Last weekend was Fantasycon at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. I have been to a good number of Fantasycons, but wasn’t able to attend last year’s as I was still under treatment so it was good to get to this year’s.

I drove up on Friday – only took 2.5 hrs in sharp contrast to the trip back, and the venue was easy to find with loads of parking right in the middle of Nottingham University campus. The centre and hotel are both new so the room was of a very high standard and the staff well-trained and helpful. So far, so good.

The first person I ran into was Anna Smith-Spark who I’ve been chatting to online for a while. Fortunately she does look like her Facebook profile photo. She is a truly talented writer who is also a client of Ian’s. Her novel is creating a lot of interest and, having read it, I’m not surprised – this lady can really write a battle scene; her reading was pretty awesome too.

I was scheduled for a reading just before six, but programmed against some really interesting panels. Not a surprise then that only two people showed up, one someone I didn’t know and didn’t get to talk to – so if that was you please get in touch. I read the opening of the contemporary fantasy novel that Telos are publishing and got applause – thanks Anna!

After the reading the only drawback of the con venue became apparent. It’s a business hotel and the dining choices were very limited and pricey as was the choice of drinks, with bottled beers at £4.50 a go! There was also a shortage of seating around the bar area. We couldn’t use the University facilities and anything off the campus was a good long walk away. I didn’t hang out in the bar too late as had a panel to moderate on Saturday morning but it seemed quieter than usual.

Saturday’s panel went well thanks to my roster of smart and eloquent panellists, particularly ‘Tex’ Thompson who I’ve worked with before and is always good value. After the panel I was able to relax and take in a few panels, hang out and take a turn through the dealers room. There were a couple of smaller publishers I wanted to talk to about my orphan adventure fantasy duology and good conversations were had. I met a series of cool people, including several more of Ian’s clients (we’re not plotting honest!), and hopefully have a couple of speakers for the T-Party (who got a great name check from Jo Fletecher).

Didn’t really do that much on Sunday except go out to Beeston for a nice lunch then back in time for the BFS awards. The T-Party folk who were up for awards didn’t win, but as Laura Mauro said, it is fabulous to just be on the shortlist.

Let’s not talk about the drive home – it would spoil what was otherwise a great weekend.