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con writeup, long!

Ah hah! Web access! This is going to be a Very Long Post. :)

RMFW Con Report, 9.12.02

Taking a break from con stuff to ice my poor stiff back, which really very much does *not* appreciate the whole hours-on-airplane/hours-in-panels treatment it’s getting.

So! I got on a redeye flight that was packed absolutely full and failed to sleep at all, which is very sad indeed. I kept my eyes closed pretty much the whole plane ride, but I don’t think I slept more than 15 minutes; 3 hours is a long time when all you’re doing is drifting and trying not to let your arm touch the arm of the hairy man in the seat next to you.

I tried, but failed, to get bumped to a morning flight. If I’d thought more clearly, I’d have volunteered to be bumped when I called up to see about upgrading to first class and they told me the flight was full, but, well, I didn’t. :)

Both flights were utterly uneventful. I finished a book at the airport and during the first half of the flight to Denver, then tried sleeping again — there was no one in the middle seat this time, but I was still denied sleep. By that time I was tired enough to be nauseous, but the very pleasant woman in the window seat told me about her adventures being a nurse in Fairbanks — she’d always wanted to go to Alaska, and for the last two summers has worked up at the hospital in Fairbanks, the name of which is escaping me. Her schedule is such that she can go zooming off to different parts of the state on her days off, so she’s been all over, including up to Barrow just last week when there were thirty or forty polar bears hanging around outside of town.

The coolest part, though, is that her 89-year-old grandfather, who had always wanted to go to Alaska, went up for a month with her this summer, and so got to see Alaska, and went fishing, and did many other things, and proclaimed it the trip of a lifetime. Isn’t that great?

The hotel I’m at is perfectly fine, except I’m on the 7th floor and 1. the elevators have glass backs and (far more distressing) 2. the halls are open, so if you care to, you can look down seven floors over a half wall into the common areas of the hotel.

Needless to say, I’m not doing that. :P In fact, the hallway where the elevators are have half-walls that are … railed? Banistered? Not closed in, anyway. So I’ve been walking along the dead center of the hall when I go to the elevator, because otherwise I’m mindlessly terrified. I’m also walking very close to the inside wall when I’m headed for my room. It’s extremely nerve-wracking.

The room, however, is very nice. I sat and watched a tremendous thunderstorm yesterday afternoon, watched lightning crack and listened to the thunder and watched the absolute *deluge* of water falling from the sky, being whipped around by high-force winds until there were areas of distinct mist far above the ground, where the wind was so strong it pulverized the pelting rain.

One strike of lightning hit a tower, probably constructed for such a purpose, and the tip of the tower glowed a ferocious blue for a full second or two.

Before the thunderstorm, I slept. I intended to sleep for an hour and a half, but my wakeup call was early, so I said ‘another half hour’ and when I woke up it was five, rather than 3:30. Since I hadn’t slept on the plane at all and hence hadn’t had any sleep since 7:45 the previous morning, I seriously considered staying in bed.

I was, however, supposed to call Joel and Erica and have dinner. So I sort of slugged around debating whether or not I was going to do that, and had this sort of argument with myself: I could keep sleeping. Yeah, except you’ll probably wake up at 5am if you do that. If you don’t get up, you won’t see Joel and Erica at all. You should get up. But I’m so *tired*. Listen to it rain. You should get up and look at the rain. But I’m really *tired*. If I don’t get up, I won’t see Joel and Erica, and I’ll probably end up waking up in a while and spending the whole evening in the hotel, alone. That would suck…

After several minutes of this I got up, stared at the storm for a few minutes, then called Joel. *grin* We went out to dinner at this teeny tiny very cheap very yummy Mexican place, and just talked for a few hours. Erica had walked home in the immense thunderstorm, which was cold but pretty exhilirating, to hear her talk. I told them about the RMFW contest/conference, and they were — Joel was very surprised I was writing a SF novel; Erica was not. We laughed until we just about cried at dinner; old friends are great fun. *laugh* After dinner, we their apartment, where their small dog Peabody was charming at me, and we hung out and talked for another hour or maybe a little more, and then I had to go home because I was fading darned fast.

Came back to the hotel, finished reading Callahan’s Key, which is indeed so much like reading Heinlein that it’s almost annoying, and fell asleep.

I woke up at 7, closed the curtains the rest of the way, and went back to sleep.

Hm. This has taken fifteen or twenty minutes to write, and it’s now a little after nine. People are theoretically congregating down in one of the bars after the book signing which ends at 9, so I think I’ll mosey on down there for a while. I’ll write more either tonight or … not, but since there’s no Kinko’s nearby (or Denny’s, which I find very distressing, and my pocketbook finds even more so), odds are this won’t get uploaded til Monday anyway, so it hardly matters when I write it.

So I’m off to network! Zum!

RMFW Con Report, 9.13.02

Good Lord, it’s Friday the 13th. Who knew?

Actually, Silkie did, ’cause she wanted to go to the Winchester Mystery House and do their flashlight tour, now that I think about it. :)

I discovered that the hotel has a business center with an old PC, so I should be able to post to my blog from there. Well, I know I can; the question is if my disk from Little will read so I can just cut and paste and not have to retype it all, which would be a real pita.

I didn’t, what with being extremely tired, manage to get up until very close to 11 this morning, I think. Once up, I indulged myself in a bath and the remainder of Callahan’s Key, shaved my legs and managed to get downstairs sometime around 12:20, midway through the registration hour. I collected my stuff, went to eat, didn’t eat very much, but spent so long reading all the material they’d given me that I ended up being late for the first panel/lecture I wanted to go to, which was ‘making the con work for you’. It turned out I didn’t really need to go to that one — there were a couple others that probably would have been better — but I don’t mind having gone, particularly since they’ve got a nifty setup where they tape virtually all the panels, so if there are things I really feel like I’ve missed, I can get them on tape.

So I skipped all the panels and lectures today and instead went to the editor/agent workshop that was being run by Winifred Halsey, who happens to be the woman who’s 1. senior editor at Speculation Press and 2. the judge of the SF section of this contest. Now, this was basically a critique group, and it was a setup where you went in with your ms and read it, and she critiqued it. She had the material beforehand, so she had copies to hand back to people, all marked up, and because it was *her* workshop, she ran it the way she wanted to, and let the other people in the workshop comment, too, just like, well, any critique group.

It happened that I didn’t read; I signed up to, but my registration got in too late, so I only audited the readings — I was kind of hoping I might get to hear some of my competition’s work! As it turned out, two of the people didn’t show up, so I *should’ve* brought MD along to read some of it, but well, that’s okay.

As a matter of fact, I /did/ get to hear one of my competition’s work — and it was really good. It’s, um. Not derivative, although it’s a piece along a theme that’s been done before. Think Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie) and you’re on the right path. However, whether it’s been done before or *not*, it was damned good. So that was extremely cool.

Even cooler was the fact that Winifred was there early enough that I got to introduce myself and explain that I wasn’t reading, but that I was one of the finalists, and she hung around for forty minutes after the workshop was done and answered questions and talked about writing and about the kinds of things she’s looking for and what she thinks makes a good story and so on and so forth. I like her very much; she’s a very cool lady, and I’m *tremendously* glad that I went to the workshop, because I’m *far* less nervous about meeting with her tomorrow than I would have been otherwise.

She’s promised the finalists a 1-page critique of their entries, and I already know one thing she’s going to say about mine — she hates prologues, and MD has a prologue. _I’m_ not entirely comfortable with the prologue, and in fact said as much after the critique part of the workshop was done and we were just hanging about and chatting, and she said flat-out that she had some ideas for me to work my prologue into the main body of the story, so, well. *stupid grin*

She hasn’t, however, had time to finish the critiques, so it’s very likely that we won’t be getting our entries back tomorrow evening, but that she’ll hold on to them for another week, write the critiques — she feels very strongly that if she’s going to be judging, that the pieces deserve a real and thought-out critique from her — but you know what? I am SO WILLING TO WAIT a week. I mean, JEEZ!

So that took all afternoon — I was there almost three hours, and I’m so very very glad I went. It’s a shame I didn’t bring MD or US along to read, ’cause, well. Two people didn’t show up. But it’s okay! I really enjoyed the workshop! And Winifred’s not scary at all. *laugh*

Uhm. Oh, well, after that was dinner. I was on my way in and I joined up with a couple of other women, a mystery writer named Sara and a SF writer named Lee — Lee has /two/ submissions in the contest that made it to the finals, so she’s almost half my competition right there. We had dinner and talked about writing and about conventions, and she’d brought a piece that *wasn’t* one of her RMFW submissions, to be read at someone else’s workshop, and she talked a little about it and then asked if I’d like to read it. I said absolutely, so after we ate we went up to her room and I read it.

And it’s really, really good. She’s had it suggested to her that she submit it as a YA novel, and it could work very well as a YA novel, but I told her to find out who publishes Tom Deitz’s books, first, and give them a holler, because it’s . . . very much different, but still a similar feel. But I mean, I read five pages and I was completely drawn in. I would’ve read the whole book right then.

It apparently has sex in it, which is most of why she hasn’t submitted it to YA publishers as-is, but if you’re looking at it from a YA POV, it’s Diana Wynne Jones or Diane Duane in feel. I really, *really* enjoyed it.

So I’ve read work from 3/5ths of my competition now, even if this particular piece wasn’t actually for this contest. And lemme tell you, if that’s the quality of work I’m up against, I’ll be absofuckinglutely *thrilled* if I win, and not at all dismayed — well, hardly at all dismayed! — if I lose. This is some good stuff.

Isn’t that *fantastic*?!

After I read Lee’s story, we went down to the opening ceremony/dessert bar (and I ate way, way too much dessert, but they had so many good things! *laugh*) and there were speeches and then a panel by four authors — this year’s RMFW Writer of the Year, and 3 RMFW NYT Bestseller List authors. It was a really enjoyable panel, and I’ll probably write about what they said, but not for this *particular* posting. They talked, in short, about their experiences getting published, what they’d do differently, and generally encouraged people to never say die. :)

Both during and after the panel, there were book signings. I headed out to go to the bathroom and was stopped just barely outside the door by Anne Tupler, who was the woman who called me to tell me that I’d made it into the finals, and I swear to God, she was as excited as I was. *laugh* She said I had been the absolute most fun call to make and that talking to me and hearing my excitement had made all of the hard work that went into collecting entries and judging and the whole convention *worth* it. She said she hoped I won, just because of my reaction. *laugh* And I told her that I’d had the most *exhausting* day that day and that when someone asked for me by my full name all I could think was, “AUGH. I DON’T WANT TO GIVE ANYBODY MONEY TODAY!” and so when she said she was from the RMFW it just really blew me away, I was just *so* not expecting it.

She actually *hugged* me. *beam* *laugh*

Oh, and, Sarah? Anne Tupler writes scripts. I told her I did too, and I’ll be trying to find her tomorrow to talk to her some more about that whole deal. *grin*

Earlier in the day, a woman walked by, stopped, said, “Oh! You’re one of my finalists! Who are you?” and congratulated me and was really tremendously nice, and turned out to be — crap. I’ve forgotten her name. Janice, I think; anyway, she’s RMFW’s head honcho, and she was extraordinarily nice.

So, too, were — *gah*, I cannot remember *names* — both of the co-chairs of this year’s con. Anne introduced me to one of them, and the other I’d talked to earlier at the dessert buffet — she said, “Oh, you’re the girl from Alaska!”, which I seem to be getting a lot of. *laugh* In fact, I’ve had *several* people say things like that — one guy stopped me, said, “Alaska! Why weren’t you at the New Members meeting? I was trying to see who was from furthest away, and you’re obviously it!”

Well, I wasn’t at the new members meeting because people have to be from a handful of specific Rocky Mountain states to be /in/ RMFW, but y’know. Details, details. *laugh* And other people’ve said things like, “Wow, I thought I’d come from a long way away,” and when asked, turned out to be from Wyoming. *laugh*

So the woman whose name I can’t remember was *really* nice, and we talked for several minutes — she asked if I thought the dinner break had been a good idea, because apparently they hadn’t done it in previous years, and I said yeah, it was, and that there’d been enough time to eat without being rushed, or I thought so, anyway, but without there being a lot of lingering around and down time, and then she wanted to know if I thought the panel during the book signing was a good idea, and I thought it was /great/ — I really will have to write about that panel — and we decided together that maybe having a 45 minute panel instead of an hour, or perhaps starting the booksigning a little later, might cut down on some of the noise that cropped up towards the end of the panel, but, well, it was pretty fun, and pretty funny, that this lady dove right into demanding what a stranger thought of how the con was being handled. :)

I said I had to go introduce myself to Karen Duvall, because she’s on Jim’s email list (Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files & a friend of mine), and this friendly nameless woman said, “Oh! Karen’s a great friend of mine!” and dragged me over to introduce me.

So I got to talk to Karen for several minutes; we talked about Winifred; we talked about Karen’s book covers — she did her cover for her novel, and it’s very very nice indeed, and she also designed the cover for an anthology called Heaven & Hell that Speculation Press did, and in short, graphic design is what she does in ‘real life’; we talked about Jim and we talked about paranormal mysteries and writing, and she signed a copy of her book for me, and THEN *gasp for air*

Then I went over and talked with Winifred some more. We talked about an email list, the name of which is escaping me (BroadWorld, Sarah?) which she’s on and which Sarah is in fact about to start moderating; Winifred said it desperately *needs* moderation, which is what Sarah’d said, too. We talked about Karen’s awesome covers and we talked about the Heaven & Hell anthology and she’s working on editing another anthology but she hasn’t gotten enough quality submissions for it and told me to email her and she’d forward me the guidelines for it (!!!!!), and I picked up *her* book, opened it up, and discovered that it HAD A PROLOGUE!

So I said, “I must give you grief about having a prologue in your book, after what you said this afternoon,” and she laughed and laughed and said that I was absolutely right to give her grief and all she could say was that it’d been written four years ago and if she were to do it now she’d make it a first chapter instead of a prologue. And she said we’d talk tomorrow about my prologue. *grin*

Anyway, all in all I ended up buying 3 Speculation Press books (hers, which had a great opening line, even if it was in a prologue *laugh*), Karen’s, and Heaven & Hell, and had a really fantastic day!

More tomorrow night, with any luck. :)

3 Comments

  • Sarah

    Oooh, script writing. Yes, yes, talk to her. Find out what she knows. Pick her brain!

    Ahem.

    BroadUniverse. *laugh* Not BroadWorld, though that’s cute too. Wow. Maybe Winnifred will come back and check out the list once it’s moderated. Hey, if you see this, suggest that she does.

    Can’t wait to hear more! (The telnet thing didn’t work, I guess. Sad!)

  • Silkie

    Um, yes, I know it was Friday the 13th, but I think it was Silkblade who wanted to go to the Winchester Mystery House and do their flashlight tour. :)

  • kit

    Oh, well, I was close with the silk stuff. O.O

    BroadUniverse. Right. I thought of that um. Several hours later, while I was lying in bed unable to sleep from nerves. :)