Reporting on Sydney’s free love… con!

Freecon is a free entry science fiction event run by volunteers – of the awesome variety!

This weekend in Sydney, free love reigned… of the speculative fiction variety.

Having been invited to join a host of local authors to promote and celebrate speculative fiction in 2012 – there was only one thing a girl like me could say…

Yes, yes, yes!

Towering high above Sydney in the Peter Johnson Building at UTS, surrounded by enthusiastic fans whose encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre terrified even the best of us, we authors read from our most recent works of fiction, discussed all things writing, and gorged on the never-ending supply of free cheese sandwiches.

Here are some photos of the event.

First, I read aloud my short story Trigger (CSFG, 2011). Following after Richard Harland’s reading from his upcoming steampunk fantasy Song of the Slums, I had a captive yet expectant audience.

Me, about to read.
Yes, yes – I know the photo’s a bit blurry.

An expectant crowd listens as I set them a challenge – to guess the ending!

Reading “Trigger” (CSFG, 2011)

Next was the writing panel: Is there more to life than writing speculative fiction? Our panel had a mixed response. With Thoraiya Dyer sitting eloquently on the fence, Stella Tarakson and Sam Bowring listing the many writing alternatives available to writers today, Richard and I had our work cut out for us convincing the crowd that, for us, NO – THERE IS NOTHING ELSE!!!

Me emphatically stating my case.
From left to right: Sam Bowring, Richard Harland, Garry Dalrymple, me, Stella Tarakson, Thoraiya Dyer.

Is there more to life than writing?
Nah!

Later, a group far too large for the room crowded around my laptop while I chatted to them about social media, and what it can do and can’t do for writers. Goodness knows why I share such gems of wisdom with my competitors! I guess the free love atmosphere of the convention got to me. With all kinds of speculative fiction goodies going for ridiculous prices on the sale table, it was hard not to feel generous of spirit.

This big black screen here?
That’s what readers will find if you as a writer have no online presence!

Clearly Richard Harland was also feeling generous, because he offered me his awesome steampunk hat when we posed for photos after the con.

Richard Harland’s famous steampunk hat.

Thank you to everyone who attended the convention, and especially those who pledged me their fandom after I read aloud my story. I appreciate your support, look forward to seeing you again soon, and promise never to let you down (if I can at all help it!).

Don’t forget – I’ll be appearing at the Emerging Writers Festival this coming Saturday (3rd November) at the NSW Writers’ Centre. My creative writing bootcamp starts at 3.10pm. Don’t be late!

For tickets, simply follow the links at the end of this pre-festival interview, where I talk about discipline, distance and the dangers of being a copycat, here. It’s going to be a fantastic day full of panels and discussions about writing, writers and literary life. Goodness knows why, but I’ll be sharing some of my tips and tricks on writing too. So why not come along and join in the fun?

Zena Shapter

I write from a castle in a flying city hidden by a thundercloud. #Ditmar Award-winning author. Short fiction for now. Novels to come. Movie buff. Traveller. Wine lover. Story nerd. Book Creator & Mentor. Founder & leader of the award-winning Northern Beaches Writers' Group / ZF Kingbolt

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