25 September 2006


Gosh. How cool was that? I know I said last year was best Fcon ever - but dudes! This year! Totally, absolutely, BEST FCON EVER!!! (Apart from my feet - been killing me ever since Friday lunchtime and was v. painful to walk for the whole weekend...) but apart from that...

Chaz Brenchley & Juliet McKenna!!! Hands down, the best double act in the world. Ever ever. Their interview should have gone on longer... And I got to sit with Juliet at the Banquet! She's totally, totally fab!
And Chaz was totally on form! There could be some mega-cool BFS/WF combi events in the pipeline if conversations can continue... (and apols for the high school teen speak that will be peppering this post - it's early, I'm excited...)

We made £1000 on the raffle (split between Black Dust and Daisy's Dream)

Neil Gaiman - what a terrific chap! I shook his hand! And talked to him!

Clive Barker - great guy! What a trooper! He was poorly all weekend but still managed to come up with an on the spot after dinner speech... and when he signs books he draws pictures!

Ramsey Campbell! Shorts in September! The only man I know who can make a story about cheese toasties sound entertaining!

Ray Feist - fun guy! Looked like he really enjoyed it and could be found hanging in the bar chatting to everyone! Great sense of humour, that man!

Garry Charles! Thanks for the CD!

Steve Jones - total sweetie!! And his reaction when he won the Special Award was just excellent!

Dave Howe - worked his ass off! Buy his books!

Awards! While I remember (although, this is from memory, so I may have mixed up winners and categories and the like...)

2006 BFS Award Winners are:

British Fantasy Award for Best Novel: The August Derleth Award
Neil 'shocked, delighted, bemused' Gaiman, ANANSI BOYS

British Fantasy Award for Best Novella:
Stuart 'Shocked and utterly speechless' Young, THE MASK BEHIND THE FACE

British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology:
Allen 'I've just scored the winning goal!' Ashley, THE ELASTIC BOOK OF NUMBERS

British Fantasy Award for Best Collection:
Joe 'twice in one day!' Hill, TWENTIETH CENTURY GHOSTS

British Fantasy Award Best Short Fiction:
Joe 'the plaque's dropped off' Hill, BEST NEW HORROR

British Fantasy Award for Best Artist :
Les 'share the glory with the other artists present!' Edwards

British Fantasy Award for Best Small Press:
Peter 'back in the game!' Crowther, PS PUBLISHING

And the Karl Edward Wagner Special Award went to a very surprised Stephen Jones! Who took at least 5 minutes of persuading before he'd believe we were actually trying to give an award to him! (You had to be there... :-> )

The Committee also decided to present 4 Special Founders Awards this year in appreciation of the people whose hard work and enthusiasm got the BFS rolling in the first place: Keith Walker, Rosemary Pardoe, Phil Spencer & David A. Sutton. Dave accepted on everyone else's behalf... and what a sweetie he is.

And we surprised Pete & Jan with champagne and gifts...
And we surprised Debs & Rob too!
And the hotel was brilliant (the bar staff were a bit dodgy - we got one of them fired!!) - we're pretty much 98% certain we're using it again next year (and how cool would it be to have a permanent Fcon home for a while?) but just need a couple more discussions. As soon as it's booked, we'll announce the date and first two guests...

And I actually did a banquet! And could eat the food! (That never happens!)
And the food stayed hot and was good quality (which, apparently, hardly ever happens!)

And we had a bunch of people join up as new BFS members!
And we sold things off the BFS table!! Lots of things!!! (Can't remember the last time that happened!)

And didn't get into the dealers rooms to spend money due to the headless chicken thing but there looked like a whole heap of great stuff!!

And the raffle went on *forever*!

And other lovely guys and gals: Mark Morris! Andrew Hook! John L. Probert! Nick Lermentov! (Sorry, can't remember his real surname!!), John Connolly, Mark Chadbourn, the guy from Chronicles Network whose name slips my brain (and his business card is stashed in the luggage somewhere), Paul Cornell (dropped in for a surprise visit on the Saturday and would have been squeezed onto a panel if we could have thought of one!!!), Paul 'also worked his ass off' Campbell, Mike Chinn, Peter Coleborn, Chris Teague, Jan Edwards, Nicki Robson, Sandy Auden, Mandy Slater, Anne Sudworth, Talking Dead Bob, Erik Arthur, and many more...

And the AGM was terrifying - huge room, we were up on stage, with microphones!! Arrgh! Next year it's going in one of the smaller rooms. I am organiser, that is the law!!
And we were overrunning before the AOB bit so that was waaay shorter than expected -I'm sure we must have forgotten something...
We voted in a non-fiction award, no one raised the Newcomer award that was talked about, though, and I only remembered about it on the way home last night... I think the whole DG newcomer award thing was being done independentally or something.. I dunno, brain went into meltdown..

And, Fcon and Prism (ie. my report areas) got the most discussions on them... you gits! Did I mention I hate talking into microphones? Suggestions were made, notes were taken... beyond that, my brain is going hazy...

And I don't have the final attendee count but it's got to be around the 350 mark! Gosh!!

And there were loads of new people there!

And you were all so nice! And thanks for coming!!!

21 September 2006

One of those Friends/elbows moments...

EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! (That's me joyously screaming) :-> It arrived! With one hour to spare! Despite the fact that half the boxes were addressed to one of the other houses on our road (thank god we got a smart delivery driver!) A bit battered, but all there.


And now I really am going...
Almost there...

1 day to go. And darlings? We must be nothing short of fabulous!

...and I'm back to that state of disturbing calm now... we're leaving in a few hours, as much paperwork as I can think of is done, boxes are packed and inventoried (yes, I'm that much of a control freak... coded by area of operations, with contents lists etc! They've been laughing at me... but they'll see... :-> )

Still haven't got the Fcon mag... hopefully it will arrive this morning, if not, the old man or one of the staff will be bringing it up to Nottingham tonight...

Will things go wrong? Probably. Will I have forgotten things? Definitely. It's inevitable. Do I care at this point? Nope. Done everything I can, covered the important things, after that, I'm stopping worrying...

I've got an ARC of Juliet's latest to read tonight once all the heavy lifting has been done, (love those Prism perks!) ; I've just heard that Mark Morris is going to do me a horror column for Prism (so that's v. cool!); I've listed out what I need to say in the various reports at the AGM on Sunday (genius! And it was such an obvious worry-buster, doing this preperation thingy I keep hearing so much about...)

So this is the last you'll hear from me until Fcon is over (unless we get the Fcon mag in the next couple of hours, then I'll be back to scream joyously...) - if you're coming, see you there, hope you have fun... if you're not, I'll talk to you next week when things have calmed down...

20 September 2006


... yes yes, 2 days etc...

And I had gone back into eerie calm this morning - right up until we phoned the printer to find out where the Fcon mag was.... Apparently they tried to deliver it to Finchley yesterday! Finchley?! Who lives in Finchley?! (Well, ok, that was Marie's old place last year...)

But why Finchley? In every email, phone conversation, and accompanying document to files I'd put very clearly that delivery and invoice was to me at my address.... But still... Finchley... and as it's out for redelivery today (to Finchley!!) we've no chance of getting it near Reading until tomorrow (we're leaving tomorrow!! Argh!!) Even then, they're not sure we'll get it to our house... but "at least it will be in the Reading area" W.T.F!!?!

We did suggest we could drive up to their depot tonight to pick it up, but no, apparently the driver may just go straight home and not return to the depot with his van...

And it's not as if they don't know me - they're the ones that we use for Prism, DH & H&N and last years Fcon mag.... and everything has always been delivered to my address...

And we finally hear from one of our missing goodie bag people -apparently that's going out with the courier today - so, what, another thing arriving tomorrow morning then...?

Talk about sailing close to the wind....

19 September 2006

Of lists and things...

...3 days... 3 days...3 days to go.... arrrrrggggghhhh!

And disturbing calm has left the building as we're well and truly into panic mode again! (I say we, in actuality, everyone else seems to still be fairly calm about things, it's only me getting all het up... not that I'm highly strung... oh no...) 2 and half days til we set off (Thursday lunchtime, with a man & van) and there's lists and lists and lists to do... Running order for the awards has changed slightly since last we knew (no, I don't know who's won... I do know who's getting the Karl Edward Wagner Special award and I'm not telling so nyah!), last minute banquet issues, preparation for next year, prep for the AGM (Agh! 3 reports!! Please don't ask anything. Let's just move along to AOB...) and trying to think of all those little things we might need like plasters or a bottle opener/corkscrew or aspirin or decent pens for the writing of name badges or posters and signs beyond the usual... and where are we putting the reg. desk - due to an item that got more complicated that previously anticipated where we were going to go will have to change from originally anticipated... will it be secure over night, are we going to have to do nightly shifting of the good stuff into the lockable bit? And what about storage overnight in the hotel on Thursday... I'm wildly paranoid about that one. And what about the noise from the Con bar? Are the walls thick enough to block it from the main room? We did tests last time we were up and it seemed to be ok. But there was only a few of us shouting...
Will we be able to get the PA system to work (we've lost Handy Andy due to a work training course so we're on our own for technical stuff... arrgghh!)

And why is it only now I think of those fun little touches that it would have been better to have thought of a couple of weeks ago to do them properly...

And boxes! Why did we throw out all those cardboard flats last month - we need them now! Stupid stupid stupid!!

And a chunk of promised goodie bag hasn't turned up, but we've also had a couple of surprising additions at the last minute...

And I'm just worrying about EVERYTHING!

17 September 2006

Fantasycon News!

Clive Barker Ticket Talk!
To be held on the saturday 23rd September 2006, 8.30pm - 9.30pm

It's a Q & A with Clive Barker and Simon Bamford, (otherwise known as Butterball from Hellraiser and Ohnaka from Nightbreed!) Hosted by Paul Kane.

Places strictly limited to no more than thirty, please email Marie O'Regan (marie@marieoregan.net) to secure a place at what promises to be a unique event.

Places given on a first come, first served basis.

And, oh yes, there's only 5 days to go...

16 September 2006

A million and one BFS type things*

(*so if you're not interested in such, you can skip this post...)

So the wedding yesterday was fab - Pete & Jan are now officially hitched! Scary! They had a Corpse Bride wedding cake which looked fab, half the guests were late due to the evilness of the M6 but it was still a brilliant day... didn't get to talk to half as many people as I wanted to (due to hiding in corners)... really wish I'd gone down the pub with the folks before the registry office thingy... having working batteries for the digital camera would have really helped too...

And uncle Pete had to have a hair cut! Hee! All dressed up in the suit he looked like a super corporate business man! Jan looked fantastic. And we got a tour of the new house as it's next door to the pub where the reception was...

And, naturally, any visit to Pete & Jan's has me coming back with boxes of BFS publications they've found and want rid of...

...of which, suddenly I'm not so jaded about the whole Stockholder job... cos there were some treasures in the pile of stuff I got this time... I've now got bits and pieces going back to the 70s! Yeah baby! Been trying to rebuild up the BFS archive of pubs cos we're missing loads from pre early 90s... but now we're starting to fill out... (really got to put a missing list together for publication in various places in case anyone's got any spare copies they want rid of... - off the top of my head - the '81 - '82 BFS Bulletins, Volumes 9.3, 9.4 & 9.5 as Dave S. did history of the BFS articles in them...)

And, ooh, the Newsletters and Chills and Fantasycon stuff! Fcon mags going back to '77, PRs, programmes... just a brief flick through the Fcon stuff has got my mind buzzing with ideas for next years event..

And, gosh, the photos... everyone was so much... hairier* ... way back then... and was that really Dave Sutton with shoulder length hair and a velvety sweatshirt? And Graham Joyce looks totally different with the 'tache. And Steve Jones & Jo Fletcher done up in monster makeup for one of the Fcons!! And Stephen King looks very very young! And Ramsey Campbell! Crikey! And Clive Barker looks like a completely different person (his cigars have gotten bigger, for a start... :-> ). And so does Robert Holdstock (except without the cigar)

*except Kim Newman, who bucks the trend and was short of hair and 'tache.

And the horror vs fantasy debate has been going on since at least '81.

The 'oh no, not more fantasy first-book-in-a-series' has been going on since at least '84

And there were really meaty book & film columns!

And they really knew how to do the whole cover art thing back then... even the Fcon PRs look gorgeous!

And back in 1984, Fcon was Britains longest running fantasy conference... which means it still must be!

And membership apathy has been going on since the 70's.

And, yes, newsletters and the like came out late even way back then... so it's not just me... :->
And apparently sometimes it was due to typewriter problems... a precurser of computer problems... heh!

And we had all kinds of different logos before the current dragony one...

14 September 2006

...8 days...

Am now well past disturbing calm and into just plain dazed... (I've been catching up on various accounts this morning so millions of spreadsheets is probably why... Plus, just heard Rob won't be able to make it for the AGM so that means I get landed with doing the Treasurers report as well as the Prism report and Fcon reports... Gah! Short and sweet, that's the key. No one cares much about them anyway, they all want the AOB bit... which is fine by me! Except, we would like some Fcon feedback during the Fcon bit as we're considering using the Nottingham hotel again so if there's problems with the hotel or Nottingham in general, we need to know over the weekend... otherwise we'll be booking it. Probably. Lord knows. I'm not even thinking about that bit yet...)

Wembley, yesterday, was fun... the roads up there are utterly, utterly mad. Especially near the stadium (which was where we had to be)... never mind...

So, got a bootload of raffle prizes (some great stuff!) and have now decided we definitely need to hire a van... (an Fcon first for us!) and, actually, the thought occurred, somewhere on the M40, why not make it a man & a van... and handily enough, we happen to know someone so that's a whole heap of worry that's just disappeared.

So that means that BFS members copies of Cinema Macabre AND BFS: Celeb book will both be given out to members that are at Fcon. We were going to give them out when y'all sign in... we may have to rethink given the amount of peeps we're now expecting so it may turn out to be a 'come here from xpm on Sat and get your books.. I'd rather we gave them out at sign in though as it means we remember to give 'em you. Which means I'll be stapled to the desk most of the weekend as I'm a control freak and will be wielding my clipboard to keep track of about a million different things...

Slow Motion Wars won't be ready for Fcon, after all that... (waaah!) Plus side, it means there's more time to tease you with proper details...

Prism and Dark Horizons are at the printers still, but as they're prioritising the Fcon mag they said it's unlikely the other 2 will be back before Fcon... (double waaah!)

Oh, back to Wembley... Mr J. is a lovely lovely guy, and his house is excellent! Books everywhere and probably the hugest collection of monster movie memorabilia I've ever seen... Wish I'd had more time for a nosy around, cos I love looking at the books on other peoples shelves... (It's lethal, in the day job if we happen to get a house where people have left books in situ, I get ever so distracted seeing what they've got... drives the big boss mental...)

Actually it kind of reminded me of uncle Dave's house - except with him it's Dr Who memorabilia and a million books...

Oh and it's the wedding tomorrow... happily it's an informal thing - registry office, then travel half an hour to the pub opposite their house for the reception... should be fun :->

12 September 2006

... 10 days left... probably... I don't know, my brain's gone...

And I'm having one of those disturbing calm moments now... got to go up to Wembley tomorrow to pick up the raffle stuff... which should be fun cos I'm itching to see our humble benefactor's house.

Oh and the joys of editorship... meant to say the other day, on editing the Fcon mag... which has been heaps of fun... not least, I had the pleasure of sorting through some photos of Clive Barker to pick what was going in... and I do mean that... his bloke is a professional photographer so there was some gorgeous photos in the stack... you'll see which ones were picked when you get your Fcon mag next week... some great poses to choose from and Clive photos very well... yum! :-> Shame they had to be converted to greyscale...

For those of you that won't be at Fcon, I'll nag the webguy and get copies of the mag up on the site for sale (£2.50) after Fcon. I'll also try and remember to post a contents list up on the Fcon thread of the BFS forum so you can see what's in there... 84 pages! 6 interviews! 5 bits of fiction! Some funky articles! And photos!! And the exclusive Clive art for the cover! (Thanks Marie!)

(Quite liking this obsessive posting of ToCs on the forum... totally weird!)

And the TTA forum standards thread moves along nicely. (And I started a 'stupid questions' type thread over there too, cos they get so many pro editors over there it's seems daft not to tap their brains about stuff... )

Something from the TTA forum spilled into the BFS forum after the TTA thread got deleted, other than that, the BFS forum has gone all quiet again. Shame. I was quite enjoying the hecticness of it a couple of weeks ago.

And Marie got herself a Wordpress blog here - must remember to add a link to the website next time I'm in update mode... Apparenly Paul K.'s getting one too, soon.

And I read somewhere (on Ansible, maybe?) that the hotel Eastercon were going to use for next year, they may not be because of security issues... ooo er... we briefly considered using that one ourselves... (and, no, still no news on the '07 venue - like I think I mentioned a couple of posts ago... we're pursuing a couple of interesing options...)

And just got my copies of Triquorum 1, and An Occupation of Angels from Pendragon... won't have time to read them until after you-know-what... also gonna pick up a copy of their Molehills of Madness thingy at the F-word. If I remember. Never seem to remember to go near the dealer room these days... too busy with the reg. desk and the like... hell, I rarely get to see panels these days either... which just seems soooo wrong...

11 September 2006


Don't faint... :->
I knew it was tempting fate, making these public delclarations of BFS only brain until Fcon... while you're waiting for me to pull myself together, I've woken up the slush blog so if you haven't heard back from me on submissions, you can at least see the basic status of things...

If your name's not on the list, either I think I've replied to you or never got it.

(Finally got the bradanpress email addy working this afternoon too... so it's possible some emails have disappeared in the ether...)

If you've withdrawn your piece and it's still on the list - email me and let me know...
Any other outstanding queries, please hang on a little longer... thanks!
...11 days... (hyperventilating)

Take it as given that I'm feeling guilty about blogging...

Now that we've got past that... grammar, standards and the small press... what do you think? (the TTA boards are having that discussion at the moment so drop by and contribute...)

Now, in theory, I'm all for keeping up as professional a standard as possible... not just the grammar, or the tight phrasing, or the spelling; but layout & design and everything else too. (yes, that means submission response times, despatch times and the general courtesy of replying to emails before everyone dies of old age...)

In practice, it's not really working is it? Let's face it - H&N and any related parts of its working, are a mess. Everything I do is frequently done at the last minute so there's just no time to dedicate the time that I should to give it the care it needs. This isn't another whinge. Sincerely. Or yet another declaration of trying to get better - because you can take it for granted that every issue of the mag has me trying to get things in order so that things run smoother from then on.

Actually, I'm not sure what this is about... what I want (what I really really want :-> ) is to put out 2 issues of the mag regularly each year. To have submissions read and replied to within about a month of having received them. To have no outstanding queries whatsoever. And have the website looking better. And get the secure forum up and working so peeps have a place they can get quicker answers to questions if the email screws up on me again. (Actually, on that, have found a forum and downloaded the various software bits to put it together... have to do a crash course in mySQL to get the installation finished properly - it's on my list of post-fcon jobs..)

And then to build up the fantasy book side of Bradan. That's what I really want.
(and world peace, of course :-> )

10 September 2006

... 12 days and counting...

All I'm gonna say is... Fcon mag... world exclusive piece of artwork from Clive Barker! Thank you so very much... :->

07 September 2006

...15 days...

... and I shouldn't be here... not getting so distracted as I am... why oh why is Fcon not a week later... that's all I need... H&N is definitely going to have to be after Fcon.

So next years hotel suddenly got a bit complicated... (don't ask)... which means it's now getting close to unlikely that we can announce details at this years Fcon (of which I'm mildly bitter and twisted about...) cos can't announce guest until date confirmed, can't confirm date until hotel confirmed... it's a bitch of a chain...
Of course, we may catch a break and have something... (y'know, just once, I'd have liked us to have the next years details this year... bah!)

Prism, thankfully, seems to be motoring nicely - for the next one (or possibly the one after that...) I've just got confirmation that a fabulous fantasy writer is going to be writing a regular opinion column... woohoo! (Goes along with the news that Chaz B. is now too busy to continue with his DH column... awww...) And from what my spies tell me, the line up of the next couple of DHs under Pete & Jan is going to be pretty stonking!

And, arrghh, one of the weddings is next week (there goes one day of work...) and double-aaargh... have to spend half a day picking up raffle stuff... (all in a good cause, and we're very glad it's being donated, cos it's going to be a hell of a lot of stuff in one hit...) I'm just having one of those phases when any time spent not working is cause for a major guilt fest. (What do you want to sleep for? Honestly!)

So, about mid afternoon on the 23rd I'll start calming down... and then I'll be unconscious on the 25th...

05 September 2006

...17 days to go....

arrggghhh! And naturally, today is the day that my laptop decided to give up the ghost... and so did the old back up computer as well... last couple of months I've been juggling my work between the two as some programs work on one, some programs work on the other... but now... nothing works anywhere... luckily they've both been making death rattles over the last couple of weeks, and I know *exactly* what my luck's like with machines so I've been backing up like a paranoid backer upper...
And, also luckily, Comet has a back to school sale on so I've finally had to bite the bullet and buy a spanking new machine... quarter of the price and ten times as powerful as the last computer I brought... which is just wrong... but oh so right!

So once I finish loading things on, should be able to work much faster...

03 September 2006

...19 days... (wibble)

...and we may, in fact, be in Nottingham next year... will know more next week.

And, damn, but apparently I missed a good BFS Open Night on Friday (almost went, couldn't because there's just way too much that needs doing and really couldn't spare the few hours off...)

But Prism is done and at the printers, Dark Horizons is 80% done (just waiting for the cover art, an interview and a story to be sent over from the boss...), Fcon mag is, oh, let's say, 70%/80% done - contents in and proofed, just need to pretty it up, and we're waiting on an excellent *exclusive!* piece of cover art. And copy for one of the ads.
So just Fcon micro newsletter and all things Bradan left. (oh bugger, and the VAT return, and mailing of stuff...)

Back to the F. word...
If you're attending this year, you'll be please to know we've been overwhelmed with donations of stuff... so not only will the raffle be rather good this year... but we may end up having to give out 2 goodie bags per person! (or, possibly, making them goodie sacks!) If all the promised stuff turns up...

And god knows how we'll get it all down there... may need to hire a van or persuade the old man to lend his car...
I'll be there Thursday night (it's the only way I can stay sane on the Friday... :-> ), Debs and Vicky are aiming to get there Friday morning around 11ish... so it'll be fun...

...and the AGM... lawksamussy, that's going to be interesting this year... we've had all sorts of proposals come in so we may actually get people turning up and wanting to debate things for a change... (instead of the usual turn up halfway through and doze through it...)

...sorry, I'm rambling... I'll stop...