Conflux: A Grimm Tales Report

Ellen Datlow, Kaaron Warren, Angela Slatter at Muse. Photo by Cat Sparks

So the title is so misleading!

It was great! Grimm but great!  But not grim.

As some of you’ll know from my constant stream of selfies (sorry!) I spent this past weekend in our nation’s capital for Conflux! That’s the annual Canberra speculative fiction convention.

The lovely Leife Shallcross collected me  from the airport and schlepped me the 100 metres to the Vibe Hotel (excellent planning). In the carpark, Nuke and Elizabeth (of Antipodean SF fame) spotted me, or rather my Verity Fassbinder boots. I got checked-in, then Leife helped me open the box of Tallow-Wife limited editions (from Tehani at the briefly de-hibernated FableCroft Press).

Then I had a nap until it was time to head over to Muse for the wonderful Alice in  Wonderland event organised by Kaaron Warren. She and Ellen Datlow and I talked about the new anthology Ellen’s edited, Mad Hatters and March Hares, which reimagines Alice and her world. Kaaron and I both have fairly nasty stories in there, which we got to read from for the delight/terrorfication of the audience! Then we signed some books, met some lovely folks (hello, BookishBron and ProperMadeleine), then had a delightful dinner. Many thanks to Muse for hosting us.

Evidentiary photo by Leife Shallcross

Day 1 included panels on Magic Schools, the WorldCon Wrap-up, Fairy Tales with Teeth and Claws, Beastly Transformations, and then the Opening Ceremony with Kaaron Warren as our MC! And this is the sort of professional behaviour you get from me. I think we can all agree it’s a good thing Ellen was there to keep things on an even keel. A few whiskeys in the bar with Jen Breukelaar, Simon Dewar, Aaron Dries and Myrtle completed the evening.

Day 2’s panels: Q&A: the Road to Getting Published, Not for Children, Kaffeeklatsch the First, To PhD or Not to PhD, and the Banquet (highlight = the golden egg panna cotta desserty thingy).

Thanks to Kathleen Jennings for capturing the moment I went all sprinkler.

Day 3: A GoH breakfast at which I failed to show as I discovered that my intense dislike for raw red onion is actually now an allergy. But I made it upright for the panels! Beyond Wicked Witches, Femme Fatales and Evil Stepmothers, then Deadly Dance, and then my GoH spot. Big thanks to Liz Grzyb for being my interviewer even though she was very jetlagged after flying in from Singapore! Thanks to Elanor for helping Kathleen and I with the books at the end, for being our merchant princess so we could sign The Tallow-Wife! And after that a chat with the Canberra Fairy Tale Ring about the Armless Maiden tale. Then I finished the day with dinner with my dear friend Angie Rega! Always a wonderful comforting experience to chat with her.

Day 4: By this point I have devolved to jeans and a t-shirt. Kirstyn McDermott and I are comparing Docs whilst talking Reinventing the Myth. Kaffeeklatsch the Second occurred, again very good fun. Then I had to run back upstairs, grab my stuff, pressgang Kathleen into helping me schlep to the airport, checked-in, then we ran (“ran” is a very strong word … meandered) back to the Vibe and had a lovely lunch before the Closing Ceremony.

Ellen and I both got these magnificent GoH gifts, made by the Most Excellent Spike Deane. (She’s a Seriously Big Deal.)

And then I flew home.

A Kathleen Jennings original – I talked about Tatterhood and Mike Mignola’s version (The Troll Witch)

A huge thanks to Leife and the Conflux con committee for inviting me – it was my very first GoH gig and I had a ball. A newbie couldn’t have a better fellow GoH than Ellen Datlow, nor a more delightful MC than Kaaron Warren. I do hope that I managed not only to entertain with my goofy stories, but also to impart some useful information!

And I’m both proud and ashamed that I’ve managed to do this con report before I’ve done the Helsinki WorldCon75 one!

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