And so Conflux is over, the last of my conventions for the year, and I am back in Brisbane with a few extra books and… a lot of mat board, for some reason.

Guests of honour this year were Jim Minz of Baen Books, Marc McBride (illustrator of Deltora Quest) and Emily Rodda (author of Deltora Quest).

There were some external complicating factors, but I had a great time and got to catch up with old friends, make new ones and transact some bookplate business (of which more once the file is signed and sent).

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I ended up being on three panels – Short Story Writing (the one I was meant to be on) with Cat Sparks, Simon Petrie, Mark Farrugia and Yaritji Green, Dealing with Writer’s Block (as an ersatz-Karen Herkes) with Jack Dann and Richard Harland, and one of two extras on Australian Comic Writers and Artists with Mik Bennet, Liz Kenneally and Jon Sommariva. The differing dynamics of panels are fascinating, but I learned a lot on all of them (and discovered that the ultimate power of being a panellist lies in people taking your book recommendations seriously). Also, I have a dream panel which would put artists, authors and publishers together talking about book covers.

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And of course we dressed up. It was 1880s style for the banquet, although in my case that was a tiered green cotton skirt, a sofa cushion and my year 12 formal dress (!) with a number of safety pins. The masquerade was a prelude to a concert, so we didn’t have many attendees, but I was there (with the heavy black plastic frames from a pair of 3d glasses, a cute white blouse half-unbuttoned and a Superman t-shirt) and in one of those unexpected twists of the universe shared the dancing prize with Richard Harland (just be careful mixing bouncy soles with Footloose).

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Outside of the convention, I managed to drive my older sister’s car rather hi-tech car (you know that scene from Independence Day – “Oops – oops? What do you mean oops?!”). I caught up with an old friend I haven’t seen for 9 years, and today I went to Floriade with my older sister and nephews before flying back to Brisbane.