Friday, April 17, 2009

Midsouth Convention Report (Part 3 of a half-dozen or so)

Since I wasn’t scheduled for anything until late Saturday, I didn’t even show up to the convention until after noon. I talked with Bill, Allan, and the Gambers then wandered over to chat with Glen Cook and finally Tyree Campbell from Samsdot. Better still, Lynn Abbey had snuck into the convention unannounced and I got to talk with her about Robert and several other folks we have in common. This was the first time we’ve met face-to-face but, because of the people we share, I felt like I already knew her. Let me just say, she is one classy lady. She had come up to see C. J. Cherryh whom I also got to meet. I also pestered Jeremy and Joy at their signing then talked to Dr. Les Johnson about dark matter and some other non-fiction physics coolness. (In case I forget to mention it later, I think ConClave and especially Penguicon should consider inviting Les as a science guest.)

After this, I wandered upstairs to do a panel with Mr. Resnick, Mr. Ostrander, Ruth Souther, and another really nice person whose name I forgot. (I’m sorry, truly. It’s not a matter of being disrespectful or anything like that; it’s just that I don’t remember names well and I lost my program so I can’t cheat and look it up.) The panel was on how to kill character’s you love. Mostly we use bullets or blunt objects although Mr. Ostrander (who writes for comics) cheats because he gets to bring them back in a few issues. Once that was settled, we wandered over a dozen different topics related to the industry (as usually happens at conventions) and I argued with Mike. Not violently, we just disagree on certain subjects. For example, I consider the short story a loss-leader and therefore part of my marketing presence instead of a for-profit act. Mike thinks if you sell your words cheap, that means you don’t value your work and therefore aren’t professional. It’s a business decision that we disagree on so we argue, politely. It was a lot like when I argue with Scalzi. We just have different business models but we still get along personally.

I went to Jeremy and Allan’s panel (yes, there were other people but they were the two I knew and went for) on horror from Lovecraft to King. Once it was over, since we both had panels coming up on the same floor, Jeremy and I stood around and talked about writing and projects we had stashed away in our idea boxes that we were trying to get to when we found the time. (Inside baseball—I think maybe Jeremy and I should talk about doing the fairy realm detective/justice outside of time series together. You know, in our spare time.)

Before we headed to our separate panels, Dan Gamber grabbed me and introduced me to Anne VanderMeer. Again, the first time to meet face-to-face but we’ve exchanged emails (and mss. and rejection slips) for some time. Jeremy’s panel started but I still had an hour open so I wandered over to talk to Wild Mercy. While they were being interviewed, Andrew was gracious enough to talk to me about an idol of mine, George Alec Effinger (Andrew was in his writers group and knew him for several years before he died. It was an enriching conversation and I’m in his debt for his kindness). I did get to talk to Wild Mercy and thank them for Summer Storm. Both regular readers of this weblog know that I listened to that CD while writing Calamity’s Child and I wanted to say thanks. They thought it was pretty neat that I wrote to their music and I thought it was incredibly exciting that Barry (that’s the giraffe) has finished his song cycle and the CD is out! Steve Lapata joined us and we talked about absent friends, especially Cat’s Laughing, Emma Bull, and Will Shetterly before Steve and I had to go to our panel.

Steve and I were together on the same panel and joined by Glen Cook to discuss high tech weaponry. Pretty much, the best weapon around at any tech level is a rock (especially if you can heave it down a planetary gravity well) so we broadened our discussion to military things in general. It was a great panel that began with cutting edge military tech, progressed back through history as we discussed the timelessness of certain basic tactics and each of us talked about an area of history we were currently reading and the interesting things we were learning. By the end of the panel, we were with Hannibal, sans elephants, harassing Rome. I enjoyed it and I think the audience and the other panelists did too. Steve and I continued our conversation for about another hour before She Who Must Not Be Named arrived to claim me and drag me off to eat and sleep.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Midsouth Convention Report (Part 2 of a half-dozen or so)

My first programming assignment, and the only one I had on Friday, was a reading for the children’s track. (I am not a children’s author! Does anyone even believe me anymore when I say that?) Since it was Friday, I didn’t expect anyone to show and figured I’d have a quiet hour to get organized. Ha! To my pleasant surprise, I had both children and adults and so “Purple Wings and Troll Snot” put in yet another live performance. (Really need to find a publisher for that thing—it makes too many people too happy to not be in print.) It was here that I got to meet Andrew Fox and, more importantly, his three wonderful sons, Levi, Asher, and Judah. (See! I remember their names. Adults I forget and have to look up in the programming book but anyone shorter than four feet I remember. But I am not a children’s author!) It was a good reading but an interesting way to start the convention. I was panting and trying to catch my breath for the rest of the evening. A kid’s reading is not a reading. It’s throwing yourself down a flight of stairs while reciting a story from memory.

I tagged back in with Bill and Jeremy and was ready to call it a night and head back to the Super 8 when Gary Babb caught me and told me there was a “meet and greet” where the folks could meet the guests. Being one of the guests, I figured I’d best attend and there was free food. I’m already in trouble with my publicist for turning down dinner with an editor so I wasn’t going to turn down free food. Andrew introduced me to Marty Halpern (his editor) and I ended up sitting next to Mr. Resnick talking Africa. When the gathering broke up, Mr. Resnick invited me to come up to the movie room and watch a pair of his short stories with him but, due to the lateness of the hour, I declined and called it a night. It was a good first day, I’d been up since about 6 a. m., and Mike was going to be watching movies until at least 1 in the morning. (I almost forgot to mention, I also met Glen Cook in the dealer room and didn’t recognize him. Somewhere between funny and awkward that.)

Before I managed to make good on my escape, I did an interview (really nice pair of guys) but then I was on my way. Half-an-hour later I found the rental car in the now-packed parking lot and eventually made it back to She Who Must Not Be Named.