WindyCon 2018: my next adventure

November 9-11, 2018 Lombard IL. Fan-run, friendly, laid-back & fun. This’ll be my fourth one. Hard to believe it’s been 4 years since Controlled Descent & Flight Plan came out.

This year I took the big step of signing up as a programming participant, which meant gambling on life remaining calm so I wouldn’t have to back out. LIFE COOPERATED!  I will be on panels as well as hanging out in the dealer room . Without further ado, here is my schedule:

Pass the Kleenex – Friday 9:00 – 10:00 pm – Lilac D
Not all stories are upbeat and hopeful. A discussion of depressing SciFi/Fantasy stories.

Reading – Saturday 12:00-1:00 pm – 1631 (Reading Room)
12pm Deirdre Murphy 12:30pm Karen Herkes

Guilty Pleasures – Saturday 4:00-5:00 pm – Muller Grand Ballroom G
We all have them. It could be a drugstore book or a cheesy movie. Let’s admit it and share them out loud!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! – Saturday, 11-10-2018 – 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Lilac C
You’ve written your book/story now you need to promote it.

Yeah, that’s right. I’ll be doing a reading, so I’d better bring my A game.  And yes, I am now secure enough in my authoring identity that I’m willing to speak about promoting books. I mean, sure, I don’t follow a lot of the “rules” but I know which ones I’m breaking and accept the consequences. That counts, right?  (Yes, right.)

Of course I’ll have copies of my books there. I’m hanging with Rich from Games Plus to help cover the store’s booth, and also pitching in to help at a table with some other fine, local authors, so… yes. THERE WIILL BE BOOKS YOU COULD OWN for the low, low price of some money.

Obligatory I-sell-books reminder made, onward to personal musings.

I love WindyCon for many reasons. First off, it’s local! (45-60 min drive, so local-ish, I suppose.) That’s always a plus. Second, a WindyCon was the second-ever fan-run con I attended as an author, and it was the first one where I sold books.

So. I am full of warm fuzzies for the kind and hard-working people who plan and run WindyCon.  (Next year, if all goes well, fingers crossed, I might be able to volunteer, too. If. Life. Cooperates.)

I am very much looking forward to seeing all the friends I met at past WindyCons and last year at Capricon, Keeping touch through social media is no substitute for hanging out in person. I’m not naming names because I would forget someone I adore and then feel horrible about it, but <waving>  HIYA, yes, I’m thinking of you! See you soon!

On reflection, that whole paragraph right there ^^^  is a matter of sudden, wondrous astonishment & joy.

I have con friends. Wow.

windycon 2018 blog topper

 

What I did while I wasn’t gone

I took myself on a writing retreat last weekend. It was mostly a mental trick to take advantage of physical preparations for travel to a convention I ended up not attending.

Since I had planned and prepped be away from home for a four-day weekend, I figured that meant wasn’t responsible for anything at home those fourdays. I could ignore my whole Regular Life guilt-free and wander off to my computer any time the urge hit.

I finished a short story I’ve been tinkering with for over two years and published it for my email list subscribers (I also set up that process from scratch, a post in its own right.)

I also made headway on a second short story and wrote about 5000 words in Ghost Town, my current novel in progress. I write slower than a Galapagos turtle walks, which is why I rarely post word counts (and loathe them as motivational tool)  For reference, that’s about a usual month’s worth of writing. In 4 days. Yeah. So mental writing retreat as a working trick…definitely helped. I plan to do it again. Sometime.

But writing isn’t all I did. This is a media consumption post too, so here’s what I took in.

Throne of Glass series. Sarah A Maas. Finished all the books currently published (yay!) now have to wait until at least October to read the one that’ll wrap up the current series. (BOO!)  There’s a lot I could say about her books, but I said most of it in a previous post. One thing to add: the things that bugged me in A Court of Thorns & Roses series are less overt in this one. No idea which came first, don’t care, just liking them more.

Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach. Kelly Robson. SWOON. So good. Go read it now. It’s a short book, (novella) but it will stick with you in the best of ways. I inhaled it over two meal breaks and a walk.

Yes, I read on walks. I was tripping off curbs and veering towards lamp posts long before it was trendy with Pokemon Go. Don’t worry, I’ve never run into anything, and I always pause at roadways to watch for traffic. But I digress. As usual.

Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach reminds me of Connie Willis & Kate Wilhelm ( two of my SFF favorites) at their very best. Not because it had time travel, although it does, nor because of the science, which it is ALL ABOUT,  but because of the way both those elements were presented: brilliantly, elegantly, and enjoyably.

Time travel was an essential element but not a pitfall of paradox or an excuse to wander into theoretical physics for far longer than the narrative could bear (Woo!) Science was at the center of the plot without ever stampeding over the characters or dragging the story into a slough of exposition, (WOO!!!) Plot & characters were also amazing.

Basically, if you want fresh, new classic-style SFF relevant to and written for today’s world, this is it.

A Divided Peace. Tanya Huff. Happy sigh. Always a joy to read her words.  Aaaaand now I have to go back and re-read all the Confederation novels. If I could write military science fiction a tenth as well as she does, I would do a whole novel about Mercury Battalion. But I don’t have the chops for making the Corps a realistic centerpiece. Maybe if someone with experience wanted to co-author…yeah, I would totally be up for that that.

ANYWAY. Onward.

In the viewing circle, I watched a fun season of superhero television show, Black Lightning, and a serious movie about a real world hero. Marshall. (it’s a biopic-style movie  about one of Thurgood Marshall’s early cases.)  

I enjoyed the drama of the movie, but it seemed bizarre to me that the titular character, an AMAZING human being who was part of so much civil rights history–who MADE so much history, was not even the narrative center of his own movie. (A white guy was.)  I am not surprised that was the angle Hollywood took, just angry and aggravated. They could have done so much better.

But I’m loving Black Lightning, so I’m batting over .500 in viewing satisfaction.

Still haven’t seen Deadpool 2 or Ocean’s 8, but they’re on my list. And Jurassic Park Episode whatEVER is next up in Major Hollywood Kaboom Movies.

So until then, it’s back to writing-writing-writing.

 

Come to Pittsburgh, it’ll Be FUN!

TL;DR summary: I’m going to Pittsburgh this week! Lots of amazing authors will be in Pittsburgh! You can meet them for free & get autographs!

Why Pittsburgh? So glad you asked. It’s the Nebula Awards Conference Weekend, a traveling event held annually by The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (aka SFWA)

There will be loads of professional development panels for authors and the big Nebula Awards Ceremony, but the reason I’m sharing  is that the event also has a super cool tradition called the Mass Autographing.

Open to the public. Here be all the official bits: https://nebulas.sfwa.org/autographing-event-sunday-may-20/

Basically if you’re within a distance of Pittsburgh where you can be at the Pittsburgh City Cetner Marriott Sunday May 20, 1-3, and you’re interested in excellent science fiction & fantasy books, you really should come to this event!

You can meet loads of authors–Nebula Award nominated, and Nebula Award WINNING authors–they’ll be there, and they’ll all have books available for purchase too.

Also there will be me. With my books. Not nominated books, and I’m not a SFWA member (not yet! SOMEDAY!) but I will be at the conference absorbing knowledge and maybe helping out if I can.

And so I will also have my excellent books for sale at the event Book Depot. In case anyone wants them.

What about next year? Will I go to the SFWA conference then? Maybe.  Depends on where it’s held, and even more it depends on whether I make enough sales to become a member. I’m not sure how long I can justify attending when I’m still not making enough sales to qualify as a member. Maybe forever? Maybe not. I get more self-conscious and nervous about it every year.

But that’s next year, and I’m not sure what next year will bring.  For sure it will be an adventure.

This year? PITTSBURGH, HERE I COME!