awards, conventions, Nebula Awards

Nebula Awards Recap

The Nebula Awards Conference weekend was a blast! I got to meet new people, put faces and voices (!) to names and still pictures, and hang out with some familiar friends–and watch as John Wiswell, one of my Viable Paradise classmates, won the award for Best Short Story with his story (published at Diabolical Plots), “Open House on Haunted Hill.” Go ahead and read it. I’ll still be here, and you won’t regret it. So first of all, a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to John!

I also volunteered a bit, and got to help people enter the Hopkinson Suite, many for the first time. I really enjoyed my volunteering time, and was very fortunate that no laser bats found the Airship during my watches! Things went a lot smoother this year, since the people behind the scenes had last year’s ongoing re-boots as a “don’t do this” training exercise. And many of the good things remained–the Airship role-play embraced through Slack, Cuddles the dragon at the ceremony, and the continuation of increasing BIPOC faces both in attendance, on panels, and receiving awards.

In my house, things went a bit sideways when (because the conference was run on Pacific Time in honor of its supposing to be held in person in LA) I just set my office clock to PT and referred to all times in PT to my husband so as not to mess up and miss my volunteer time slots. But my husband kept referring to ET, where we live–and lunch came at some truly strange times, let me tell you.

And how about that photo? That’s what happens when the universe leaks in through your Airship porthole!

I know this is a wayyyyyyy too short a summary of three days, but I’m still tired, still trying to get back to “regular life” in the wake of the conference chaos, and honestly, unless you were there, you won’t want to relive it with me. Just know it was fun and I hope I see you there next year.

Speaking of which…it’s still not too late to join the 2021 Nebula Conference! All the panels were recorded, and can be viewed from now through March 2022 when you have a membership. In addition, there will be ongoing Co-Writing Dates throughout the year, where you attend through Zoom, write for a period of time, then break to chat or get advice, then write some more. More words through peer pressure–but only with a membership. And you don’t have to be a SFWA member for any of this. If you just want to watch the awards ceremony, you can do that, too, right here.

conventions, Writing

Will I See You at the Nebula Awards Conference?

I’m really excited to be attending the virtual Nebula Awards Conference again this year. Last year was so much fun! This year I’ll be volunteering, so you might see me working as a Door Dragon, letting people into the Zoom suite, as well as wandering around the various “rooms” in my off hours. And of course, in the various panels and panel chats! Can’t wait to watch the newest Grand Master, Nalo Hopkinson, in conversation with Tobias S. Buckell on all topics writing.

I just updated my Zoom app to the latest version, but I’ll check once more just before the conference begins–basically, if you don’t have the latest version, you might need to back out of the reception area, update the app, then re-enter, in order to have a fully functioning experience and move about on your own. So don’t forget this, okay? But the Door Dragons will remind you to update if you can’t see certain things; it’s our job 🙂

I’m super excited by this year’s nominees, especially for “Open House on Haunted Hill”, by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots 6/15/20), since John attended Viable Paradise with me. And over in the novelette category, there’s “Burn or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super”, by A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny 5-6/20)–and she’s just a super wonderful person who happens to be in a small Slack group with me, and John, and a host of other super cool people! I’m so excited for each and every success of those in this tight-knit little group, and hope for many, many more in the future.

That’s it for now, peoples of the internets. Keep reading, keep writing, keep enjoying life!

conventions, Personal Life, Today's Desk, Writing

Writer’s Desk, 6/8/20

Out the window: Thick gray and white massed clouds, misting rain, humidity, and yuck. Better than Saturday night’s tornado warning, at least!

sad face
After the Nebulas were over, Sad Writer is facing massive edits and structural work

On the desktop: a scattering of notes from the SFWA Nebula Awards Conference (which was held entirely online, and was simply amazing!), a water bill that I needed help decoding (I love it when the numbers simply don’t add up and you can’t even figure out how much to pay, don’t you?!?), various scene cards in states of revision, the residue both tears of rage and tears of frustration, which leave entirely different marks, trust me.

Today’s Work-in-Progess:  Breathing. Thinking hard thoughts. My novel’s early chapters are broken. They need revising, badly, and that may entail re-envisioning the entire first half of the novel. Ugh ugh ugh. I took a great risk going with the protagonist I chose, knowing it would be far too easy for this to fail, and it did. Now I need to go back to the drawing board to make it right. Wish me luck.

And Another Dozen Things: This year is a dumpster fire. It shouldn’t need saying, and yet it does: Black Lives Matter. Racial inequity and inequality are unjust and inhumane. COVID-19 is still a thing, so please please please stay safe, protect your health and the health of those around you as much as possible. Hurricane season is upon us, so please prepare and take precautions to stay safe, especially in light of the first two items above. Look out for your friends and neighbors. Be kind. Be generous. Breathe. Be.

And finally, if you missed out on the Nebula Awards Conference and wish you hadn’t, it’s not too late. You can still get a membership! All the panels were recorded, and the accompanying Slack is still live and active. Re-watch parties! Write-in dates! Camaraderie! Social networking! Also, through June, every 2020 Nebula Conference membership purchased “creates a seat for a Black writer. If you are a Black Writer, please email events@sfwa.org for instructions on how to register.”  Where is all this wonderfulness to be found? Right here!

conventions, WorldCon

Returned from Dublin WorldCon 77; a report

My WorldCon Badge, with my joyous “First Worldcon” ribbon.

TL;DR — My first ever WorldCon was so great!

A slightly longer version:
It was just what I needed, when I needed it. Saw lots of people, met some for the first time, played Werewolf and talked shop and watched the Hugo Awards ceremony and thoroughly enjoyed being in Dublin, Ireland. 12/10 Will do again.

The full version:
OMG. melts in a puddle of goo  You guys! It was sooooo awesome. My first WorldCon just rocked it! I even got to be a werewolf for the first time while playing Werewolf, and we destroyed that village! Ha!

Even with the bad stuff, some of which I’m sure you’ve heard if you’ve read anyone else’s WorldCon accounts–the incredibly long and frustrating lines for panels and for kaffeeklatsch sign-ups, the distance between the main convention site and the art/science/costuming site, the overloaded escalators, etc–I had a great time! In addition to meeting up with many friends and acquaintances, I met new people and made new friends! And again, I have to just shout with joy over the fine people over at Codex. Most of these new friends are Codexian that I’d only ever interacted with online. Now, thanks to Dublin WorldCon, I’m thrilled to consider them ReaLife™ friends.

One of the things I was worried about was that my hotel, due to my not registering until rather late, was some distance away from the convention center. Still walkable, but not just down the block. I thought this would limit my interactions during the day, maybe limit my participation in the evenings. Nothing like that happened. If anything, I relished my hotel’s distance, and thoroughly enjoyed my quiet walk to and from the convention as a way to destress and decompress. Just what my introvert self needed to compensate for the go-Go-GO! of the convention itself. And it got me out of “convention mode” and into “admire this great city” mode. Honestly, Dublin made me think “I could live here” time and again. I’d love to go back just to sightsee.

Because of the crowding, the queueing, and the waits, I didn’t attend many panels, but those I did attend really impressed me. And better, the panels–and the con and the entire atmosphere of WorldCon–filled me with joy, and rekindled my enthusiasm for writing, and the writing world that I’m part of today. It reminded me why I write, and lit the fire within me to finish my novel; it showed me that there is a market for such odd things, and that I shouldn’t despair that my novel is just too different.

WorldCon made me feel bold again. And strong, and confident. And all of that is going to help me going forward from here.

conventions, Personal Life, the dog, Writing

On Brain Weasels and Doubt Roaches and Writing “The End”

Time really does fly, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday I was wondering how it could possibly be 2019 already, and now the year is on the downswing, the way out, already half over. It’ll be July in a few short days! How?!?!?

We’ll be having our first guests in our new home soon–family members stopping in on the way to Miami and a cruise–which will be wonderful. And shortly after that, I’ll be heading to Dublin, Ireland, for my very first WorldCon! I’m very excited–not only for the convention, but also to see so many online friends  and acquaintances in person, and some dear friends in person, too! Of course, it’ll be great to see the city of Dublin, where I’ve never been. Especially since it means exchanging Orlando’s August weather for Dublin’s August weather; I’ve never been so excited to wear full-length jeans before!

In writing news, I’m nearing the very end of this draft of the novel, and I’m slowing down. Partly in fear (oh don’t mess it up now!), partly in anticipation (oh this is so exciting! the climactic scenes are tense and tight, a joy I don’t want to rush!), and partly because finishing means I need to start editing the mess into something more resembling a novel, and–yep, you guessed it–I’m just stalling. At least I know this, and am forcing myself to have it finished before next week is out.

It was supposed to be finished by the end of this week…but here it is Friday and I’m not done. Dasher had a really horrible early part of the week, with clusters of seizures over the weekend, and another episode on Monday–this time a focal seizure, where the only symptom is a facial tic. Poor Dasher’s nose and eyes twitched, rather violently at times, for a long, long while. I held him and soothed him and kept him in a darkened room, then stayed near in case it was just the first in another cluster of seizures. Fortunately, it was a stand-alone. This time.

That said, lack of sleep (when he’s having clusters like this, if I hear even a tiny sound at night, I’m suddenly wide awake, expecting it to be another seizure) took its toll, and for a couple days I just couldn’t write a word. I’d stare at the computer, feeling dull, and squint my eyes at the bright dazzle of the screen. Ugh. Not a good way to write the climax of the novel you’ve spent a year on!

So now I’m feeling it again–awake, aware, and eager to write. Mostly. But the longer it takes to type “The End,” the more the Brain Weasels feed me a diet of Doubt.

Coincidently, I’ve been reading the perfect book to combat all this nonsense in my brain. It’s “The Writer’s Book of Doubt,” by Aidan Doyle. A writer himself, editor Aidan Doyle has gathered essays from other writers, and written many himself, on the various ways we manage to Doubt–ourselves, our abilities, even our desire or need to write–and combined them into this book, illustrated with fun line drawings that perfectly capture each essay’s meaning.

Not every essay rang with a pure clarion call for me, but enough certainly have that I’ve found it well worth my time to keep reading! I’ve taken some of the advice and created, for example, my very own Awesomeness Dossier. Even making that made me feel better! Whether your doubt nibbles or cripples, I’d suggest giving this book a look.

And with that, I need to get back. “The End” won’t type itself. And even after that, there’s a whole mess of editing to start.

 

conventions, goals, publication, Writing

Another First!

This is pretty exciting: my first Lois Tilton/Locus review! It’s for Putting Down Roots, my story in LCRW #33–the print version of which is now available. I’m relieved to say she certainly didn’t dislike my story, and so I’ve come out pretty much unscathed (whew! Although getting a bad review from Lois is, I think, a rite of passage, it’s one I’m willing to forgo awhile). Also, the final story in this month’s edition,The March Wind by Eric Gregory, gets a “recommended,” which is pure awesomeness.

Due to my travels, this “news” is terribly late, but…if you were at Readercon, you may have stumbled upon a group reading by the LCRW #33 guest editor and selected attending authors. I heard it was well-received, and I applaud Michael J. DeLuca for organizing this (and I wish I could have attended).

conventions, Travel, Writing

World Fantasy Con 2014–See You There?

I’ll be attending the World Fantasy Convention 2014 in Washington, D.C. from November 6-9. If you’re attending as well, look for me there. Chances are pretty good that I’ll have a scarf on my neck (I’m always cold) and looking out of place (as always!).  /waves/  I’d be glad to say hello.

conventions, publication

A Post of Super-Awesome Goodness!

OK, as you try not to choke on that title (either from laughing at how not-me it is, or from gagging at the thought that someone may actually believe that stuff), realize there is a kernel of truth. I have good news!

To wit, the Table of Contents for the Sidekicks! anthology is now available. I had to take time out from moving to post about this for a couple reasons. First of all, discovering that I know some of the other authors (either personally or by their work) is a lovely surprise. I think I’m in very good company in this anthology, and am very pleased to be associated with my fellow authors. Secondly, well, just look at those titles! Now I really want to read this anthology and discover all the darkness and loveliness within! The release is still slated for Millenicon, so if you’re there, stop by the Alliteration Ink table in the dealers’ room and tell them Mary sent you (realize this will likely get you a blank stare, or a punch in the nose–unless you purchase the antho, in which case you can say whatever you like and they’ll smile!). There is some chatter right now about readings at various cons where the publisher/editor/authors will be available, but (sigh) since I’m moving I’ll be unlikely to be able to participate. I’ll be there in spirit, I guess, if not in fact.

Over the weekend, hubby and I tried to squeeze in all the good things we could before we leave. Part of that was going to the toboggan run in the Metro Park. While we waited in line, it began snowing, which was awesome when we went down the run with snow stinging in my face! It meant I couldn’t see a darn thing (being in the front), and that the ‘brakes’ didn’t brake as well, so we cruised yards past the stopping point. Wheeee!

On the way there, we saw numerous deer, including one buck still carrying a huge rack of antlers. On the way back, we had to stop the car and wait in the falling snow as some three dozen wild turkeys crossed the road. I had never expected to see so many wily turkeys at once, and so openly. They didn’t even speed up as they stopped traffic, just kept on their way as if they couldn’t see us, or be seen themselves! So, I ask you: what dread rejection will come from these spectacular sightings? (please oh please not the Clarion/CW/Odyssey rejections already!)