Panic stations!

Hi everyone,

As some of you might know, I write books! Fiction, almost exclusively apart from the Down Days novella that started this blog (check the downloads page, it’s free). I’ve been doing it for a few years now, with a few books under my belt and another due out in March. As you can imagine, this kind of thing leads to public appearances (signings, conventions, other events) where talking to other humans is pretty much essential.

Over the last five or six years, I’ve gotten pretty good at talking to folks at my signing table. I even enjoy it now, although it’s exhausting emotionally and mentally and, after a weekend event, I always drop into a massive slump afterward. All batteries on empty.

However, a new hurdle has presented itself. A couple of lovely people who have far too much faith in my writing abilities (they have terrible taste) Tom and Nimue Brown (hey guys, love you!) are organising the literature section of a convention. The biggest damned Steampunk convention in the country, Weekend at the Asylum in Lincoln. They’ve invited me.

That’s pretty amazing.

I’ve been before, a few years back, in my capacity as author. It was the first ever large event I did, actually. But I haven’t been for a while. Life, work, university courses or other engagements always got in the way. But this year, I’m free. So I’m damned well going.

Now, here’s the rub.

I need to do not one but TWO talks over the weekend, both about an hour each. And, as you guys may know already, I don’t know SHIT.

I make everything I do up as I go along, I rarely plan anything I write other than in my head, and I don’t really know what to talk about!

The loverly Tom and Nimue have helped, of course, suggesting that I talk about:

  1. The realities of the publishing industry
  2. The role of the poor and other cultures in Steampunk literature

On the surface, this seems easy peasy. I’ve bounced my literary pogo stick through the minefield of publishing for long enough to lose a few limbs, and many of the characters in my books come from a downtrodden background and, in The Adventures of Alan Shaw, I purposefully tried to show other cultures than White, middle class and Western.

The pitfalls?

  1. Speaking in front of strangers has a direct line to my anxiety protocol
  2. I have zero confidence when talking about what I SHOULD know about
  3. I already know that, due to what’s going on in the week running up to the event, I’m going to be going in already exhausted.

Suffice to say, my friends, this has the potential to be one of the most difficult weekends of my life.

There isn’t really much more I can say right now. But, when I return, be sure that I’ll update you all on how it went. I’m hoping that it goes similar to the D&D game last week and that everything will be fine.

Cross your fingers, toes, mandibles, and tentacles, for me.


Thanks for reading.



  1. Good luck with your speeches. Just think, they believe in you so you must have done it right before.😊 I would personally panic and an hour would be totally out of my depth unless it was answer and question time.
    Grave you


  2. We most assuredly do believe in you, and we know this is going to be tough, also. One of the things about this event is that everyone is invested in making it work, they’re all on your side, and you have lovely, helpful people at every venue who will be there to deal with any issues arising. And I know how many other performers and speakers this is true of, folk who, like you will put a really good face on it, but who are terrified none the less. There’s more of it about than you might think.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s