Black Library Weekender

Friday night, I arrived at the Belfry hotel. Having checked and taken a seat at the bar, I noticed Sarah Cawkwell talking with friends and family. Another gentleman looked familiar, and after a drink and a though, I realized it was William King.

Brother Jhonas here was actually quite chill.

I let them be for the time being, waiting for fans to show up as I read Fear to Tread and sipped on beers. Soon, other fans started showing up. It didn’t take long to identify each other. I wasn’t the only American there, about three others showed up that I know of, probably a few more.

Then the gold tickets showed up with the other Black Library authors. I recognized faces immediately. Dan Abnett, James Swallow, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Graham McNeill, Andy Smilie, Chris Wraight. Sarah came over and we chatted for a bit. Then Clint Werner showed up and I had a chance to meet the man face to face.

The BLW hadn’t even started and it was already awesome.

Saturday morning, everything was set up. An Ultramarine statue was in the lobby. Rachel (known on the Bolthole as “Raye Raye”) worked with several other staff members to sell various merchandise, ranging from the most recent novels, art posters, hardback chapbooks and novellas. Before going crazy, I decided to get some breakfast.

Although not all meals at the Belfry were equal, the breakfast was fairly good. A buffet offered many basics, ranging from cereal to fruits, baked goods (the croissants with the filling were most excellent). Various meats and items were available which I tried including the black pudding (not to my liking) and a special salami (very much to my liking.)

Now, I would love to burden your eyes with photos of the various seminars and events they had. Truth be told, the lights that were over the speakers and authors gave them an overbearing shadowy look that did not come across well on the camera.

I’ll have to ask Cawkwell what she calls this pose later.

But the seminars were impressive and information. There was the “Writing for the Black Library” bit, where we covered a range of basic do’s and don’ts. Although I had done some strong research into writing for them, I learned several new things about submitting my work. There was the “Space Marine Battles” feature, where we had a chance to dive into the critical differences between regular Space Marine tales and these particular events. I scored an autograph from Gav Thorpe, though I wish I brought my copy of The Last Chancers.

There was Q&A with Dan Abnett. Signatures with Swallow, Werner and Sarah Cawkwell. That night we had an amusing quiz session with teams of the authors which, of course, the audience won.

I skipped the pitch proposal, where fans had sixty seconds to shoot a story idea.  I wanted to play, but a combination of jet lag and homesickness struck, so I sat at the bar and just drew for a while.

On Sunday, we were invited to one final presentation before the BLW came to a close. By now, the cat is out of the bag, but the announcement was the new Horus Heresy Musical, directed by the Coen brothers.

I kid.

A mix of the Bolthole crew.

The Horus Heresy graphic novel. During the conference, we heard one of the editors talk about how expensive it was to produce the art. That prose is so much more cheap than art. Apparently, they had to say a lot of things in order to side step and not give away the big surprise.

But the surprise is fairly big. A 100 page graphic novel of the Horus Heresy, at least the first we’ll receive. It may not be a movie or a Horus Heresy game, but it’s definitely something far more visual than the books and audio we’ve been receiving.

It was great to put faces to names, hang with fellow nerds and chat a bit with the creative minds who write such awesome fiction. Given the cost of traveling to England, I probably won’t be able to do it again for sometime.

So I’m going to end this blog post with a straight gallery of various pictures I took below. I’ll do a ‘cut off’ for the slower machines, so it’ll be up to you to see the rest if you want. But I hope every Warhammer fan gets a chance to attend the BLW someday.

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Go For! …Silver…

Bad news, it's all I got. Good news, silver is a weakness of werewolves and germs. Take that, Gold Ticketers!

Bad news, it's all I got. Good news, silver is a weakness of werewolves and germs. Take that, Gold Ticketers!

It has been an interesting weekend.

Let’s start with Friday. I was very prepared to purchase a Gold Ticket for the Black Library Weekender. I set an alarm for 8 pm GMT and left the Shoutbox open so the guys could talk about it. I set up a long distance plan for a day with Verizon and made sure that my finances were in order.

And everything still went wrong.

About 3 pm EST, a recruiter called. The phone interview went well, but I wasn’t paying attention to other things. For starters, 3 pm EST is 8 pm GMT; I got bad information from a website.

Of course, the guys were yelling about this on the Shoutbox. But I was on the phone, pacing about and not paying a moment of attention. When I was finished, it was too late. The Gold Tickets had sold out. I had missed my chance.

I settled for a Silver Ticket. Yeah, it’s not what I wanted. But it might be a good thing in the end. I’ve never been to the UK or Europe. The spare $295, the price difference of the two ticket grades, can be blown on staying for another couple of days to see London. Perhaps I can even start my vacation in Germany and make my way towards London before going to Nottingham, and leaving on Sunday night.

Hell, another day and night in Europe would be great. I already set aside some time and money to see at least London, but settling for the Silver can really be more of a blessing than a curse. There’s so much more I can do. So much more to see. One opportunity might be lost, but it just creates another.

There’s plenty to do. I have to get my passport. I have to figure out exactly where I’m going, and the best time to buy plane tickets. If I intend to go to Germany, I should strengthen my German skills. I have to figure out the money conversion, research travel arrangements and lodging reservations.

In other news, the idea for what maybe my first novel has popped up in my head. I’ve jotted down some ideas and know some of the themes I want to use. But there’s plenty of research to be done first. I also have to finish my short stories and prepare for the next Black Library submission window.

Interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday, by the way. Ahhh, where does the time go…