One of the refreshing things about AggieCon is all the young people out and about enjoying books, media, gaming, etc. Granted, as Matthew Bey pointed out they aren’t actually into the books, but they are definitely into story. Now if only I can capture that…oh yeah, that’s my job.

Lots of costumes, lots of steampunk. Small panels, and they weren’t well attended, but that just gave me more opportunity to do things I normally wouldn’t, like check in on the SCA vs. Amtgard demo, or practice watercolors with one of the artists in the art show.

Punks, steam. Lots.

It was swell meeting John Joseph Adams, his fiancee Christy Yant,  and Catherynne Valente and hanging out with the Stauber clan.

Nerds are awesome.

Among the panels I did were Nerd Girls, which devolved into “Nerd Girls, past and present” (you kids have things a lot easier nowadays, because at least you can be smart in math without going all Ophelia on us). Earth building, in which the various approaches were espoused by the panelists. Upshot: Too much gets in the way of the story, too little and you may be missing telling details. Or not. Depends on the style.

The Firefly panel was absorbing and fun, although it took a dangerous tangent in the Civil War, states’ rights, and slavery, but we steered the craft away from those dangerous shoals. Look, it’s not like we’re afraid of controversial topics, but it was 10 am on Sunday. We might not have gotten out of there.

The Firefly panel. Matthew Bey at far left, Catherynne Valente in the center. I didn't get the other panelists' names.

That pretty much recaps the con.  I need to get back to work on GWIII, which I need to start calling by its working title, which is Lady of Temia. Today, that is. It might be Lady of Crows tomorrow.



ApolloCon 2010 — wrap up

This was a very busy convention, busier than I remember from last year. I felt like I was counterprogrammed against a lot of cool panels, which is a sign of a well–programmed convention.

A lot of it is already a blur that first night, what with meeting friends, enjoying a first swing through the dealer and art rooms, and dinner in the bar. My first panel was on “What they didn’t know then we know now,” or what predictions science fiction writers failed to make. Interesting discussion, and I discovered there were two people in the audience who had read the same obscure Ann McCaffrey anthology as I had (Get Off The Unicorn, if you are interested). The panel went into Heinlein a lot. We could have gone all night; well, other people could have gone all night. I was in bed by midnight.

Up early the next morning for the writers workshop. Everyone gave and received excellent feedback on their stories. I think the workshoppers got a lot out of it.

From left, Elze Hamilton, Raymon Daniel, Kyle White, Laurie May, Amy Thorp, Lee Lackey
From left, Elze Hamilton, Raymon Daniel, Kyle White, Laurie May, Amy Thorp, Lee Lackey

The other writing panel I was on, Writers Boot Camp, or No Excuses! Panel, was also a blast. We talked about how to make room for writing in your life by making it a priority, not an afterthought. A lot of it is time management as well as managing the expectations of the people around you, who may not understand how important your work is. Good stuff for everyone to think about.

Rosemary Clement Moore, Katherine Eliska Kimbriel, Michael Bracken, Patrice Sarath, Rhonda Eudaly
Rosemary Clement Moore, Katherine Eliska Kimbriel, Michael Bracken, Patrice Sarath, Rhonda Eudaly

I was on the Civil Rights panel as well, but these never get as in-depth as they should and I can’t help but feel we’re asking (and answering) the wrong questions.

Plenty of fun at the masquerade, lots of excellent parties as well. I got to catch up with Kimberly Frost, my partner in Robert Earl Keen appreciation (and an all around fun person and talented writer), and it was over all too quickly.

By the way, driving home there was a massive traffic jam on 290, but I managed to make a U-turn and go out 21 through Bastrop and thence home. Wow, that was a pretty drive. Even though it takes me out of my way, I may go that way all the time. It’s a lovely drive, through tree-lined streets that hardly feel like Texas at all.

An unexpected weekend

I’m trying not to feel bad about having to cancel on ConDFW. What’s helping me is that we have sunshine and crisp cool weather that is perfect for seeing my horse.

I cleaned up my office last week after AggieCon with the expectation that I would get some writing done this week. That didn’t happen for a variety of reasons (mostly because the story work right now is going on in my head, not on the page, and also because of various family obligations) and I had expected not to get any writing done this weekend either since I would be away. But yay! I have a weekend back, and that is also salving the pain of missing a con.

In addition, a kind reader asked for some more stories about Colar, especially about Colar in the US. Well, I can do that. So in the coming months expect some short pieces about Colar in North Salem, and adapting to his new life and possibilities as a typical teenager in America, as opposed to his life as heir to Terrick.

Being bummed about the con, I decided to spend some of my dealer room money on books here, rather than in Dallas. My son came with me and we had a great time picking out books. I got Good Omens, because I’m coming late to that party. Also picked up another copy of Dies the Fire, since I had loaned my first one out and don’t expect to get it back. Finally, I got a romance called Sliding Home by Kate Angell, which I read last night (romances are quick reads).

Well, I think I lost my capacity to enjoy romance. This had good points, but it was a stupid people plot (i.e., it hinged on people being stupid) and that irritated me. The baseball stuff was fun though and the characters were likable and personable and frankly that goes a long way. I don’t like head-hopping but in romance it seems to be tolerated. Note: a multi-viewpoint book (for example, Gordath Wood) is not the same as head-hopping, in which the author writes from different characters’ POV in the same paragraph. I find it jarring.

After discussions with JK Cheney on the subject of romance, I was looking for the final obstacle plot element that she said is in every romance. Basically this is the last step before the couple gets its Happy Ever After.  Sometimes this is called the big stupid misunderstanding, which I think I first ran across on Holly Lisle’s website. In Sliding Home, the last obstacle made  sense in context and no one behaved foolishly so hey, it was a win. But while I am a romantic at heart, I don’t know if I am that interested in romances any more unless there’s more to them than just the romance.

So now I am looking forward to Good Omens, and rereading Dies the Fire. And writing. And seeing my horse and demudding him.