First and foremost, I am so profoundly grateful to the team of organisers responsible for brining Can*Con back in this post-but-not-really-pandemic world. From the Sheraton Ottawa for hosting the event, to the volunteer co-ordinator, and the all volunteers they coordinated, the programming team (particularly Brandon Crilly, who got to work on my behalf for a last minute programming change so I could attend my own book launch), and of course, the Can*Con Co-Chairs Marie Bilodeau and Derek Künsken who pulled it all together in this weird time we're living in.
Side note: Derek is retiring as co-chair, and the news broke this weekend. So, let me take this time for a special thanks to Derek, whose warmth and humour has made this event such a great place to go. I remember my first ever Can*Con, he dropped by my table to ask how I was doing. I had exactly one book (The Dying God & Other Stories) and a few prints of some sketches, and was feeling very small and inferior. Derek took me by surprise with his genuine concern for my con experience and helped me feel like maybe I was a real writer after all. He has done so every Can*Con since. I will forever be grateful for his support, consideration and kindness. Derek, if you're reading this, you are good people. Thank you so much. It cannot be understated how much my of my determination to continue writing has been informed by your thoughtfulness.
To everyone involved in the planning, thank you for making this event in line with the reality of our public health situation. It meant so much to me to be able to attend. Having high-risk folks in my life, it meant so much that vaccines and masks were required for in-person attendance. The lack of such prevented me from going to ComicCon this year, and had it not been in place, it's likely I would not be attending Can*Con in person, either. Thank you. A thousand times thank you.
My gratitude, too, for my fellow vendors, who laid their tables with fantastic books, art and gorgeous pieces of jewellery. Thank you for the laughs and the mutual support. Your kind words and genuine enthusiasm for one another has been a balm for my soul. You are all lovely.
Special mention must go to Jen and Eric Desmarais, who are both brilliant writers, fantastic vendors and long-time friends of mine. They took special care of me this weekend. It turns out you can attend a convention pretty cheaply when you have table neighbours who bring you snacks and make sure you aren't dying of dehydration, and starvation. You are both such incredible people, and I'm so thrilled that I can count you as my friends. Now that I think about it, it was at Can*Con where we first properly met and became friends (it was a mutual friend's party before that, I think).
Thank you also to my publisher, Renaissance Press, who published my third book with them this weekend. I can't believe I've fooled you three times! But in all honesty, Renaissance Press has been with me for my favourite publishing firsts. My first traditionally published book, and now, my first launch at an SFF convention. Having a launch at an SFF convention was on my bucket list. I can safely cross that off now. In all honestly, I've watched Renaissance grow from a wee independent small press into a press with many books under their banner who have become a champion for the marginalised and an avocate for the voiceless. I am so proud to be associated with this publishing house. Thank you. Thank you for believing in me and my books, and thank you for the good work you do in the world.
Thank you to the panellists, without whom it would be a dull convention indeed. For my part, I'd like to thank Kofi Oduro and Su J. Sukol, who sat with me on the Homemade is Fine: The Use and Making of Niche Genre Terms panel for a fascinating discussion. Special thanks to Sienna Tristen who was a fabulous moderator for that panel.
Lastly, a great big thank you to this year's attendees. Your participation was wonderful. It was so nice to meet you and chat. Thank you for the laughs and the compliments. Thank you for your respect and care.
A very special shout out to Helen, who absolutely made my weekend. Not only did Helen buy a number of my books, but she also bid on and won Stormbringer, the silent auction art piece I donated to the convention in the hope that I might be able to contribute a little something to Can*Con. I don't have much in my skillset, or current abilities, that would be of use. This was one of the few ways I could be of some help. In any case, Helen was absolutely wonderful for my ego, and was an absolute delight. Thank you. I promise I won't undersell my art.
Alright, that was a lot of gushing. There will be more as I continue to write about this year's convention. For now, though, I'm done.