Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Conferencing, conventioning and reviewing

The 2009 Redwood Writers Conference was a big hit. My presentation, Developing Your Online Presence (as an author), aside from technical difficulties out of my control (including the hotel's wifi quitting), went well. I had over 40 people in attendance. I met a fellow tech presenter in the bookstore and we're laying plans to collaborate on future efforts and invest in our own digital projector. Very exciting. It's not writing, but it's fun stuff and it will pay. :)

Last week, I hopped onto the Writing Mafia group on LinkedIn and asked for examples of author blogs in which the subject was not necessarily writing, but related to their work to add to my visual aids.

Here are the ones I used.
  • Freelance writer and photographer Betsy S. Franz has several blogs. I used this one: The Nature Lady.
  • Lynne Butler writes books on law. She writes on law on her blog as well: Estate Law Canada.
  • Laurel Zuckerman's Paris Weblog doesn't have as tight a focus, but she doesn't shy away from hot topics, she embraces them.

You have no idea how hard it is for me to be sitting here blogging when I just received an ARC of Jasper Fforde's new book, Shades of Grey. Can't wait to sink my teeth into that one. :)

But first I'm off to learn some Romani dances at Sonoma State University taught by Sani Rifati of Voice of Roma.

World Fantasy Convention is this weekend. I can't wait! I'm going to try to post a couple of times from the convention. I'm also going to line up authors for interviews for the next six months.

If you read the interview with Jennifer Brozek in the previous post before the review of Grants Pass was live, it's up now at SFReader. Grants Pass is an anthology of post-apocalyptic tales edited by Jennifer and Amanda Pillar. It was a deliciously dreary collection of complicated people dealing with the aftermath of plague and quakes.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Jennifer Brozek, dark speculative fiction writer /editor

I met Jennifer at BayCon. We were instant friends when we shared a panel. Cons are like that. And Jennifer has so many interesting, helpful things to say, I asked her for an interview.

She also has a book, Grants Pass, a post-apocalyptic anthology that came out this year. I read it and reviewed it over on SFReader. I gave it the glowing review it fully deserved. The wide range of foible-ridden characters represented in the stories made it very compelling. Those characters could have made a trip to the grocery store (pre-apocalypse) riveting.

AW: What attracted you to editing anthologies?

JB: It wasn't something I decided on specifically. I never thought, "I want to edit an anthology now." My first anthology, Grants Pass, was simply a project I wanted to do that happened to be an anthology and I needed to be the editor of it. I went into the project blind and learned a lot along the way. After doing the first one, I got bit by the bug of what an anthology is and could be. I got hooked. I enjoy creating something that is more than the sum of its parts—which is what an anthology is.

AW: Do you consider yourself foremost an editor or a writer?

JB: Definitely a writer first (at least at this point in my career) and an editor second. Most of my projects are writing based. Actually, now that I think about it, about 60% of my projects are writing based with the other 40% in the editing, proofing and publishing category. I still have stories I want to tell. I still enjoy writing fiction and RPG worlds.

AW: How has editing helped your writing and vise verse?

JB: Editing out the same mistakes over and over again has taught me to not make the same mistakes in my own writing. Reading stories I know I will have to edit later has taught me to use "active voice" much more often than "passive voice." At the same time, writing has helped my editing by allowing me to recognize my past mistakes that much quicker in someone else's work.

I really believe that doing more than one job in the writing industry improves all of a professional's skills. Writing improves editing and slush reading. Editing improves writing and slush reading and slush reading does amazing things for writing and will give an editor an idea of how much work is involved in editing/copy editing a story.

AW: How much work goes into shaping a cohesive anthology after the stories are chosen?

JB: It is a huge amount of work. After the stories are chosen, there is a series of back and forth that goes on between the editor and author for edits (rewrite requests) and copy editing (technical corrections). For my anthologies, I like to have an afterward from each of the authors about the story itself and, of course, a biography. Getting a single story in shape for an anthology takes hours of work and coordination between the editor and the author.

After that is a series of processes – story order, book layout, getting ARCs out to reviewers in order to get the needed book blurbs for the cover of the book, getting the cover to approve, proofing the ARCs for any stupid spelling error and the list goes on. You must be very detailed oriented: who owes you what, who do you owe something to, when is your deadline and a thousand other details. Finally, you need to give your publisher a completed product for production and hope you didn't forget something silly like your own bio or the introduction.

AW: I know you write role-playing games by day. Most recently you had a writing contract with NC Soft for Aion. What did you like most about writing for it?

JB: It is an amazing experience to be in a room with a dozen highly creative writers all working on the same product. You have some area experts and some jacks-of-all-trades that you can talk with. I spent about half of my time just editing another author's work and the other half writing original content. Everyone writes. Everyone edits. Everyone needs the edits. It is this fabulous gestalt of creative writing. If you have a question about something, you can easily call it out and someone will answer you. The best part about it was being able to really dive in and create something new for a game that millions of people will eventually play.

AW: Are you an avid gamer yourself?

JB: I am a gamer. I don't know if I can say "avid" because I tend to stick to a single video game for a long time until I'm done playing with it and then I'm done-done. No more. I do spend my Saturday nights pretending to be a bloodsucking creature of the night at a local LARP. When I'm not running that LARP, I tend to have one tabletop game a week as well. I guess I'm a well rounded gamer – tabletop, video games and LARPing. My newest video game addiction is Aion. But I need to be careful because if I'm playing the game, I'm not writing.

AW: What's the story you've written that you are most fond of? Why?

JB: That is an evil question. It's almost like asking "Which one is your favorite child?" I'll break it out. Grants Pass is my favorite anthology because it was my first and I would not let it die. Five years from conception to publication—it was the little anthology that could. Regresser's Evolution is my favorite novel because it is the first novel I completed that I was willing to show anyone else. It is about to be completely rewritten as a serial for a possible upcoming project. It really does need to be rewritten. So, whether or not the project pans out, it will still be for the best. Finally, my current favorite short story is "Eulogy for Muffin" because it's about kids running a Wild Hunt with their family pets and what's not to love about that? It also had the best reaction from all of my 1st Round Readers.

AW: Can you tell us about the new anthology you're working on?

JB: The newest anthology I'm working on is called Close Encounters of the Urban Kind. It has already been sold to the Apex Book Company and is due out in the Spring or Summer of 2010. It is a mash up of urban legends and alien encounters. Some urban legends caused by alien encounters. Some urban legends used by aliens in an encounter and some alien encounters based around urban legends retold. I'm very excited about this anthology. I have a fabulous set of authors for it. The author list will be posted in October on the Apex Book Company website. I am in the final stages of story selection and I can see just how good this anthology is going to be. Scary, too, as I have a preference for the darker side of life.

AW: What are you writing now?

JB: Right now, I am working on a new PDF setting for Colonial Gothic – a horror RPG based in 1776 – called Colonial Gothic: Plymouth Rock. This should be out in time for Thanksgiving. I have a new website fiction project for Colonial Gothic that should go live at the beginning of 2010.

AW: What do you mean when you say PDF setting?

JB: It is a PDF only release of a product that describes a location setting in the RPG world. It describes the location layout, major features, canon people/places/events/mysteries. Then in a Gamemaster section, all of the location's secrets are discussed for use in an RPG campaign.

I have also just agreed to a monthly project involving the Pathfinder RPG as well as agreed to be the lead writer on a new Talisman Studios product set in the Suzerain universe. In my spare time (hah!) I intend to start the rewrite of Regresser's Evolution. My writing cup is full and this makes me very happy.

Read more about Jennifer on her website.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Busy, busy, busy - but still have some SF news

Have you heard that the series "V" is being trotted out again? This time with Morena Baccarin as Diana, the leader of the alien race that is here to "help" us. Not! Read more here and here.

Ursula K. Le Guin turned 80 this week. Happy Birthday!

This contest gives a whole new meaning to "forward thinking". Science Fiction and Fantasy held it in 1980 asking for predictions of which SF concept would be realized by the year 2010. Read more at Locus. The winner receives $2010.

I'm preparing for my presentation, "Developing your online presence" at the 2009 Redwood Writers Conference on Saturday. This subject is inexhaustible. Everyday I learn more. The trick is to pull out the best bits for the one hour I'm given.

I just searched on Facebook for: Science Fiction Readers. I wanted to find them on Facebook. I have almost 700 "friends," but they're mostly other writers. The scary thing is that three groups popped up. Yup. Just 3. And they had less than 20 members between them. Where are these SF readers?

Are media SF fans more inclined to network than those who read SF books? Interesting question....

World Fantasy Convention follows the next weekend. This will be my first WFC. I couldn't miss this one as it's so close I don't have to spring for airfare.

Someone rated my blog over on blog catalog >waves and blows kisses to spearcarrier<. I think that's my first rating outside of Networked Blogs. It's a glowing review. I must find others to tell the world what a great blog this is. >wink, wink, nudge, nudge< There are lots of lovely buttons at the right you can click on to vote me up or follow to rate me.

On Friday, I'll be posting an interview with Jennifer Brozek. She writes for RPGs and dark spec fic. She's also the editor for a number of anthologies. Don't miss it.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Meet horror author, Fred Wiehe, as he lauches Holiday Madness

Speculative fiction writer and creative writing instructor, Fred Wiehe, writes mainly horror. As such, I thought he'd be a great addition to my October line-up of writers. As I've said before, I met Fred at a science fiction convention in San Jose. His insightful and thorough responses to questions caught my interest, as did his book, Holiday Madness, which comes out tomorrow. Fred and his wife, Suzy, even managed to get one of their two grown sons to attend a convention with them and sit in on his panel. Now that's really impressive! ;)

: What horror writer has most influenced your work?

: I’m not sure any one horror writer actually influenced or influences my work. I think I have my own unique voice, my own unique style. That said, the horror writers that I read the most, the ones I consider bloody good are Dean Koontz (his earlier works; I’m not sure he’s a horror writer anymore), Nate Kenyon, Peter Straub, Poppy C. Brite (again, earlier works), Jonathan Maberry, Nick (Randers) Grabowsky, and of course Stephen King.

AW: You said during a panel that you can write in the midst of noise. Can you give an extreme example of this?

FW: Writing in the midst of noise became a necessity for two reasons: my household is very noisy (I have no private office) and I tend to write on the go. I’m very busy and don’t really have the time to block out four or five hours of time for “quiet” writing. So I take my laptop everywhere with me. That way I can steal snippets of time to write. I began writing in public places, like restaurants while having breakfast or lunch. Those are the noisiest places to write. You don’t realize how noisy the places we eat are until you’re really trying to concentrate on something important—there’s constant chatter and laughter, sometimes kids scream or cry, waitresses or waiters continuously interrupt, dishes and glasses clank. It can be a mad house, but I really learned to tune that stuff out and can now write pretty much anywhere, anytime. I’ve written a novel, a screenplay, and several short stories under just such conditions.

AW: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you opened that first acceptance letter?

FW: I checked the mail on my way into the kitchen to have lunch with my family. I expected it to be another rejection and debated on whether I wanted to open it before lunch, thus ruining my appetite. But of course not opening it and not knowing for sure was already making my stomach do flip-flops. So I opened it. After reading it, I still couldn’t eat. But for a different reason: Excitement!

AW: What was the most valuable advice you received as a writer?

FW: A writer friend said, “Get an agent.” She was right. Every writer needs a good agent to look out for them. The trick is finding a good one. Networking is probably the best way. I had been looking for months, sending out query letters, with no luck. Then fate stepped in. I got an email out of the blue from Brendan Deneen. Brendan worked as Director of Development for Miramax/Dimension Films and then the Weinstein Brothers. He remembered me because I had given him a copy of my novel Strange Days to look at as a possible movie. Anyway, Brendan had started out as an agent with Philip Morris Agency before going into movies and had decided to get back into literary managing. He liked Strange Days and was trying to build a client list at the time, so he emailed me, explained his career move, and asked if I had anything new. His timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Sometimes fate just comes a knocking on the door. Be ready to open it.

AW: What has helped you the most to create truly horrifying scenes?

FW: I’ve always had a vivid and macabre imagination. I’ve often said that if I wasn’t a horror writer then I’d probably be a depressed schizophrenic or worse. My mind tends to dwell on the morbid, on the dark side of life. Writing horror is cathartic for me. I tend to get depressed and moody when I’m not writing. Releasing my dark side in my writing keeps me sane, happy, and balanced. I guess I better keep writing.

AW: What was your craziest convention experience?

FW: I’m not sure I’ve had a “crazy” convention experience. Everyone I’ve ever met at conventions—fans, fellow writers, and celebrities—has been friendly, approachable, and great. I’ve had “crazier” experiences through life in general than at any convention.

AW: Do you consider teaching to be a vocation?

FW: Well, for those who don’t know me, I am a teacher as well as a writer. I have a BA from the University of Cincinnati in Secondary Education. Currently, I teach Creative Writing, Academic Writing, Grammar, SAT Writing, and Public Speaking to both children and adults. So I guess my answer would be, “Yes.”

AW: Do you watch horror movies? Do you ever think, “Hey, I can do better that that,” or conversely, “I wish I’d written that,” or is writing for the big screen something you would rather leave alone?”

FW: It’s funny you should ask; I just finished my first screenplay Freak House. A small production company called Elftwin Films in LA optioned it and Lions Gate is considering funding the project. We also have Debbie Rochon set to play a small role in the movie. For those of you who don’t know Debbie; she was in The Night of the Living Dead, as well as a number of other horror films and has her own radio program on Fangoria Radio. Personally, I can’t wait to see my name on the big screen.

AW: Can you tell us about Holiday Madness?

FW: Holiday Madness came about by accident really. Several years ago, a friend who is a local radio personality on a public radio station convinced me to write an original Christmas/horror story for his radio show and then read it on the air. Listeners seemed to like it, and it’s now become a tradition. In fact, listeners liked it so much we started doing a Halloween show too. Some writer friends told me that these stories were the best works I’d ever written. I wasn’t sure I agreed with them but decided to take the 13 (seemed like a good number) stories and put them into a collection. Now Holiday Madness is due out October 17 from Black Bed Sheet Books. It already has a few Bram Stoker award nominations, and people I respect are saying some good things about it. Here’re a few quotes:

“Ghouls and Santa, Ghosts and Aliens—a stocking full of bloody, holiday stories hung with care. Scrooges of all ages will shriek with delight!” Del Howison, Dark Delicacies.

“With Holiday Madness Fred Wiehe proves that Halloween is no longer the scariest time of year. Holiday Madness is weird, twisted, spooky, wild and outrageous. Very highly recommended!” Jonathan Maberry, Author and multiple Bram Stoker award winner.

“Wiehe’s 13 tales of holiday terror will shock and thrill you to the bone. Teens and adults alike will love the twists and turns in this collection. Not a word wasted. Great stuff!” Nate Kenyon, Author and Bram Stoker Finalist.

AW: What are you working on now?

FW: My agent Brendan Deneen is shopping around my new alternative reality novel, ALERIC: Monster Hunter. It’s about Aleric Toma Bimbai, a two-hundred-year-old Gypsy who hunts monsters for bounty. He’s a gun for hire, with secrets as dark as midnight in a graveyard. He’s a hero and rogue rolled into one, with preternatural powers of his own, and only slightly better than the supernatural creatures he hunts. Anyway, I liked this character so much that I’m now writing a second novel for him—Zero Sin.

Find out more about Fred at www.fredwiehe.com or visit him on MySpace.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SF tidbits and title timing

Well, I was going to share a YouTube video of outtakes from the latest Star Trek movie, but it seems to have poofed. Imagine punchy cast stumbling, cursing and dancing. So there, it was just like being there, right?

FastForward gets a whole season. Now that's impressive, and a rarity these days. Read more at Entertainment Weekly. Woohoo Rob (Sawyer)!

I've been off work this week to concentrate on my fiction. I'm rereading a book I started in 2004, in preparation for rewriting the last chapters. I put it away for a year because I was sick to death of it. Yesterday I thought it was crap. Today I'm thinking it's great. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

World Fantasy Convention
is just over a fortnight away. Hopefully, my copies of Awesome Lavratt will arrive in time. This printer is supposed to be better than the last. Can't wait to see them.

I received another book for review today. This time science, without the fiction. Friday will bring an interview with Fred Wiehe, horror and dark fiction writer. Sneak a peek at his Website while you wait.

My friend, Alma Alexander (interview listed on the right), posted this great New Yorker article on Facebook. It's a spoof on publishers' promotions departments. I loved it. http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2009/10/19/091019sh_shouts_weiner

This being my vacation, I'm determined to have a little fun in the evening at least. Screenwriter's club Wednesday. Pool and bluegrass (wish it was blues) on Thursday and I'll have to catch a SF movie on Friday. And the local arts center across the creek from us is showing old movies on the big screen for $6/ticket. And the big splurge for the budget conscious? George Thorogood's new CD, The Dirty Dozen.

Why must we slaughter perfectly good words by using them to death? When I titled my book Awesome Lavratt, I really did mean awesome, as in this mind control device is scary powerful. Now, people are throwing "awesome" in every other sentence.

I overuse words myself. We all do. I think I'm just the victim of bad timing. Awesome Lavratt doesn't have the punch it would have before that word became the new "cool".

I named my first son Wesley because I liked the name and we had two ancestors by the name. I knew no one alive with it. Then they all came out of the woodwork. So much for his name being unique. Although, he probably prefers it that way.

So, if I only see one SF movie at the theater this week, which one should I see?

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Alice Henderson - a frighteningly good writer

Alice Henderson is a horror writer whom I had the pleasure of sharing a book signing with at a local comic book store. We swapped books, Voracious for Awesome Lavratt. I don't usually read horror, but I needed a good escape one weekend when my back was out. I hadn't promised to review it, either, so it wasn't "required reading". I inhaled Voracious in two days. My review—I had to do one since I like it so much—can be found on Mostly Fiction. Maybe I'll have to start reading horror now... at least Alice's. :)

AW: What was your first published fan fic piece?

AH: Fan fiction is actually different from licensed media tie-in fiction, which is what my Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels are. I’ve actually never written any fan fiction. The work I’ve done with licensed universes (like Buffy and Star Wars) were always written after the publisher contacted me and gave me the go ahead to officially write for that franchise. My first piece of media tie-in fiction was my novel Night Terrors, which was set in the Buffy universe. Simon & Schuster wanted to do a series of Buffy books written in the style of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. They created the Stake Your Destiny series, of which Night Terrors was a part. It was a fantastic challenge to write. I had an immense flow chart on my wall that tracked all the possible threads and endings.

AW: You have written some Buffy the Vampire novels, including a choose your own adventure one. Why Buffy?

AH: I wanted to make some solid connections with editors, and I thought writing a tie-in novel might be a good way to break in. I loved the show and was very familiar with the characters and types of plot lines they used. I also have a love of horror and the supernatural. It was a blast to write for Buffy. I had a lot of creative freedom, and was honored to contribute some stories to that universe. I’m very excited to say that my second Buffy novel, Portal Through Time, won a Scribe Award for Best Novel (which is an award given by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers to honor licensed fiction like Star Wars and Star Trek novels, etc.).

AW: How did you land an agent?

AH: I talked to a lot of writers about their agents before I approached any. I found writers to be very willing to discuss how helpful, communicative, etc., their agents were. I’d heard very good things about an agent who represented a fellow Buffy writer. I had an offer from a publisher on my novel Voracious, and I asked this agent if he’d be willing to negotiate the deal. He said yes. Getting an agent can be very difficult, and having an offer in hand is really helpful, as is having a publishing history. By the time I got my agent, my two Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels had already been published. It also helps to go to conferences to meet agents in person, talk to other writers, and get recommendations for other agents to approach.

AW: You were telling me about some of your experiences with "drive-by" signings. Can you share some here? Perhaps best, worst, funniest and most unexpected?

AH: I did a slew of these after the release of my novel Voracious. I’d read that signing your stock at a bookstore is a win/win situation. Your autograph adds value to the book for the bookseller, and it benefits the writer as the books are often faced out on the shelf with an “autographed copy” sticker. But I quickly learned that with drive-by signings, I never knew what I was going to encounter. I’d visit a bookstore, find my books on the shelves, and offer to sign them. I am always very polite, kind, and friendly. In return, I’ve been greeted with kindness, rudeness, enthusiasm and absolutely bewilderment. During a few (my best), the booksellers were very kind and ordered more copies of my book into the store. They also suggested I come back for a regular signing. That’s the best outcome, what I hoped would happen. During the worst experiences, I was forbidden to sign them because the bookseller did not seem to understand I wasn’t a random person off the street wanting to write in a book, but that I was the actual author. Sometimes once the person understood this, I was then given the green light to sign copies. But on a few occasions, this concept was never understood and I had to leave without signing the stock.

AW: Can you give advice to newbies on why and how to foster relationships with booksellers directly?

AH: It’s very important to develop a positive relationship with booksellers. Go talk to them in person. Tell them about your book. If you are local, be sure to tell them that. Be polite and upbeat. If you can win over a bookseller, they are far more likely to hand sell your book, suggesting it to more readers. They will invite you back for author events. When you go into a store to do signings, order pizza for the staff. Give them something (a bookmark, a mug) that you have personalized. Be approachable and kind. Go to bookstores that specialize in your genre and meet the owners and staff. Independently owned specialty bookstores tend to do the most events for writers in specific genres. They are usually avid supporters with an in-depth knowledge of their genre. And when you go in there to talk to them, support them in kind by buying a book.

And here we are getting excellent ideas from Kathy Bottarini at The Comic Book Box in Rohnert Park.

AW: We obviously share a love of shapeshifters. What character sparked that interest for you?

AH: I don’t think it was any specific character that sparked my interest in shapeshifters. I’ve had a love of monsters and the supernatural from the time I was little. I loved tales of werewolves changing at the full moon, and vampires transforming into bats or mist. I wanted to create a character who had the ability to change into whatever he desired, and so I created Stefan for my novel Voracious.

AW: Who are your three most favorite authors and why?

AH: Robert McCammon is a huge favorite of mine. His novels truly immerse me in their worlds. I feel like I’m there, as if I know the characters, as if I could call them up on the phone and invite them out on an adventure. His novel Boy’s Life is simply amazing. Richard Adams is another favorite. Watership Down is rich with folklore, characterization, a whole world created between those pages. Mark Twain has written some of the most hilarious non-fiction I’ve read. His travel accounts and essays frequently make me laugh out loud. If I can add a fourth author, I must say that the writer I spend the most time with is George Gissing, a Victorian novelist who kept a diary that truly does the writer’s struggle justice. He wrote openly about the struggles (“days of blank misery,” as he would say), triumphs, the sheer joy of finishing a novel and the agony of being confounded by a plot. It’s comforting to know that the journey of a writer, though a century separates us, is still universal.

AW: What are you working on now?

AH: I have several projects going on right now, a horror novel, an urban fantasy novel, and a Crichton-esque science thriller. The research for the thriller has completely taken over my desk and floor. I can barely see over the stacks of books and maps. But it’s fascinating, and the discovery process of writing a novel, when one is first figuring out the plot, is one of the most exciting stages of the craft.

Visit Alice at www.alicehenderson.com.

Photos by Patrick Wilkes

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Filed under torture...

When my kids were little they had these little books with companion cassette tapes. One of them, oh that I could forget it, was called Casie's Shapes to Share. I don't even know if the voice was supposed to be male or female. I do remember it was annoyingly high-pitched with the evilest of lilts to it. That particular tape had an "accident". We just couldn't take it any more!

Much later, I took an online course at the local junior college. It was great. I never had to set foot on the campus. The school provided (or perhaps sold?) a VHS tape of the lectures. I've never met the teacher, but so help me, I think she's Casie! I couldn't watch it!

And then came Pokemon's Pikachu! That was courtesy of our Godsons.

Now, because it's the month for all things frightful, listen to these robots sing, if you dare, courtesy i09.

By the way, if you get an email telling you that there's been a suspicious transaction via paypal in your name, click here to cancel, DON'T CLICK IT! It's the latest scam. And no, I didn't click it. I know better.

Happy Mad Hatter Day - yesterday. As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short. And no one invited me to tea. I would have worn my March Hare hat to be sure.

Read here for literary torture methods: How you can really help an author out.

Retrieved from the mailbox just before I departed for Silicon last Friday was Terry Pratchett's new book, Unseen Academicals. I almost brought it with me. I just finished Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next: First Among Sequels today, so I'll have a nice bit of silliness to read in tandem with In the Courts of the Sun. Of course, that's if you don't count Grants Pass. But that's almost done. Review to follow shortly. Having to sit up at the computer to read the pdf version makes for slower going.

Only two more days of work and then I'm all about the novel, Under the Suns of Sarshan - my novel. I'm determined to finish it next week during my vacation. And I might actually slip out to some writing events and get Awesome Lavratt placed in a few bookstores. I'll also have to polish up my presentation for the writers conference on the 24th and try to get my radio interview into podcast form for my website and a new feature for Broad Universe. Definitely a working vacation.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Silicon con report and SGU

This was my first time at Silicon. It seems to have more of a science bent? And it's definitely smaller than BayCon. I don't know if the venue was just larger than needed or their attendance was down. Or maybe I'm just used to BayCon. Interesting panels, though.

On the Joys of research panel, we discussed resources, methods, narrowing your search and finding experts to steer you in the right direction. One of my fellow panelists, as it turned out was Candy Lowe. Candy (as C.S. Lowe) has co-written many stories for Analog with G. David Nordley, who was already on my interview list. Candy and I shared lunch after the panel. I'll be interviewing both of them, now. All the better! But not until November, at least. I'm reserving this month for horror.

I have Alice Henderson, author of Voracious and several Buffy books and Jennifer Brozek, editor and writer of sf, horror and rpg worlds. I shared both of my panels on Saturday with author Fred Wiehe. He has a story collection coming out in a couple of weeks called Holiday Madness. So now we have yet another horror writer for October. I know he'll be good for a stimulating interview.

I attended a great panel on alien autopsies, complete with grizzly slides led by Pat McEwen. The grizzly slides were mostly of dead humans, of course.

I skipped the parties Saturday night and got some much-needed sleep.

Sunday, I attended a worldbuilding panel that Gerald (Nordley) was on. Gave the garage rocket ship panel a miss reluctantly. My back couldn't take any more sitting.

I picked my books from the dealer's room and headed home. On the way, I drove by my childhood home in San Leandro. Of course, I couldn't remember or recognize which one was mine. They all looked alike and I can't remember the house number. I also don't remember the neighborhood being so dumpy. Either it went downhill or my perception has changed. I was 8 years old when we moved away. I wonder if our kids will have a similar experience if they ever decide to visit this tract home long after we've moved away. How can you get sentimental over a tract home in a suburb or bedroom community?

Of course, first on the agenda when I got home: SGU (Stargate Universe)
OK. So we have Lost in Space, complete with Dr. Smith (Rush) and The Last Starfighter (Eli Wallace)trying to horn in on the SG franchise. Hmmm. And who's idea was this? I was unimpressed.

I have another reading gig. This one at the Hotel Healdsburg (in Healdsburg, CA) with other local authors. Dec. 5th. More info to follow.

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