On 26th May Peter and I trundled up the M1 (etc) to the Royal Hotel, Scarborough, for Chillercon and had a splendid few days of fantasy and horror fiction. This event was a long time in the making as it should have happened way back at the dawn of time when lockdown first occurred! The dates came and went and hotel ceiling collapsed… but finally it happened and was well worth the waiting. Such a good event – much kudos to organisers Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane and their army of red-shirts.
Being in the Dealers Room (strictly books – so calm that imagination) behind the Alchemy Press stand for most of the time could be seen as confining but I have always maintained that its big advantage is in just about the whole convention passing by at some point or other.
In addition to our Alchemy titles we also had a selection of books taken from our own shelves – in a vain attempt to make room on our own shelves! Yes we cleared them all – but also managed to acquire a box full of new purchases to take home. Proverbial steps forward and back…
Our stand was righty by the door so people couldn’t miss us – and slap-bang next to Trevor’s Phantasmagoria crew, so never a dull moment!
I had a break from setting up on Thursday to appear on the Strange as Folk: Folk Horror panel with James Brogden, Stephanie Ellis and Paul Kane, which was huge fun. (Sorry don’t have a pic)
On Saturday there was the Alchemy Press launch of Tom Johnstone’s collection Let Your Hinged Jaw Do the Talking and The Alchemy Press Book of the Dead 2021 – edited by Stephen Jones.
I kept an eye on the stall so didn’t witness that one but noted that very few of the forty odd cakes and brownies that I had made for the event came back afterwards… 🙂 It is not the first time I have baked for books – for a Fantasycon a couple of years ago it was over 100 iced biscuits!
I shared a reading slot later later that afternoon with Ramsey Campbell – and read from my novella A Small Thing for Yolanda. (In passing I see that Amazon currently has it on offer so go grab a bargain). Yolanda is a folk horror tale set in a Paris of 1937, based on the infamous and unsolved Metro Murder.
(Read a 5* review of it this very morning on the Zon from one of the audience – so well chuffed 🙂 )
Our other highlight was curry night with the PS Publishing team (many thanks Nicky and Pete). An evening of good food and lively chat can’t be beaten. A picture of the two Petes had to be done.
Given that the curtains in our room could not be closed I was woken just after dawn most mornings (well it was a Britannia Hotel…) which some might see as a down side but those early morning walks by the sea in sparkling weather were a real treat. The light made it seem almost Mediterranean. (Though any contact with that deceptively chilly sea would change your mind 🙂 )
The Royal laid on food buffet every evening… I shall be kind and only say that it lacked flare (and discernible flavour) but there were plenty of good eateries out in the town so it mattered not a jot.
Sadly I came down with what might be con-lurg (hence the lateness of this report) or possibly even covid, in some weird echo of Chillercon’s blighted history (I am told someone in the dealers’ room tested positive the day after it ended) I’m on the mend now, however, and if that was the only bad thing from the weekend its a win-win!
I will not attempt to name names of the many friends met there as well as new ones made. This was an event that felt like the Fantasycons of old full of laughter and good feeling.
I doubt we shall make the Fcon event in London later this year but fully intend to be in Birmingham for Fantasycon 2023!
Just a very few of the lovely people :