This weekend, I had the immense pleasure of being part of The Conference for Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature—Can-Con, for short. I’ve been to conferences before, but always as a fan, attending panels and being a fanboy over authors I love. However, this conference was special to me.
It was my first conference as an author.
I was scheduled to sit on panels, do an author signing, and give a reading from my new novel, Lust and Lemonade. I was really nervous about it. I didn’t know what to expect, being gazed upon by an audience who would be actively listening to me and what I had to say as an author and a writer.
There was no need to be nervous. It was pretty freaking awesome!
I picked up my registration materials, which included a name badge with the title of Panelist on it. That made it somehow more real for me. I was thrilled to be there, to represent and to revel in the written word.
I started out by attending a panel about queer publishers and queer writing, after doing an author signing for Lust and Lemonade. I shopped at the dealer room and took in all the other books on offer and talked to the other authors about their books.
I was gloriously overwhelmed by the sense of community and warmth I felt, the sense of home. I could feel my nerves ramping up a bit as it was getting close to the time when I’d be on my first ever panel as an author.
I was a panelist on What Makes Romantic Chemistry Between Two Characters? I drew from my knowledge of writing romance (having written 60 novels). It was a fabulous experience. The room was filled to the brim with people. They started off the panel by giving me a round of applause for it being my first panel, which was pretty awesome. That helped to put me at ease. At first, I was still a little nervous giving my answers, surrounded by these amazing writers, but then I got right into it. I was surprise when the hour was up and it seemed like no time at all had passed!
The next panel I sat on was one that was very important to me. It was Spooning with Spoonies: Disability and Sexuality. This panel focused on sexuality and disability within fiction. I was thrilled that it was happening! You never know how something that deals with such a sensitive subject will go over, but it was very well received! The audience asked lots of great questions and we were all able to be very open about the disabilities or chronic conditions we carry within us.
The next morning, before I gave my reading from Lust and Lemonade, I was approached by one of the people that had been at the Spooning with Spoonies panel. She told me that the panel had been worthwhile, and the information she had obtained listening to us would come to shape her as a writer. It doesn’t get any better than that.
At my author reading for Lust and Lemonade, the room was filled to the brim with people that had come to see authors with Renaissance read from their work. I had chosen two chapters I thought were humorous. It’s one thing to write something and hope it’s funny. It’s another thing entirely to have a whole room of people laugh at what you’ve written because it is funny. That was a very gratifying experience for me as a writer and I was overjoyed with how it went.
Overall, I felt so at home at Can-Con. The people were so kind to one another and the authors so wonderful to the readers who wanted to meet them and get their work signed. (I should know, I got Tanya Huff to sign a copy of my book). All the panels were wonderful and fascinating, both as a reader and as an author.
The rooms were filled with a buzz of joy and a thrum of knowledge. Can-Con was like finding family. They say that writing is a solitary work. This is mostly true, however Can-Con made the art of writing not so lonely for me by bringing all of us, writers and readers, together.
I can’t wait for next year!
Jamieson Wolf is an award-winning, number one bestselling author of over sixty books and writer of Two Steps at a Time, a blog about having multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. He is an accomplished artist who works in mixed media, charcoal, pastels, and oil paints. He is also something of an amateur photographer, a poet, a perfume designer, and a graphic designer.
Jamieson currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario with his husband Michael and his cat Tula, who is fearless. You can read more about Jamieson on his website or his blog, and can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
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I love this so much. My first ever convention was at Can-Con as well, six years ago now. I’ve been spoilt for conventions now. It really is just a beautiful community. I’m so, so glad your first experience was so lovely. I raise my mug of coffee to you, and wish you many more wonderful experiences!