Upcoming: Toronto Pagan Pride Day 2018

At the end of September, my last vendor outing occurs. It’s the last opportunity this year for people to see me in-person and get autographed paperback copies. It’s the TPPD Harvest Festival.

My usual big day of the year has become Ad Astra, which happened back in July. That’s my ideal time to release a new book and have a more narrowed-down/focused audience for my written offerings. When offered a spot at the Harvest Festival, I decided to try it as a second vendor outing of the year. In past years, I tried The Word on the Street with limited success; it’s big and cool and also easy for me to get lost in right now.

I intend to go over what connections my books have with the Pagan community in Toronto, since it’s not really something I focus on during my usual vendor pitch, nor in blog posts.

They’ve supported me from the beginning, and still do

All the first edition book covers and interior artwork (world map) of the Gift-Knight trilogy came from artists who are situated somewhere within the broad umbrella of the Pagan community. They’ve designed banner layout for vending events and background graphics for book trailers/supporting artwork for the original Kickstarter. They’ve been letting me read aloud at their events, allowing me to host nights such as Danced To Life in their space, hosting the website you’re reading this blog post on right now. Their music made it into my writing playlists. They are my friends.

You might not have gleaned from the text that they’ve had a hand in it since the beginning, but this behind-the-scenes information isn’t always spelled out.

Inspirations

No culture, religion or spirituality in the Gift-Knight trilogy is directly based on any non-fiction analogue. At the same time, most of the names and naming conventions in the story come from our world, and it follows that when coming up with cultures and faiths for the different peoples of the Continent I drew from inspirations. I felt better equipped to provide glimpses of their lifestyles inspired by an amalgam of things I had seen and experienced, than to try and fabricate entire religions and cultural practices in intricate detail.

That’s why we have a variety of things on the Continent of the Gift-Knight trilogy. Derek’s people have seasonal festivals of their own, and mythological/legendary notions of what the omnipresent elements they experience every day must mean; Alathea’s people are comparable, their beliefs would be as different as their geography, and the clans to the north of her empire had completely separate gods before her conquest. There are a couple of notable monotheistic cultures presented, because why not?

Sorcery

These faiths and cultural frameworks are how characters view their world. It’s how they make sense of things they can’t immediately explain, like the seemingly convenient circumstances that set Chandra on a throne she couldn’t otherwise have reasonably expected. Magic is a thing constantly implied or hinted to the believer but not directly or definitively measured, which echoes my personal experiences with faith of various kinds.

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 30

Wychwood Barns – 601 Christie Street

11am – 6pm

At my booth: dinged/suitcase copies of The Gift-Knight’s Quest and The Crown Princess’ Voyage available at a discount; a limited number of new copies of The Masked Queen’s Lament

Website: Toronto Pagan Pride Day

Facebook event: TPPD Harvest Festival 2018

Next Appearance Will Be At Albert Campbell Library

Newmarket vendor setup

A friend recently asked me how I get into so many local author/library events. There’s not really a genius plan to it or any secret, it’s a “daisy chain” of networking, luck, interest and availability. Between my one day at Ad Astra and the Vaughan Public Libraries local author book fair, I met the same contact who kept inviting me to The Bookshelf in Newmarket, so that brought me there. A Toronto group I’m in, and the VPL local author book fair, both have another friend who just invited me to the next appearance I will make. It will probably come full circle when I make sure I vend at Ad Astra next time.

On July 20 at Albert Campbell Library, there will be a Toronto Public Libraries local author fair from 6:15PM until 8PM. I will have a vending table set up with a monitor to screen a select book trailer, and copies of The Gift-Knight’s Quest for sale with autographs. I will also read a selection of the sequel, The Crown Princess’ Voyage, and aim to stay within the five minute mark–time limits get tricky with my stutter, but I tend to aim for less than five minutes’ worth of material under “alone” conditions so there’s a time buffer to work with. I’m long winded and wordy and that poses a selection challenge, but I’ll find something that works. Then there will be a question period. I won’t be the only presenter, of course, but I’ll post more information as I get it (if necessary).

Back to the point of live events, it’s also a matter of where you are, and where you’re willing to go. Years of trekking into Toronto on public transit for social events has somehow grown on me, which is good because I don’t know how many events happen close to where I live; the VPL event happened within my city, but my city’s also like a bunch of towns and villages that were redrawn into one map boundary some time 25+ years ago to make a municipality. No place I’ve lived is 100% close to everything I want to do, and the closer places are also more expensive to live in. If you don’t live close to anything and commutes don’t work for you, there’s lots you can accomplish on the internet instead.

Here are also a few facts that I’m repeatedly told. If you have one book and are starting out, you’re going to these to hand out cards; by all means have books on hand in case you get lucky, but you’re dispensing information and building your author profile. It’s going to be all about the conversations you have, the fun and the connections. It will have nothing to do with immediate profit. The only time I break even on book sales versus venue fee is when I don’t have to pay for my table at all, and that’s rather normal. And it’s good that I have gotten any interest at all with a single book, when I’m often told to expect nothing until I have at least two books out. I’m working on that.