Supanova Debrief

Rather than doing a gazillion different blog posts (or, okay, four) about the Supanova tour I’ve just finished, I figured I may as well do my debrief in one massive post… So nuke some popcorn and put your feet up, because this blog has everything from videos to audio files to pics and plenty of words.  Continue reading

My Newest Obsession – The Shannara Chronicles

Around this time last year I posted a blog about my first Supanova tour and I mentioned that on the way back to the airport, I shared a car with the actor, Manu Bennett – photo attached here again, just because… :-)

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We were probably in the car for 30-40 mins (ish) and during that time he told me about his most recent role as a druid on a new, upcoming MTV show called The Shannara Chronicles. He explained that it was based off Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones of Shannara and what he told me about it sounded ridiculously awesome and right up my alley. I’ve been waiting all year for it to come out so I could see for myself if it was as good as it sounded.

Now, about a week ago I learned that I’m speaking on three panels over the Easter weekend at Contact 2016, and one of those panels is called “Everyday magic: from Harry Potter to Shannara“. I don’t think words can describe just how excited I am to be on this panel, not just because I’ll have a legitimate excuse to gush about Harry Potter, but also because both Kate Forsyth and Juliet Marillier will be on it with me—both of whom I had the honour of meeting last November for the Adelaide/Brisbane Supanova tours. Kate and Juliet are brilliant authors, so I’m stoked that I get to spend time with them again (AND talk about Harry Potter!!!!!!) – and given the title of the panel, I figured it was the perfect time to learn more about The Shannara Chronicles in order to at least bring something other than Harry to the stage.

So! Given that the launch of Raelia is coming up in less than a fortnight and between now and then (and definitely afterwards), life is a little hectic, I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to read the books before the Easter weekend, so I decided to hit a friend up to borrow the series. Turns out it was perfect timing because season one literally just finished and she was able to give me all 10 episodes.

That was last Sunday, and I had every intention of watching an episode here or there over the next fortnight and slowly but surely making my way through it enough to have at least some basic knowledge in time for the panel.

What I didn’t plan on was sitting down and watching the first episode, then the second, then the third, then the…. well, okay, time for an honesty moment: I literally binge-watched the entire 10-episode season in one sitting last Sunday. (Despite having deadlines that I really should have been working on.)

Shannara was THAT good.

It was literally like watching 10 episodes of The Lord of the Rings. From the setting (soooooo Middle Earth) to the characters (elves, humans, trolls, “demons” – which just reminded me of orcs with dark magic)… to the epic scope of the story and character arcs. I seriously LOVED it. It was like a fantasy TV show dream come true!!!

The casting was beyond brilliant – Manu’s character (the druid, Allanon) was AMAZING, but so too were the three young leads, the elven princess Amberle, the human “Rover” Eretria—both seriously kickass female leads—and the half-human-half-elf “Chosen One” Wil.

Then there was the elven king, Eventine, played by the always wonderful John Rhys-Davies (*cough* Gimli *cough*,and both the elven princes Ander and Arion were absolutely brilliant!

The special effects and cinematography were way better than I would have imagined – like, movie quality awesome. And so too was the music, etc. I mean, I’m totally fangirling here, but I just really, really enjoyed it.

BUT. I will state for the record that there is quite a lot of heavy fantasy violence in it. Kinda like the messy, icky battle scenes from The Lord of the Rings, but sometimes a bit more than that, too. Nose-scrunching yuck at times. So I wouldn’t recommend this for younger people. But for those who love fantasy, great characters, an intriguing world and an epic story, then all I can say is, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?!? Go grab a physical copy or download it from the Apple store or Amazon RIGHT NOW!!!

Supanova Part 2: Brisbane

If anyone had told me that the Brisbane leg of the Supanova tour would be one of the best events of the year for me, I would have had a hard time believing them. And that’s because I’ve been to some pretty incredible events in 2015. The first round of Supanova back in March/April, for example, between Melbourne/Gold Coast was amazing to the point that I didn’t think anything could top it. But I have to admit, the Adelaide/Brisbane tour blows that experience out of the park. It was Just. That. Good.

I’ve already written about everything that happened at Adelaide last week, so if you missed that post, you can can read all about it by clicking here. As for Brisbane… Well, here we go.

It all started for me last Friday when I travelled to the city and checked into the hotel (and while I waited in line for aaaaages thanks to some unhappy tourists, I had a good, long chat with Stef Dawson who plays Annie Cresta in The Hunger Games—she’s seriously lovely! I only saw the final part of Mockingjay last week, so it was fun to talk about her role in it with Finnick and stuff!). I was then ushered to the venue in an earlier vehicle separate to all the other ‘supa-stars’, since I was scheduled to give a masterclass that afternoon. I didn’t realise I’d have company in the car, but I ended up sharing the trip with actors Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz) and Christopher Judge (Stargate). After chatting casually with them for the whole trip, when we arrived at the venue and went our separate ways, the literary manager of Supanova, Ineke, who also shared the car with us, asked me how I was so ‘normal’ around them (she’s well aware of my bubbly excitement and foot-in-mouth tendencies, haha). All I could do was answer honestly and admit that I knew Nick was a huge deal, but I’ve never seen anything he’s in, so to me he’s just another person. And as for Christopher, I am a big Stargate fan, but he was just so nice that it wasn’t like I was going to go all crazy fangirl on him. Turns out I do have some self respect. (Not to mention, professionalism!)

So that was a memorable experience to kick off the tour! And it just became even more awesome starting with my masterclass on world building—which began with the most hilariously mortifying experience of my life, when I was being ‘mic-ed up’… Something which we will never speak of… But suffice it to say, Ineke had tears of laughter while witnessing the, uh, experience, and she took great delight in sharing the story with others later. Thankfully, there aren’t any pictures of those seemingly unending minutes (okay, it really wasn’t that bad—it was waaaaaay more funny than anything else!), but there are pictures of the masterclass that I can share

Here’s me at the beginning-ish:

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Here’s where I broke the whiteboard (don’t ask):

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And here’s a couple of the masterclass attendees who hung around for a photo afterwards:

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After all that, I was ushered down to the floor because, unlike in Adelaide, the Friday in Brisbane was a signing day as well as Saturday and Sunday. I was actually surprised by how many people were there, given that it’s mostly a weekend thing! But I was more surprised by the SERIOUSLY COOL life-sized Akarnae student ID card that my publishers had organised for photo ops! How awesome is this!! It has the academy’s motto and everything! Kailas en freydell. Vayla en karsis. Leali en nexar. (Strength in Weakness. Victory in Surrender. Life in Death.)

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What happened next? Lots of signing stuff, and I had the chance to properly meet Juliet Marillier, an author whose books I love, so that was really cool. Then we all trundled off to the auditorium area to give our elevator pitches to the massive crowd (well, all of us but Sarah J. Maas, who was off playing with koalas that day).

Here’s us waiting to go on stage (L-R: Juliet, me, Trudi Canavan, Mel Casey and Isobelle Carmody):

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Once we were all done, we headed back to the hotel and met up with Sarah, Sonia and Stephanie (Sonia being the Bloomsbury publicist, Stephanie being Sarah’s cousin from the States who joined us for the weekend—she’s sooooo cool!!). Together the whole, rather large group of us went out to a late dinner before calling it a night. I was stoked at that stage to discover that my room overlooked St. George Square, because Brisbane City’s Christmas tree was officially lit up that night, and I had a view of all the prettiness right from my bed!

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The next day dawned bright and clear and it was, in a word, epic. Go, go, go from the minute we jumped on the bus. There were people everywhere at the venue, and the cosplayers were fantastic. Here are just a few of the amazing costumes I saw over the weekend: 

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As you can see, their creativity knows no bounds!

Other than being transfixed by all the people-watching, on the Saturday I spoke on a panel with Isobelle and Juliet regarding ‘Impossible Quests’. It turned out to be a really great talk, and I had a great time rubbing shoulders with these two incredible storytellers!

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I also received my first ever gifts from fans! That totally blew my mind!! And I absolutely love how they were both Harry Potter related presents, haha. One I’ve already posted on Instagram (so go follow my account @lynettenoni for more pics there!), and the other was this lovely surprise!

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Speaking of Harry Potter, later on the Saturday night there was the VIP party, and the coolest of all cool things happened when Mel, who is apparently boundless in courage, pulled me over for us to chat with Matthew Lewis, aka Neville Longbottom. He was so nice! And he was even  kind enough to take a photo with us, too!

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The party in general was such a fabulous event! By that stage, after Adelaide and everything, we were all friends, so it was just really nice to hang with everyone! Here’s a pic of Cat (C.S. Pacat), me, Sarah and Mel early on in the night before things got too crazy!

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… And when I say ‘crazy’, I mean, Sarah, Steph, Mel and I kind of danced the night away and we didn’t end up leaving the party until, like, midnight or something. We also had fun chats with people like Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) and we did get a group photo with him, but it didn’t turn out in the funky club lighting. Actually, one of the most entertaining parts of the night would have to be when he did a reenactment of his Napoleon Dynamite dance. It was hilarious.

Thankfully we all pulled up okay the next morning, since it was straight back into it for the final day of the tour. And I have to say, of it all, Sunday was definitely the most intense for me! I feel as if from the moment I stepped out onto the floor until the day ended, I didn’t stop! It was amazing! The booksellers actually sold out of Akarnae (which is SO awesome), and my wonderful publicist, Susan, had to go and hunt down more copies—and we almost sold out of them, too!

Other than the fabulousness of that, I also had a great panel that morning with Mel, Sarah and another author called Kimberly Clark, where we spoke about ‘Creating Kick Ass Characters’. It was the only panel I had with Sarah for the whole of the tour, and it was hilarious seeing the difference in audience numbers. Here’s just a fraction of how packed out the room was:

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Here’s us during the panel:

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And here’s us afterwards:

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We took off straight to lunch directly after that, but while en route, Sarah’s ‘hot guy radar’ managed to spot the Captain America cosplayer that we were all told to keep an eye out for over the weekend. And he certainly didn’t disappoint! (L-R: Stephanie, Mel, Captain America, me, Sarah, Sonia):

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I wouldn’t normally now talk about something as boring as lunch, but I have to in this case, because Sunday’s lunch hour in the green room was hilarious. And that was mostly because Steph, Sarah and I became obsessed with what ended up being termed ‘Battlewinks’—a hardcore version of ‘Tiddlywinks’ where we had to hop the frogs into their pot. We were totally into it, naming them all and giving them backstories (we may have been somewhat delusional by this stage), and so our game was born! Sarah was red (Horatio and Mr. Withersby), Steph was green (Bruce and Bruiser), and I was blue (Sméagol and Bilbo). Then when other people joined in the fun, we kind of just went all-in for whatever frog we could get our hands on, though I think Sarah always stayed true to Horatio.

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I stole this pic from Sarah’s Instagram (@therealsjmaas) because it’s clearer than any of the ones stored on my phone:

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There was a slight incident when Zach Callison ended up breaking Mr. Withersby’s legs (RIP Mr. Withersby), but otherwise no frogs were harmed in the sixty-straight-minutes that we played Battlewinks. Non-stop. I meant what I said—we were obsessed! And the fervour grew as people realised how much fun it was and joined in with us!

We were eventually forced to stop playing and head back down to the floor, and no joke, I didn’t stop for the rest of the afternoon. It was amazing, in an insane kind of way! Looking back now, it’s all very much a blur, but I loved every minute of it! 

At the end we had a huge group photo taken of all the ‘stars’ who were invited to the expo; a photo that I’ll hopefully get my hands on soon and be able to share (I was literally being held up by Christopher Judge in it since we were right at the back and he was like, “You’re too short to be seen. Throw your arm around me and I’ll hold you up.” And that was super nice of him since they took a while taking the pics and he had to hold onto me for that whole time, keeping me up high so I could get in the photo!)

Once we were all done and back at the hotel, I spent the next few hours hanging out with Steph and Sarah and other people as they came and went while I waited for my lift to arrive. Most of that time we were joined by Olivia Olsen (Adventure Time) and her boyfriend, Cash, who were seriously awesome. Stef (Dawson) joined us for part of it as well, but she couldn’t stay for too long since she had two auditions scheduled for the next morning and needed to prep for them. Onwards and upwards from The Hunger Games for her!

All in all, I think I’ve touched on most of the highlights of the Brisbane leg of the tour now. Pretty epic, huh? And that’s not even all that happened—just a briefing of the main points! So I’m sure you can probably understand my claim about how incredible it was now!

I just want to wrap up this post by saying that, while it was fantastic to be considered a ‘supa-star’ at an event like this, and while I loved every single second of it, none of it would have been possible without the incredible staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the event happen. In my mind, they’re the real ‘supa-stars’!! In particular, I’d like to thank Ineke, Paige, Casey-who-is-not-Linda, Linda-who-is-Linda, David-who-is-not-Barry, Barry-who-is-Barry (you can tell from this that I suck at remembering names!), Skye, Nicole, Juanita and Mark. There are a stack of others who also helped us over the weekends who I’m sure I’m forgetting right now, but please know that named or not, I’m so appreciative for everything you all did for us!! You guys rock!

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(Photo credit: Ineke P.)

And that’s the end of Supanova for 2015! It was an experience I will never, ever forget!

Supanova Part 1: Adelaide

I can’t begin to express just how incredible the Adelaide leg of the Supanova tour was this past weekend! I literally don’t have the words—it was just that good! Mostly because of the amazing authors I got to hang out with and the wonderful readers I got to speak to over the couple of days that we were there. But if I had to note a few highlights, let’s see…

Well, the main highlight for me would definitely be, as I already mentioned, spending time with the other authors:

  • Isobelle Carmody, for example, wrote “Obernewtyn” which was the first fantasy book I ever read as a child, and it inspired my love of the genre, so that was pretty awesome for me.
  • I also read and adored Trudi Canavan’s “Black Magician” trilogy when I was younger and in a high fantasy reading stage, so it was equally awesome to meet her.
  • C.S. Pacat I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know at a few events this year—Supanova back in Melbourne, as well as GenreCon in Brisbane last month—so it was wonderful to spend more time with her.
  • Mel Casey is an author who is also with my publishers, Pantera Press, so it was wicked-cool to meet her and see how nice she is for myself (since I’d heard such good things—all of which I can now say are true!).
  • Kate Forsyth is one of the loveliest people I think I’ve ever met in my entire life, and I’m actually really sad that she’s not coming on the Brisbane leg of the tour because she’s just one of those people you want to be around. She’s so generous with her time and her advice. I literally told her at one stage that I want to be her when I grow up, haha.
  • And last but definitely not least, spending time with Sarah J. Maas was beyond awesome, since I’m a huge fan of her books. The fourth title in her “Throne of Glass” series (“Queen of Shadows”) is easily my favourite book of 2015 (closely followed by “Illuminae” which I read a few weeks ago and will be doing a post on soon, because… omigosh!). So, yes, meeting Sarah was an absolute delight—especially because she’s ridiculously awesome and so much fun to be around! (I have to admit, given how famous she is and how much I love her books, I was a bit nervous about meeting her and worried she might be a little unapproachable, but nope—she’s seriously so nice and down to earth!)

I’m sure you can see how hanging out with such an amazing group of people for an entire weekend was just out of this world incredible for me. And it was! It all started on the Friday night with an opening ceremony where Sarah, Mel and I gave 30 second ‘elevator pitches’ of our books before we retreated to the hotel bar for a few hours of chatting…

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Then it all continued over the Saturday and Sunday with full-day book signings, people watching, and costume spotting. Like with this stunning Belle costume! Look at that dress!

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I also had a “Once Upon A Time” panel on the Saturday with Kate and Isobelle, which was so great—all I wanted to do was listen to them both continue talking about fairytales, since they know so much!

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And I had a “Myths and Misconceptions” panel on the Sunday with Mel, Trudi and another author named Kimberley Clark who wasn’t an official part of our group so I didn’t see her other than during the panel, but she seemed really nice, too.

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On the Saturday night we had the VIP party, which most definitely didn’t disappoint! Here’s a picture of all us authors (minus Isobelle) as well as Sonia (Sarah’s publicist from Bloomsbury Australia) and Susan (Mel’s and my publicist from Pantera Press):

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All in all, it was an amazing couple of days. There were also some fun conversations with other guests like Barbara Eden (Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars) among others… and Sarah and I *may* have managed to have a photo taken of us with a special someone in the background (*cough* Matthew Lewis aka Neville Longbottom *cough*), but since we took that pic in the green room, I’ll wait for the next leg of the tour to be over before I share it (gotta respect the green room!).

Needless to say, I’m super excited for Brisbane Supanova this coming weekend where I’ll be able to hang with these wonderful people again, and meet some new readers!! The Adelaide fans were lovely (one girl bought my book on the Saturday afternoon and came back the next morning to tell me she’d read it overnight and thought it was brilliant, which was so nice of her!) and I’m so looking forward to seeing all the new people who are coming along to check out the Brisbane event! I also have the honour of giving a 90 minute world building masterclass on Friday, which will hopefully be a fantastic experience.

So! Details about my schedule for the upcoming event are as follows for anyone thinking of coming along to Brisbane:

Friday:

2:00 – 3:30: World Building Masterclass

6:00 PM: Opening ceremony with the other authors (elevator pitch time)

Saturday (ALL DAY SIGNING):

10:30 – 11:30: “Impossible Quests” panel with Isobelle Carmody and Juliet Marillier

Sunday (ALL DAY SIGNING):

12:00 – 1:00: “Creating Kick-Ass Characters” panel with Sarah J. Maas, Melanie Casey and Kimberley Clark.

It’s going to be a fabulous weekend, so if you’re anywhere near Brisbane, be sure to come by and see us! Here’s an idea of what you might find (L-R: me, Kate Forsyth, C.S. Pacat, Isobelle Carmody, Melanie Casey, Trudi Canavan, Sarah J. Maas):
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Woooooohoooooo!!!!

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Exciting news! For anyone who has been following my social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter or Facebook), you’ll already know this…. But for everyone else, I’ve been invited back as a guest author to Supanova in November for the Adelaide and Brisbane legs of the conference! How amazing is that!

If you’ve been with this blog for a few months, you may have read all about my starstruck adventures with the amazing people I met (fans and famous people alike) at both Melbourne and on the Gold Coast… So I’m sure you can understand just how ridiculously excited I am to be heading there again! And, boy, the lineup of authors is INSANE, including:

  • Sarah J. Maas (whose ‘Throne of Glass’ series I absolutely adore)

 

  • Isobelle Carmody (whose ‘Obernewtyn Chronicles’ inspired my early love of the fantasy genre)

 

  • Juliet Marillier (whose ‘Sevenwaters’ trilogy is gosh-darnit-beautiful and a total fantasy tear-jerker to boot)

 

  • Trudi Canavan (whose ‘Black Magician’ trilogy is an epically thrilling page turner)

 

  • Melanie Casey (who is also with my publishers and I can’t wait to meet her and get her to sign my copy of ‘Hindsight’)

 

  • C.S. Pacat (who I got to hang with at Supanova Melbourne and I’m stoked for a repeat because she’s ridiculously awesome)

 

  • Kate Forsyth (who is an Australian fantasy author Wonder Woman – nothing else needs to be said!)

 

I am so incredibly honoured that I’ll have the chance to brush shoulders with these talented authors and, even more, that I’ll have the chance to meet some more readers, sign some books, speak on some panels, and share more of ‘Akarnae’ with the world. So if you happen to be in Adelaide or Brisbane in November, mark it in your calendar because believe me, a trip to Supanova is guaranteed to be one amazing adventure!

To find out more about the conference, including some of the other VIP guests who are currently confirmed (including stars from ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, ‘Smallville’, ‘Stargate’, and ‘Get Smart’), head on over to their official website here: http://www.supanova.com.au

And lastly, I have a few more excitingly big events coming up within the next couple of months, so stay tuned (especially on my social media) to find out where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing. I hope to see some of you as I travel around and share the awesomeness of this journey with you!

Supanova Part 2: Gold Coast

Here’s the second part of my incredible Supanova experience. The days in between Melbourne and Gold Coast I spent in Tasmania (and you can read about what I did there here) and I flew back to QLD after my library workshop in Hobart on Wednesday 15th April so that I could give another workshop in Helensvale (Gold Coast) on the Thursday. Both workshops were seriously awesome, by the way! And the Gold Coast one was even covered on page 4 of the Gold Coast Bulletin the next day!

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Everything Supanova-related began again on the Friday night, including another round of the elevator pitch – to an even larger audience this time! A few of us authors ended up back at the hotel bar afterwards which was really nice, since by this stage we’d all sufficiently bonded, and it was like old friends catching up after being away from each other for – gasp! – an entire four days!

Then Saturday came about and it was straight back into the crazy-crazy-craziness. The crowds were even more insane than at Melbourne! Just getting from the Booktopia stand (where we were signing) to the green room was stupidly claustrophobic and took forever in the bumper-to-bumper human traffic! Here’s a pic I took at about 11:30am on the Saturday:

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You can see from those pics that it really was hectic! And that was true for the book sales and signings all day (and over the whole weekend). I’m not kidding – at one stage I looked up and I had four people queuing for me to sign Akarnae for them. Four! That’s crazy talk, especially since my book has only been out since February! And actually, I mentioned in my last post that Akarnae was the bestselling individual title sold at Melbourne Supanova, but now I can officially amend that and say that it was the bestselling individual title at BOTH Melbourne AND Gold Coast – in fact, almost 25% more copies were sold at the Gold Coast! How seriously awesome is that! I have no words!

Some of the other cool stuff that happened on the Saturday included more green room shenanigans, like listening to Georgina and Sean (Elsa and Robin Hood from Once Upon A Time) along with Bob (Bellamy Blake from The 100) and Jason David Frank (the green Power Ranger) talk about BASE jumping, sky diving, wing walking, scuba diving, and all kinds of other crazy stuff that resulted in broken bones or reducing oneself to near tears. It was definitely amusing listening to them recount all the ways they were certain they were going to die! Sean in particular had a great (ie. horrific) wing walking story – poor guy!

I also had good, long chat with Kevin McNally in the afternoon (Mr Gibbs from Pirates of the Caribbean) who said he’d love to have a copy of Akarnae, which was so cool. After reading the blurb, he said something along the lines of, “When this becomes a movie, I think I should play the role of this Professor Marselle man.” – And strangely, I can actually imagine that! In the end, this is how I signed his book:

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While I was chatting with Kevin, Manu (Bennett – from Arrow and The Hobbit) turned up again (which was really cool since he was rarely seen over both weekends since he was so busy – again, another reason I still can’t believe I actually got to spend half an hour in a car ride to Melbourne airport with him!) and he asked me how my Tasmania trip went, which was so nice of him. Mostly because it meant he actually remembered me, haha, and also recalled what we’d chatted about during our car trip. Like I said in my last post, he’s one ridiculously lovely guy!

Otherwise, the Saturday was filled with more amazingly costumed fans, like Captain Jack Sparrow:

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And Elmo:

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And then there’s me, the crazy J.K. Rowling wannabe:

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(In my defence, all us authors wrote something on the back of our lanyards for when they flicked around, so I decided to go with J.K. Rowling – why not? Peter Hamilton had something like “Don’t you know who I am?” and John Scalzi I think had “I’m behind you” – or something like that. I can’t remember any of the others, but some were really great and witty!)

After the conference was over for the day, instead of taking the Supa-Star bus literally across the street to our hotel (which was much closer than the Melbourne one!), a few of us authors decided to walk. But we made that decision just as some of the waaaaay more famous people exited the building and they decided to walk back with us. I’m talking the big wigs like Manu Bennett, Walter Koenig (Star Trek), Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), Georgina Haig (Elsa), Barbara Dunkleman and a few others I can’t remember. Basically we were walking along with an all-star crew of awesomeness. I’m pretty sure Justin (Woolley) and myself were the only authors in the pack of Hollywood-ites. And then there was this really cool moment where Manu had us all stop around a giant koala statue to take a group photo (which I’m still waiting to appear somewhere on social media to prove that it did, in fact, happen!).

It was really cool walking back with everyone, but the sucky thing was, a few people must have noticed our motley crew (let’s face it, we weren’t overly stealthy), and Manu and Tyler both got absolutely swarmed by (female) fans when we reached the foyer of the hotel. It was actually really awful since we’d all just had massive days and all they would have wanted was to relax in the safety of the hotel, but instead they were being clobbered by people wanting photos and everything still. Very sucky, but I guess it’s just part of the life they deal with in order to do what they love.

Anyway… We had a few hours to ourselves and then it was time for the Gold Coast VIP party – which was, again, a bus ride away. I really enjoyed the Goldie party (just like I really enjoyed the Melb one!) and it helped that we all knew each other better by then and thus were also able to better hedge guesses as to who the actual VIP holders were (since no one had ID tags or anything yet again). I met some seriously lovely people (some of whom came and bought my book the next day simply because I’d been “nice” to them – awwwww!!). I also found out that the VIPs paid a whopping $800 to get VIP status for the weekend – how insano is that! I was like, “Okay, who are you here to see? For $800, we’ll make sure you get some quality time with them!”

So, yeah, the party was great, and afterwards our author-ly crew ended up back at the hotel bar along with my wonderful publicist, Susan Hando, Supanova’s amazing literary manager, Ineke Prochazka, and the delightful Alex Adsett, who is a literary agent ninja – and also happens to be the super-fantastic contract consultant who helped me get my head around all things legal at the beginning of my publishing journey (so it was so great to meet Alex in person!). That meant our drinks crew consisted of Peter F. Hamilton, Justin Woolley, Colin Taber (for a while), Alan Baxter, Susan, Ineke, Alex and myself. We had a wonderful time just chilling for a few hours after the event before packing off sometime around midnight, I think.

Here’s me with Peter F. Hamilton, who is seriously one of the nicest men I have ever met! For a ridiculously famous author, he’s just sooooooo lovely! (Even if he claims that my lack of pop culture knowledge makes him feel old! Eeek!)

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And here’s an author group selfie of Peter, Justin, Alan, Alex and myself:

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Then came the Sunday. The final day of Supanova. (Insert sad sigh here.)

I had my 6-foot high, two-dimensional knight in shining armour with me for the first time on the trip in, and he was somewhat… cumbersome to wrestle onto the bus. I’d missed the author transport somehow (I still have no idea how), so I was grabbing a lift with the TV/movie people (again, I have no idea how that happened, but I just did as I was told and went where I was directed and it all worked out well!). On the bus I was opposite Bob and he was like, “So, what’s with the knight?” And I think I just burst out laughing because by then I was delirious from sleep deprivation and also trying to figure out where I’d left my phone and if I’d lost my hotel key card (I’d had a rather stressful morning!). I did what any ‘normal’ person would do in that situation and officially introduced him to my knight, Sir Camden (who is a character in Akarnae). Pretty much any time I saw Bob over the rest of the day he asked me how Sir Camden was doing and I gave him status updates, which was fun. We also had Jason David Frank jump in on the convo since he was seated in front of me on the bus and turned around for a chat. Jeez, those guys (and everyone) are so nice!

The day continued much like the others (crazy costumes, amazing fans, everything!). And there were some seriously adorable cuties, too, like my publicist’s son and this sweetheart of a little girl both in Harry Potter costumes:

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Then there were the other weirdos, like me, deciding to try my hand at being a part of The Hunger Games:

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(Okay, not really, but it was still fun to hold a bow. I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I saw the positioning of my head in this photo, since I wondered if perhaps my publicist was so sick of me by the end of our 10 days that she was subconsciously imagining my gruesome death. I’m sure that’s not true, though! … Right, Susan?)

Sunday was also the day for my Gold Coast author panel, and this time I was on with Justin (again), along with Peter and also Kim Wilkins (who hadn’t been at Melbourne but I got to meet her at the Goldie and, like so many others, she’s lovely!). Our panel was on the topic of “Myths and Misconceptions” – which is seriously difficult to say fast, by the way – and despite having a few tongue-tied, tired-slurry moments from me, it was a really great discussion we had!

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There were more signings after the panel and then DONE! We were finished! Which meant it was time for another author group photo! This is us acting like goofs (ahem… I mean, acting like we’re typing on a typewriter) – and there’s Sir Camden in the background (who is possibly still there right now, since I was so spaced out that I forgot all about him and left him there! *Face palm*…)

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There was a really nice and casual author goodbye dinner that night followed by a penthouse apartment after party for all the stars and volunteers (in which Georgina (Elsa) actually came back to my room to pick up a copy of Akarnae for herself, which was soooo cool!)… and then a few other little bits and pieces, but that’s basically it! Supanova, done and dusted!

Before I finish this post, I just have to give a few shout-outs to some very special people. First up, to the incredible authors I met over the two events who, as mentioned copious amounts of times in both this post and my Melbourne one, took me in and shared all their wonderful knowledge with me. Peter Hamilton and Traci Harding in particular were constantly sharing their insights and teaching me their magical author-ly wonders, along with Alan Baxter and his martial-artsy-awesomeness. I’ll be forever grateful to them all for simply being so kind to naïve little me. And Justin Woolley, another ‘baby author’ like myself, was just a ridiculously awesome guy. We had a lot of fun together – especially on the Gold Coast when we were set up as signing buddies next to each other and he was pretty much stuck beside me for two days straight, haha. (Poor guy!) I haven’t read my copy of his book yet, but I’d definitely recommend him as a person, so if you like the idea of zombies in the Australian outback, go check out A Town Called Dust and support this great up-and-coming author!

Someone else who deserves huge amounts of gratitude is the wonderful Ineke, without whom I never would have been invited along to Supanova. As the literary manager, she’s the one who first read Akarnae and loved it enough to reach out and see if I wanted to come along as a guest. From hosting the panels to organising the craziness of the schedules and signings, Ineke and her amazing, incredible, wonderful team of volunteers took such great care of us every step of the way. I can’t wait for the next time I get to meet her again and give her a big, squishy hug.

Lastly, none of this would have happened without “My Susan”. Susan Hando (aka my out-of-this-world-amazing publicist) works tirelessly every single day to get me into events like Supanova, media appearances and school/library workshops etc. all in order to get me and Akarnae out there to the world. While I was sitting on my backside signing books and smiling at the cosplay people walking by, she was flitting about handing out flyers, visiting the Quidditch match (Melbourne exclusive), taking her adorable Harry-Potter-costumed son around the crowds with lollipops (and more flyers), and basically spreading word that I had a book available that people would hopefully love. To be honest, I’m exhausted just thinking about how much work she did – not only at the actual events, but also beforehand and afterwards. And you know what’s even crazier? I’m only one of a number of authors she looks after! I have a theory: she’s Wonder Woman in disguise. It’s the only thing that makes sense. So, thank you, My Susan, because without you I’d be twiddling my thumbs and wondering how to get someone other than my mum to read my book.

This is the only pic I have of us from the weekend, but in it is Alex Adsett, Susan’s son, Susan, myself, and Sir Camden. I figure it’s a great photo to end this post on!

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Supanova Part 1: Melbourne

I’M ALIVE!!! It’s taken a few days for me to stop resembling ‘Zombie-Lyn’ after all the craziness of the past fortnight, but I’m happy to report that I’m now functioning again as a (relatively) normal human being. Woohoo! That means I’m ready to share with you all the absolutely awesomeness of my Supanova experience(s). And believe me, there is a lot to share. So I’ve decided to split the telling into about fifty thousand different posts to give it all the justice it deserves. Kidding! It’ll just be two parts – this one for the Melbourne segment, and then a second post in a few days telling all about the Gold Coast event. To be honest, I can’t tell you which one was more incredible, because they were both out of this world on the awesome scale. You’ll see that for yourself by the time I’m done recollecting it all, just you wait!

Here goes!

So, I arrived in Melbourne on Friday arvo (10th April) and battled the city traffic to arrive at my ‘super secret’ hotel with just a few minutes to spare. I quickly put on some warmer clothes and ran back down to the lobby to jump on the Supanova bus that shuttled the stars from the hotel to the showgrounds. The bus was both a blessing and a curse, as we all found out over the course of the weekend. A curse because it took for-flipping-ever for us to get from the CBD out to the event, especially with traffic (I’m talking like 40 mins each way), but it was a blessing because it gave us all copious amounts of bonding time that helped us all become fast friends. That first night I got to spend some quality time with some even more quality authors: Peter F. Hamilton, John Scalzi, Traci Harding, Posie Graeme-Evans, Justin Woolley, Alan Baxter, Colin Taber and Jack Dann. Over the coming days, we ended up spending a lot of time together, and I can easily say that these guys are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met – in my life.

But I’ll gush later. For now, I’m still on the Friday night.

When we arrived at the showgrounds we were quickly ushered into the fabled green room (which is, in fact, not green at all) where all our needs were seen to with overwhelming enthusiasm by the incredible Supanova volunteers (more gushing about them later, too). More bonding ensued before we were escorted to some other place and told that we were going to be put up on stage and asked to give an ‘elevator pitch’ about our most current book. Cue the freak out. Basically we each had thirty seconds to ‘wow’ the audience. And as amazing as it is to say, when all was said and done and the audience had to vote, I actually ended up winning the elevator pitch, which was so cool! Let’s face it, Supanova was the perfect environment for a book like Akarnae – all I had to do was mention that it’s like Harry Potter meets X-Men and Narnia, and everyone was “ooooooh”-ing with excitement. *Shrugs* It was easily marketable to that specific demographic, being avid fans of sci-fi and fantasy (as seen over the next few days). Here’s our motley crew of authors on stage that night (I’m fourth from the left, directly underneath the glowing light):

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After the nerve-wracking pitching, we spent some more time in the green room and then were shuffled back on the bus and taken back to the hotel again. After scouting out a 7-Eleven for a banana (hey, a girl’s gotta have breakfast options!) I ended up having a late dinner with my incredible publicist, Susan (more gushing about her at the end of my Gold Coast post!), along with international superstar authors Peter F. Hamilton and John Scalzi. It was without a doubt an extremely surreal moment in time for me, especially since I was a baby author eating alongside these fantastically inspirational wordsmiths. I was, admittedly, a little star struck, and I definitely felt waaaaay out of my depth conversation-wise. At least until I realised that they were ridiculously nice human beings who were more than willing to accept that I, quite frankly, was a naïve young author whose debut novel was only released less than two months ago. I didn’t have to carry any part of the conversation – I could just absorb their words and wisdom and ask questions without feeling like an idiot. (Or perhaps still feeling like an idiot but laughing about said idiocy, which was also okay.) I learned so much that night, absorbing everything they had to say like I was a sponge and their advice was my water. It was amazing. And it only set me up for what continued to be a ridiculously fantastic weekend.

So! Saturday morning bloomed bright and early, and after eating my banana (see! It does have a place in my story!) I took off for a quick walk down to the river just so I could see at least a little bit of Melbourne from the outside of a vehicle (since I’d never been there before). I only had about twenty minutes, but it was worth it. Then it was back to the hotel, quickly getting ready for the day, and jumping on the bus again. I sat next to Traci (Harding) for the journey and she, like all the rest, took me under her wing and crammed in as much author-ly information as possible, which was so cool of her.

When we were in the green room again, I was surprised to realise once it started filling up that it wasn’t just a prep room for authors – it was the green room, as in the room where all the Supanova stars went to regroup and eat and everything else. And I realised this when I almost collided with Christopher Lloyd. As in, the Christopher Lloyd. I pretty much backed away quietly with wide eyes and internally told myself to “Be cool, Lyn.” But I should point out here that I’m the least cool person in the entire world, so it was a pointless inner pep-talk. More on that later.

For both of the Supanovas I was scheduled on to give a panel talk, with the Melbourne one being allocated the spot of first thing Saturday morning. Myself, along with the super-awesome Justin Woolley (A Town Called Dust) and the lovely C.S. Pacat (the Captive Prince trilogy) were given the task of discussing “Impossible Quests” and all that they entail. I really enjoyed our discussions and fleshing out some ideas with these two fabulous authors.

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Then it was off to the signing area for us, and that’s when all the craziness really began! Omigosh, there were so many people! I really don’t have the words to describe what the event was like. It was just, simply, insane! And so many people came along to chat and to buy Akarnae and get it signed, which was such an incredibly humbling experience. I loved every second and met some seriously cool people. And, oh! The costumes! I can’t even!

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By the time lunch came around and we were ushered back to the green room, I was pretty much walking around in a wide-eyed daze from the sensory overload of noise and colour. And then my ‘cool’ flew right out the window when I went to sit with Justin and another guy who, when he turned to me, I was like, “I know your face.” Then I think my already wide eyes widened even further and I was like, “Wait! Aren’t you Bellamy Blake from The 100? You’re not supposed to be here! You’re not in the program!”

Face. Palm.

Let me just clue you in on something. Up until meeting Bob Morley (aka Bellamy Blake from The 100) I was doing pretty well with keeping my cool. I’d chatted casually with Georgina Haig and Sean Maquire (Elsa and Robin Hood from Once Upon A Time respectively), and I’d definitely managed not to go off the crazy scale at meeting some of the other stars I’d only ever before seen on the big screen. But in my defence, I was prepared in advance to see them, since they were all in the program (and honestly, as naïve as it makes me sound, I didn’t actually know who many of the super-famous people actually were, like George Takei, James Cosmo and Jason David Frank, among others). Bob Morley was a wildcard that I definitely wasn’t expecting to casually sit beside by chance in the green room. Fortunately for my idiotic, fan-girling self, he’s actually a ridiculously nice, down to Earth guy, and he didn’t order a restraining order against me or anything of the sort. Instead, once I reclaimed my cool, Bob, Justin and I just chatted like normal people. It was, again, surreal. But it also helped me once more realise that the people we consider ‘stars’ are just like you and me. I really, seriously loved learning that over the course of both weekends.

Anywho, moving on from my embarrassing fan-girly moment…

After lunch it was back to the signing tables where there were more people, more costumes, more photos, more awesomeness. Then after another break for afternoon tea (seriously, all we did was eat!) and some more signing, we were back on the bus and headed to the hotel. For this journey I was sitting beside Martin Kebba (Pirates of the Caribbean) and we pretty much spent 40 minutes chatting about, well, everything. (Including the apparently unglamorous actor lifestyle and all the conspiracy theories about how Johnny Depp really injured his hand – and some of the theories he’d heard were hilarious!)

After we arrived back at the hotel, we had a few minutes to ourselves and then we were back on the bus again, this time en route to the VIP cocktail party. That was a blast. I got to mingle with some really great people and other than a seriously embarrassing foot-in-mouth slip that thankfully was only heard by Bob (which, okay, was pretty darn mortifying, but at least he laughed rather than, again, ordering a restraining order), it was a hugely fantastic night. Much of it was spent bonding with the amazing authors again (at least until we got “in trouble” for mingling with each other, haha) and also meeting some of the VIPs. Peter Hamilton and I also had a ‘fascinating’ discussion with Nichelle Nichols where she was adamant that Peter has three children (he only has two) and that I have one (I don’t have any). Peter and I both left scratching our heads and wondering what had just happened. But she was seriously lovely! (And it must be admitted, Peter had to clue me in on who she is, too. We all realised over the course of the Supanova events that my pop culture knowledge is deplorable! A good example is that the only way I could remember who James Cosmo was for most of the weekend was by referring to him as ‘Santa’… *awkward face*…)

Peter and I also got to have a lovely chat with Kevin McNally (Mr Gibbs from Pirates of the Caribbean) and he is such a genuinely lovely (and very English-gentleman-like) man! He also gives squishy hugs and cheek kisses, which is so sweet, haha.

Otherwise, the VIP party was a whole heap of fun and included even more author bonding with Traci, Alan, John, Justin, Peter and Posie. I’m not kidding, I seriously love those guys! (I told you there would be gushing!)

Moving onto Sunday now, otherwise I’ll never finish this post.

The official second day of Supanova Melbourne was just as fantastic as the first. There were still crazy amounts of costumed people, and heaps more books being bought and signed, which was fabulous.

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As for Sunday green room shenanigans, I got to have some good chats with the lovely Barbara Dunkelman and Arryn Zech, along with Jessica Dicicco (who, random fact, is the voice for the audio book of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) and later – or was it earlier? – Robbie Daymond. There were also some quality conversations with Richard Epcar and Ellyn Stern, both of whom are lovely people! (Actually, as I’ve already mentioned, everyone I met was seriously lovely!)

Like the previous two days, the Sunday was filled with moments where amazingly incredible authors looked out for me and happily shared their wisdom. There were also many, many, many laughs. Authors are a jolly bunch, I’ll tell you! Especially when you have the crazies like John Scalzi and Peter Hamilton paying you out for knowing, like, nothing. (Peter in fact said that he’d never before felt ‘old’ until he met me, haha. I can’t help that I don’t know pop culture!)

Below is a pic of the authors before we all finished on the Sunday (from left to right): (back row) Traci Harding, me; (middle row) K.J. Taylor, Alan Baxter, Jack Dann, Justin Woolley, Peter F. Hamilton; (front row) Posie Graeme-Evans and John Scalzi (in the yellow shirt).

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I had to take off early from the conference to catch my flight to Tasmania, but when I left there were only two copies of Akarnae left since we’d sold out of the rest of the stock! And we received the notification a few days later that it was officially the bestselling single title sold at Supanova Melbourne! How seriously awesome is that! Below is a pic of one lonely copy left on the shelf:

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I was pretty much on Cloud 9 by the time we had to jump in a vehicle to get to the airport, but that swiftly moved from Cloud 9 to Cloud 999 when I found out that, instead of the taxi that Susan and I had originally planned to take, we were instead offered a lift with a driver who had been called to take one of the other guests to catch an early flight as well. Imagine my incredulous surprise when I discovered that we’d be sharing a car with none other than Manu Bennett! (Slade Wilson/Deathstroke from Arrow, Azog from The Hobbit). Omigosh, I may have lost my cool again. But only internally this time – thank goodness. It was, after all, a reasonably long trip! And since Susan jumped into the front seat (bless her heart!), that meant Manu was in the back with me and chatting for almost the whole 30-40 minute journey, talking about his family, his upcoming role in Shannara, and even how he was at a conference in Texas when the Ebola outbreak occurred (eeek!). All in all, he is one seriously lovely man! And he even took a selfie of us with my phone!

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I can honestly say that my Melbourne Supanova experience was beyond incredible. But it’s also only half of the story, since I still have the entire Gold Coast event to share in my next post. Stay tuned for even more insanely awesome happenings as the craziness just becomes even more like something straight out of my dreams!

Supanova Bound!

I’m flying off to Melbourne today for the first phase of my 2015 Supanova adventure – woohoo! I’ll be updating my Instagram (https://instagram.com/lynettenoni/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/lynettenoni) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lynette.noni) accounts with all the happenings over the next few days, so stay tuned to hear all about the awesomeness! And if you happen to be in Melbourne (especially for the event), pop by to see me because I would love to meet you!