|In the Quad bar - Sue Moorcroft, me, James Everington, Steve Harris, Simon Bestwick, Peter Mark May, Dean M. Drinkel
|Pete, me, Steve, in the bar
As there was a gap in the programme, I led a small deputation to the Eagle Books stall, in the Eagle market, that Johnny Mains introduced me to in 2014. As we went through the foyer I bumped into John Llewellyn Probert, Thana Niveau and Cate. Had a chat with John - we worked out that we hadn’t seen one another since WFC in Brighton in 2013 so it was good to catch up and we talked about how staring mortality in the face (John had a major health scare a few years back) makes you re-assess things. It was nice to say hello to Thana too. I met Sue & Pete outside, saw Fiona Ní Éalaighthe and got a hug from her, waited for Steven and Steve, then we set off through the Market Hall and out to the Eagle market. As it turned out, it was indeed bloody cold outside, though I was determined not to say anything in front of Sue (I think I might have mentioned it several times to Steve and Pete though). Eagle Books was still there and still fantastic, everyone got something and we kept calling each over to share finds. There was a tray of Richard Laymon books which prompted a discussion of his work - all of us, it seemed, were fans at various points but, as we explained to Sue, our attention wandered as the books got thicker and more misogynistic. On the way through, I’d spotted a sign in the Market Hall for a retro-toyshop and we stood outside for a while, gazing into the windows (there was a ‘back in 30 minutes’ sign on the door), before giving up and heading back to the Quad. I spotted Charlotte Bond in the foyer, had a quick hug and she showed me a copy of “Drive” that Chris Teague had given her for making the muffins at “The Lost Film” book launch.
|"Rising From The Dead" panel selfie - me, Sue, Steve, Pete
|On the way to the market selfie
We went into the bar for a while before heading back upstairs were we met Cate and Priya on the stairs and Graeme Reynolds in the open area, chatting with them all. James joined us and he, Pete and Graeme went into the “A Ghost Story Is Not Just For Christmas” panel, whilst Sue & I went to the Boo Books launch. I had a chat with Andrew David Barker, whose excellent novella “Dead Leaves” (which I reviewed here) was being launched and it was good to see him - after first meeting at FCon - and his reading went well. Carl Robinson also read from his “A Dip In The Jazz Age”, which was being launched as well and it was a good event, though sadly poorly attended. Sue & I stayed behind to chat with Andrew and Alex (who, in addition to organising Sledge-Lit is also the publisher of Boo Books) and the conversation turned to FCon 2016, which promises to be great.
|Graeme Reynolds, me, (a very distinguised looking - and with fixed glasses) Pete and Sue
And that was Sledge-Lit officially over. I said goodbye to Pete, Steven and Graeme and we gathered up our dining party - Sue, Tony, James, Steve, Chris Teague and me - and went over to Ask Italian, who managed to seat us all. The food was great, the conversation and company even more so and I don’t think there was a moment of silence for the entire meal. We covered a lot of subjects too, including how to write erotica (Sue didn’t believe us about Dino-porn but did introduce us to the phrase ‘Antigua Kiss’, which we’re all going to include in our latest story), what we're currently working on and what we get out of Cons (James put his finger on it, saying how great it was to hang out with talented friends). A great group of friends, it was the perfect end to the Sledge-Lit experience. Afterwards, James was heading for the train station whilst Chris and Tony were going back to the Quad so we all hugged and said goodbye, then Sue, Steve & I went back to the Assembly Rooms car park and hugged goodbye in the stairwall. After finding an ‘interesting’ route to get us back to the M1, Sue & I talked all the way back to Kettering.
|At Ask Italian - James, Steve, Chris Teague, Sue, me, Tony Cowin