Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Toulouse Goes to World Fantasy Convention, Calgary—2008: Part 1--Getting There

If I’d known that scoundrel would steal ALL the limelight with his insufferable charm and plain good looks, I’d have left Toulouse (pictured here with Karl Johanson of Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine) at home…no I wouldn’t have. He’s just too cute.

Toulouse accompanied me on my over twenty hour drive to and from the World Fantasy Convention, held in Calgary, Alberta, this year. Hosted by toastmaster Tad Williams, this con featured guests of honor, David Morrell, Barbara Hambly, Tom Doherty and Todd Lockwood.

The World Fantasy Convention promised great things and delivered them. And I’m not just talking about that white chocolate cranberry-date-nut dip that had me loitering at the hospitality suite. Or all those midnight parties that served savory wine with salted almonds, sharp cheese and colorful conversation with interesting people like David Hartwell, Tor editor and impeccable dresser (gotta love those ties, David!) among many others. I’m not even talking about the hot tub that sprung a leak on the 18th floor at 1 am or the entertaining panels and readings, which rocked for both writer and reader.

What made the con great for me was seeing my old friends and meeting new people, all lovers of books and storytelling. Of course, as a professional writer marketing several projects, I’d come to “network”. I’d come to visit with and negotiate ongoing projects with my publisher/editors; I’d also come to meet new publishers and editors to promote my full range of long and short works.

…After parting with my very gracious co-drivers, Michael and Susan Walsh from Vancouver (fantasy and science fiction aficionados with a flair for appreciating good fiction no matter what form), I wandered the posh hotel corridors with a drink in one hand and Toulouse in the other, looking for mischief—er—adventure.

I was rudely eyeballing someone’s nametag on his chest, when I collided with the Prince George crowd that included authors, Lynda Williams (herself responsible for some pretty nasty intergalactic wars), Nathalie Mallet (who cages princes and kisses charming cats) and publisher Virginia O’Dine of Bundoran Press (rumored to have been somehow responsible for the hot tub fiasco).

I ran into the local crowd, like Randy McCharles (Convention Chair) and Jennifer Rahn, author of The Longevity Thesis, who was equally charmed by Toulouse's guile.

As I settled down to a wonderful conversation on art and artists with Bruce Taylor (Mr. Magic Realism), Toulouse just kept charming his way through the crowd right to the book fair, where Karl and Stephanie Johanson of Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine offered him their own brand of mints. Bad mistake (never give children candy before an event).

Toulouse led me to the back where Anita Hades of Edge Books gave Toulouse her usual greeting (a feline move that was a cross between Sophie Marceau and Brigitte Helm; both she and Toulouse have French blood coursing through their veins, after all—c’est vrai!). I had a chance to catch up on life with Gwen Gades, my wonderful publisher at Dragon Moon Press; then, while Marie Bilodeau—another hot-blooded French writer—snagged me for a podcast interview with Edge, Toulouse slipped away into the oblivion of the bookish crowd. The sly cat!

I should have known that Toulouse would have followed his impeccable nose and end up at the bar adjacent to a fine Guinness beer. Of course, as Serendipity would have it, that’s where I met a very interesting person! More in Part 2...

Photos (from top to bottom):

Karl Johanson (editor, Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine)
David Hartwell (editor, Tor)
Lynda Williams, Nina Munteanu (authors)
Nathalie Mallet (author)
Jennifer Rahn (author)

Anita Hades (Hades Publications)
Well, you know (our famous cat)!

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.


Anonymous said...

So...are you going to tell us more about your new publisher??

Anonymous said...

That last comment was left by Baby Brie who has a heck of a time with google blogger!

Nina Munteanu said...

Ah... Baby Brie, you must have read an earlier draft of this post! (info meant for Part 2...LOL!) Well, now that we've given it away, yes, I met Heidi Lampietti, the publisher and editor of Redjack Books out of California. She offered to publish my collection of science fiction short stories. This is a wonderful, well respected publishing house, home for Bruce Taylor and other very talented writers, and I'm so pleased to be in their company.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A great post of photos and people. Congrats on the publisher, Nina.

Nina Munteanu said...

Thanks, Jean-Luc! I am very pleased. The convention was full of wonderful surprises. It would seem that Serenidipity, which had accompanied me earlier in the week at the SIWC in Surrey British Columbia, had decided to stay with me as I traveled to Calgary, Alberta. Serendipity must have a strange sense of humor and enjoy travelling.

Nathalie Mallet said...

Great post, Nina! Love the photos! And that sly cat, Toulouse! What a rascal.

Nina Munteanu said...

Good words to describe Toulouse, Nathalie... sly rascal... I think Toulouse and Serendipity make a wonderful team... imagine Serendipitous kittens... :D

It was great seeing you at WFC.

Lynda said...

We are a 'crowd' aren't we? The Prince George contingent. But hey, you're just a day's drive away. By BC standards that makes us neighbours. Even if you are an alien.

Nina Munteanu said...

LOL! There must be something in the water over there, Lynda... HAR!@_@ ... and, considering that I can zip over there in a moment's notice in Vinny (my sentient ship)... I guess we are close neighbours! :)