AMC Expo and the Rotten Appendix

AMC Expo 2

AMC Expo

Jump to AMC Expo 2016 Photos

That heading sounds a bit like the title for a rather strange Harry Potter book, doesn’t it? The only similarity between the two is that there were a number of Harry Potter cosplayers at AMC Expo, which is a pop culture convention, here in Melbourne (Australia).

Since attending Supanova earlier this year, I’ve become a fan of pop culture conventions. As soon as I knew the dates for AMC Expo — 15-16 October — weren’t going to conflict with anything else going on in my life, I happily submitted my application for a table in the Artists Alley. My son Kyle was excited as well, as he gets to help me and spend my money on lots of cool stuff. (He does pay me back, it just takes time.)

Most people have heard of Murphy’s law, which is along the lines of, ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.’ AMC Expo was no exception.

The Rotten Appendix

Hiding in the wings, waiting to take centre stage, was a rotten appendix. Not my appendix. No, my appendix would be too scared of the ramifications. It knows I’m a grumpy old woman. It knows to fear my wrath. Kyle’s appendix, however, was a different story. Apparently he’d been having an annoying, but not debilitating, pain in his stomach for a few days. He’d also been feeling a little under the weather for months, but we thought it was probably the stress of studying. On the Tuesday before AMC Expo, we headed into my workplace after hours to pick up a new PC that had been delivered there for me. By the time we got there he was complaining that the pain had moved to his side and it really hurt.

Being the good mum I am, I asked him if he wanted to stop at the local medical clinic on the way home. “Yes,” he said. The doctor thought it might be appendicitis but Kyle couldn’t lie down for her to examine him. She sent us to the nearest emergency department — Werribee Mercy — with a letter outlining his condition. He was admitted straight away. The next day he was transferred to St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, as there was some concern of possible complications that the our local hospital may not have been able to deal with.

Anyway, long story short, he had his appendix out on the Thursday. What should have been a straightforward operation took around four hours, because yes, there were complications.

The Show Must Go On

When it became apparent that he wouldn’t be coming home until after AMC Expo, I decided that I would still attend, sans my primary helper. He felt guilty because he couldn’t help me, and I felt guilty because I wouldn’t be sitting next to his bed for the entire weekend. Between the two of us we were riddled with guilt. But as the saying goes, the show must go on.

My sister kindly volunteered to help me, or visit Kyle. I asked her to do the latter, as AMC Expo was going to be a long day, and she lives roughly a two-hour drive away. I also asked his best friend to visit him as well. With visitors all sorted out, it was time to think about whether or not I wanted to ask anyone else to help out over the weekend.

I ended up contacting my nephew, Andrew, and asked him if he’d be interested in attending on one or both days. I told him the following (excuse the typos, I was in a bit of a rush and my head wasn’t in the right space):

The hours are long – we would need to be there between 8:30-8:45 am for a 9:00 am start, and it doesn’t finish until 6:00 pm. (That means you’d need to be at my place by 7:45 am.) You’ll be free to wander around a bit and look at stuff (maybe even buy a few things) but mostly you’d just be sitting behind a table with me, smiling at people and engaging them in conversation. I’d supply some sandwiches (probably ham and/or cheese), snacks and drinks. Thought I’d b totally upfront and honest about what this entails so you can make an informed decision. It’s not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination!

My sales pitch worked, and my nephew opted to come along on the Saturday.

AMC Expo

So, how did it go? How did I manage on the Sunday? What else happened?

Saturday was a great day for sales. As usual I met some wonderful people, and saw some awesome costumes. Some last minute changes saw the majority of authors ‘penned’ in the one area, which I feel works much better for us. We authors look out for each other, and keep watch on unmanned tables when one of us needs to stretch our legs.

My nephew was a big help. Just having someone else there makes quite the difference. He also acted as my official photographer — heaven help me if I have to take a selfie — and we chatted a little bit about this, that and the other — “How’s you love life?” I asked. “What love life?” he replied.

I texted Kyle a lot over the weekend, and sent him some photos. At one point he messaged me to say, “I hate you so much right now!!” He was only venting because he wished he could be there to see everything for himself, and join in the guilt-ridden fun.

Sunday was a slow sales day. It was probably a good thing, given I was on my own. There was plenty of great conversation though, and lots of people took a card or leaflet, in order to take a look at my website at their own leisure. Just before 1:00 pm, Rachel Drummond, Jacinta Maree and I headed towards Stage 3 to take part in an author panel, talking about our publishing experiences. I thought I would fluff up a lot, but surprisingly I could understand everything that poured out of my mouth. I even had the audience laughing when I talked about how my characters sometimes went on vacation without me! Rachel, Jacinta and I all had different experiences to relate, but there were a few things we agreed on.
1. A good editor is essential
2. A professional looking book cover is a must
3. Continuity of book covers for a series, to enable your series to be easily identified.

I can’t say I wasn’t glad when they announced over the PA system that AMC Expo was officially over. It had been a very long week — some good, some bad. Kyle is now home, and starting to feel more like his old self and I have come down with a cold. Excuse me while I grab a tissue and blow my nose …

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