Done and dusted for another year.
It was promised to be bigger and better than ever…
And you know what?
This is the third year I’ve attended and I gotta say, this was the best yet…
I left Stoke on Trent on the 8.20 train and arrived in Leeds just shy of 10.15…no bad if’n I do say so.
Quick 15 minute walk from the station to the Royal Armouries (where the event has been held for a few years now), a couple of minutes queue for my “Weekend Pass” wrist band and I’m all set to go.
They had erected a marque this year…The Thought Bubble Tee Pee, slap bang in the middle of the New Docks Hall and the Royal Armouries Hall. And I gotta say that worked a treat.
Folk flitting from one hall to another via the “Tee Pee”…
None of this wandering off track looking for the third hall.
The bulk of the overseas professional guests were housed in the Tee Pee so there were no queues in the other halls blocking tables.
I quickly located “Accent UK” table in the New Dock Hall…Dave West, Colin Mathieson and Colin’s son Scott, standing behind their table, set up and ready for whatever the weekend would bring.
Now Andy does all the design work on Accent UK’s books and Mo had written a fair few tales for their anthologies so it was like a big ol’ Accent UK get together.
Bring it on.
Accent UK had two new books on sale this year: -
“Stephenson’s Robot”: -A wonderful over-the- top steampunk romp. Fulla strange folk, Robots and Germans…What a combination.
Written with gusto by Dave West and Jon Ayre and drawn with dazzlin’ dexterity by Indio. A genius when it comes to drawing the bizarre and downright freaky critters. And that’s not all as it also contained a short back up strip illustrated by the very talented Marlene Lowe
What an unbeatable combination.
The second book is the one I’m heavily involved in (stands to reason I’m gonna be gonna be a little bit biased, ain’t I?)
“Tales of WESTERNoir”: - Short stories that tell the back stories of folk Dave and I have created in the pages of the critically acclaimed on-going series: -WESTERNoir.
The fantastic first issue contains two tales featuring the artistic talents of Rowland Bird (who illustrates a tale of mine: -Loose ends) and Pedro Lopez (illustrating Dave’s tale: -The Kiss of death). All topped off with a little background information on how WESTERNoir came to be.
I can see the discerning readers amongst you already tempted by both of these books.
So, as is the norm at these events…the first hour sales are slow. Folk tend to wander about, see what’s what, before they part with any cash. Hell, I’m like that meself…nothing worse than seeing something late in the day and no money left to spend.
But, it didn’t take long before sales started to pick up…
…And then some.
I thought we could discuss plots and ideas for WESTERNoir, but we just didn’t have the time. Folk had decided to spend their money and lucky for us, they wanted Accent UK books…
Always gratifying to see returning customers…
And we saw loads…Many eager to pick up WESTERNoir book 4…desperate to see what’s happening to Josiah Black.
I swear it didn’t seem that long but it was two hours later when Colin and Scott returned to relieve us…
No wonder I was feeling hungry.
So food it was then, in a great little Bistro just around the corner to the event.
Then it was out and about to have a good looksee as to who was in attendance.
The only “guest” I planned to see was Brian Hurtt: artist on The Sixth Gun, the Damned and Queen and Country.
Same with Dave…he bought his hard back copy of the Sixth Gun and I’d bought my “Gunslinger Edition”
and wanted Brian to sign it…Not only did he sign it but he drew wonderful sketches of the main characters for both me and Dave.
Made my entire weekend.
It was grand to see him busily doing sketches for a heap a folk.
He’s an extremely popular artist: with “Fables”, the “Fairest” and writer/artist on “Dead Boy Detective”.
Back at the Accent UK table Colin and Scott had been kept busy which reflected in sales. By the end of the day we’d sold more books in the one day than both days at last year’s event.
Crackin’ news indeed.
In fact, it wasn’t just us with record sales, everyone attending was doing extremely well.
It seemed folk were in the mood fer comics.
There were plans afoot to meet up for an evening meal with a few friends. There is an official Thought Bubble function in the evening but we all fancied a quieter time.
I had to book into my hotel first…I hadn’t been able to book a room in the Hotel that’s right on the doorstep, as it were, I missed their last room by ten minutes but it didn’t matter as I managed to get a room not five minutes away. Just across the road from the “Palace” pub in fact…the place where we planned to eat.
Sunday is usually much quieter …and it was…good constant sales mind, just not as hectic as the Saturday…
After a modest breakfast and a leisurely stroll from the hotel, I met up with Dave, Colin and Scott outside chatting to a friend of theirs (about next year’s conventions as it happens).
But it wasn’t too long before we were back behind the table, chatting to potential customers.
It’s grand to get people’s reaction to the books you help create.
When someone comes to you and shouts “NO!!! you can’t leave it like that!!!” after reading Book 4 of WESTERNoir then you know you’ve made a connection and they “get” what Dave and I are doing.
Makes creating these books very worthwhile indeed.
Sunday being quieter meant that I could wander about the halls more and talk to friends.
Friends that I only get to see face to face at events like this one.
And then…All too quickly it’s over.
It’s time to pack up and head home.
The four of us decided to have something to eat at the local Pizza Express before we made our way home, and I was delighted that Matt Brooker could join us. I’ve known Matt (AKA D’Israeli) as long as I have “Bucky”. We were all part of a group in the early eighties that hung around together drawing, writing and creating Fanzines just before Mark and Matt’s professional careers took off…
Matt is well-known for Scarlet Traces, War of the Worlds, Stickleback and loads more. More recently his book Ordinary (written by Rob Williams) has been collected. And a cracker of a tale it is too.
But all things come to an end and I say my farewells to Matt...until next time that is.
It had been a cracking convention and according to Dave and Colin an amazing end to a great year...Year on year sales had doubled in fact!
So no arguments from me then.
There are plans afoot to release more books including three WESTERNoir titles, so I got high hopes it'll be even bigger and better next year for Accent UK.
Dave's already got his targets set for next year and is looking forward to it.
I'm desperate to finish WESTERNoir Book 5 (or the beginning of Season 2 as I like to call it) so it's ready for the first convention that Accent UK plan to attend in 2015.