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Archive for August, 2009

Advanced Bound Manuscripts are here

Very excited tonight. Came home from work to find a package from my publisher, Tor. Inside were several copies of my novel, in the Advanced Bound Manuscript stage.

The purpose of ABMs (not anti-ballistic missles) is to gather blurbs from other writers, or so I’m told.

Me, I thought it was to make the author very, very happy.

Advanced Bound Manuscripts

Advanced Bound Manuscripts

As a first time novelist, this is big stuff. Just holding a bound version of my work is daunting. They are not joking. No one is going to show up at my house with a camera and a van full of laughing friends and tell me it was all one of those new, cruel reality television shows.

This calls for a celebration. I’m thinking pizza.

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Update of recent activities

First full week back to work since my two vacations. Montreal for World Science Fiction convention and Memphis for our 20th wedding anniversary.

We were at Graceland one week ago today. Feels like I dreamed it. Amazing what a couple weeks of short sleep rations will do to the memory banks.

Work this week has been good, slipped right back into the flow with no difficulties. Busier than ever, which makes the time go by fast. Much excitement coming my way.

Back on the novel, writing every day. Feels good to get back into Sarah’s head and see the world through her eyes a while each day. Writing pace is too slow for me right now, which is frustrating, but it’s all the time I have to spare. Now that things are settling down, I’ll get more words in each day.

I’ve gotten back on the rowing machine this week. Three days in a row, then went to Tae Kwon Do last night for the first time after missing 3 weeks. Wasn’t as bad as I thought. I survived. :)

Felt really good last night, after working out. Now to keep that trend going.

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Repeating History. Civil Rights and Health Care

Today we went to the National Civil Rights Museum. About 100 degrees different from Graceland yesterday. Today ran the emotional gamut. Anger and sadness, mainly, but some very high inspirational moments hearing Dr. King give his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

I was born in 1965, right in the midst of one of the most critical and volatile periods in the civil rights movement. it gives me pause to consider that my mother grew up in Atlanta when segregation was in full swing. I have a hard time getting my head around all that went on in the late sixties and how much it affected the lives and personalities of those who have influenced me growing up.

I think the thing that amazed me the most as I watched the anger and stupidity of the ignorant and racist idiots from Little Rock to Selma, Birmingham and Albany, GA, is how much it reminded me of some of the current footage at the health care town halls.

Not that every one of the dissenters is a racist idiot, but those on the fringe who start throwing around accusations like how the government is full of communists and Nazis is just hyper-simplified terror tactics. Tactics spread by educated manipulators who have made an art of whipping the masses into a frenzy of passionate and illogical conclusions based on pseudo-science or twisted logic.

I think the Jeffersonian emphasis on an educated populace is the key here. Fear is based on ignorance. If we are going to rise above the mediocrity I see us falling into, we need to do something about giving our people the tools they need to engage in argument and rational challenges to the vitriol they are being fed by an elite group of haters and fear-mongers.

I’d like to believe that most Americans do NOT take everything they hear as truth. I fantasize that they question when things seem too pat, answers too simple and wrong-headed.

I just wish we learned from our history, didn’t repeat our mistakes.

Is that too much to ask?

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Walking in Memphis

Flew in to Memphis today. Checked into the Peabody and saw the famous ducks. Room is great.

We walked down and toured Sun records. Met some cool folks and picked up a cd by a local group called Eldorado and the Ruckus. All the songs are based on PK Dick stories.

Walked down Beale street, ate at a place called The Pig and listened to an Elvis impersonator for a while.

Graceland in the morning.

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Worldcon Update: Day 3

Yesterday was interesting… again.

First thing in the morning I had the writers workshop. Three novel excerpts with some very talented people. My co-host was Nancy Kress. If you’ve never spoken with Nancy, I have to report it is amazing. Sharp, insightful, direct, and spot on with the writing advice. I learned a lot just from listening to her critique other people’s work. Great way to start the day.

Lunch later with Matt Rotundo and David Levine. Many people came by and paused long enough to chat. David seems to know a LOT of people. Most they were fan and fanzine folk, which I’m really not very aware of. I’m late to conventions and fandom, and there are folks out there who seem to have been involved since they were toddlers. :)

Popped over to the SFWA suite before it was moved, chatted with Gisele, Brenda and a lovely woman who’s name I did not catch. This is my downfall at conventions. Staring at badges to catch names feels awkward and sometimes the lighting or angle is too blurry, even with my glasses.

So, I spend time having lovely conversations with people I’ll totally remember by their face, but cannot remember, or never knew their names.

Came back to the room in the late afternoon to just chill and rest a bit. Walking around Montreal is lovely, but being around all these people is exhausting.

Headed back over to the conference center and ran into Paul Carpentier. Great guy. He introduced me to a very cool group of folks from Vancouver. I woke up this morning thinking how great dinner was, how much fun I had with the conversation and company… then realized I can’t remember any of their names. Well… Paulie I remember, because there were two Pauls there last night. The other folks were wonderful, but they were introduced once, and I have totally blanked on their names. Of course, I did have a beer last night. I don’t normally drink, and it was a pretty strong chocolate porter. It wasn’t bad, which is high praise from someone who generally doesn’t drink. Just never learned to like the taste of alcohol.

We had dinner in old town Montreal and it was great. I loved the streets, and the buildings. Very quaint and old. Dinner last night was wonderful — best meal I’ve had in Montreal so far. I had the maple chicken, but all the meals looked good.
Afterwards we walked back to the convention area with the sound of fireworks behind us. Not sure what the celebration was, but the fireworks were lovely.

Parties last night were nice, but I couldn’t stay long. I headed out around 11pm.

Breakfast with Jay Lake and company in just over a half-an-hour, then more con going.

I’ll report again tomorrow.

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Worldcon update: Day 2

Wow, what a day.

Started out with a panel on why publishing takes so long, with David Hartwell. Great guy with lots of experience. Throughout the day, I hung out with a bunch of cool people including Aliette de Bodard, T. L. Morganfield, Lawrence Schoen, Mary Robinette Kowal, Shannon Page, Jay Lake, Brenda Cooper, Keffy Kehrli, Gisele Peterson, Matt Rotundo, and more names I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Then, after a lovely dinner, the parties began.

What a night. First of all, the SFWA suite was not on a party floor, so we got unceremoniously ejected from the 20th floor. They were allowed to have exactly 5 people in that room at any given time. Pretty unfortunate. Good crowd, great Asimov’s party. Sheila was absolutely lovely. I hope she got through the evening intact. Cakes looked great. Didn’t get to see them cut.

Then Matt and I found the Tor.com Rock Band party. Walk in to Jeremy Lassen singing, John Joseph Adams on lead guitar, and the place was rocking. I made my way upstairs (nice suite) and ran into Irene, the art director at Tor, who introduced me to Dan Dos Santos…. The amazing artist who is doing the cover for Black Blade Blues.

What a great guy. We talked for about 45 minutes. He really gets the novel, which makes me very happy. Turns out he liked the novel (yeah!), loves painting the cover, and plays video games. We talked Fallout for a while before Irene and crew took off for a walk.

The room was toasty. I went downstairs to watch Matt sing Aqualung on Rockband — he did an excellent job. Then I headed out to call the family and make my way back to my hotel.

Now I’m about to sleep.

It’s been a pretty enlightening day. Lots of realizations recently about the whole… I’m an auther… thing. Still hard to believe at times, but speaking with the Tor folks, and Dan, and everyone else… It’s exhausting in a GREAT way.

And, I had someone come up to me after my first ever Worldcon panel and ask me for details about Black Blade Blues so she can look for it.

ROI is strong with this one.

More tomorrow

Tweaking to hopefully send this to Twitter and Facebook.

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Uruz

The wild ox; strength and power.

Ansuz

Creativity; words, music, and art.

Othala

The troll cross; wealth and prosperity.

Sowilo

The sun; energy, honor, guidance.

Fehu

Personally earned or lucky wealth and prosperity.

Jera

The harvest; patience and promise.

Raidho

The chariot; journey and travel.

Note: This is not the real book cover.