anghara: (Default)
It'll have to be fairly quick and dirty because I'm doing six other things at once (not least the tax returns which are still with the accountant and which I probably am going to end up filing with an extension...)

We drove down to Seattle rather than our usual method of taking the Airporter bus - I have a new toy from under the Christmas tree, a baby GPS, and, really, the reason we drove up was because I wanted to play with it. I've named it Hal - as in, the occasional "I can't DO that, Alma..." seems to be par for the course [grin] - but this time Hal seemed to perform on spec (the trouble is that it performs best when you already have some idea about where you're going...)We got to the Doubletree on Thursday in good time, got my registration materials, and then had to stand in line for an hour to get [ profile] rdeck squared away - but we finally did all this, and then I had a panel. Right from the word go. Hit the ground running and don't stop don't stop don't stop.

The panel, "Story crafting from your subconscious", was a surprisingly good one, and with a surprisingly healthy audience for a panel this early in the proceedings. We had a range of writers from those who outline everything to an inch of its life before they start working on anything to those who run from outlines screaming in pain and either write the STORY or don't write anything at all. Turns out novels can grow from all kinds of seeds... but it was fun discussing seed placement anyway. Then I had an appallingly badly scheduled reading - I had a small audience, but apparently the person who was scheduled right after me had nobody turn up at all - it was a THURSDAY, before half the people got to the con at all and half of the other half were still trying to register. But, eh, them's the breaks. The people scheduled for their own readings on Sunday afternoon, when most of the con attendees were either gone or scrambling to be, probably have the same kvetches, from the other end. We showed our faces at the Small Press party that night, but the level of noise in the party suite quickly got to beyond casual conversation decibellage and I still had a LOT of talking to do that weekend so instead of shouting at people for the next couple of hours we decided to call it a night and retire relatively early.

Friday kicked off with one of the best panels that the con threw at me - a 10 AM panel with standing-room-only audience, "Creating Emotion-driven SF/F". Two of the panelists self-identified as "new" or as too afraid of tackling the emotional aspect of the craft to do it justice, and frankly said that they were on the panel to learn how to do it - but I think we all learned something, and there were plenty of insights being supplied by our "newbies", too. I think it was a great panel, it opened up a lot of areas of discussion, and audience participation was fantastic. From that, straight onto panel#2, "Writing Magic 101", the rules of magic and what they need to be for the story to succeed. It was in a bigger room and the audience seemed sparser but that might have just been the fact that they were scattered so much more freely in far more space - still, some good questions were asked, and (I thought) some fabulous answers given by the panelists. Then I had a break, during which I attended at least one other panel as an audience member ("Writing YA Books") and had things to say from THIS side of the panel table, and then there was the other fabulous panel of the con, "Plot, Setting and Character: Who's on First?" The panelists included [ profile] wolflahti (who is my soul-twin when it comes to writing method, and who growls at outlines with just as much gusto as I do), my friend and colleague [ profile] kenscholes, and the amazingly talented Kevin Radthorne (whom I discovered, at this convention, to be an accomplished artist as well as a writer) - and things got fast and furious very quickly. I was describing what my research notebooks wound up looking like at the conclusion of a spirited bout of book research - scribbled all over, in increasingly crabby handwriting, with stuff underlined or highlighted in different shades of fluorescent, multi-coloured post-its fluttering from it at every angle, and I said that I was sometimes astonished that something as coherent as a novel ever comes out of what I described as "a dog's breakfast of monumental proportions". [ profile] kenscholes promptly whipped out a pen and wrote that phrase on the back of his name tent so that it did not get lost or forgotten. I am now famous.

We adjourned for dinner with [ profile] jpsorrow, and then eventually meandered off to the pro party where we hobnobbed with the likes of [ profile] cscole and [ profile] mkhobson and others too numerous to mention, and yet again withdrew before the witching hour and retired to bed... because I had another panel in the morning.


It was a surprisingly well-attended panel for an early Saturday morning ("How do you name your characters?") and although it wasn't one of the best panels of the con it was interesting and a few important points were made. But the prize of the day was the next panel, "Writing the young female protagonist", where one of the panelists, um, actually WAS one. She was an articulate, well-spoken, well-read teen with opinions she could ably communicate and defend, and I was highly impressed with her - so much so that you might well see her guest blog in this space very soon. Watch this space, a star is being born - this young lady has the presence and the mind and the spirit to do great things with her life.

The first autographing session started in the room across the hallway straight after this panel, and we had to fight the hordes of fans who were already starting to queue up to have their books (a lot of them freebies supplied by the publisher at the con) signed by GoH author R A Salvatore - let me just say that this line was STILL merrily winding its way across the room by the time I was winding up my OWN autographing session, two hours later. As for me, I signed a couple of books and a HEAP of con souvenir programs and talked to a gaggle of both friends and strangers who wandered by and expressed an interest in the books - many of the latter got signed bookplates and are likely to meander into a bookstore and recognise the name and buy the books to go with them. So it was all good. We had a very pleasant dinner with [ profile] radconbob, and indeed found ourselves at the Radcon party not too long after that. [ profile] radconbob was in fine fettle throughout. There. Are. Pictures. From. That. Party.

Ask him.

I also had the first of the two writers' workshops critiques on Saturday afternoon, and that one went better than I expected, actually, seeing as all three of the critiquers had quite a lot to say to the writer - but he took it well, and wrote copious notes, and perhaps all will still end well there. My second crit session, and my last official responsibility of the con, was on Sunday morning at 10 AM, and once that was done we packed up our bags and fired up Hal and drove off to visit with family for a couple of hours. Driving home was a nightmare of hard driving rain and copious spray from the drenched roads and miserable visibility - but we made it home well before dark, the cats were happy to see us, and, well, there was a to-do list waiting for me in the office.

Consider this con report one of the things I just scratched off it as DONE.

I have a busy few months ahead - going back to my edits now - and that was Norwescon for another year.

See you all at the next con.
anghara: (Default)
Had a reading at 11:30 and a signing at 12:00 (EASTERN time, for those who are perplexed at the time shown by my LJ which still appears wedded to Pacific Time), both now done, and my con is officially over. I swung past the dealers' room and signed what remained of their stock of my books, picked up what remained of my swag at the freebie tables - not that much, in both cases - and am now back in my room for a bit awaiting a friend's release from final dealer's room duties so that we can go get lunch. After that, it's a question of waiting to exhale, really, until tomorrow morning and the airport shuttle that will arrive to bear me hence at 8 o'clock tomorrow morning.

If all goes according to the way it went on the way over here, I will not be able to connect to the San Francisco airport WiFi which swears it is there but won't let me on any sites and even maintains that it can't find So I may be online for the rest of today, and then again whenever it is that I get home tomorrow. Radio silence witll therefore ensue over the intervening period.

Okay.Back to that story now. I need to get it DONE.
anghara: (Default)
...but already the next con down the pike is in, and here's what I'll be doing at Norwescon in April (they also included a list of parties and receptions and whatnot but I'll take those off and just give you the actual programming - if we're at the same party, I'll just see you there...):

Norwescon 32 Itinerary For: Alma Alexander
Story-Crafting From Your Subconscious               5:00 PM          Cascade 9
Do your characters surprise you? Is your outline giving you fits? Do strange things keep happening in your narrative? Find out why that's a good thing, in this light-hearted program item.
Josh Palmatier, Wolf Lahti, Alma Alexander, Rhiannon Held, Ted Butler
Reading:  Alma Alexander                                       6:00 PM          Cascade 3
Cybermage – Book 3 of the YA "Worldweavers" trilogy - Rated G
Alma Alexander
Creating Emotion-Driven SF/F                               10:00 AM       Cascade 7
Speculative fiction is often called the fiction of ideas, but wonderful ideas will never see print unless they create an emotional impact.  Learn to begin with emotion and then wrap the story around character to affect the reader.
Brenda Cooper, Jeff Soesbe, Alma Alexander, Grá Linnaea, Warren Hammond
Writing Magic 101                                                    11:00 AM       Cascade 9
What rules you need to establish when writing with magic in a story?
Renee Stern, Kevin Radthorne, Jen Brozek, Alma Alexander
Plot, Setting, and Characters: Who's on First?      4:00 PM          Cascade 9
Do you create wonderfully realistic characters, but then find your plots wandering around lost, searching for a resolution?  Are the worlds you create lush and vibrant, but your characters speak like they're all clones?  Come for a hands-on discussion of how to find the proper balance that will bring everything together in your stories.
Kevin Radthorne, Ken Scholes, Erin Tidwell, Wolf Lahti, Alma Alexander

How do you name your characters?                        9:00 AM         Cascade 8
This is a sweeping generalization, but naming conventions in SF tend to be conservative, at least for human characters.   The way an author handles names says something about the assumptions underlying a story (including the root assumption that sentient creatures are individuals), while the very sound of a character's name may add to the sense of the milieu, as fantasy writers well know. How could names also include such alien possibilities as clan, hive, guild, chemicals, colors…and other distinguishers?How many stories do we read set in distant futures or other worlds in which people have names that sound like my neighbors' (two names to a customer, family name last)? This is not realistic because it assumes the continued cultural dominance of a US or Western-centered world indefinitely.
Alyx Dellamonica, Alma Alexander, Kim Ritchie, Leah Cuttter
Writing the Young Female Protagonist                  10:00 AM       Evergreen 3
>From Podkayne of Mars to Alanna of Tortall, young girls have often been vivid and well-loved characters in science fiction and fantasy. How does one write such a character? If you yourself are not a young girl, how can you get into the mindset to make your character believable?
Brenda Cooper, Alma Alexander, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Dierdre Phoenix, Mike Moscoe
Autograph Session 2                                                 Noon               Evergreen 1 & 2
Grab your books!  Our Guests of Honor and many of our pros will be available for autographs.
R.A. Salvatore, Geno Salvatore, Todd Lockwood, Alma Alexander, Carol Berg, Paul Chadwick, Brenda Cooper, Jim Glass, Mark Henry, Jak Koke, Lisa Mantchev, Juliana McCorrison, Joshua Palmatier, Kevin Radthorne, The Reverend en Fuego, Mary Rosenblum, Lorelei Shannon, G.Robin Smith, Bruce Taylor, Christine Winters, Janine Ellen Young
Writer's Workshop: #1                       6:00 PM          Baker
Elven Twilight
Erin Tidwell, Alma Alexander, John Pitts, Carol Berg
Writers Workshop: #2                                    10:00 AM       Rainier
Frost Bites
Kim Ritchie, KL Young, Paul Melko, Alma Alexander

As you can see I will be quite the busy little pro...
anghara: (Default)
You LJ folks might have heard of Flycon, the international internet con-a-palooza with authors and artists and other publishing professsionals, oh my - from all over, from the UK, the USA, Australia... - which is taking place on the Internets this weekend.

I can haz panels.

Full schedule (and it's worth a look) is at the Flycon LJ community page, but I'm going to be taking part as follows, for those who might want to drop in:

Fri 13th, 5 PM US Pacific time
They may do things differently there but I'm reading from here
(fellow panelists [ profile] a_d_medievalist, RJ Anderson, Maureen Kincaid Speller)

Fri 13 9 PM US Pacific time
Author chat with moi, and since this is mid-afternoon in the Antipodes I am particularly looking forward to the possibility of seeing some of my Australian/NZ friends dropping in...

Saturday 14th 4 PM US Pacific time
For the Newbie (A panel on what you can get out of conventions if you haven't done 'the circuit' before or on a regular basis)

I still haven't QUITE figured out where I'm supposed to be when, URL-wise, but I'll do it by Friday afternoon, I promise.

I haven't geared up to be a direct part of the Dealers Room, but anyone interested in a (possibly signed) copy of any of my books, or in signed bookplates, may contact me via LJ at any time.

Look forward to seeing you around the con "halls" of cyberspace -
anghara: (Default)
So that was Radcon.

Let me pick up where I left off last, in my con and travel adventures.

The Arrival )

Radcon - Thursday )

Radcon - Friday )

Radcon - Saturday )

Radcon - Sunday )

Coda )

In Summary... )

PS - there may be pictures. Later. When I've actually downloaded same. Watch this space.

At Orycon

Nov. 21st, 2008 08:01 am
anghara: (Default)
Slept for nearly thirteen hours last night. I must have been more socked than I thought.

Anyway - since I don't believe that I've done so before - this is where you can find me for the next couple or three days:

Friday November 21

3 PM - Reading (probably from Cybermage, my new one, coming out in February) - Salem

Saturday November 22

10 AM - Writing Quality Work for Young Adults - Medford - Alma Alexander, S. Danelle Perry, Brenda Cooper, John C. Bunnell, Laura Anne Hill

3 PM - Writing Critique Group - Sunstone - Alma Alexander and Dianna Rodgers

4 pm - The Tolkien Effect: Does every rock and tree need its own language? - Medford - Rebecca Neason, Sara Mueller, J.C.Hendee, Alma Alexander

5 PM - Third spear carrier on the left: writing minor characters - Portland - Judith COnly, Sara Mueller, Alma Alexander, Leah Cutter, David Goldman

Sunday November 23

11 AM - Pros at cons - Salon A - Margaret Organ Kean, Barb Hendee, Alma Alexander, Tom Whitmore

1:30 PM - Signing - Autograph table 2

And then there's things to tie up in Portland, after that.

And then, home on the train (no more driving for a while! Yay!)

Anyway. Off the computer now. Have to get ready to go out and meed [ profile] bjcooper for breakfast.
anghara: (Default)
I need a con icon.

Anyhow, here's the scoop of the weekend that was. Under cut, for length )
anghara: (Default)
Got on the plane, no problem, but not before we had highly unusual excitement on the airporter bus when one of the passengers got himself stuck in the lavatory in the back and had to be extracted through the emergency exit window. Fully half of the rest of the passengers were on the cell phone by the end of this with some variation of, "You're NEVER going to believe this..."

Anyhow. Got on the airplane, and sat down next to a woman who drank, I kid you not, six or seven screwdrivers in the less than four hours it took to get from Seattle to Chicago. I mean, aren't those, like, you know, ALCOHOLIC??? She must have been pickled by the time we landed. She had enough screwdrivers to fill the toolbox for a good-sized home renovations project... Anyway. Got off at Chicago, got onto another airplane, got off in WHite Plains, and I am now at my hotel waiting for tomorrow morning to hit the ground running and catch a commuter train into NYC. I have a morning of exploration and research, lunch with my editor, afternoon tea with my agent, and then back to Rye for Lunacon where I hope to see a bunch of LJ-ers - please wave at me if you notice me and if we haven't yet met in person tell me who you are in the LJ universe...

I will be in touch sporadically. I hope. Watch this space.
anghara: (Default)

2 - 3 PM
"Magic in Literature- does it lighten the reality of magic?"
(one of the sentences in the panel blurb is, "...should [magic] coem with some sort of warning on the label?" My instant response of "Hell, YES!" might make for an interesting panel discussion...)

3 - 4 PM
"Characters are People Too"
(I'm MODERATING this one. We're going to have fun)

5 - 6 PM
"When the Heroine ISN'T 18, blonde and a size 3"
(it's those pseudo CHina books of mine, I tell you. Those heroines are definitely not blonde...)


1:30 - 2 PM
(I WILL have a couple of copies of the hardcover first edition of "The Secrets of Jin SHei" - the one with the glorious cover - it was a finalist for the Endeavour, this one, remember? They're not easily available any more, being technically out of print, but you'll be able to get a shining new copy of it from me at this time for a special Con price - do you have a good friend who needs a nice Christmas present...)

4 - 5 PM
Writers WOrkshop
(I'll be out of circulation, discussing writing with several aspiring writers - am looking forward to this...)

5 - 5:30 PM
(There WILL be candy, and there WILL be a door prize - a brand spanking new UK paperback edition of "Embers of Heaven", the follow-up to "Jin shei". You can't GET this one in the shops in the US, folks. The bonus is that the reading will be from the new YA, due out early next year...)


3 - 4 PM
"How to Write About SOmething You Know Nothing About"
(the joys of research....)

If you're there and you see me, wave.
anghara: (Default)
...I just wish Madison wasn't such a BITCH to get to - and this time, it was a REAL bitch.

Let's do a quick recap before I need to put the experience away and concentrate on getting a novel finished.

Cut for length... )
anghara: (Default)
As others have already done, here's what I've been handed as my final Wiscon schedule )

Look forward to seeing many of you LJ folk there!
anghara: (Default)
Once upon a time there was only one incarnation of "The Secrets of Jin Shei" on - the very beautiful hardcover edition with that incredibly evocative cover - this one:

Then came the paperback

Then the hardcover went out of print, and there were THREE variants on Amazon (this is all in the US, of course... for those of you reading this in the Antipodes, the covers must look... unfamiliar...). The original hardcover, the paperback, and the "Bargain" hardcover which was the remainders of the hardcover edition.

Today for the first time the original hardcover is permanently gone. It had a good run, for a hardcover novel - it was published almost precisely 2 years ago (two full years on April 27)and it was a beautiful, beautiful book.

But it is gone now.

Its current Amazon incarnation, let me gently remind potential customers, is the remainders... on which the author gets no royalties..BUT. There's more.

I made an offer on this journal a while back - if anyone wanted a signed first-edition hardcover, they could contact me directly. I still have several copies of that book, and for those of you going to Wiscon, there will be a couple of copies of it for sale at the Broad Universe book table where I will be on Sunday morning after my AM panel. If you are going to be there, come and say hi - and perhaps you can still pick up a hardcover at a special convention price. Otherwise, look for the nice shiny paperback in the stores.
anghara: (Default)
Got a note from the vet today - the cats are due for their boosters and annual check ups. You don't want to KNOW how long it took me to corral the both of them for the vet visit last year. Gotta phone tomorrow for an appointment.

Got a call from my accountant, and although I've been paying in estimated quarterly taxes all last year apparently I still owe... a lot. It's going to be a tight one. Bleah.

Got to pin down my plumber to an actual date and time because the kitchen faucet needs replacing, and we've been dancing around this for WEEKS now. I appreciate the man's busy. So am I. This time he's gotta make an effort.

Got to get back to the book - I've got a couple or three linked chapters coming up and the thing should just fly once I get started again - but the trouble is the gettign started again what with all the other stuff that needs doing.

Got to get this nagging cough GONE, dammit, it's starting to drive me nuts.

Got to get my head set back straight. It's always like this right after a con - you spend a weekend being surrounded by people, pontificating at panels, socialising at parties, existing on evil snacks that you can grab in a free moment and coffee and adrenaline and too little sleep - and then you wave everyone goodbye and you go back to a real life which, for a weekend's worth of hours, seemed to be the fantasy. I can't belileve I was just all the way across the country on the other coast, five or six flight hours away. Everything's here, just as if I'd never left, except that I did leave and I've five days of stuff to catch up with - bills, messages, chores and responsibilities, and yes, writing.

The next one is Wiscon, the jubilee one, and it's going to be intense - and it's going to be another week out of my schedule - and alraedy I can't wait for it. I SWORE last year that I woudl cut down on the cons - but here I am, with one already under my belt, and at least three or four cons or writing workshops to go (and nicely spaced, too - May, August, October, November, chop chop chop into the year...)

And right now I"m still catching up on sleep so I'm going off to bed. Tomorrow, we shall see. TOmorrow is another day. TOmorrow I shut down party mode and become a worker again.
anghara: (Default)
...there is just a 5 AM start between me and the other coast of the States.

Well. Lunacon.

Suffice it to say that Fun Was Had, and that the organizers turned a hotel-under-construction drama into a hilarious running gag, with posters declaiming "Hotel d'Isastre" with pithy comments underneath festooning every available wall, and it became kind of interesting to duck wet paint, rail-less staircases with signs like "Usable stairs that way" and "Beware man eating stairs" tacked to strategic barriers redirecting traffic, and other signs proclaiming that through the door upon which they were taped lay something called the "unlabeled women's room" (there was some discussion whether one con attendee's attire, which included a logo-ed sweatshirt and therefore a "label" precluded her using the facilities...) The Coffee House venue migrated between the two lobbies and the "Meet the Pros" function became something of a follow-the-leader event (and anyone who could actually find the bar got a drink out of it eventually...)The panels were good fun, particularly the one about language - lots of words which usually languish in dictionaries got more of an airing in one hour than they must have done in a very long time. We're writers and readers. We love language. And man, did we show it.

That was the con - and I already mentioned that I used the occasion to wander into New York and get to meet up with the Publishing Industry in person - and that in itself was pretty much worth the price of admission. But then there was more - and it's at this con, in particular, the annual pilgrimage I make to the East Coast, that I get to spend time with a dear friend I don't see nearly enough of - [ profile] alexjay, bless you for coming, and thank you for wandering through the halls yelling "hear ye hear ye" when my scheduled reading was about to start (even if I was hiding behind the lectern at the time). It feels like there's never been a time when I didn't know you, and that's good.

Other encounters included [ profile] dr_pretentious, and I got to meet a new favourite writer, [ profile] naominovik, and even be on a good panel with her. A good convention. It is one which I think will become a fixture in my professional year, for as long as they keep asking me back.

Well. It's over. I'm off to pack my bag right now, and then I'll to bed early - perhaps even get some sleep - tomorrow I rise before the sun...

May 2009

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