Last weekend, The Amber Garden took its first road trip. Thanks to the generosity of ECW Press (specifically David Caron, Jennifer Albert, and Jessica Albert), I made my way with the Advance Reading Copy of Book Three of The Alchemists’ Council from Nanaimo to Los Angeles to attend World Fantasy Convention 2019. En route, while reviewing passages from the new book for my scheduled reading, I had the opportunity to sample a selection of wines at YVR’s Vino Volo—the book and I were off to a good start!
Though I missed a day of classes back at VIU, I attended several discussion-centred panels. Those pictured above (clockwise from upper left) were “Beyond Castles, Horses and Knights: Non-Eurocentric Fantasy” (with Sheree Renée Thomas and others); “The Role of Editors Today” (with Jen Albert and others); “Making and Marketing Audiobooks” (with Jess Albert and others); and “A Culture Not My Own” (with S. B. Divya and others). These panels were just a few of the many interesting sessions, talks, and readings I attended throughout Friday and Saturday.
I found each event extraordinarily informative in a variety of ways, with content far too extensive to cover here. I will, however, make one observation: Though WFC has certainly expanded the canon and genres of fantasy literature(s) and the diversity of its fantasy creators and panelists, more work must occur to maintain the convention’s currency and vibrancy. I look forward to growing diversity among writers, panelists, conference attendees, and other participants at WFC as the years and conventions progress.
Friday night’s autograph session added to the convention being a joy-filled experience for me. Jess and I met numerous folk who stopped by not only to get their book(s) signed but to chat. The woman pictured above (in the black jacket) even brought The Elijah Tree (Rebel Satori Press 2009) for me to sign—what an incredible surprise! (Thank you William Wu Books for carrying my books in the WFC Dealers Room.)
Below are Kevin, Chelsey (hi Josh!), Sheila, Keith, and Kasbah Camel Supreme—all of whom were an absolute delight to meet. Chelsey headed home with all three Council books, which she and Josh are planning to read aloud over the upcoming weeks. Let me know how that process goes! Given the auditory aspect, you may want to check out this 2016 post before the reading progresses too far: What If I Cannot Speak Musurgia Universalis?
Saturday evening brought Jess, Jen, and me myriad fun-filled adventures. Thanks to the “California Dreaming” and “City of Angels” murals at #laxmarriott, we began by taking a series of look-we’re-tourists photos.
Later, and in no particular order, we enjoyed sitting by the pool, chatting with our hotel neighbours, talking and laughing with several conference attendees at the hotel bar, eating a delicious dinner at Fusion Sushi, and leaping through waves at the beach.
Manhattan Beach at sunset is glorious to behold: luxurious and expansive sand, crashing waves, exquisite colours, bright clouds against dark mountains. Here are just a few of the dozens (hundreds?) of shots that now fill our phones.
Meanwhile, back in Nanaimo, my students worked diligently on their research papers. Indeed, they were so focused on their work that they did not even suggest that I mention them on the blog or insist that I take multiple photos to make sure they ALL got into the pics. Joking aside, these people are some of the most dedicated first-year composition students I’ve met in my career at VIU! Throughout the Fall 2019 semester so far, I have appreciated their enthusiastic participation, strong voices, and growing success at writing quality prose.
A moment of alchemical serendipity leads to my penultimate point: I wore my alchemists’ pendant to the WFC book signing in LA; then, one week later on Vancouver Island, I found its mirror image emerging as a philosophers’ stone—surely a west coast Council portal. (Thanks Indigo Lights!)
The Amber Garden will be published in March 2020. You can pre-order a copy through ECW Press or other online bookstores, including Amazon.
Long live the Alchemical Tree!
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