blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
If you’ve read most any other person’s experience attending Sirens, you’ve an inkling of what I’m going to say.

Yes, it is an amazing few days—surrounded by women and men (why, YES, men do attend Sirens, and enjoy it immensely) who celebrate who they are, and what and who they love. The conversations are far-ranging and tightly-focused, curious and passionate, overlapping and attentive. The interactions are both open and intimate. There is space and there is affection. Questions and affirmations. Challenges and comforts. Embracing old friends and picking up where we left off last year, and embracing new friends with the anticipation of connections yet to be formed.

Three cool things in particular, but in no particular order:

First: Conversations about grief and grieving. Not many opportunities come about in daily life for those. People close to me are much more interested in making sure I’m “all right,” which to them means I’m not expressing loss and longing. That makes it easier for me to talk about grief with people I don’t see all the time; they tend to be more curious than concerned, and curiosity is what opens doors in search of answers. Those chats are emotional gold for me—the chance to share in the hope it’ll help someone else, yes, but also the opportunity to better understand myself and the process.

Second: The Sirens Fight Club. Hooking up with women who understand the subtle and overt challenges of choosing to train—to openly enjoy—combat arts is exhilarating. Truly, I wanted another entire weekend to spend with these women, and I knew so within the first few minutes of our meeting. We’re going to plot out a proposal or two for next year. Truly, between us, we could offer a multi-day workshop!


Third: Laurie Marks. I’ve said before I am grateful for, and humbled by, the female fantasy writers who “raised” me in this crazy world of storytelling. Laurie was the first published writer I’d ever met, the first to teach me about critique groups, the first to give me feedback on my very first attempted novel. I was nineteen and stupid and arrogant and ambitious, and when she told me I used too many gerunds, I had to go home and look up the word (in an actual printed dictionary, no less!) because I hadn’t a clue. We lost touch a few years later, and the more years that passed, the more awkward it felt to pop back into her life with a “Hey, remember me?”

Twenty-five years passed that way.

Nervousness remained as Sirens came closer, until I passed Laurie in the hall on the second day and re-introduced myself.

And was given a full smile and a tight hug and an invitation to lunch with her and Deb. Catching up was wonderful and too brief, but there isn’t a shred of awkwardness or nervousness on my part remaining. There will not be a horrible time-gap again!

All of that was Sirens for me.

The conference will be in Colorado again next year, but this time up in Vail at a marvelous luxury resort that—and this is the incredible part—will cost little more than the rooms down in Denver.

You want to do this, my darlings. You want to do this so, so badly.

You want to come to Vail in October, when it might be clear and merely crisp at sundown only to give way to snow-covered mountainsides by sunrise. When we will celebrate the women of fantasy who not only hold power in their own right, but wield it as well. Women of strength. Women of magic.

Women we all know.

Women like you.

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Sirens begins tomorrow!

(Well, Sirens Studio is actually already in progress, but I couldn’t swing my schedule into alignment until the conference itself.)

But I am excited! I pick up a friend at the airport tomorrow morning, then head to the hotel to meet up with existing friends and meet some new ones. A couple folks have volunteered to help out with “The Movement You Don’t See" (it’s a low-low-impact workshop, but I did want to demo a couple things that some might find uncomfortable), so I’ll get to meet up with them, too.

My son has been such a good sport, helping me decide what to leave in and take out of the presentation. My inclination is to teach a three-hour class, so keeping it all within an hour is a bit of a challenge.

So if you’re attending Sirens, find me and say hello! If you’re in the Denver area and not attending, drop me a line if you’d like to BarCon for awhile anyway!
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
In just about six weeks, Sirens will begin in Denver. This year's theme is Lovers... so of course I proposed a fight-related workshop.

(Hey, I wasn't the only one! Amy Boggs is presenting "Love is a Battlefield: Weapons and Methods for When Love Goes Wrong.")

The workshop I'll be presenting is "The Movement You Don't See." We'll be discussing and using pieces of kata to explore and understand things like power generation, grounding, and the like. It won't be about "pretty" kata, but its practical applications. And though movement will be a part of it, intensity will be low. I want participants to understand and be cognitive of the internal experience of fighting stances, strikes, and the like. Once we add the adrenaline of intensity, those thoughts are processed differently. If there's time, I'd love to go over some of the "hidden" pieces of kata and its grappling implications.

Here's an added cool thing: Anyone can sponsor a Sirens workshop or panel for only $35. Alas, it's too late for sponsors to be listed in the program, but if you sponsor "The Movement You Don't See," I'll make a grand sign indicating your sponsorship--your name, or "in memory of," or, "in the name of," or "prefers anonymity." Heck, I'll make the sign no matter who you sponsor!

So if you've the inclination, head over to the Sirens page on sponsorships and support, and check out the listing of Accepted Programming. $35 is all it takes!

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blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Topic the First:

4th Street was a great experience this year--a great and glorious disproving of my usual silly pre-con anxiety of "This time no one will acknowledge my existence." For me, the most wonderful parts are between and/or triggered by the scheduled events. It's the conversations about why some authors successfully cross genre lines, examining creeping biases, opening publishing opportunities, determining themes, working with and as a beta reader, and and and... Truly, I LOVE those free-ranging conversations. I love even more that I can share them with folks who equally love them.

Part of me would be just fine with a con that had a mere three conversation-launching panels a day, and that's the fault of fascinating people who are willing to share their thoughts and experience outside the panels.

As always, there is never enough time to talk at length with every person I'd like to. That's the downside to knowing a small handful of really cool people; they keep introducing you to other cool people! And though I did make an effort to be more deliberate in spending time with a variety of folks this year, I missed a couple folks I deeply wanted to chat with. (I'm looking at you, John Wiswell!) Alas, I think this is an unfixable thing for me, for even if the con were a day or two longer, I tend to hit the Wall of Introvert Overload at around 72 hours. I simply lose the ability to be intelligently sociable with more than one person at a time at that point.

Topic the Second:

Sirens Conference! My afternoon class proposal was accepted!

I'll be presenting The Movement You Don't See. The (still unofficial) description is:

Fight scenes require more than cool choreography, but not everyone has years to invest in fight-training before writing their epic adventure! Here's your chance to learn lesser-known physical details of fighting through the practices of kata--the martial arts training tool of choreographed techniques.

In this movement-filled workshop, you'll discover the internal landscape of a fighter--the grounding, power generation, body awareness, and exertion your fighting characters experience in action. Whether writing a training montage, or an experienced fighter's battle, having the "insider" experience will add depth and realism.

Physical activity is included, but not required. Observers and listeners are welcome.

Yes, it's exciting to present at Sirens, but it's also exciting to share why kata is such an effective training tool for mind-body awareness and self-defense. (Check out The Purpose of Kata for a preview on that.) It's the little things that matter, and I'm so looking forward to passing a few of those things along. How a pelvic tilt affects the strength of a block, how the angle of the back foot affects the strength of a strike, how the lift of the shoulder affects stamina... All these things and more.

Honestly, I wish I could get a two-hour block of time. :)

Topic the Third:

I'm in the process of putting reader feedback together with writerly goals to determine my upcoming project schedule. For me, determining a schedule that is both satisfying and realistic (and it's the latter I fail at, alas) required breaking down the projects by wordcount. The process revealed I've an estimated 1,135,000 words to write if I want to complete everything on my list.

This is exciting and comforting! Truly, I could fail to generate a new idea for about three years before running out of material. I'm set for the near future. :)

Topic the Last:

That hip dysplasia thing.

Remember when I fell down the stairs a couple months ago? Yeah. Well, I just assumed it happened because my left knee and ankle have always been weaker and more prone to injury. Come to find out that is true... but the reason it's true matters. When the left hip suffers from inflammation, it puts pressure on the nerve running down the front of my thigh, and the nerve doesn't then function properly, which causes the left leg to collapse. It's like trying to do push-ups with one arm having "fallen asleep."

The fact the nerve pressure isn't causing pain is actually a bad thing, in my opinion. If I felt pain, I'd know to take it easy. Instead, my "warning" that something is wrong usually comes in the form of the leg collapsing. That fall down the stairs isn't the first time it has happened, but it was the first in a series. Even now, as I'm sitting in a restaurant to write this, the front of my left thigh is getting that "falling asleep" sensation because I've sat in one position too long.

But here is the COOL thing. [ profile] mrissa introduced me to a physician who also has a martial arts background, and who understood in a heartbeat my internal crumbling over this whole thing.* I'm still not at all ready to roll into surgery (not only for personal reasons, but financial and logistical ones), but her quiet words and empathy carefully tunneled through a wall others have beaten upon for quite some time.

She's one of those folks I wish I would have had more and more and more time with, truly. Medical stuff aside, she's a cool person.

So there's the lesson I can pass along today: One way to get someone to do something they don't want to do is to understand fully and deeply why they don't want to do it, and share that understanding without judgment.

There is no Topic the Fourth. I'll see what I can come with another time. :)

*Yes, I hid out to cry after our conversation. Truly, if you ever want to see my cry, don't try to insult or hurt me. Be nice and kind and empathetic. Does the trick every time.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

So it seems to be the time of year for discussing the relevance and/or purpose and/or importance of authors attending conventions.

There is this article from Sunny Moraine on the melancholy of non-con attendance. There’s this from Kameron Hurley, which opens with its own kind of sadness but ends with an urging, from the perspective of earned regard, to include those who aren’t already A Part Of in the convention experience. There’s the one from Chuck Wendig, which acknowledges a writer’s career isn’t dependent on cons but also goes on to name big professional reasons you better go anyway. There’s the cost breakdown from Marko Kloos, which makes the entirely relevant and under-discussed point that cons cost actual money that many folks simply don’t have.* And then there’s Harry Connolly’s take on convention attendance, which weighs the potential/implied/presumed social connections against the personal costs of convention attendance.

Also out there are numerous exchanges between newer pros and neo-pros who are, to varying degrees, afraid their inability to attend the same conventions as Big Name Authors and Editors will permanently and irrevocably damage their ability to thrive in traditional publishing because they’re not connecting properly. Alongside those conversations—parallel, rather than intersecting—is discussion of highly successful self-publishing writers who are, after achieving wide reader acceptance and earning solid money, considering attending conventions in order to see if there’s an advantage to it.

So let me tell you my little convention conclusions, from the perspective of someone who once wanted a trad-publishing contract and opted to quit, who came back to novel writing only because self-publishing was an option, and who has watched aspiring writers hunt down and dig up any scrap of helpful information for about twenty years.

“I met editors and agents and pro writers at conventions. Two years later, I signed a three-book deal. A dozen other writers I’ve met made similar connections and also signed contracts. Yes, the writing matters above all else, but it’s connections that lift you out of the slush.”

That’s a generic version, a mash-up, of advice I’ve heard on the topic over the years.  Man, I took that as gold once upon a time. I’d go to some cons and meet new people! I’d talk to editors and agents! I’d get straight-from-the source information, and I’d put it to use, and I’d finally move from the form rejections to the personal connections! All I had to do was lay out more money in a year than I’d ever hope to make on an advance in the same time period. Because that’s how it was done.**

And you know what? I did meet some amazing people—some of whom have since found success, and a few who don’t at all remember the woman who, once or twice, hung out with them ten or twelve years ago. I also met a very small number of pros who were rude. Not socially awkward, but rude.

And I once spent an hour or so with a major editor who talked me through all sorts of industry and craft know-how.  Yes, it was extremely flattering!  Some months later, that same editor yelled at me about politics in a bar during another convention.  And years later at yet another convention, he delivered a verbal rejection of a requested manuscript at a party, surrounded by other writers, and left me standing alone in their midst to both absorb the rejection and the embarrassment.

So… that’s what conventions did for me professionally, when I was attending them for professional purposes. In fact, that’s an uncomfortable variation of what conventions do for many writers who attend believing them to be professional stepping stones.  It doesn’t matter that five writers who attend conventions over the span of three years later land contracts if a thousand writers who also attended did not. Believing otherwise is, as Connolly mentions, survivorship bias.

It’s why studying only those who succeed makes it exceedingly difficult for you to succeed. You’ll end up doing all sorts of things successful people did—and those will mostly be things that had nothing to do with their actual success.

Writing every day, writing only on the weekends, attending a workshop, working with a critique group, writing in total solitude, spending ten years perfecting a single novel, dashing off a first draft in three weeks, writing what you know, bullshitting through every chapter, worldbuilding with a binder-ful of charts, creating a secondary world by the seat of your pants, having a well-employed spouse, having a spouse who’ll take care of all domestic responsibilities, having no relationships, having no children, writing while breastfeeding an infant…

These are all things many successful writers have done. These are all things many successful writers will tell you are personal decisions best made with an understanding of your own process.

Such it is with conventions.

These days, I adore conventions. They became really enjoyable when I ceased to consider them activities required to achieve professionalism via relationships with industry folks and instead saw them as opportunities to learn alongside folks I like. Where once I looked at guest lists to choose conventions based on who I’d like to meet for professional purposes, I now choose conventions based on where I can meet up with folks I know. No elevator pitch at the ready (in fact, is that even still A Thing?), no practiced self-introduction, zippo. I enjoy the convention atmosphere, give my best on panels I’m asked to participate in, immerse in awesome conversations of craft after hours, and look forward to meeting new like-minded folks.

That’s not to say I’ve never gained a little while at a convention. MileHiCon resulted in, among other things, an invitation to be interviewed for a podcast. On the other hand, that came about via an introduction from someone I’d spoken with online, and that online introduction happened via another online connection. The podcast invite came about at the con, not because of the con.

And the number of professionally-positive happenings at conventions are dwarfed by the number that have and continue to come about due to online relationships. Come to think of it, nearly every person I’ve met at a convention is a person I’ve first met, in one way or another, online.

But convention attendance isn’t required to reach readers who will value your work enough to pay you for it. That’s not to say there isn’t an agent or editor out there who will give preference in some way to a writer whose convention chit-chat was enjoyable, I suppose. But again, the chance of being the one person among the hundreds (thousands?) of writers that editor might meet isn’t likely to be worth the hundreds (thousands!) of dollars spent trying to be in that editor’s orbit long enough to make an impression.

And in the end, there is but one thing—just one!—that all writers who either land a trad-pub contract and/or build their own readership through self-publishing did consistently.


They all kept writing stories and offering them to others until someone (in trad pub) or many someones (in self-pub) liked them enough to pay for them.

So if you want to go to cons, by all means, do so! Maybe we can meet up and have a good time! But if you can’t for reasons of money or work or family or health or preference or whatever, don’t worry about it! Plenty of writers land contracts without convention-connections. Plenty or writers connect with their readers through more consistent, readily-available, and cost-effective means.  And many writers have just fabulous sales without a single book-hawking or book-signing event at a convention.

We, my darlings, have options.

And while I understand, deeply and truly, what a bummer it is to miss attending conventions (after all, I miss most of them!), I don’t want anyone feeling less-than-a-writer for the miss. I like y’all too much for that. :)

*This fact does make more amusing the assertion I saw a couple years ago that self-publishing was only an option for the privileged and well-off few who could afford to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on editing, cover art, printing, and storage.

**Perchance that’s the reason I was never particularly swayed by the anti-self-pub hand-wringing over the expenses of self-publishing. I don’t know what other aspiring writers and neo-pros heard over the last couple decades, but the advice given to me included familiar phrases like “don’t quit your day job,” and “expect to spend your whole advance doing your own publicity.”


blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

MileHiCon happens next weekend, and I am so looking forward to attending for the first time! Already the organizers have me feeling welcome to my new home-state convention. I’m so looking forward to sitting on a few panels, and sitting in on quite a few more.

Here’s my schedule thus far:

Friday, October 23

4:00 PM Inside Writing Workshops

I’ll be offering insights about Viable Paradise and Writers of the Future. Other panelists will discuss their experience with Clarion, Odyssey, and more. Come ask your questions about the different experience and emphasis of workshops available to writers looking to improve their craft and make connections with other professionals!

Saturday, October 24

9:30 AM SFWA Meeting

I am SO looking forward to meeting other SFWA members in person, and connecting with local writers. It’s a business meeting, so I’ll be sharing a bit of info on the self-publishing committee as well.

12:00 PM What Makes A Good Bad Guy?

Now, I’ll be honest here: I asked my 6-year-old nephew this question, and he said without hesitation, “His lightsaber moves!”

I suspect the panel will go into a wee bit more detail. Since I’m moderating, I’ll be asking questions about villainous viewpoints, whether sympathetic villains are preferred or expected or a passing fad, traits of villainy that are a cliché and traits that are unexpected, and all sorts of other stuff the dear folks on Twitter helped me come up with

8:00 PM Violence in Fantasy

A huge percentage of fantasy novels revolve around wars and battles, torture or at least torment. Is it necessary? How much is too much or is there a limit?

Gotta admit, I like the violence in my fantasy. (And in science fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and so forth.) I’m not certain where this panel will go, but I’ll be most interested to hear what the other panelists and audience members have to say.

Sunday, October 25

10:00AM Writing Good Fight Scenes

Reasonable/believable choreography and obeying the laws of physics and human physiology are good and necessary first steps. What other factors need to be considered when writing fight scenes?

I’m really looking forward to this one because I personally love writing fighters and fight scenes for people who understand fighting as well as for general readers. I’ve been told I’m good at it, so I hope I have some interesting things to pass along—particularly on the difference between most martial arts training and practical martial application. I’m the only woman on this panel, and am deeply hoping that’ll make little to no difference whatsoever to what we panelists are asked.

(Aside: Does anyone see a general theme in the craft-related panels I’ll be sitting on?  I think I have my own convention theme, truly. :) )

There might be some last minute schedule changes, so be sure to check in at the convention’s website as the dates draw near.

In between my handful of panels, I’ll be sitting in on other panels, or hanging around waiting for the next thing. In the evenings, I’ll likely be in the bar for a bit in search of interesting conversations.

If you see me and want to talk, PLEASE COME BY AND SAY SO! I recently had a writerly friend tell me about a “pro” writer who told a bunch of aspiring writers that “pro” writers didn’t really want to be bothered at conventions. Ye gads, if you’re a reader or newer writer looking to connect, please don’t think that person’s attitude is mine. If I didn’t want to talk with other writers, I wouldn’t bother telling anyone where I’d be. I know, from personal experience, it can feel like cliff diving, walking up to someone you might know only from online interactions. In fact, I suck at it myself. Rest assured if you say hello, I’ll participate in a conversation.

So if you’ll be at MileHiCon, let me know! Let’s connect somewhere!


blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I am having a great time. More when I can actually put thoughts into written words.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

I have a convention schedule this year!  Sure, it’s short and mostly local, but it exists.  It is a thing, and it pleases me today.

4th Street Fantasy, Minneapolis, MN  June 26-28

This is a different kind of con—one with a single track of programming and a membership cap of 175 attendees—intending to create a shared con experience and fluid conversation.  Folks have been telling me to go for years.  Once programming conversations get rolling, I’ll bring up making myself available for self-publishing discussions at the writing seminar.  Is that presumptuous of me? Perhaps. But any discussion of the writing business today ought to include a writer who chooses self-publishing as the primary career path rather than the consolation trail.  Besides, if there’s another indie writer they’d prefer to include, great!  The goal is inclusion of the experience and information, not the person.  (And I’d be more than happy to write up all the reasons this is true.)

InConJunction, Indianapolis, IN  July 3-5

This con is local to me, but I haven’t been in years because its scheduling conflicted with my son’s annual county dog show.  Since he isn’t showing this year, and is perfectly capable of getting himself to the site to volunteer (and we aren’t driving to JFK airport to get him on a flight to Italy, as we did last year), I get to go to the con!  My name appeared on the “Also Appearing” list, so I guess it’s official.  I have no idea what programming will look like, but I will be making my recommendations.

GenCon, Indianapolis, IN  July 30 – Aug 2

I’ve put my name in the hopper to help with any SFWA business while there.  When not doing that, I’ll likely be hanging around the Writer’s Symposium, hoping their self-publishing track is less dismissive, and spending time with my cosplaying son.  I’m even toying with the idea of pulling a cosplay myself.  I have a soft spot for Fiona.  For me, this con isn’t much a professional-writer activity, but is a fun few days instead.

MileHiCon, Denver, CO  October 23-25

Since I’ve decided I’m moving that direction, it only makes sense I’d jump into a convention, right?  More details on this one as time gets closer.

I already know some folks who will be at these events, but would love to meet up with others.  Let me know if you’ll be around!


blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Here's my plan: By the end of the month, I'll reserve my hotel room and purchase a membership for ICON in Cedar Rapids. Am I absolutely certain I can go? Nope. But if I dither around, I'll end up waiting too long and miss out if it turns out I can go.

Why ICON? It looks like fun, and I'd like to chitchat a bit with [ profile] cathschaffstump if I can. It's within my comfortable driving radius. And the guest list includes some folks I'd like to see/meet/re-meet.

Anyone else interested in meeting up?


Feb. 27th, 2014 01:04 pm
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I registered today for Wiscon!  I even put in to be on a panel!  Yeah, the panel isn't related to writing craft and such, but I still think there is a multitude of writers out there who know much more than I do about any and all of those panel topics.  I'd rather listen to them than myself.

Ya know what else is cool? There are panels specific to self-publishing, and I didn't see a single one with a title akin to, "Is it real?" or "Is it a good choice?" or "Will it ruin your career?" It simply is. Nice.

I mentioned on Twitter that I didn't do much in the way of connecting with folks when I went to Wiscon years ago, and I mentioned that result was deliberate. And then I realized why I like traveling alone.

I am an outgoing introvert. Sounds like a contradiction, yes? It is. I can quite easily spend a few days on my own, with minimal small-talk conversation undertaken with strangers. I can easily show up to teach an all-day seminar, and interact with the attendees for a few hours after. The first is natural, the second was a learned ability, but I do enjoy both.

But that first part--spending days alone--is almost impossible to come by in real life. I'm a mother. I teach. I have friends who deserve interaction. I've community responsibilities. If I want to spend a day hiding in my home, or if I don't seem to be chatty, people start to worry, assume I'm depressed, or think I'm upset.

But when I go somewhere else, no one gives a damn if I don't say a single word for days. No one gets concerned. No one wants a reason. And if someone thinks I'm acting all strange, they'll tell their own friends rather than ask me to explain.

Before Dev came along, I'd take myself camping somewhere in the California mountains or deserts. There was nothing so wonderful as that aloneness.

Travelling by myself is my ultimate introvert indulgence.

But this time! I'm meeting up with Viable Paradise folks (some of whom already experienced my "sometimes I'll disappear at the end of the day" tendencies), and am looking forward to it more than you can imagine.

Even introvert-travel doesn't sound so wonderful as that--likely because I've felt so creatively-lonely for so very long in this town. (And there's a topic I might write of someday: How Small Town Folks Tend To Think You're Stupid If You Don't Have A "Normal" Job.)

If you're going to Wiscon, let me know!

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
First: I am in love with this article by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown. As I mentioned in comments at [ profile] sartorias's LJ, a female character cannot be confident, competent, and likeable without being deemed a Mary Sue. (That doesn't even touch upon appearance, which is a whole 'nother target of spite and vitriol.) I remember a beta reader once telling me a character was a Mary Sue because of those three factors. It didn't matter that the character had been show to earn those traits; the three in combination simply Could Not Be Done is the character was to be "realistic."

Think about that for a moment. A character with competence, natural and practiced talents, who was liked because of the way she actually treated others was not realistic. She simply wasn't insecure enough, tormented enough, or outcast enough to be realistic.

That's a fucking sad commentary on what "real women" are supposed to be.

And I should note that the majority of folks I read throwing about the Mary Sue accusation to other writers are women. That's double-fucking sad, in my opinion.

(Yes, I know the original definition of Mary Sue. Alas, linguistic drift has bestowed a slightly different definition now, and that's the one we're stuck with, and I don't deem it interesting, necessary, or productive to insist everyone use the phrase in its "proper" fashion.)

Second: This post by John Wiswell--now a fellow graduate of Viable Paradise--made me cheer first (because hooray! more VP grads!). then made me grumble. I know there is a subset of self-publishers who cannot fathom the worth of critique prior to publication. My suspicion is it's the same subset who would have, in the pre- self-publishing days, written long diatribes to agents and editors in response to rejections.

Me, I see nothing incongruent between attending Viable Paradise and self-publishing. One is for craft and fellowship. One is a business decision. Anyone with shoulder-chips might indeed have good information about their side of the argument, but not the best judgment on which path is best for others.

Third: I have no link for it, but have been following various blog posts and Twitter comments from folks attending WFC in London Brighton. (Thanks for the correction, [ profile] green_knight !) From writers who have the "proper" credentials, who should without a doubt be treated to at least the crumbs of common courtesy. And they are not.

That sort of disregard of writers--at what is supposed to be a celebration of such creativity--is a pretty good indication of what value such folks place on the writers' creations. And don't sing the "But they're all volunteers!" song my direction. I've volunteered for numerous non-genre, professional conferences and conventions. I and other volunteers assumed courtesy and professionalism were standard expectations, not something guests received if they caught us a good time and were appropriately humble in their requests.

Fourth: Check out David Gaughran on the tightening of Traditional Publishing/Author Solutions ties. If you're planning to go the traditional publishing route, it's critical you read and understand it. If you're self-publishing, it's equally important. Alas, it's becoming more difficult for new writers to avoid being shuttled into dead-end and horribly expensive self-publishing "services" that are endorsed by the same traditional publishers who sneered at Author Solutions and their ilk just a couple years ago. "I know those other people say Author Solutions is a scam, and is being sued by their past customers," says the new writer in search of validation, "but Big Respected Publisher says they're awesome, so it must okay to give them thousands of dollars!"

And I was certain I had a fifth link, but it has vanished.

(Edited to correct location of WFC.)
blairmacg: (Default)

This story troubles me greatly.  It's taken me awhile to pinpoint exactly--beyond the obvious--why.  During this morning's karate class, I think I figured it out.  Now to see if I can articulate it.  I'm using a bunch of newbie-author italics and bolds.  Oh, well.

The decision made by the Readercon board says to me that harassment happened, and that witnesses backed it up.  It says the behavior was not acceptable--but it was excusable.  A short-term banning says the boundary-crossing--which I understand included physical contact, correct me if I'm wrong--was determined to be not nice, but not a big deal.

But there's another notion I want to discuss--a related tangent, if you will--that this situation triggered for me.  I don't think it's anything new, and it incorporates what others are saying, but I decided to post it anyway.  While the situation I've read of is the jumping-off point, I am not talking about that specific situation.  I'm talking about generalities and probabilities, not specifics and certainties.

Cut for those who have read enough already... )
blairmacg: (Default)
Now I'm glad I didn't attempt the drive from Indy to ConFusion.  The weather I could have dealt with the weather.  It's the 100+ fever that would have made it a little difficult.  Ugh. 

I figured it was a matter of time, considering how many sick kids I've been around in the last month.  If I snuggle in and take my potions, I'll hopefully kick it by Monday.  Tomorrow's clients have been rescheduled.

In other news, I got a rejection on a short story I can't seem to place. I'm not even certain how to classify it.  That, combined with my suckitude at figuring out what genre category names actually mean, makes me wonder if I'm even targeting the right markets.

Other stuff is still sitting out there.  Back to novel revisions between naps.
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I'm more bummed than I thought I'd be over missing ConFusion this weekend.  That was one of the cons I'd made a habit of attending, in the years before life went sideways.  I didn't know anyone up there, I rarely knew anyone who was showing up, but it was a weekend to get away and relax and write in my hotel room without interruptions.  I could have gone this year, but mistakenly gave this Saturday as a date to schedule clients.  And I'm booked solid.

I do have ReaderCon to look forward to, though.  I'm already registered--con and hotel--though I may need to leave pretty early on Sunday.  (Karate camp starts that evening.)  [ profile] skzbrust has convinced me I should also attend Fourth Street.  The scheduling on that one will be very easy or utterly impossible, depending upon the dates of Dev's summer obligations,* which I should know by the end of February.  I may even attempt Loscon this year since Dev has reached the age of preferring to spend his long weekend hanging out with friends than family.

Revisions are making me happy.  I see much more that is right in the new version than there was before.  I may end up with more time than I thought I'd have in the coming week, so I'm hoping to make the halfway point.  This would be going much faster were I not completely re-typing the manuscript, but re-typing is forcing me to consider every little thing--essential, since my goal is a subtle reshaping of the omni narrative voice.  Most of the changes I'm making aren't marked on the page.  They simply happen as I type along.  It's a bit like putting someone else's story in my own words.

And today I realized (admitted?) why one section of revisions took so danged long.  A beloved character dies, and other characters face a crisis while still actively grieving.  It wasn't writing the death and burial scenes that stopped me cold; it was the scenes of grieving that followed.  Is it any surprise that slowed me a bit?  No.  Is it surprising I didn't even consider it as the problem?  Yeah, I'd say so.  It bothers me to be so unaware of what my mind is doing in the background of daily life.  More characters will die before the book ends.  I wonder if it'll stop me cold again.

In the meantime, onward.  I have a few hours to burn tonight.  Let's see how far I can go.

(And part of me keeps hoping aaaaaaaall my Saturday clients cancel so I can drive up to ConFusion.)

*The kid is scheduled to attend flight school and a law enforcement career camp, as well as work as a counselor for karate camp.  If the dates this year are similar to last year, I'll have him at home for only one week in June and one in July.  That will be very, very strange.


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