HalCon Review – Author Panels

On Saturday November 5th, I attended HalCon, the biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada. There were many wonderful demonstrations, vendors and author displays. There was also author signings, autograph sessions and endless streams of characters.

Shortly after I arrived, I sought out the room for the Editing and Formatting panel session. The speakers for the event included

The description of the session stated: To Oxford Comma, Or Not.  This and other questions about editing formatting will be answered.  If you’ve ever wondered about cutting parts, proper structure or when not using proper grammar is okay, then this may be the panel for you. Continue reading

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A Busy Weekend of Events

There are many events going on around the province this weekend so if you live in Nova Scotia, you have plenty to keep you busy. Here are just three events I’m either involved in or wish I was involved in.

Craft Show: First up is the In Hants Craft Show at the Milford Recreation Hall, Milford Station, East Hants. The show hosts the creative works of more than sixty local crafters. You’ll find everything from quilts to cookies, from fancy hats to wooden carvings. You shop as if you’re in a gift shop, then pay for your purchase all at once at the check-out using cash, Visa or MasterCard.

This is the second year I’ve participated in the show. Last year I sold books and homemade goat milk soap. Only my books are there this year.

The hours of operation are Friday (9:00 am to 9:00 pm), Saturday (9:00 am to 5:00 pm) and Sunday (12:00 pm to 5:00 pm). I was there for more than four hours today, and a steady stream of people came and went, many carrying baskets of goodies and gifts out the door.

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Writing a Book Acknowledgement

MOCK 01 Front Cover Scattered StonesThere are many sections to a book. The two important parts that need the most attention are the story and the cover (in that order). For the past several months, I have focussed on these two things; without a doubt, I want them to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.

As launch day approaches for Scattered Stones, book 2 in The Castle Keepers series, I need to start playing with the other parts that go into a printed novel, the little details that occupy the spaces between the front cover and the story, and the back cover and the story. Playing is the exact word I want to use.

This time around, I want to be less formal and allow a slither of my silly side to lighten and brighten these little details. I love fun, funny and silly. And I love putting a twist into things that readers don’t expect. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I have never written an acknowledgement for any of my books, but I’ve seen many books that include them. In essence, it is a few words to thank the people who provided a helping hand to bring the book to life. This might be direct or indirect help.

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2015 HalCon Review

As I mentioned in my previous blog HalCon History, I attended HalCon for the first time on the weekend. Although the event runs three days, I could attend only one, so I chose Saturday. This is typically their busiest day.

We showed up early (8:30 am) on the advice of my nephew who had attended past HalCon weekends. Since we hadn’t attended on Friday, we had to register and trade our ticket for a bracelet. For anyone going for the first time, this might be a little confusing. I mean, when you attend a concert at the Metro Centre, the attendant at the door scans your ticket and you’re in.

At HalCon, you first have to register, which means show your ticket to the clerk along with a piece of ID, preferably with a picture. She matches up the name on the ticket with your ID, and you get your bracelet. Since the doors didn’t officially open until 9:30, we had to then go in another line, one that would get us officially in.

This line didn’t take long, and shortly after 9:30, we were walking into the vendor area where many things related to fantasy, science fiction and games could be found. It took a few minutes to get our bearings, but eventually the two people I came with, went off to seek the things that interested them, and I went to a presentation I thought was interesting.

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HalCon History

Dubbed the “biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada”, HalCon doesn’t disappoint in size or in science fiction and fantasy. Thankfully, it takes place less than an hour’s drive from home in downtown Halifax.

HalCon began in 2010, and since then, it has grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, they had so many people arrive on Saturday, the fire marshal closed the doors and wouldn’t let anyone else in until someone left. This is a problem most events would love to have.

From HalCon’s About page, we learn Nova Scotia has a history of conventions. They existed from the 1970s to the 1990s but eventually disappeared. In 2008, the idea to revive such an event took root. Two years of planning and fundraising created the first HalCon which took place at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax. It turned out to be such a success, that it moved to the World Trade & Conventional Centre in 2011.

What started out as a 1,500-fan attendance in 2010, transformed into 6,400 attendees in 2014. This year, it included floor space at the World Trade & Conventional Centre and the attached Scotia Centre (the Mero Centre for the locals who have known it as that for decades).

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Impressions OR an Overview of CCMA

ImpressionsWe are often told you don’t get a second chance at making a first impression. Those first impressions brand themselves in our memories. We recall them every time your name is mentioned or your work passes our eyes. By the time you get to make a second impression, we may have recalled the first impression a dozen or more times, making it difficult to bump it aside for a different impression to take root.

Bad impressions imbed themselves deeper than good impressions—for the most part. This means if you made a bad impression the first time, you’ll have a mountain to climb to mend the fence.

Obviously, good impressions are important in our personal lives, but they are vital in our professional lives. They can make or break our business (which is gaining a reading audience), so it’s important to pay attention to your actions and words when in public, particularly if you’re in the company of readers and writers.

The flip side of that is we are always judging the impressions of others, both new and old acquaintances. We may not consciously do this, but we do it because it’s our nature. We use our morals and opinions to apply that judgement. So while something you did was great in the eyes of one person, it might not be so hot in the eyes of another.

It’s a tough road, but one we travel every day.

I was reminded of first and lasting impressions over the weekend when I attended several events associated with the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA) held in Halifax, NS. This was my first CCMA show, so my mind was wide open to what may or may not happen.

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All Aboard for Word on the Street

Word on the StreetI had a busy yesterday. It started early. Shower, eat, kids fed, animals fed and watered, flooding from heavy overnight rain dealt with and I was out the door, headed for downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The forty-five minute drive gave me plenty of time to wonder about where I might park. It had been a while since I had taken the Dartmouth ferry across the harbour to Halifax, and I wasn’t sure if I could still park in its lot or if it cost anything to do so.

I was lucky on both accounts: I could park in the same lot I used to leave my old truck while I caught the ferry to hockey games and concerts many years ago, and parking was free on Sunday (yeah!).

The cost for one adult to cross on the ferry one way is $2.25.

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