Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Pilgrimage (Or the awesome trials and travails involved in getting to and from BLLive)

I have had an exceptionally awesome weekend, capped off with a splash of luck and then the karmic repercussions of said luck. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

On Friday morning, with about 20 books stuffed into my hold-all and a slip of paper assuring me passage, I set out for Nottingham. Unfortunately the National Express has to stop EVERYWHERE and so the journey took me about 8 hours. Well spent, mind you; I managed to finish "Path of the Renegade" which really really impressed me. It could be because I love villains; and having twisted Dark Eldar plotting and scheming really seemed to make the time pass quickly.

I dropped my stuff at my hotel and taxi-ed it to Warhammer World where I had the pleasure of meeting some of the Boltholers. Much hilarity and geekery ensued, with some quite awesome conversation and a general atmosphere of welcome and camaraderie.

With Bugman's closing at about 10, I wandered along to the Travellodge with some of the others before heading back to a freezing cold hotel room and managing to fall asleep to Watchmen.

Saturday itself saw me lamenting at a £10 breakfast and hurrying round the corner to some random cafe, snagging a roll and ham and then getting yet another taxi (D&G must love me, I swear to god) and arriving for about half 8. I had paranoid delusions of not being able to get Void Stalker or Primarchs, so the early start was a necessity.

My first stop was the sales area where I believe I may have broken into the frantic giggle of “Butcher's Nails! They have Butcher's Nails! My god, they have..” You get the idea. I quickly divested myself of money; picking up the aforementioned Audiodrama, as well as; Void Stalker, The Primarchs, Legion of the Damned, Architect of Fate and Dead Winter.

I got three seminar tickets (Writing, Xenos and ADB Q&A) and then quickly forgot which belonged to which. Writing was quite interesting. Submissions are being pared down to 1000 word writing samples (which suits me, because I'm terrible at synopses) and no more novels after this year; which makes my Scion of Mars novel sad; but I'll still aim to finish it.

Timeline issues were also fun to come to grips with; the end of all things is too crowded; everything's happening too close to M40.999 which later conversation with my gf compared to Gehenna. Apparently 40k-wise we've got a good few thousand years to play with. Also, avoid big existing set-pieces, someone else is probably going to do it.

I spent the next few hours collecting signatures. Managed to get Andy Chambers (who was awesome and revealed that the third book in his trilogy will be Path of the Archon). Then my waiting in the Graham queue finally paid off and we had a nice long chat, when I managed to stop gushing anyways. I stayed in the queues to meet Sarah and Rob Sanders, who were both amazing. Lovely people to talk to.

The Xenos seminar was illuminating as regards the “do's and don'ts of aliens”. Apparently the Tau are super-popular when it comes to submissions and we should avoid the littler bit-part races (though I still think the tale of a heroic Hrud struggling against the Iron Warrior who killed his great grandfather has merit). Also we had someone regard the Hive Mind as a She, which was interesting :P.

After this it was straight into The Heresy; where the questions were fun and varied. There was the deathly silence when a certain height-challenged race were mentioned and a denial of their ever being anything to the Missing Primarchs. We also got some clarification on the White Scars and when we'd see them tooling around.

After this I went to get Gav's autograph and had another lovely chat, where I finally managed to work in thanking him for the Path of the Seer dedication. I also had to apologise for the sheer volume of books that turned out to be for him; but he managed through without a wrist-brace, so ultimately I think I have a clear conscience.

So, at this point I'm thinking about leaving; but there's still the raffle. All the posters start to wing their way to other homes and I'm thinking that 5-for-4 was a waste of money, when all of a sudden I win. And it just so happens to be the utterly amazing Fear to Tread cover-art. It's huge. Seriously; I've got pictures. It's like all of my living room floor...But so awesome. I'm assured by my soon-to-be cohabitant that there's no way it's going up anywhere, and if it is there'll be a screen so she doesn't have to see it. I think I can deal with that.

That was the luck; now to the karma.

My slow steady progress back means getting a half 6 bus to Birmingham and then a half 10 bus to Glasgow (which gets me in at 6am). The Birmingham-Glasgow bus is delayed by half an hour due to a medical emergency and then slightly more at something-o-clock in the morning thanks to emotional girls with the wrong tickets.

Barring the horrors of transport though, the weekend was phenomenal. It was good to see the authors I'd met before again and great to be introduced to new authors whose work I've come to love. It was also great to actually meet people from the Bolthole, and to feel welcome and included in an atmosphere of good cheer and like-minds.

All I can say is, roll on the Weekender and BLLive2012 while we're at it :)

Malkydel. :)

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