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Return to the Rock

AN-StJohns05Around a decade ago, a new annual tradition began in Newfoundland: Sci-Fi on the Rock. The first convention of its kind in my homeland, it started as a day-long event in Mount Pearl (the city that neighbors St. John’s), and I was lucky enough to be the first guest.

That trip was a bit of a whirlwind. Jacqui and I flew in and out in forty hours –– a quick turnaround that we promised ourselves we’d never attempt again when a convention was involved –– but the con was an unmitigated success. We met great people, and in one writing workshop I even managed to start a friendship that sparked the creation of Newfoundland’s leading independent publisher: Engen Books.

Sci-Fi on the Rock was such a success that planning for its second edition began almost immediately. The event was extended to two days, and moved into St. John’s proper. Iceberg would attend both Sci-Fi on the Rock 2 — where I nearly sang “Old Man River” with Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) — and Sci-Fi on the Rock 3, and we launched His Majesty’s New World novels at each. Indeed, it’s probably no surprise that the series featuring the Royal Newfoundland Regiment owes a great deal to Sci-Fi on the Rock.

Sci Fi on the Rock
My nemesis Matt LeDrew, of Engen Books, and Jeremy Bulloch, who played Hal the Archer in the classic Doctor Who story ‘The Time Warrior’ — with Jon Pertwee! Also, he played Boba Fett in the original Star Wars trilogy.


When Iceberg shifted focus to the US marketplace, one of our regrets was that our reduced event schedule couldn’t include east-coast conventions. But as Sci-Fi on the Rock celebrates its first decade this year, I’m happy to report that I’ll be back.

Though I may have forgotten that ‘don’t only show up for 40 hours’ lesson.

Since our move to western Canada, traveling home to the east coast has become an order of magnitude more difficult. Remember: the distance from our previous base of Waterloo to our current base in Edmonton is basically the distance between Florida and California… and Waterloo was already about that far from Newfoundland. Instead of a couple of hours on a plane, travel now absorbs an entire day, and trips east can’t be casual.

So at the beginning of April, I’ll be visiting St. John’s for about 43 hours — many of those to be spent at Sci-Fi on the Rock.

AN-ITTFOG
A segment for Rogers Television’s show ‘Into the Fog’, recorded ahead of Sci-Fi on the Rock 3.

On Saturday night, April 2nd, I’ll be joining Ellen Curtis and Matt LeDrew (my old nemesis, and the creator of Engen Books) for their aptly-named Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel Ever — a chance to talk shop and trade advice with fellow writers, and the audience.

Then, on the morning of Sunday, April 3rd, I’ll be delivering a two hour workshop: A New Era In Publishing. There I’ll aim to share tangible advice and best practices with writers and publishers, whether they’ve been in the business for a long time, or they’re new and trying to figure out where to start.

Once that’s done, I’ll stick around at the convention for a couple of hours, but there are also key people I have to see before I fly off the next day –– again, only 43 hours on the ground. Because when I’m coming east, I have to make some other stops as well… but more on that in future notes.

For now: if you’re in Newfoundland (or within traveling distance), I must encourage you to check out Sci-Fi on the Rock from April 1-3 at the Sheraton in St. John’s. This is a unique event that never fails to generate stories, friendships, and a good bit of fun. Even if you’re jet lagged. Even if you barely have time enough to catch your breath. Even if you haven’t slept. Even if you fail to sing “Old Man River.”

I’m looking forward to seeing many people again –– some for the first time in years –– and to sharing some useful war stories from Iceberg’s fourteen years in this business. Hope to see you there.

Sci Fi on the Rock
The very beginning: Sci-Fi on the Rock 1, April 2007 in Mount Pearl… on no sleep. Shut up, we didn’t look tired.