Post-Convention/Pre-Camp NaNo

Coming out of the long weekend of events with WisCon, I am looking ahead to a month of Camp NaNoWriMo. Starting in June I’ll be trying to post daily with updates on the story. This will give people more chances to have themselves written into the story. If I am looking to name someone, I may give special rush orders for people to bid lower amounts to sponsor characters. But that will wait for at least another day or two.

For now I am looking back to the panels from the weekend and realizing the things I want to plan for in the next year or two, including a retreat to Taos Toolbox. Honestly I would love to go to Clarion, but six weeks is a little long for me. The kicker will be the tuition (of course), so we’ll see.

I also took a serious look at my books. I probably picked up eight arcs from the charity table choosing only those that I really wanted to read. I also picked up about four or five books from the dealers table or the independent book stores downtown. In one case I used my iPad during a panel to purchase the ebook version as a print copy was not available in town. So probably 12-15 books total. I grabbed less than Scott did. By a lot.

The difference in our numbers of books taken home didn’t change the fact that even at a dozen books, that is at least two months worth of reading for me. Maybe a bit more for my week long camping trip – but I also need to be writing during that. With Change Write Now done, I am focusing on Writing Streaks. To that end I’m going to slot time in the morning for writing and time at night for reading. At least an hour a night. Writers have to read what they write, so I need to balance my strengths out more. This also means tagging what I read through Goodreads and the 52 Weeks section of this blog.

There were some definite highlights to the convention for me. I spotted two different dopplegangers during the course of the con. One turned out to be a hoax as Mary Robinette Kowal made a day trip to the con. The other was a true doppleganger as Lela Gwenn didn’t make a day trip to the con and her double was devoid of tattoos. Of course lately I’ve been seeing a number of doubles at local coffee shops and the like. Hell, one of the regulars at the coffee shop I write at looks like Victoria Dahl’s older sister. (In other words looks similar, but is definitely older.)

I did wind up skipping the Food as Fandom panel, for a craft related panel. It would have been interesting to see what examples they had. You know, being that I have four or five different cupcake recipes based on book series and The Snugglepumpkin in the works for Kevin Hearne’s character Oberon. I’m stating this now to hold myself accountable, but the Snugglepumpkin will be good for people and safe for dogs to eat as well. (Learning to cook without sugar is fun, kids!)

I attended some great panels on self publishing and crowdsourcing with some really excellent one liners. One of them that I remember (albeit not verbatim) is “Your book is your beautiful baby and editing it yourself is like killing your darling child. Then performing the autopsy. After a couple of weeks of letting it sit.” Obviously they were in strong support of having someone else give your work an editing pass. I tend to agree. In related news during that panel the “Contortionists” panel was next door recreating some of the cover art poses that Jim C. Hines did in his infamous blog posts. One of our panelists even tried one, after the panelist next to her said that they sounded like they were having a lot more fun than we were.

The Self Publishing panel mentioned above gave me two of my new books purchases from this weekend. One was Kater Cheek’s book Seeing Things. Although she was the panelist to attempt the spec fiction cover pose, her twisted sense of humor told me that her book would appeal to me no matter what the genre. Also, she was writing Young Adult Paranormal, so bonus. (Also, she signed my copy before leaving the con, which was great as she was not going to be at the sign out.) The other came from the moderator Allison Moon’s debut Lunatic Fringe. Again, a similar messed up sense of humor that reminded me a lot of the authors I really appreciate and enjoy reading no matter what genre. Also her lesbian werewolves should mesh pretty close to at least one of the characters I’m working with currently.

Another high point of the con happened after the con, but is related to the books above. I couldn’t find a copy of Lunatic Fringe anywhere in Madison, so during a panel I ordered the Nook version online. I waited around at the sign out to see if she’d show (after getting my Tiptree Award Winning book signed). When she did, I asked if she’d add her name to the signatures on the back of my Nook. We talked for a bit and I left to get lunch and go home to sleep. I woke to her tweeting how the highlight of the sign out was signing the back of my Nook. It’s good to not feel like quite so big a geek getting your hardware signed by authors when they’re as thrilled by it as you are.

I could go on for another day or so talking about the great time I had at the rest of the con, but the majority of it can be boiled down to getting together with people that have similar interests and gushing about books and writing. There’s truly something to be said for being able to Freak Out with Your Geek Out. Each an every person I interacted with, talked to, shared a meal with or simply listened to on a panel gave me something to take away from the con. Including a story that ranks right up there with the “funniest autopsy I ever saw” one. I leave you with a quote from Cassie Alexander, author of the debut novel Nightshifted and moderator of the Addiction in Fiction panel. “We had to amputate both of his legs. The gross part was…” (And yes, I totally bought a copy of that book as well. And yes, it is signed to Zombie Joe.)


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