Friday is not a night I usually go anywhere, it's family night, but my family understood that this was a special event that I shouldn't miss, so after work I trundled along to Ford Street Publishing's HQ in Abbotsford for the launch of Rich And Rare, its latest anthology, in which I have my bushranger story.
I'd hoped to find time to have a proper meal in the city before going to Abbotsford, but I ended up leaving work late due to various things that needed finishing, so had a hasty takeaway at a small food shop in Sunshine - at least it wasn't a franchise fast food joint and the chips were hand cut and the roll was fresh.
Once in town I quickly caught the South Morang train to Collingwood station, which is not far from the old-style building Ford Street is now using for these events. At the station, I met a friend from the Nova Mob, the SF group I attend once a month, and we walked together.
In fact, I think about half the Nova Mob was there that night! This is the nice thing about being in SF fandom - it gives you a network. And I think, whatever Paul Collins says, he is a part of fandom, and he knows plenty of fans.
The attendees filled the small place very quickly and chatted, sipped wine and juice, nibbled the finger foods and waited for the launch to begin. For a while I thought there might be more book signers than audience to get their books signed, but really, there were plenty of people and good sales. It hit me, suddenly, that there was only one actual child - the intended audience - in the room - and, alas, she got Hazel Edwards, who was next to me, to sign, but not me. Oh, well. I did sign for plenty of people's children and persuaded one mother to buy a copy of Crime Time for her two sons. ;-)
Well, Paul did hold a schools competition as he did last time, but got no entries this time. He then asked the State Library, but was told he had to book months ahead. Pity, because I can't think of much happening at the CYL for the rest of this year, and a lot of librarians would have come with great pleasure.
The book was launched by the delightful Isobelle Carmody, who drew attention to me by asking how to pronounce my name while making comments about every story in the book. That was nice, though I was approached later by a Ukrainian lady who thought I might actually be able to speak Polish. Sorry! The only Polish thing about me is my name.
It was quite a gathering. If you'd thrown a bomb into it, you would have wiped out half the children's writers in the state and some from outside it.
My friend George Ivanoff had kindly agreed to take me home, as long as I didn't mind waiting a while after the launch - he likes to socialise and there's a pool table he enjoys using - but when I sat down to wait and turned on my iPad, I found I had been tweeted with a message from my nephew David, who said his parents had been out looking for me! Apparently they had forgotten my plans for the evening. I looked at my phone, which I'd left in the other room with my bag and found five messages and eleven missed calls. I tried to phone but the venue has poor reception. I had to get going ASAP and call on my way. Fortunately, another friend from the Nova Mob had offered me a lift and I grabbed the opportunity. I rang my sister, who was apologetic and said she had only remembered when they were in the car. So that was okay. I got home only a short time after my sister and brother-in-law left and spent the night with Mum as I usually do.
A nice evening in all, except the brief panic!