Tag Archives: Nine Worlds

My Experience at Nine Worlds 2015

This was the second year I’ve attended the Nine Worlds Geekfest in London. The event is only in its third year so it is still a relatively new event compared to some. Even so I think it is leaps and bounds ahead of others in terms of it being the most inclusive and open event I’ve attended. The organisers work incredibly hard to make sure everyone feels safe and they have very clear policies around acceptable behaviour.

There were a few issues at the event, but I want to make it clear that it was not the fault of the organisers but the venue itself. Others have detailed it elsewhere but briefly, the staff and service at the hotel was a very mixed bag. I encountered excellent service and very helpful and friendly staff on reception and at breakfast, and yet terrible service in the restaurant (twice) and at the bar. As a result of many similar complaints by attendees next year’s event will not be held at the same hotel.

Once again this year I was involved in organising the podcasting track. Without blowing my own trumpet I think it all went very well. Big thanks to my fellow track organisers, Scott Grandison and Barry Nugent, of Geek Syndicate fame. All of the panels were very well attended and I think it is worth highlighting our keynote talk by Allen Stroud which was fascinating and insightful. It was on “The State of the Playground: the modern experience of fantasy and science fiction across media” and at the end of his talk he sat down, turned his chair around and it moved into discussion between everyone in the room. The 2nd Annual Podcaster Games was so much fun and Alasdair Stuart, Anne Louise and Marguerite Kenner went home with the coveted Golden Microphone trophies. If you ask them really nicely they might show you, but you can’t touch it!

The rest of my convention seemed to go by in a blur. I spent a lot of time hanging out with fellow members of TeamMushens, as well as attending panels on the book track and popping along to the SRFC brunch on Sunday morning which was sponsored by Orbit books who supplied all the goodies. This included some Battlemage cupcakes which tasted delicious! I also did a reading at the New Voices panel on Saturday night alongside all around good egg, Pete Newman. On Saturday we even managed to squeeze in a Warhammer 40K roleplay for a few hours which was so much fun.

There were a lot of late nights. Conversations about books, films and geek TV shows. There was also plenty of beer.  Sadly the event inevitably came to a close and I left feeling exhausted, bereft after being around so many cool and interesting people, but happier for having spent time with them. Roll on the next convention which for me will be Fantasycon in October and then SLEDGE LIT in November. But before then I’ll be doing a northern and southern book signing and launch for Battlemage. Details are coming very soon.

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Podcasting Legends

I’m giving that title to someone else, not me, namely Scott Grandison, my partner in crime on our podcast of eight years last week, Comic Book Outsiders.

When we started podcasting we had a sign at comic book conventions on our table that said – Ask us about podcasting! Several times an hour, people came up to the table and asked, so what’s a podcast? Eight years on, there are thousands of podcasts being produced all around the world, they’re on iTunes to download, celebrities even produce their own podcasts.

A year before we started, there were a few other podcasts I listened to, one being Geek Syndicate, from two more worthy of the  title Podcasting Legends, namely Barry Nugent and David Monteith. They’re one of the reasons we started in the first place and they’re also still going to this day, nine years on. So hats off to you both, gentleman.

To celebrate CBO’s 175th episode last week, we asked Barry to join us for a completely unplanned hour of geekery. We talked about anything and everything, we had a few mini rants, got some stuff off our chest and we celebrated some awesome stuff. It reminded me again why I like podcasting and how brilliant it is as a medium for connecting people with common interests. It’s also takes me a lot less time to explain why I like something than write the equivalent. Long-term discussion and analysis on the internet is not that common, and it would take a long time to read, but I can have the same discussion with six people in 30 minutes on a podcast. Good luck transcribing that!

Other stuff, I’m busy with all sorts of book stuff, so I’ve taken a step back from my other podcast, Bags of Action. So in July Pete Rogers, my other co-host, discussed Kury Fury and Predator: Dark Ages with Gavin Jones from the Sidekickcast. Next month Pete and Scott will crossover in some kind of weird summer blockbuster event with Arnie and Stallone in the same film, and discuss Aliens, so watch out for that.

Nine Worlds Geekfest

Next week, Scott, Barry and I are once again co-running the Podcasting track for Nine Worlds. We’ve got all sorts of interesting and thought provoking panels, educational ones, a guest speaker and the legendary, Annual Podcaster Games, which is the ultimate geek quiz. The winning team each gets to take home the coveted golden microphone trophy, so do not miss that if you’re going, it’s at 11.45am on Saturday.

I’m also appearing on a couple of panels at Nine Worlds on the Book Track, so keep an eye out and if you’re going I’ll see you there on a panel, at my reading, or most likely, in the bar.

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Updated Appearances

I’m hoping to have some news in the next couple of weeks about events closer to the time of publication for Battlemage. However, I’m going to be appearing in a few places in the meantime in the run up to the end of September and publication date. So I’ve added details as I have them below and dates on the Events page.

First off I’ll be at the Goldboro Books Fantasy in the Court Event on Thursday 6th August. This event is run in association with Hodderscape. More information is available about the event here.

I’m also attending the Nine Worlds Geekfest on Friday 7th August to Sunday 9th August in Heathrow. As well as co-running the Podcasting track, I’ll be appearing in a couple of places.

I’m on the New Voices Panel on the All the Books track on Saturday night from 10.15pm to 11.30pm. Last year this involved a short reading so I’d expect more of the same.

I’m also on the Writing the Other panel on Sunday 9th from 3.15pm to 4.30pm. More information about the event is available here, and you can access the full programme here and start planning your panels. With so many tracking running in parallel you really need to plan what you want to see in advance.

 

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Nine Worlds 2015

So, we’re still months away from the Nine Worlds Geekfest convention for 2015, which is taking place on 7-9th August in London but I’m writing about it on here for a couple of reasons.

I attended the event last year, and it was a remarkable event which was eye-opening and the most inclusive event I’ve ever attended with a very relaxed atmosphere. It was also kind of terrifying because in addition to co-running the podcast track with Barry Nugent of Geek Syndicate fame, I also read a section from my book Battlemage for the first time in public. The panel was called New Voices and new authors stood up in front of a room full of strangers and read for about 5 minutes. I was nervous, sweaty, gassy and generally not comfortable. I’m very much someone who normally works behind the scenes, pulling strings as it were. I’m not someone who seeks the limelight and I don’t like to be the centre of attention but this time there was nowhere to hide. But I think it went fairly well, I stumbled a couple of times but people seemed to enjoy it so that was good.

All of those nerves will have to be brushed aside or buried soon as September marks the launch of Battlemage, the first book in my trilogy, so I suspect I will be doing more public readings in the near future. I might even be doing something for it at Nine Worlds but it is too early to say just yet.

Nine Worlds also marks the return of the podcasting track. This year I’m taking a bit of a step back as I’m busy writing book 3, editing book 2, and promoting and launching book 1, so my co-host on the Comic Book Outsiders podcast, Dr Scott, is helping Barry and I run the podcast track this year.

So, we have worked out what panels we are doing for the track, now we just need more people to sign up for it. So, if you are a podcaster and you want to get involved, if you want to talk about what you do, how to do it, why you do it, when and where, and all aspects in between, then sign up on the Nine Worlds website here. As I said, still months away but we need to get it sorted ahead of time.

Even if you’re not into podcasting I would recommend the event as it has more than one track for all walks of geekdom and you will find lots of things to keep you busy for a few days. In the meantime it’s back to the writing cave.

 

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Podcasting empire

I’ve been podcast for over seven years now and the landscape has changed dramatically in that time. When we started not many people really knew what podcasting was and the number of podcasts and people listening was a fraction of what is today.

Coming up on eight years on from when we first started in July 2007, my co-host and I have done all sorts with the podcast and it has led to all sorts of opportunities, personally and professionally. I’ve attended comic book conventions and spoken on panels about podcasting, their place in the new media landscape and taken part in discussions about whether or not it’s a form of journalism. I also co-ran the podcasting track at the Nine Worlds Geekfest convention last year and will be involved again this year.

Professionally I’ve used the editing and sound skills I learned from a hobby in two of my jobs. One was to introduce podcasting to a large global company who wanted to keep their employees up to date in a way that was mobile. So I trained a couple of other people on good technique, introduced them to the software and how it works, and off they went. I’ve also used the same skills for video editing and my voice has been used on several demonstration videos which I put together.

On a personal level, podcasting has allowed me to speak with some amazing creative people, writers and artist from several mediums, plus independent filmmakers. This was sometimes on the Book Club where we spoke to authors, and sometimes on Comic Book Outsiders.

We’ve now reached the point where after so many years we’ve settled into a rhythm and are still enjoying what we do. With that in mind I thought it might be worth giving a little bit of information about the podcasts I’m involved with, as part of our mini podcasting empire!

Comic Book Outsiders – Once a month I co-host this comics and geek related podcast with Scott. This was the original podcast we started in 2007 and we are still going. We talk about things in the news, comics books, TV, films and games, we discuss meaty topics, we have guests on to talk about their work and we highlight hidden gems that don’t get as much attention as they should.

Bags of Action – Once a month I co-host this podcast with Pete Rogers. If you love action movies then this is the podcast for you. We talk about the ridiculous stories and the wonderful chaos common to this type of movie. From gun fights that go on forever to fist fights that defy gravity and common sense. Every month we discuss and dissect an action movie and always have a good time recording it. Sometimes we go off the rails a bit and dig into some of the trivia, or we just wander off into other areas if the film is poor.

Crash Landing – Once a month Scott sits down with a special guest. Fortunately they have been rescued from a dying earth. Unfortunately the rocket ship they are on is going to crash land. They have to decide which popular media they want to save, books, films or comics, or a combination of all three. What could they not live without on their brave new world? As well as talking about why they love their choices we find out more about our special guests each month.

The website for the CBO network has more information on all of the podcasts, plus ways you can get involved and even support the podcasts. It’s all on iTunes as well so give one or more of the podcasts a try and let me know what you think.

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My Nine Worlds Experience

Nine Worlds is a new and very different convention in the UK to many of its predecessors that have been around for a long time. Rather than focusing on a particular genre TV show, or medium such as comics, it covers everything. There were over 30 different tracks and I was co-running the podcast track with Barry Nugent from Geek Syndicate. A quick look at my inbox shows a couple of hundred emails sent by Barry or me, to the organisers, moderators and panellists. We had two panels each day and as this was the first year of doing a podcast track, we both wanted to be there to make sure the panels went well and we were on hand throughout to help with any issues. For example not being able to get into the room on Friday or the microphones not being switched on. A quick chat with the organisers and every issue was resolved quickly, so I have to take my hat off to them for all of their help and everything went according to plan.

Bu7OCoQIgAAUuu-The highlight of the podcast track for me was the two panels we had on Saturday. The first Democratisation of Podcasting and New Media was totally fascinating and Scott’s interesting presentation laid out the evolution of media. He showed how the world has changed from a place where we receive the news from a few limited outlets to what we have today, where individuals, other than journalists, are creating the news and reporting on it, sometimes live from the scene. After that was the First Annual Podcaster Games, where two teams of three podcasters went head to head to test their geeky knowledge. The quiz covered all areas from TV to comics to film and everything in between. We had buzzers, we had trophies, we had lots of angst and two brilliant Games Masters who ran the quiz (Gavin and Dan from the Sidekickcast) who took no cheek from the contestants. Some of whom were cocky to begin with but that soon faded when the questions fell outside their normal wheelhouse. The quiz was a lot of fun, we had a lot of laughs and everyone in the audience had a great time. The winning team went home proudly holding their trophies aloft.

So on all three mornings of the convention I was busy, but on Saturday afternoon I sat on a panel about Likeable Bad Guys from All the Books track. I think it went fairly well, everyone generally agreed with one another so there wasn’t any controversy. I was very nervous, didn’t ramble too much and managed not to offend anyone or puke, so overall it was great.

Saturday night I also did my first public reading as part of the New Voices segment on the All the Books track. I read part of chapter 1 from Battlemage, which is out next year from Orbit books. I was horrendously nervous, felt very sick beforehand, stumbled a couple of times during my reading, but I didn’t rush and got through it without too many mistakes. I think it went well and the crowd of fifty plus people seemed to like it. I had friends and supporters in the crowd which helped too. At this point several people have read my book, but this was the first time I’d essentially shown other people how I interpret it, how I see and hear the characters and the rhythm of the sentences and dialogue in my head.

I managed to find time to go to a few other panels, one on Writing LGBTQ+ Characters in SFF, and one about writing the inhuman, where four writers talked about what makes a character inhuman and how they get into that mind space.

There were a lot of friends at the convention that I wanted to spend time with but I didn’t have enough hours in the day to talk to many of them. They were busy and I was either busy organising panels, going to a panel, grabbing something to eat or running from one place to another. Thankfully at my next convention, Fantasycon in September, I’m not running anything and am not appearing on any panels so I will hopefully have more time to catch up with people I missed at Nine Worlds.

Overall Nine Worlds is the most inclusive convention I’ve ever been to. Everyone was made to feel welcome and the organisers went out of their way to accommodate everyone from every walk of life. There was a lot going on, dare I say perhaps too much, because while it was nice to have so much choice it meant I missed a great deal because so many things were happening at the same time. Other conventions suffer from having too narrow a focus, so I sometimes find I’m only interested in 25% of the available panels whereas with over 30 tracks it was the opposite. I guess it’s trial and error, finding which tracks prove popular and which don’t and then adjusting the tracks for the following year accordingly.

The date is already set for Nine Worlds 2015 and tickets are on sale. I’ve no idea if I’m going to be there yet, simply because 2015 is going to be very busy for me with book 1 coming out, editing book 2 and writing book 3. I suspect I will be at a few conventions but I’ll decide a little closer to the time.

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My Panels at Nine Worlds 2014

A short list of where I’ll be during Nine Worlds in a couple of weeks time.

Between 10am and 1pm on all three days I’ll be keeping an eye on the Podcasting Track which I’m co-running with an old friend, Barry Nugent, from Geek Syndicate. Barry and I go way back, almost to the dawn of UK podcasting. I think we’ve come up with some great panels and I’m particularly looking forward to Saturday for both the TED style talk from Dr Scott and the epic geek quiz. I think they’re both going to be brilliant fun.

On top of that I am also appearing on a couple of panels listed below.

Saturday – All The Books Track

Likeable Bad Guys
Loving you is easy; explaining you is so hard
1.30 – 2.45pm
County C&D
We love to hate them, we hate to love them: from great one-liners to a sympathetic backstory, from the evil laugh to villian-fabulous fashion: what makes bad guys soooooo good?
Panel: Ed Fortune, Rochita Loenen Ruiz, Stephen Aryan, Anna Caltabiano, Den Patrick

Saturday – All the Books Track

New Voices: the Class of 2014 continued!
10.15pm – 11.30pm
Royal B
More fun and fast-paced readings from the very best new writers.

I will be doing my first public reading ever. I’ll be reading from Battlemage, which is due out next year from Orbit. Not nervous at all. Nope. No. Not me. Oh lordy.

Sunday – Podcasting Track

The Power of New Media
11.45am – 1.00pm
This interactive roundtable panel follows on from Saturday’s talk about new media. Four podcasters will discuss and explore with the audience the growing power of new media and the rise of the everyman journalist.
Speakers: Barry Nugent, Emma Newman, Stephen Aryan, Scott Grandison

Barry, Emma, and Dr Scott, my co-host from Comic Book Outsiders will sit down to talk about podcasting, new media and where it’s going. Hopefully we’ll get the audience involved and make this an interactive session where audience members come with their own questions and ideas.

 

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Summer Holiday

In a few days I’ll be off on my annual summer holiday for a much needed week of rest and relaxation in the sun. It will give me a chance to catch up on my reading (see previous for my list of books I’m taking away), my sleep and to recharge the batteries because when I get back it’s going to get very busy for a while.

In August I will be attending the second annual Nine Worlds event. I’ve posted about it before and after hearing such great things about it from last year I’m really looking forward to it this year. Not because of my small role in helping to organise a small part of it (the podcast track which I’ve running with a friend), but because of the many other tracks that are running at the event and the variety. Conventions are typically quite linear, organised around a particular TV show, or film, and to be fair sometimes there are cross TV show conventions, where a few guests from two or three shows.

Book conventions often bring together authors from related genres and sometimes there’s a tangentially connected guest from left field, but by necessity really events are quite focused so people know what they’re getting when they buy a ticket. Nine Worlds is the first convention of its kind that I’ve seen in the UK. One that has a track for books, and you can spend all weekend at that one, but if you want to jump over here for a few hours and do something else you can. So I’m going to jumping between monitoring the podcasting track, attending panels on the book track, dipping in and out of the games track, and possibly the gaming area, browsing the dealer room and probably dropping in on a few other panels here and there. I’m also appearing on a couple of panels, one for the podcast track and one for the book track, but I’ll post more info closer to the time.

Another reason I’m excited about the convention is because I don’t get down to London very often, maybe once or twice a year, and it will give me a chance to meet up with a lot of convention friends I only see when I’m down there. I spend a fair amount of time talking to them online via social media and email, but it really isn’t the same. So I’m really looking forward to sitting down and chatting over a pint or two, and meeting up in person with some new people I’ve chatted to online for the first time.There are too many to name individually, but I’m sure there will be photographic evidence and lots of blog posts after the fact.

So at Nine Worlds there will be copious drinking, hopefully a few games of Cards Against Humanity and I’m taking my Magic cards and might get to battle a few people with those, although I am incredibly rusty so it will take me a while to get back into the swing of things. When I say rusty I’m not being modest, I mean it. The last time I played Magic was when it first came out, maybe ten or twelve years ago, so I definitely need to practice a bit. Overall I think it’s going to be a cracking weekend but utterly exhausting.

Thankfully it’s nearly a month until the next convention, Fantasycon in York, so I will have plenty of time to recover. I’m not running anything at that event, so it should be a bit more relaxing, but no doubt there will be more drinking, meet-ups, panels and organised chaos.

After that it’s all quiet for a while, so I’ll be head down grafting away on book 2, then making a start on book 3. As tiring as the events will be they’re actually really good for invigorating me, and they make me want to get back to my own writing. I think it has sometimes to do with being around so many other creative people. Even though I could away exhausted it’s a good thing. So, I’m off soon, have a good summer holiday and I’ll probably see some of you at Nine Worlds next month.

 

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