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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Tansy’s Con Report 2: Cocktails, Cupcakes and a Trifle or two

June 11th, 2012 at 22:04

Can’t believe Alex has already managed to write up the whole con! I’m still grouping the events by theme…

And speaking of events, there were all manner of special ones at this convention. I was delighted to be able to go to Narrelle Harris’ launch of Walking Shadows, the sequel to The Opposite of Life. This book has been a long time coming, and it was delightful to see it finally HERE. I adore Narrelle, and she deserves all the wonderful writerly things that have been happening for her this year. It was a smallish program room but utterly packed, standing room only (and there were plenty on their feet) as Jason Nahrung launched the books, and we all queued up to buy it. I have a copy!

Speaking of books, I was also excited beyond all measure to get my hot little hands on Medea by Kerry Greenwood, one of my favourite Ancient Greece novels of all time, recently reissued by ClanDestine Press, who are also publishing Narrelle’s novels. I’ve never owned a copy of this book (I read it through the library) but am so excited to have a chance to reread it.

Also on the Friday evening was the Twelfth Planet Hour. I had no idea what was planned or going to happen at this event, which was a semi launch of the new books (Cracklescape by Margo, Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron, plus novella Salvage by Jason Nahrung) and a celebration of Alisa’s five years of publishing. We had to sneak in to set up a table etc. in the Big Room while a panel was on, because of no set up time and the hard deadline of ONE HOUR in which to throw a party. People started arriving faster than expected and somehow I ended up pouring champagne for most of the time which at least meant I got to see many people (briefly) and converse with them (pink, or yellow?).

The cupcakes started arriving. So many cupcakes. I’ll let Terri tell that story herself as she is the one responsible for the Sea of Cupcakes and has plan to blog each recipe and the story behind it but put simply: she created a cupcake design for each of the books showcased that evening, and they were spectacular. Because of the wild flashmob nature of the party, cupcakes started being eaten almost as soon as they hit the table, and we never got formal pictures, but there are many which capture a slice of the action (heh, you see what I did there?)

I managed to miss out on both the types of cupcakes that were specific to my books, thanks to being an idiot, but Terri clued me in later. Jason and Alex worked the floor, carrying cupcakes and red wine around to various guests, while Finchy, Sarah and I created the impromptu bar, Alisa sold books hand over fist (they were discreetly placed in the corner just in CASE people wanted to buy them, and the table emptied fast) and Terri quietly hyperventilated on sugar fumes in the corner. She had been baking for days, icing for hours, and deserved a pink champagne more than the rest of us put together.

Also, there was a juggler from the Women’s Circus. Yes, a juggler. She did a wicked David-Bowie-crystal-ball routine too!

We’re lucky that so many friends, TPP supporters & helpful passers by helped out with the moving of tables, transporting of drinks and cakes etc, because as it turned out, it wasn’t a LITTLE party, located as it was just before the opening ceremony. It felt like everyone was there (certainly well over 100 when the champagne & cakes were at their most plentiful), and it set a fantastic tone for the rest of the convention – light spirited, bubbly and good natured. Alisa spoke a few words, received much attention, and announced the new crime imprint, Deadlines, which will begin with her 20th book…

A TRIFLE DEAD by Livia Day.

Now that it’s been announced, I get to come clean too – Livia Day is my new pen name, and the novel in question is mine. It used to be a manuscript under a different title which was nearly published a few years ago, and I have quite a few people who have been waiting to read it for… a while. If the idea of me writing a funny Hobart-based murder mystery romp is intriguing to you then you can read an excerpt in the back of Jason’s novella Salvage… you WERE going to get a copy, right?

pic by Finchy. l to r: me, Kirstyn, Mondy, Margo, Deb K, Deb B, Rosaleen & Kaaron

But I’m getting side tracked. The cakefest of Friday night was fabulous, but there was more awesomeness to come.

On Saturday afternoon a group of us gathered in Embiggen Bookshop (the most gorgeous and stylish boutique bookshop, Melbournites all need to find this treasure if you haven’t already! I sighed with equal desire for the beautiful bound novels and the fabulous bookshelves, while Finchy was equally captivated by their science and philosophy displays – the shop’s specialty!) to record a podcast in honour of the Twelve Planets series.

Ian Mond hosted, and thanks to the fabulous Kirstyn McDermott and her amazing tech kit, we managed to record a conversation between nine Twelve Planets authors and Alisa herself which felt inspiring and dynamic.

pic by Finchy - l to r Lucy, Alisa, Narrelle, me, Kirstyn, Mondy

It hadn’t really sunk in before that moment how amazing it is to be in a series of books like this with writers like Margo Lanagan, Lucy Sussex, Deb Biancotti and all the others. Rosaleen Love had us really excited about the book she’s just submitted! It was the first time we’d come together as a group and shared stories about how we individually approached our books (or are going to – so sorry, Deb Kalin, for freaking you out about how much overthinking I did), and what the project meant to us. I came away feeling very humbled and happy and emotional. Luckily there was a trendy bar nearby to help us recover… and not long after that, Greek food to make things even better. Mmmm.

I really appreciate the people who came to listen to the live recording! A very friendly audience, which helped relax us all as we passed the microphones back and forth. I hope more people enjoy listening when the podcast was released.

There were other events at the con of course, many many which I didn’t manage to get to, mostly because I was scheduled against them. The Ishtar launch & the Boxcutters debate being two I most regret not being able to see.

But then there was the EVENT on the Sunday night, the colossal awards ceremony, mashing up Chronos Awards, Ditmars, the Chandler, the Peter Mac (the other Peter Mac, not to be confused with the Aurealis Peter Mac) the Hemming, and even a brand new award, the Infinity. Aaaand… I think I’ll save that for part three!

[Alex has blogged AGAIN while I was putting this together – this time with a lovely detailed panel review of the Crafts in Space panel and some other commentary]

Jason Nahrung: in charge of the red wine at the Twelfth Planet Hour (photo by Cat Sparks)

pouring champagne at the Twelfth Planet Hour (photo by Cat Sparks)

Check out the whole Cat Sparx Flickr stream for more images of the con.

At the 12P Hour: 10 Authors, One Publisher (pic by Finchy)

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3 Responses to “Tansy’s Con Report 2: Cocktails, Cupcakes and a Trifle or two”

  1. Alex Says:

    It’s because mine are neither so detailed nor so elegantly written! And yours are themed, with pictures! :D

  2. The Great NatCon Blog Post Round-Up « Randomly Yours, Alex Says:

    [...] aspects of the con: first there was discussion of the craft and the programme; then there was all that food (cocktails, cupcakes, trifle oh my!); and then the Night of the Squeaking Octopus (aka awards [...]

  3. Australian National Convention 2012 links | Dark Matter Blog Says:

    [...] Anderton’s post-convention-flu post Tansy Rayner Roberts made three posts: Crafty Continuum, the food (not a surprise as a while ago she tweeted that everything she’d pinned on pinterest was food [...]

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