Worldcon 77: The Monday
Clearly by the Monday of Worldcon I was too tired to even be writing about it a week later. :)
I’d actually been doing very well up until the Monday morning, really. I hadn’t been getting enough sleep, but apparently going home to sleep in my own bed made a real difference, because I didn’t get properly incoherent until Monday, and usually Saturday afternoon is when that sets in with these long cons.
I forgot that on Sunday (I think) I was sitting around chatting and our illustrious guest of honor, Diane Duane, swept by, causing me to bellow, “DIANE!” and leap up to hug her and give her fudge. That 20 seconds was the only time I spent with her over the weekend, which is fair, since I can actually, like, go out to pizza with her if we organize ourselves enough, whereas about 5800 other people at the convention have no such possibility. :)
Anyway, Monday morning I had a kaffeeclatsch at 10am, which I just kind of assumed either no one would be at, or that it would be filled with my friends who were taking pity on me for a meet-up at that hour on the last day of the convention. But it was not so! There were many people, most of whom I didn’t know or only knew online! That was great! Thank you, ridiculous people who showed up at 10am to talk to me! ♥ :)
I went and got something to eat after that, then took myself to the on-site bar, sat down, told Twitter where I was and that I had fudge, and let people come to me. It worked very well and I had a great couple of hours chatting with people, including the WONDERFUL HIGHLIGHT of meeting Genevieve Cogman, who is one of the went-on-to-get-published crew of us who were online gamers playing MUSHes in the early 1990s. (There are a lot of us from that group whose names you might know: Jim Butcher. Fred Hicks & Rob Donoghue of Evil Hat Productions. Cam Banks. Chrysoula Tzavelas. Nick Mamatas was adjacent to me, a load of the people knew him but I didn’t. A bunch of others I’m totally forgetting right now, but basically, this gaming group was like the 1990s version of the Inklings or the…dang it, I can’t remember what the Emma Bull/Steven Brust/Pamela Dean/etc crew called themselves, but like them too.) ANYWAY, the POINT IS, after like TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, I FINALLY MET GENEVIEVE IN REAL LIFE and it was VERY EXCITING and I’m still SO THRILLED!!!!! *happy flails*!!!!
After a while the fudge was nearly gone and my friend Ruth’s late-teens son arrived for a piece and mentioned he’d gotten to meet/talk to Sarah Rees Brennan & Holly Black, which had been great. I lamented the fact that I’d barely seen Sarah, and he knew where she was, so he took me–and this was great, it was like going somewhere with MY kid when he’s determined to not let me be distracted–he took me up to Holly’s book signing by way of moving me along every time I stopped to talk to someone. I’d have never made it up there without him, so I totally appreciated it. :)
I almost managed a full greeting to Holly, and gave Sarah the box of remaining pieces of fudge, and was chatting when Ellen Kushner, who had also been doing a signing, noticed Holly and came down to talk, too. We’d met a couple of times in real life before, but I reintroduced myself (it’s much more impressive for me to meet ELLEN KUSHNER than it is for her to meet me :)) and we talked and (thanks to Irish Kate) there was a brief rendition of “If I Were A Rich Man” and at some point it came out that on Livejournal I’d been mizkit, and Ellen cried, “*You’re* mizkit? I *do* know you! We’re *friends*!”, which was quite delightful. :)
*laughs* And Sarah broke out the fudge, and then somehow–oh, it was because I’d made cookies for her the other day–she mentioned I was a good baker as well as candy-maker, and Ellen sidled over and said, “Do you make…*pie*?” So now I’ve promised her a pie or several, and look forward to the opportunity to make those for her. :)
I finally had to leave that gathering, which was too bad because it was such fun, but I really *did* have to leave, because I had to go down to the dealer’s room and get the copies of my books that hadn’t sold over the weekend. To my great delight, I’d sold nearly everything and had hardly anything to carry home! Yay! :)
I was pretty determined, at that point, to head home early, but then I ran into ANOTHER friend whom I’d promised a chat with, and said “We’ll take 15 minutes!” and 65 minutes later had delayed them very very much… :) But we had a lot of fun talking, and I was very glad to have actually gotten a chance to catch up and answer some questions for them.
It took another hour and a half to slip out of the con after that, what with saying goodbye and everything, so my ‘early home’ turned out to be ‘7:30pm’ which wasn’t exactly early, but overall it was well, well worth it. What a wonderful week I had. ♥
Worldcon 77: The Saturday
I am forgetting SO MUCH STUFF it isn’t even funny.
Like moments where I saw a friend Thursday evening, gave her, in fact, a Word Warriors ribbon, and then saw her again at the Friday morning Word Warriors meetup, then saw her AGAIN on Saturday and was like “OMG I haven’t even seen you AT ALL this weekend! …oh, except the meetup…” and she was like “…and Thursday night…when you gave me THIS…?”
It reminds me of when Dublin actually got the Worldcon bid, and I saw Ian McDonald (whom I’ve met several times, if am not close personal friends with), and he heard my American accent and roared, “COME TO DUBLIN!” cheerily, and all of our mutual friends stared at him in bemusement and said, “She *lives* in Dublin,” and he paused, and paused a bit more, and then, merrily, roared, “COME TO DUBLIN!” again. *laughs* My week was a little like that, and the longer it went on the more likely I was to make a mistake like that. :) There were people–vendors–from Octocon whom I’ve spoken with annually for years whom I was just like “Uh, we’ve met, right?” and was mortified to be told, “Several times,” in very dry tones. :) Usually I’m better about that kind of thing, but…well…#worldcon. :)
Saturday morning’s panel was the only one of the convention where the moderator & I seemed to have a Quite Different Idea of what the panel was about–it was “Comic Art: A Buyer’s Market”, and the description for it was about being a writer trying to find artists to work with, since…we always need artists… :) …and the moderator was really into *collecting* original comic art, so that was…very different. But it actually turned out fine, and we talked about both things, and it was a nice panel. And I met Tara Ferguson, who does comics marketing and stuff, so that was really great. Also she has amaaaaaaaazing eyebrows, like wow.
Then I *went* to my only two panels of the con: one about artists and writers collaborating on comics, and that was a lot of fun, and then I managed to get to Diane’s GOH interview, which was very, very funny and managed to embarrass her unembarrassable husband, which was quite an accomplishment. I was *so* pleased to be able to get to at least one of those interviews.
I went up to the food court after that, announced I had fudge, and let people come to me. This was followed by the Great Pokemon Debacle of Worldcon 77, wherein I was chatting and everybody behind me started a raid and then suddenly they were like “Catie! CATIE! We need help! Help!” but you can’t come into a raid late so they all died and then I went into the gym for the next round but they were all like NOOOOOOOOO WE NEED TO HEAAAAAAAAAAAALLL so I went out again and then they were like NOW NOW NOW and then I GOT BOOTED OUT BECAUSE THE RAID FILLED UP so they all got their Suicune and I DID NOT so I posted on Twitter like WAH I NEED RAIDERS and people actually just came FLOODING IN but we still didn’t have enough and one of the people who’d come in bellowed WE NEED POKEMON PLAYERS FOR A RAID and suddenly a bunch of people leapt up and I finally got my Suicune but also I had apparently the world’s most epic sulk while the original crew were raiding and it was evidently very very funny. :)
But I met SO MANY people I knew from Twitter because of that, and I was really overjoyed to get to really put faces to names, and it was utterly lovely.
Oh, also, in Stories I’ve Forgotten, so: ribbons are a thing at Worldcon. You collect them and put them on your badge, and people can end up with hundreds if they work at it, and basically nobody ever says no you can’t have a ribbon. But we had Word Warrior ribbons (as referenced above) and they were actually for an exclusive group. But a friend’s (18 year old) son saw me handing one out on Thursday evening and stepped up eagerly to get one and I said, “No, you can’t have one!”
Complete bafflement. He lifted his badge again, all puppy dog eyes, and I was like, “No, you can’t *have* one.”
Total bewilderment. More puppy dog eyes. More eager lifting of the badge. Me: “No, you *can’t* have one, seriously! There are like 20 people at this con who get one, and you’re not one of them!”
“Ooooooh,” said he, understanding finally dawning, “you mean I can’t have one!”
(I’m full of teasing for that, but he’s a brilliant young man and also I owe him bigtime for his pleasant pushiness later in the weekend, so yeah, that was kinda great. :))
Saturday night I had dinner scheduled with Faith and David, whose spouses I also got to meet and who were all completely splendid people. I’d say we needed another 3 hours to chat, but honestly, I don’t think there’s a single person I couldn’t have talked with for hours longer all weekend. And there were so very many people I barely got to talk to at all, and some I didn’t even know were there until they’d gone home again. When I went to Loncon I’d scheduled almost every waking moment to meet up with people, and while it made for a quite rigid weekend in some ways…it might have been the smarter thing to do for this week, too, because it’s so easy to miss people at these things…
Worldcon 77: The Thursday
After years of preparation, Worldcon was held in Dublin this week, for the first time ever. A month ago I was, I confess, pretty exhausted by the very idea of it, even knowing that I tend to dread, rather than anticipate, big events. By a couple of weeks ago, though, my friends feeds were starting to fill up with variations on “Ireland, I am in you!” and I was starting to get pretty excited about the whole shebang.
I’d been claiming it was CatieCon, and while I *guess* there was maybe an AWFUL LOT going on that didn’t revolve around me, I honestly had an utterly terrific convention. The entire week seemed to revolve around shrieking gleefully at seeing someone, exchanging hugs, managing somewhere between 1/3rd of a sentence and 1/3rd of a conversation, and then seeing someone else and the whole cycle starting over again. I saw–oh, I don’t even remember. Anna and Rowan and Gideon and Peter and Michael and Leony and MY FRIEND ROBIN WHOM I HADN’T SEEN IN LIKE IDK 15 YEARS!??!?! and Mikaela and Lithera and Kris and just everybody and that was just day one and it was amazing!
I had LISTS of things I wanted to go to, and…well, I made it to Diane Duane’s GOH interview, which was more than I’ve done at a convention in years, so I’ll take it. :)
I was on eight different programme items, which, actually, over 5 days, isn’t at all bad. The Thursday I had a morning panel about anti-heroes in comics, which my dear friend Michael Carroll was also on, so we were bound to have a good time. And we did, with the panel going very well and the audience, I hope, as entertained as we were. :)
Most of the afternoon revolved around–in fact of most of *the* afternoons revolved around–squealing happily at seeing people and handing out fudge. I believe I ate. *nods solemnly* (Not fudge, though. :))
That evening I had a reading, and the truth is that you really sort of never know how many people are going to show up to those kinds of things and you basically just hope the audience outnumbers the panelists (or the reader, in this case). But to my surprise and delight I had, IDK, 25-30 people? IDK. One two three many people. :) I read from REDEEMER, and my friend Kate, who has both read the book *and* heard me do that reading before, said she got chills at the end of the chapter, so I think I have to call that a proper success. ♥
I left comparatively early almost every night of the con, although I still managed to not get to bed before 11:30 any given night. But it was good and smart of me to head home anyway, even if people made Disappointed Faces at me. :)
Cover Reveal: THE CARDINAL RULE
If you’ve been watching me on Twitter the past couple weeks, you know I’ve been eyeball deep in what I’ve been referring to as “The Impossible Task”. It wasn’t an impossible task save that I hoped to get it done in about three days and, uh, well, as you see, it’s now two weeks later… :)
Anyway, the Impossible Task was the deep-dive revision of my 2005 “action-adventure romance*” novel, THE CARDINAL RULE, which was originally written under a pseudonym, and languished in relative obscurity for reasons completely beyond my control. I am completely thrilled to finally republish it (and soon, also, its two sequels) as a C.E. Murphy novel. Although they were never terribly well known, they were well-enough liked by those who read them that over the years people never stopped asking whether there would be more Strongbox Chronicles. I’m delighted to tell those readers that yes, there will be new books in this series. Not right away, because I’ve got a lot of other work to do, but there will be more someday!
When CIA Agent Alisha MacAleer’s cover is blown by ex-lover Frank Reichart, she’s forced into a spy game that draws a curtain back on a world she never even suspected existed….
The clandestine Sicarii have hired Brandon Parker, the brilliant, estranged son of Alisha’s handler, to develop an artificial intelligence capable of enforcing their divine right to rule. No one, not even Brandon’s father, imagines he can do it—not until Alisha herself faces one of the AI’s battle drones in combat. It’s suddenly a race between the CIA, the Sicarii, and Alisha’s mercenary ex, to see who can keep—or steal—the AI for themselves.
No matter which way Alisha turns, she faces new dangers and heartbreaking betrayals. In the end, she has no choice but to adhere to the cardinal rule…
Trust no one but yourself.
*I am terrible at industry romance. One of the readers for the original book said, “This is the least romancey romance I have ever read,” and I’m afraid 15 years and a thorough revision have not made it any more romancey. It’s a rollicking good adventure story, though!
The Author’s Preferred Edition of THE CARDINAL RULE will be available soon!
a reversion of rights
I got some of the best news of my writing career last week and I’m still OVER THE MOON about it.
Lo These Many Years Ago, I wrote a trilogy for Harlequin’s quick-to-fail Bombshell line, which were meant to be action-adventure romances, James Bond type stories where the heroine was the Bond character.
The line flopped badly for a lot of reasons, and the books I wrote never made any money, but I had a WONDERFUL time writing them and always wanted to do more. In fact, despite the books not doing well, despite it having been the better part of 12 years since they were published, despite everything, I’ve had readers ask regularly over the years if I ever *would* do more.
Well, there was a problem with doing more. It’s stupid and complicated but basically it goes like this:
I didn’t have the rights to publish the books myself. Those rights resided with Harlequin, because right-to-publish is basically what they’re buying when they give you advance money. And there’s always a clause in the contract that says under what circumstances those rights can revert to the writer, and what the publisher has to do in order to retain the rights. In these contracts, I wasn’t even supposed to ask for rights reversions for 5 years after publication, and the publisher had the right to reprint them within 18 months of me asking, if they so chose.
And those contracts were signed before the E-Book Revolution. So there was *no* language in them defining out-of-print in a world where e-books could be produced for almost nothing*…which meant that when the 5 year window *I* had to wait was up, they turned around and released e-books of the trilogy…which then sold basically No Copies At All, because they were under a different name, there was no demand for them, etc etc etc.
That happened two more times over the next EIGHT YEARS.
Now, there was no actual reason for the publisher to keep the rights. They were making no money off the books. They wouldn’t even re-release them under the CE Murphy name, where they almost certainly WOULD have made money. But every time I asked, they found another market to release them in as e-books, and thus re-started their 5 year window.
SO! The problem with writing more books in the series was that I could either:
1. write more books and NOT MENTION the first three, hoping that the lack of sales would someday allow me to get the rights back, or
2. write more books, talk up the first ones, try to get them selling, and therefore be certain I would *never* get the rights back, or
3. spend years gnashing my teeth and trying to get the rights back without talking about them very much, much less writing more.
I chose option #3 and my friends and family will attest to the SHEER FRUSTRATION I have vented over the past decade about the whole situation.
Eventually there were digital amendments added to the contracts, which gave me some of the language I needed to argue my case, and I put in Yet Another Reversion Request.
AND THIS TIME I GOT THEM BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mes amis, there was actual screaming involved. Like, fist-pumping foot-kicking incoherent bellows of joy. I kicked my feet so hard MY SOCK LITERALLY CAME OFF. I may have cried. I’m nearly crying right now, writing this blog post, in fact. I am SO HAPPY to have these books back and I am SO EXCITED to FINALLY GET TO DO WHAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO WITH THEM!!!!!!!!!!
I’m working on revising the original trilogy. Not LOTS of work, but some: updating the dated stuff (to my huge amusement, my heroine was carrying data around on a mini-CD, which was like the Height Of Awesome when I wrote the books *laughs and laughs and laughs*), trying to future-proof it a little, fixing some continuity errors, etc.
Once the revisions are done I’m going to run a Kickstarter for new cover art and book layouts. Kickstarter backers will get the revised books right away, and they’ll be re-released to the general public probably around the middle of next year.
Then over the next several years, I’m going to write the sequels on the side and run little Kickstarters for editing, cover art, layouts, etc. Backers will get the books more or less as they’re written (I’ll be doing the Kickstarters AFTER the books are written @.@) and eventually, when the entire series is finished, I’m going to do a year-long book-a-month release to put the whole story out almost in one big chunk.
I am SO EXCITED OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG I CANNOT WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT I AM SO HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! *KICKS SOCKS OFF AGAIN*!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*E-books cannot be produced for almost nothing up front. All of the heavy costs–paying the author, editing, cover art, book design, copy edits–still have to be done, and that costs money. However, in this case, because books had already gone through all of that, producing e-books was cheap and quick.