It’s convention time again. My favourite con every year is Conflux in Canberra. I can’t really explain why other than that it’s always well-organised, always good fun and always has a very inclusive and open vibe about it. It’s also a great chance to catch up with all my writerly friends, who I usually only get to interact with online from the shadowy corners of my writing cave. It’s Conflux 9 this year, and it’s also the NatCon, or National Convention. Each year in Australia, one of the state conventions takes on the role of being Natcon – that makes it the biggest con of the year and means it has extra stuff happening, not least of which is the Ditmar Award ceremony. The Ditmars are like the Australian Hugos, so it’s all good fun.

Conflux 9 runs from Thursday 25th April through to Sunday 28th April, at Rydges Capital Hill in Barton, Canberra. All the details can be found at that link. There’s loads going on, so if you have any chance to get along to Canberra for all or some of the con, I would highly recommend it. There are day passes as well as full con memberships.

I’m going to be involved in a few things:

Thursday 9 – 9.55pm – The Horror Spectrum panel – What forms does horror take? Domestic, psychological or slash? Is there more to it and why do fans like it and why do some writers write it?

There’s always one of these panels at cons and I often seem to sit on them. It’s one of those impossible questions to really answer and almost always devolves into an hour of trying to pin down just what horror is, but it’s usually enjoyable nonetheless. If nothing else, it usually helps to convince some people that there’s a lot more to horror than the torture porn so prevalent in movies right now.

Thursday 10 – 10.55pm – Taboo subjects for authors panel – Fiction these days seems to have no boundaries as to what is good taste, yet there are boundaries, depending on the genre, or are there?

This is another one I always like to get involved with, mainly because I sit firmly in the “fuck your taboos!” camp. But there are some places we don’t go, there are some places we should tread very carefully and there are some places we can stomp all over. So I’ll enjoy discussing that stuff because I’m bound to piss some people off.

Friday 11.30am – 12.25pm – Crowd funding – what is it? How does it work? panel – Crowd funding (using websites like Kickstarter and Indie Gogo to convince complete strangers to fund your creative work) have become the in thing. How do they work? How do they work best? Is this the answer for whatever dilemma you’re facing?

Or should you stop begging and work fucking hard like the rest of us? I’m going to enjoy this one. (And I’m actually a fan of crowd-funding used well.)

Sunday 11am – Reading
I have a reading session here that I think is probably a half an hour long. I’m not sure yet what I’ll be reading – I’m thinking I might read one of my newer short stories that’s about to be published… I’ll have to think on that, but it’ll be something new. And probably a short story rather than a novel excerpt, as that way people get something complete rather than just a teaser.

Sunday 3.30 – 4.30pm – Elegant promotion or just plain annoying panel – Promoting yourself with social media. The tips and traps of promoting books, films, events or your sense of humour. Take a journey through good and bad examples. This panel discusses various pros and cons of reaching audiences in this digital age.

Again, this should be a lot of fun, especially as I’m such an internet whore and happy to bandy myself all over the place. But even then, I do have a pretty strict set of personal guidelines I use to manage my online activity.

So those are my official engagements for the con. The rest of the time I’ll probably… who am I kidding? I’ll definitely be in the bar. Please come and say hello, hang out, drink and partake of the “convention airing of grievances” (about anything). It’s half of what it’s all about. Hopefully see you there!