Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Shore Leave 36

What a fantastic time we had at Shore Leave 36 this weekend!  I’d heard that Shore Leave was a friendly convention, and that was certainly my experience.  Huge thanks to everyone involved with organizing the event, you did a wonderful job. 

After weeks of preparation in the UK, Tom and I headed to Heathrow feeling somewhat nervous about whether everything would come together; we had books to collect from the printer, writers to meet, panels to attend, and a party to host.

We arrived at the Hunt Valley Hotel a little jet-lagged on Friday morning, ready to set up our stall.  The place was already buzzing, even at 8.30 am, and thanks to some helpful volunteers we soon found out where we needed to go and got our twenty-one boxes of books hauled into the hotel.

Next on the to-do list was to track down the first of our writers – the fabulous Diana Dru Botsford, author of Stargate SG-1: Four Dragons and Stargate SG-1: The Drift.  Although we’d corresponded by email for years, this was the first time we’d met in person, and it was really exciting to meet at last. 

Diana and I man the stall
With Diana’s help, we set up the stall in the morning and then had a quick but delicious lunch of Maryland Crabcakes (yum!) before getting back to the stall in time for the official opening at 2.00pm. 

And what a great afternoon it was, with so many Stargate fans coming to say hello, checking out our books, and talking Stargate with us.   

Mac's back!
Meeting other Stargate fans was definitely the highlight of the event for me, and we had a great time that night going out for dinner with a whole bunch of lovely GateWorlders.  We even had a genuine Stargate fan for a waiter!

After dinner, it was back to the hotel for the Meet the Pros event.  We’d been a bit concerned that our Stargate Atlantis Legacy authors – Jo Graham, Amy Griswold, and Melissa Scott – hadn’t arrived that afternoon, but there’d been lots of talk about terrible traffic and, lo and behold, when we got back to the hotel Jo, Amy and Melissa had made it and were already set up at the Meet the Pros event.  

Me, Melissa Scott, Amy Griswold, Jo Graham, Diana Dru Botsford
After working on seven Stargate Atlantis Legacy books with them, it was wonderful to meet the team in person.  What a fantastic group of writers!  We had a great time talking to readers and signing books until midnight.

Next day, we were up and back at the hotel by 8.30.  Our first panel, Ten Years of Fandemonium, was scheduled for ten o’clock, but on the way there the wonderful Marian Trupiano asked me if I’d like to have my photo taken with RDA...  Well.  I could hardly say no, right? ;)

Fangirl alert!
I’d like to say I was cool, calm and collected.  I’d like to say that I introduced myself to RDA like a normal person and engaged in a little witty banter.  But, in fact, I think all I managed to say was ‘Hello’.  It’s all a bit of a blur, actually.  I’m not even certain I said ‘thank you’ before I ran away.  Sigh.  #starstruck #dork.  

Nevertheless, I did manage to smile in the photo, and notice that RDA really does have lovely warm eyes in person.  He also gives nice hugs.  So.  Next time I will do better and, you know, maybe actually speak.  (There is a reason I’m a writer, you see, and not an actor/public speaker!)

Anyhow, all of that meant I was fashionably/rudely late for the Fandemonium panel.  Luckily Tom, Diana, Jo and Melissa were doing an excellent job without me and I still got there in time to meet lots of Stargate Novels fans and to chat about what we’ve been doing for the past ten years, and what we have coming up.

Diana, me, Melissa & Jo on the Fandemonium panel
After that it was back to the table to chat and sell books to more of our readers, some of whom – gasp! – hadn’t heard of us before.  Lunch was a Subway sandwich at the table and then I did a couple more panels with some of our writers: Writing Stargate and From Fanfic to Pro.   All good fun.

That just left a half hour or so to set up for the Fandemonium party we were hosting to celebrate both the release of our latest Stargate Atlantis Legacy book, Unascended, and ten years of Fandemonium Books.  We snacked on fruit loops, blue jello and birthday cake – naturally.

It was wonderful to see so many people there, including past and future Stargate novelists Aaron Rosenberg, David Niall Wilson, Patricia Macomber, and Keith DeCandido.  Thank you all for coming along, it was great to see you. 

Jo Graham read an extract from the fantastic Unascended (in her beautiful North Carolina accent) and we chatted, laughed, and signed a few books, after which we staggered back to the hotel to sleep.

Happy 10th Birthday, Fandeomonium Books!
Sunday was a little quieter, with everyone winding down.  Diana Botsford and I did a panel about the Stargate Reboot, which made for an interesting discussion.  

To reboot, or not to reboot?
Lots of speculation and theories flying around, but, of course, none of us knows exactly what to expect from the new Devlin/Emmerich movies.  However, it was pretty clear that the Stargate fans we met were perplexed by the decision to make a movie trilogy that ignores seventeen years of television canon.  I guess we’ll have to watch this space...  But, whatever happens, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis will live on in our books!

By then it was time for me to head over to RDA’s panel, which was as charming and amusing as you’d expect.  Needless to say, I didn’t ask a question, however someone else asked about Stargate SG-1: Unleashed – the video game I wrote a couple of years ago – and I felt obliged to jump up and try to answer his question.   From a couple of things RDA said, I’m pretty sure he knew exactly what the questioner was talking about, although he pretended not to have a clue.  He does that a lot, right? ;)

In the Diner of Ascension
At five o’clock we were packing up our stall, but we weren’t finished for the day.  We still had time to visit the ‘Diner of Ascension’.  Yep, a full scale ‘50s diner within the hotel made the perfect location for a little video shoot we did with our writers.  Look out for video interviews coming soon, including Robert Picardo, Jo Graham, Amy Griswold, and Melissa Scott (the SGA Legacy team), Diana Dru Botsford, Aaron Rosenberg, as well as me and Tom with a brief con report.  I’ll post the links here once they’re ready.

After that it was late and we were all starving, so we headed out for another wonderful meal with Diana, Marian and other new friends to round off an exceptional weekend.

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to come and see us, it was truly inspiring to meet and talk to so many smart, enthusiastic, and warm-hearted Stargate fans.   I’m already looking forward to Shore Leave 37!


  1. Wow, wow, wow! I've been waiting for you to post about this. Looks like you guys had the best time. Of course if I were there, I probably never would have left you alone and picked your brain apart with questions about your writing process and ideas. I am chomping at the bits for the new novels! I love that you guys had cake, blue Jello and cake at your anniversary celebration.
    Yes, RDA does have lovely, warm eyes, though I'd probably describe them more as dreamy and hypnotic, but I'm frequently known to get hyperbolic. Can you really be hyperbolic about RDA's wyes though? No, no you can't. And his voice! Like a million knot per square inch, Turkish, silk rug (if you've ever had the pleasure of touching one of those, you know what I mean). Okay, maybe that is hyperbolic. I was fortunately enough to maintain my cool when we met him, but only because I told myself for about an hour before hand not to act like a complete dork (I was still a bit of a dork though :) ). His panel was the absolute best. You are correct in that he does seem to pretend not to really remember things. It's very Jack O'Neill, and I wonder if that wasn't something he suggested for the role, since O'Neil (with one L) didn't seem that way in the movie.
    Anyway, thanks for the con report and for the new books! It's so exciting. Happy 10 years to Fandemonium, and here's to many more.

    FYI, I'm ShoeQueen on ff. ;)

    1. We did indeed have the best time! And we'd have loved to have you come talk to us. :)

      I think I might have been more cool meeting RDA if I'd had more time to prepare, but then I might have just wound myself up into a bundle of nerves. So who knows? Anyway, it was fun. I'm sure he's used to people acting odd around him! lol

      Thanks for the good wishes. Just one more week until Hostile Ground is released. I really hope you enjoy it. :) And after that we've got a great collection of short stories coming out in October. So there's plenty on the cards!

  2. Thanks for the review for Shore Leave. Looked like incredible fun. Only 5 days 14 hours 15 minutes to go

    1. You're welcome! It *was* incredible fun. :) Can't wait to hear what you think of Hostile Ground once you've had a chance to read it!


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