came dressed up in a manner that reflected what they had written. Caitlin was tiny bit late curling her hair, but she looked fab so it was worth it.

They drew for prizes.

I did not win.

Then I headed over to be on a panel about adding humour into serious works along with Steven Kerzner (for those Canadians out there, Mr. Kerzner's alter ego is Ed the Sock), D.K. Savage, and Ed Greenwood. It turned out that most of us on the panel really tend to add humour into humourous works, but I still think we managed to keep on topic. In fact it was a heck of a lot of fun, and fortunately also pretty hilarious. There's also always that added pressure of talking about humour that people expect you to be funny talking about it. Not sure why. I think it could be pretty entertaining to have a very serious, dry conversation about humour. It also doesn't help that I'm still a bit uncomfortable in my role as humourist (despite the fact that it seems to be something I'm quite good at). For a blog entry about my said discomfort, please click here.

I would also like to add that despite his alter ego Ed the Sock being a rather crass individual, Steve Kerzner himself is just lovely.

Just so you know.

Then I had to fly off to see Mr. Jonathan Llyr in action. As you may know, I work as a correspondent for his website,, as well as am a member of his theatre company, Tempest Theatre. He's a pretty big name in the geekish parts of Canada having worked for the Space channel for around a decade and interviewed just about every SF/F celebrity out there. So of course they asked him if he'd be interested in being on a panel about the upcoming Star Trek movie.

Thing is, he'd actually seen around 20 minutes of the film in a special screening, so while the rest of the panel were speculating, John actually had the serious knowledge. The panel for that reason wound up really interesting, because it wasn't just all speculation, but fact as well. And it was fun. And now I REALLY can't wait to see the movie.

(btw I should add that John was VERY skeptical about this film, kind of almost against it, and then he saw those 20 minutes and totally did a 180, so I'm pretty confident it will be pretty good)

Then Lesley and I dashed off to join Violette Malan (MOD), Fiona Patton and the amazing Tamora Pierce (who is so funny and deadpan - love it) on a panel about YA reading for Grownups. I think this panel was my favourite. It was all about what makes YA (and MG) so worth reading as an adult, what makes YA/MG unique. It was just really inspiring, talking about the hope the genre offers. How we are all so sick of everything in adult literature being so ironic, world weary and cynical. I pointed out that in Timothy, the main character IS world weary and cynical, but the difference is that attitude is meant to be perceived as foolish, not heroic. Truly we just missed the grand heroic stories from our youth. Tamora Pierce pointed out that she felt MG was where the true innovation was these days, and that made me feel happy as sometimes even in talking with YA authors you can feel a bit like a lesser author writing MG.

In all it was just fabulous, we laughed a lot, we also just got so excited about the genre. Because, really, there is so much there to be excited about.

And then we were done. And then we were exhausted. And then John, Lesley, Russell and I went to the Keg for linner (lunch/dinner). And then I went home, watched the Star Trek Family Guy (Rob Lowe? What the heck?). And then I went to bed.

I begin to drift off. Let my mind wander. Yay, think I, I get to sleep in . . . I get to . . . Holy ****! I sit blot upright, "I have an audition first thing in the morning!" Set alarm early to allow myself time to go over my monologues in the morning. Lie back down.

And finally . . . .

Drift off to sleep.

And now. . . some pictures!! Yay . . .

Getting into writing YA panel, left to right: Me, Lesley, Michelle Rowan and Marc Mackay.

Lesley on the fight panel. Slightly hidden behind the speaker stand.

Douglas Smith reading from his anthology.

Me and Lesley at our reading: "You go first" "No you go first. . ."

Me reading from Timothy.

Me finding myself utterly hilarious.

Me and Lesley FINALLY done for the day and able to relax.

Things get a little silly.

Then, for some reason, sophisticated.
(with that hat and the wine, it's hard for Russell not to appear so . . .)

Day 2 at the Ages of Wonder launch. The trio together again, Lesley, Caitlin (all greeked up) and me. Aren't we just fab?

The adding humour into serious works panel. Left to right: DK Savage, Steven Kerzner, me, Ed Greenwood.

We found ourselves terribly amusing.

John at the Star Trek film panel. Sitting next to moderator, David Clink.

John noticing me taking his picture. He is not amused. Odd.

Tamora Pierce, Violet Malan and Fiona Patton: the left hand side of the YA reading for Grownups panel.

Me and Lesley: the right hand side of same panel.

And now we rumble.


Not really.

Not at all.

But Lesley and I get to be the Sharks. Is all I'm saying . . .


Patti said...

Looks like a fabulous event.

Doug A Scott said...

Hey! Somebody else who has used the world "linner"! It's not just me!

Man, this sounds like a blast to have attended. I just wish it weren't so far away; I'd love to go.

Hope the audition went okay, too.

Adrienne said...

It totally was!

And yes, if "brunch" can exist" why not "linner"?

Maybe some year you'll be able to join us Doug . . . we shall cross our fingers!

(audition actually did go okay! Quite fun really)

R.M.D said...

I am writing you in complete shock. I have just read the excerpt for "Timothy..." on a whim. I am not sure what I expected...well, maybe I expected it to be really bad (because good writers are not supposed to be beautiful young actors...the universe can't be so unfair).
Anyway, I read it and couldn't believe how cleverly written it is! It is instantly engaging! And im way beyond the target audience (i'm 22 going on 23 years old).
As a huge fan of the Harry Potter series (and a very tough critic :) ) I have to say that I am very impressed with what I read and I plan on picking up a copy of this book tommorrow.
You are an inspiration!!! I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi Adrienne... Russell here... i just googled myself... and found this picture! pretty sweet!