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.

Magic of the Everyday, Nature, science, the dog, Travel, Writing

Mid-June Update

Things have been busy here, and I’m still in a bit of a whirl. Dasher is fully recovered, according to Monday’s liver enzyme test, which is the biggest news for me. And the best. He’s been acting fine, so it’s good to see it’s more than just a temporary reprieve.

He also got his shots yesterday, including a new one for the canine influenza that’s hit Florida. With his frequency of appearance at the UF Vet Med Hospital, which is a hotbed of diagnosis for this outbreak, I think it’s wise that he get all the protection a dog can get; after all, he’s had enough issues without adding one more. (Trupanion will probably thank me for this, too!)

Last week, spousal unit and I took a short trip north. Our first night we spent at a friend’s home in New Jersey, near where we used to live. The weather was cool and fine, and we got to harvest some of the last asparagus out of the garden! Oh, so delicious. I miss garden-fresh asparagus so much after tasting that lovely treat! The gardens were also a delight, with columbine, roses, iris, foxglove, and clematis. The long, cool spring held the blooms perfectly for our visit.

Afterwards, we traveled into New York City and absorbed city atmosphere and energy. We walked neighborhoods and parks, ate a a few favorite restaurants and tried a few new ones, took in some new sights as well as revisiting some old favorites. Can I admit that it was relaxing? Yes, NYC and relaxing don’t normally work together, but it was. Both of us just slowed down and enjoyed being on vacation. It was great.

Back home again, I’ve started to dive heavily into the research end of the literal “world building:” How long would the planet’s rotational period be? How about moons–could I have two, and what would their cycles in the night sky be? Could/should the planet have a great rift, like the one on Mars? How would that affect the story, or would it be located elsewhere? What are the different languages spoken by the various peoples, and how are they visually/aurally different? Etc…

Yes, it’s work, but it’s fun work. And it’s calling me, calling…

Bye for now. Time to research biology and form for a cool critter I’m making.

Magic of the Everyday, Nature, Personal Life, Writing

Writerly and Life Update, Fall Edition

It’s been a busy time for me, both as a writer and as a person living life. In the “life” side of things, the spousal unit and I have been attempting to settle in to our new home, and new routines. But the season is changing, making everything unsettled. More unsettling is how the season is changing. I’m used to leaves changing colors, temperatures dipping towards frost at night and gardens needing closing up for the coming snowy, cold winter season.

Here, however, this is just not the case. Gardens are ramping up, not down. Case in point: I just finished planting out into the garden carrot seedlings, and yellow pear tomato seedlings. The beets are growing nicely, and it looks like the bell pepper plant left for me may yet pull through–it’s regaining leaves and sports a lovely blossom right now. The basil is rejuvenating, and the recently planted Meyer lemon tree is growing like a flipping weed!

Another case in point, on the ornamental side of things:


This is a tropical bird of paradise plant. I will have to cover it once cold weather (below about 50°F) sets in, but just now, it’s covered in blossoms. Eleven of them, to be precise. It’s hard to feel “autumnal” when tropical plants are blooming in your yard.

But the weather has cooled off, even if the rains haven’t released their hold. The last two days have seen highs in the low 80s, and lows into the low 70s to upper 60s. Definitely “open window season,” by my take, despite the drizzly, all-day rains and (obviously) high humidity. And today there’s a pot of stock cooking on the stove, enhancing the “fall-ness” of things. Mmmm, homemade stock. Soup for dinner tonight. Probably something SE Asian in feel–it just isn’t cold enough for anything heavier.

This weekend, we travel northwards for our nephew’s wedding. We’ll get to sample fall in Buffalo (brrr, but yay). Which leads into writing.

I’ve been focused on the novel, trying to get caught up and falling ever more behind, instead. And all those short story ideas are just…killing me, begging for my attention. Not writing short stories and having lots of submissions out makes my inner critic scream at me that I’m a slacker, not a real writer, all that stuff and nonsense. And while I know it’s nonsense, it also feels like a real critique, a dart that finds a home and hurts. Because, you know, Inner Critic knows how to aim really well.

So, during the weekend of wedding travel, I won’t be working on the novel. I’ll be working on short stories! Hurray!! I’ll come home ready to start the next phase of the novel, refreshed (I hope) by the distance, and I’ll have a short story (dare I hope for two?!?) to keep that nasty critic at bay for another few weeks.

And so it goes: a balancing act of long and short, writing and life. How’s it going for you?

Personal Life

Anticipation (another word for “waiting”)

Things have been busier than usual around this desk. In the 3 weeks since returning from VP (Has it only been 3 weeks? Really?!?), I’ve been busy editing my submission story, my Thursday story, trying to write new words (hah!), critique for my new VP-17 tribe on their submission and Thursday stories, and prepare for upcoming travel.

Well, I just submitted both my submission and my Thursday stories. (Did the trees just shake? That was my huge sigh of relief!) Now I only have to get ready for the upcoming trip. I haven’t even begun to pack my bag, and there’s all that pre-trip stuff that needs to be done. You know–empty the fridge, see that the plants get watered, take the fish to a friend’s house, do all the laundry, shop for stuff you need on the plane/at the destination, make sure you have the addresses for postcards (which yes, I do write and send), don’t lose the tickets, don’t lose your mind–all that stuff.

“Wait, wait,” I hear someone crying. “Where are you going?” Ah, this is the fun part. I’ll be accompanying hubby on his business trip to Thailand, and then stopping in Japan on the way home to visit friends. Talk about your “trip of a lifetime”–this is it for me! My VP17ers have given me my “writing assignment” to keep me sane, and now I’m ready to experience two very different non-Western cultures as much as I can.

I’ll be offline a good deal between now and my return, but I promise to give you some pictures once I return home. And to keep you occupied, well, this had me crying my eyes out the other night, so I hope you find it as amusing:  (Caution: NSFW!) It’s a BuzzFeed Video about Auto Correct Text Fails.

Now, where is that sunscreen?

goals, Magic of the Everyday, Personal Life, Writing

After Vacation, the Laundry

I’m back from vacation with new spring in my step, new ideas percolating in my mind, and new energy with which to tackle writing. And isn’t that the best part of vacation? Rest and relaxation lead to renewed energy for the rest of life.

The ColonyWe went to South Miami Beach, home of winter warmth, sunshine and water. It was wonderful to not be cold. Our hotel had windows that actually opened (which did shock me, I’m afraid), so we turned the AC off and opened the window whenever we were there. It was close to the beach, so we played in the water every day except the one when purple flags indicated jellyfish were likely (and the next morning we found a man-o-war washed up on the beach–brrrrr!). We feasted on fresh citrus and tropical spices. We slept outside, in the shade of umbrellas, while the sea air waved over us, cool and moist. Low key? Definitely. Just what we were looking for.

I now have a head full of new ideas — from the socially-inept man on the beach staring at his cellphone with his back to the turquoise sea, to the sweating waiter smiling at us as he said what a beautiful day it was, to the homeless man by the beach ranting at all passing women. Ideas that may find their way into stories, or spark a story even if the spark ends up being cut.

Coming home brings new perspective, and, unfortunately, new challenges. Laundry, of course, but more: yesterday someone started spamming from one of my email accounts. I was alerted by numerous ‘undelivered’ emails coming back to me that I had never sent. (sigh) I really wanted to get new passwords on my accounts today. That is much more fun than writing (not!).

Still, the sun is shining in a blue sky, and the temps, while not South Beach warm, are manageable even so. I even sat out a bit at lunch! All is well in the world with me right now. Even though I haven’t finished my new story for this week yet (it’s only about halfway done), I have tonight and tomorrow. I hope you are feeling some contentment in life now too. And if not, write about someone who is. I promise, it’s a little bit contagious–in a good way.