Monday 15 July 2019

Edge-Lit 8, Derby, 13th July 2019

Arriving a bit later than originally planned (entirely my fault), Sue Moorcroft & I made our way across the square and bumped into Pixie Puddin, getting our Pixie-hug’s in much earlier than usual.  After speaking to her, we bumped into Laura & Mr Mauro, who were heading off to sign into their hotel so we hugged and caught up before going into the Quad to sign in.  Alison Littlewood & Fergus came over to say hello, then went up to the midday panel that - had we arrived earlier - I’d intended to go to.  Instead, we got drinks and headed out to the terrace to find our gang.
from left - me, Sue Moorcroft, Ross Warren, Peter Mark May, James Everington
I dumped my bag in the chair next to Ross Warren and worked my way around the table, hugging and saying hello to Lisa Childs, Tracy Fahey, Andrew Freudenberg, Steve Shaw, Charlotte Bond, Peter Mark May and James Everington.  Plenty of catching up and chatting, then we ordered lunch and I nipped off for a toilet break.  I’d barely made it into the bar when I bumped into Angeline Trevina and her friend Holly (who was enjoying her first Edge-Lit, even though I kept calling her Molly), Dion Winton-Polak came by, said a fleeting hello to Selina Lock (who wasn’t really there) and Adele Wearing then CC Adams came in for a hug and a quick catch-up.  I didn’t get much further before I spotted Steve Harris, Linda Nagle, John Travis and Simon Clark at a table so I dropped by to say hello, went to the loo and returned to them, for a natter and a catch-up.  It was good to see my Crusty mates and I’m glad I went back - I didn’t see John & Simon for the remainder of the day.
from left - Simon Clark, John Travis, Steve Harris, Linda Nagle and me
Back to the table and lunch.  Andrew David Barker joined us and told me about his new book project, with Unbound and we discussed agenting adventures.  After Lisa finished my chips for me, I spoke to Simon Bestwick, caught up with Georgina Bruce and her brother and Ray Cluley joined us (we managed a wave).  Richard Farren Barber arrived so I chatted to him with Pete and said hello to Duncan Bradshaw, Dan Howarth and Paul Feeney then Richard & I talked with Tim Lebbon for a while.  Spotted David Watkins and had a chat, then CC joined us.  After a quick hello to Stephen Volk, we were off to the Black Shuck launch.
Me, Lisa Childs and Tracy Fahey
As we waited in the foyer to go into Cinema Two, Sophie Essex came across from The Box (where the dealers room had been set up) to say hello, so I went over to their stall, picked up her chapbook and chatted with her and Andrew Hook.  As Sophie said, you have to say hello when you see someone or you don’t see them again and - true to form - I’m glad we did because I didn’t.
Me, Richard Farren Barber, Peter
picture courtesy of Richard
Late into the launch, I sat in a row on my own (very warm in there and without anyone to nudge me, was a bit worried I’d nod off).  James and Dan launched their antho Pareidolia then Kit Power launched The Finite and did a reading.  Said hello to Jay Eales then Simon B came by and I realised Cate Gardner was in the row behind so I went back to chat with her and we talked nerves (our book launch next), writing and keeping fit.

Into Cinema One (the bigger theatre) for the Multi Publisher launch - Ross and Simon B with the latter’s novella A Love Like Blood, Justin Park and the Sinister Horror Company with Duncan’s Cannibal Nuns From Outer Space and Pete’s HHB with The Woods, featuring Cate, James, Penny Jones and me (Phil missed the event as it’s his wedding anniversary).  I convinced Cate to do a little reading and I hope she enjoyed it, we all read the first page of our stories and I had a great time (hope the audience did), though it was weird hearing your voice then an amplified version of it through the speakers a half-second later.
Following Cate's reading, as Simon looks on and Duncan finds something more interesting to do.
from left - James, Penny Jones, me, Cate Gardner, Simon B and Duncan Bradshaw

pic courtesy of Laura Mauro
Reading from "Compass Wood"
Bought Simon and Duncan’s book, chatted with Justin Park (who was still flying high over a glowing review by Chris Hall of The Black Room Manuscripts 4, launched at FCon last year (see here) - I got a very nice write-up too for Brooks Pond which pleased me no end) then signed a lot of copies of The Woods.  Hayley Orgill stopped for a chat after I signed her book, then Kevin Redfern came by and it was good to see them and I got to speak with Sue Sinclair, from my writing group - at Cons, we're usually ships that pass in the night!  I finally got to speak with Penny Jones (I’d spoken with Simon, her hubby, earlier) and all too soon, we were being asked to leave for the next event.
Signing a copy as Jay Eales waits - pic courtesy of Sue
Peter went to drop his books at his hotel, so I waited outside and enjoyed some of the dancing in the carnival with Sue, Ross, Lisa and Richard with Pixie joining us for a while too.  Once we’d got everyone together, we adjourned to the Cosy Club located in a glorious old building with very high ceilings, a little balcony (inside) and all manner of great features.  After we’d ordered, conversation ranged all over the place and we covered a lot of ground, including Pete’s admiration (yes, I’ll use that word) for F. Paul Wilson – or fuporl, as we started to call him.

We talked, the food arrived, we ate (it was very nice) and we talked a lot more.  All too soon, it was after seven so we headed back to the Quad and into Cinema One, where our group took up most of a row.  Dion sat with me and we compared our days.  Sarah Pinborough and Tim did the raffle which was as chaotic as ever, though good fun and once again I didn’t win anything - Steve later suggested we call it the ‘curse of the Andromeda’ and I wouldn’t disagree with that.  The raffle - and day - ended with Alex Davis doing a little speech.  “I’ve got some bad news and some good news” he said before announcing there would be no Sledge-Lit (boo!), though he was running a Ghost event (didn’t quite catch all the details) in its place.  However, he finished with the news that Edge-Lit next year would be over two days, which could be very interesting indeed.
Before the food, with Sue, Peter, Lisa, Richard, Ross and me
After that, we made our way out, saying goodbyes as we passed people, then had a long time hugging and saying cheerio in the foyer to the gang before heading across to the car park (where, naturally, we found ourselves standing with the people we’d just said goodbye to).

Another excellent Edge-Lit and I thoroughly enjoyed myself - there were a lot of people I only managed to say hello to, who I wish I could have chatted with and there were more I saw briefly across the room and never got to speak to at all.  But such is the way with Cons, it all balances out in the end.

A great Con is made up of different things and this one had it all, from the superb organisation by Alex, Pixie and the entire redshirt team to the wonderful company of fine friends and writers, not to mention the incredible burst of creative energy as you soak up the buzz.

Edge-Lit, you and your participants were excellent.  Roll on the next one!

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