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Authoring Cons & Appearances Detours Writing Life

C2E2 2019: the final chapter

I know I said I probably wouldn’t write a day 3 post, but…my final art purchase from the con — a commission from Ashley A. Woods — is so gorgeous I had to make time to write about it and the rest of the day.

This is a picture I never thought I would get. I had an impossible time reducing Ruth from “Roundup” in Rough Passages to a proper artist’s reference full of physical details. She’s o full of anger, love and patience…but what did she look like? Errrm. I never felt the recitation of dry facts (gray hair, older woman’s body and skin…) did her justice.

I knew I liked this artist’s work — check out Niobe: She Is Life from Stranger Comics, or Millenia Wars if you can find it — and knew she did an incredible job capturing personality in lines. So. I happened past her table and was looking at prints, and when I saw she was sketching, I gathered up ALL MY NERVES and asked if she did commissions.

Yes? YES?! W00T! I babbled various bits of description, she jotted notes, and this is the result. Ruth at the end of the story after her powers roll in, surveying her new land.

Oh. Yass.

Wow, right? RIGHT!

I got to watch the the last bit of marker work, and it was astonishing. It’s a craft I know takes hours & hours of practice, concentration, and effort, and it’s all the more amazing to watch because of that.

Other notes from Sunday? I picked up tea for myself and a friend, grabbed a print of Stitch wearing the Hogwarts Sorting hat and being sorted into Hufflepuff (Yes, he is so right for it, FIGHT ME) and generally enjoyed walking the aisles and seeing the things I missed because Saturday was so danged busy.

Next year, looking at the likelihood I still won’t be working a booth,  I might devote all of Saturday to attending panels  & not even go onto the vendor’s floor. There are so MANY folks who only come for that one day that even the super-wide aisles get crushingly crowded.

Crowds are not my thing. So. Very Much. NOT.

Happy note, though: I did not ever lose my con buddies. I remembered to memorize their clothes once we got to the con floor, and they made sure to wave to me when I got out of range (at 2-3 feet distance, I rely more on clothes/motion than faces)   So, yay, no panicky moments at all for once.

Rainy Sunday meant by the time we left the show we were all tremendously tired, footsore and achy. Came home, got all the stuff unpacked before exhaustion crashed in, and thanked past-me for making sure the house was in order because I was in no emotional state to deal with disorder.

Then came the dilemma of dinner. Neither I nor Spouseman could face cooking or even the work of deciding from a menu and speaking to a delivery person, but all ended well. Leftovers to the rescue. Dove into the freezer and pulled out hearty soup, applesauce, & bread for toast.

Lots of work to do in the weeks ahead: scan in art, do lots of writing, buy some food, start the next round of leftovers creation, laundry (AAAGGHHHH SO MUCH LAUNDRY) a couple of house projects, more authoring responsibilities, and a long, long list of other Usual Life Things, but…

This is all the all there is for now. Ta!

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Authoring Cons & Appearances Detours Writing Life

C2E2 getaway 2019: more random remarks

Thoughts in no particular order…

Today was Spouseman’s day for buying things. He bought me dice for my birthday. (The probability that I will forget their existence between now  & then approaches unity. Pretend you’re surprised when I exclaim happily about them later this year. ) Some lovely prints were purchased, too.  Our current art themes are “Fubsy-animals, fine art style,” Wonder Woman, and Le Chat Noir. (Toothless counts towards two themes.)

Anyway. Because we are not made of money and can’t possibly frame them all, we keep our print collection in a portfolio & pull it out to admire it now & then.  Gonna be a lot of page reorganizing this year.

Enamel pins are apparently The Hot New Thing. I bought too many, and got vendor recommendations, Hopefully one of them talk me through my “overwhelmed by choices and information” phase into actually ordering Poz pins. And another artist gave me the name of a reputable printer (in Columbus OH, of all places) who may be able to do packs of Rough Passages Character Cards.

I AM SORRY, FRIENDLY HELPFUL WONDERFUL ARTISTS, I DO NOT RECALL WHICH OF YOU GAVE ME WHICH GOOD RECOMMENDATIONS. But I did write down the names you gave me. So, thank you all again.

I went to a panel moderated by my friend Jody on magic & mayhem in fantasy, but with six other great authors on the panel (full panel list: Alison Wilgus, Cory Doctorow, Mary Robinette Kowal, Mirah Bolender, S.A. Chakraborty, & Sue Burke, moderator: Jody Lynn Nye) and only an hour to talk it was really “Magic in Fantasy.”

Which was fine. The hour flew by. The discussion of different presentations of magic in fiction was fruitful, funny, and practical, and some fine points were made. Words like numinous and epistemological, and irreproducible got bandied about.

Side note: turns out I’m NOT the only person who thinks for magic to be magic and not simply science with different foundation principles,  it has to operate without hard rules. Many an online discussion had me wondering if I was a unique curmudgeon for believing this, but no. Cory Doctorow mentioned points I’ve raised time and again. (Yay, bias affirmed!) Did everyone on the panel agree? Far from it, but it made a good debate.

One sad point: as the panel ended I got sidetracked into a books conversation with another audience member and one thing led to another until tired friends needed to leave and took me away to early supper at Greek Isles. So, I missed the autographing after the panel &  didn’t get to meet back up with Jody.  (It was a great convo, tho. I got to recommend Susan Cooper and Robin McKinley, and that makes my bookseller’s heart all warm.)

Despite a gajillion schedule mismatches and mishaps, I did get to give my friend Jen a hug in passing & will see her tomorrow. And I got to see my con friend Toby, who I didn’t know was AT C2E2. So. There’s those two good things too.

Spouseman & I wandered back to the con after supper, arriving after the cosplay contest ended and a Very Loud Party began. People appeared to be having a fab time. But did I mention LOUD? Spouseman got some pics of costumes. I had my fingers in my ears. But I’m glad we went to see it, because I got to chat more with Laura from the ‘brar.

Here are two original arts I’ve gotten back:

Mike Manomivibul’s awesome take on Serena from Flight Plan
Isabella Rotman’s interpretation of my beloved Grawlix. <3

And this isn’t original art, but it’s something an artist is doing that I want to get later.

And I am quote sure this Tarot with Isabella’s illustrations will be EPIC.  Just sayin’

Other randoms: the elevators at our hotel have lush contralto voices (at least two different ones, I’m pretty sure) and they get very excited about announcing floors and directions. “Twenty-first <voice drops to a sultry growl> floor,” they will say, followed by “Going…down.”

bonus: view from the elevator lobby on our floor.

One last pic: the delicious decaf tea that I got after supper.

because it’s tasty, that’s why.

Are y’all still reading? Good heavens.  Wow. Good for you. Kudos.

I could type more babble, or I could read a little and then go to sleep. I vote for option two. More tomorrow? Probably not. Tomorrow will about getting art, swing past a few vendors, a panel, and then getting everything home. Not expecting anything new.

And after we’re home, I have book revisions to finish and a cover blurb to write. Rumor has it a few people might want to buy this novel once I get it into print. So. Less blogging, more booking.

Until later, all!

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3. Other Things Cons & Appearances Detours Writing Life

C2E2 Getaway 2019. Day 1 Report.

Spouseman & I are taking a little vacation to recover from our last vacation. Okay, not really-truly, but we have splurged on a stay-at-the-hotel convention weekend right here in our home territory. Staying in a hotel only an hour from home feels positively decadent.

We’re downtown for the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, aka C2E2. This big convention fills up a good chunk of McCormick Place, and it’s my annual save-the-pennies-get-original-art commission con. There are always good panels too, (Saturday I’ll be trying to go see three different ones)  and of course, there’s the vendor floor full of things I like to admire and might buy someday and loads of amazing cosplay to watch.

And this year, I’m sticking around for the evening. 

Here’s today’s report. 

We took our time getting here in the morning. Arrived around noon and stayed until the Dealer Floor closed. I know lots of FB and Twitter frenz are in attendance, but I only ran across a few.

I got to say hello to the amazing Jim McClain on Artist’s Alley (table Y-3, go see his stuff, Poe & The Mysteriads is a delight)  ANYway. I also ran across the marvelous Laura Bos from Mount Prospect Public Library) as I was walking by a library-sponsored booth.

This booth had books, and floor pilows and chairs and a kid’s tent, and how did it manage t be an oasis of peace in the clamor of the vendor floor? I dunno, librarian magic? ANYway. Hi, Laura & nice person from ALA whose name I’ve misplaced! It was great chatting!

Other news: I found fabulous artists for all three of my sketchbooks, plus set up some potential commissions for a Rough Passages character portfolio with Daniel Govar (Artist’s Alley in the Ms) He’s the artist who designed my Dawnrigger colophon. Keep an eye out for the incredible graphic novel he’s doing called Tuskers. Conservationists and orphaned baby elephants fighting poachers–and of course phenomenal art.) 

I will post pics of my new arts with credit to the artists…tomorrow night, prolly? I have this year’s new gargoyle back, but the Restoration portraits book and the Rough Passages sketchbook are still out.

But the best part of today? After all the neat stuff, instead of the hour’s drive dragging back to the burbs to collapse in utter exhaustion, Spouseman and I strolled over to our hotel and collapsed there in cozy comfort.

Later we had some tasty foods & beverages, took a stroll and now we’re tucked in for the night.  We can’t make a habit of this, but wow, it’s an amazing treat.

This was the sunset view out our hotel room window. Pretty nifty.

That’s all until later.

 

Categories
1. Storysculpting 3. Other Things Whimsy Writing Life

It’s nippy out there.

The air temp was up to a balmy -15 °F when I took my walk today. That’s before wind chill. The wind chill has been at “OH HELL NO” since last night. -15 marked the high point between -24 last night, and -23 projected for tonight. -50 wind chill anyone?

Yes, I went outside in that kind of cold. Yes, on purpose. Yes, without a job location I had to travel to reach, or a pet who needs walking, or any other external justification.

Why? Why not? Being able to do things like stroll around in the killing cold by choice remind me how lucky and rich I am, relatively speaking, and how grateful I am for so much in my life.

Also, if I don’t get my body moving and keep moving at a steady pace for at least 30 min a day, I hurt, but I could do enough walking indoors to cope. Not easily, and going around and around inside the house is boring as hell, but hey. I have done it.

But given the choice between boring laps and going out into the deep freeze? No contest.

It was a fantastic hike and meditative too. I spent the time focusing on my breathing rhythm, maintaining awareness of my body’s position, location, and surroundings (the whole world changes in incredible, beautiful ways when it’s super-cold)

..at least, that’s what I was doing when I wasn’t concentrating on ways to keep my glasses from frosting over.

I’d been out about a half-mile when I realized why I was enjoying myself so much. Dealing with weather like this is a lot like swimming. You’re deliberately exposing your body to a medium that will kill you if you’re immersed in it too long, but with the right gear, training, and effort, the experience can bring you a satisfying thrill.

When it comes to gear, I have tons. Decades worth. I ruthlessly toss or donate clothes that wear out/don’t get worn, but cold weather kit keeps well. And scarves? Well. Textiles are my dragon hoard.

My winter coat is literally designed for Antarctica– it came from someone who went on a cruise trip with a company that uses old Russian icebreakers. It has a patch on it and everything.

My closet is packed with thick, plushy hoodies & warm socks and so on. I am spoiled for choice.  I not only have sleek, soft long underwear comfort-rated to sub-zero, I have fleecy versions I can layer over it and under my outerwear.

Hats? Ear protection? insulated gloves with mitten covers? Scarves and ear bands to keep everything but the eyes safe from wind chill? YUP.

And boots with thick soles to keep my toesies in a dry, temperature-controlled environment are my year-round standard.

Basically, I was all set for today.  Note, please, none of my stuff is new. A purple wool scarf my friend Jody found for me and the sparkly red scarf gifted to me by my other friend Tess are the  youngest pieces in the ensemble. Some of the long underwear is old enough to drive, and I think the coat is old enough to vote.

But it’s all good gear, so when I wrap up to go out in the killing cold, I am covered top to toe in cuddlesome coziness and feel super-rich and thankful for every protective piece.

I’ve had training too. Nothing rigorous, just enough to make me comfortable navigating a populated neighborhood.  There were many lessons in cold weather survival in my youth, plus I’ve done a lot of independent study since then. (hello, I’m a writer)  Knowing when to stop is a key skill, and listening to my body saying “enough!” is a thing I have learned well.

Once I find some goggles (frosty eyeglasses are a real PITA) I will be able to easily handle hikes on days far colder than this one. Goggles have been on a vague quest list for years now. Since Polar Vortexes are likely to be a recurring issue, I think I will make a point of hunting some down before next winter.

Because it really was a lovely walk today, and I want to do more.

By the way, if anyone is wondering, no,  I wasn’t the only one out there. I wasn’t even the only person out here without a dog on a leash. I spotted one hardy soul out running, and no one was even chasing them.

Was there a point to this post? I don’t know. But we’ve reached the end of it.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.

Categories
Authoring Cons & Appearances Writing Life

Pre-Dragoncon

Today I:

  • Flew around storm clouds to get to Atlanta. So cool to see the thunderheads up close.
  • Hauled around many heavy things & stacked them. So many things. So much stacking.
  • Posted my full con schedule, Armory & Bard’s Tower both, such as it is, on my Official Facebook Writing page. (copied here, just because.)
  • Reviewed some hotel/con survival essentials
  • Texted people. PHONED people. Yeah, that’s right.All righty. That was a looooonnnng day. Bedtime. Tomorrow, the con begins.

That schedule again:

Thursday”

Armory set-up until it’s done, then…who knows?

Friday:

  • Armory 9AM-noon (Hyatt Kennesaw)
  • Bard’s Tower 3-7PM (Vendor level 2, booth 2719)
  • Writer’s Gather @ 8PM somewhere? It’s in the app.

Saturday:

  • Bard’s Tower 10AM-noon
  • Armory 6-8PM

Sunday:

  • Armory 10AM-noon
  • Bard’s Tower 3-6:30PM
  • READING w/Broad Universe: Hyatt Techwood

Monday:
Sales in the AM, then Armory teardown, then back to wrap up with Bard’s Tower.

And then the collapse, the sleep, and the trip home. Because con.