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Drove. Saw Friends. Paneled. Met new people. Drank. Dropped cash in dealers' room. Repeated. Repeated again on Sunday (minus drinking) then drove home.
Longer version under the cut. )

Overall, this Boskone felt smaller than last year's, though I haven't seen any official attendance figures. Still it was a great con for me in that the panels I was either on or in the audience for were all interesting, I got to spend time with old friends and made new ones, and I managed not to get sick. Looking forward to next year!
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Here's my current Boskone schedule. If you're there, please stop by and say "Hi!" When not on panels, I'll likely be haunting the Higgins Armory demonstrations, or propping up a stool in the recently opened Irish pub.

Friday 9pm. What do you read for Pleasure?
Patricia Bray (M), Mary Kay Kare, Juliet E. McKenna, Lawrence M. Schoen, Paul G. Tremblay, Ann Tonsor Zeddies. Cheap romances. Yaoi manga. Archeology journals. Sword and sorcery. Cookbooks. What's your secret pleasure? Why? Does it affect your writing? (How?)

Friday 10pm. Keeping Your Series Fresh
Patricia Bray, Michael F. Flynn, Juliet E. McKenna, Steve Miller, Joel Shepherd. If you are lucky enough to create a long-running series, how do you stave off staleness? Have your protagonist take a new case, trip, job, or lover with every installment? Preplan a mega-story arc, building in new expansion joints, trapdoors, and maguffins as you go? Or just keep killing off everybody s favorite characters....?

Saturday 5PM. Literary Beer!
Patricia Bray. Sign up in advance--the one hour I'll be a guaranteed captive audience. There will be free books and chocolate.

Sunday 10am. Cool Britannia: Why We Love British TV SF
Patricia Bray, Yvonne Carts-Powell, Vince Docherty, Jim Mann, Jennifer Pelland. Dr. Who. Primeval. Torchwood. Etc. Just what *is* it about (modern?) British SF on TV?
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On Friday, Jennifer Dunne, Joshua Palmatier and I drove up to Albany together. After dropping Josh off at the con hotel, we proceeded to Jennifer's parents house where they'd made dinner for us. Since Jennifer is about to move to Colorado she'd requested her favorites, but her mom decided to make my favorites instead. Oops. Guess Jennifer's already been replaced as favorite (adopted) daughter.

Jennifer and I arrived back at the con in time to hear Josh's reading, which was well attended, and then proceeded to the ice cream social where Ben & Jerry's ensured a sugar-high.

Next up Josh and I were on the "All You Zombies" panel which was ably moderated by Michael McAfee. At one point in the panel I declared my urgent need for BWAAAINNSSS! and then attempted to snack on Josh's head. Later Josh returned the favor. Members of the audience had cameras, and may be posting incriminating photos at some point.

Saturday's panel on Favorite Bad Sci-Fi Films was also lots of fun, and I came away with a list of to-be-watched suggestions from my fellow panelists and the audience.

On Sunday morning Josh was a hero of the revolution and covered my 10AM panel for me, since I'd realized that there was no way I'd be able to get there in time. The noon panel on Believable Evil reunited me with Josh, and in an attempt to illustrate lurking evil I lunged and stabbed him with a (collapsible) dagger, much to the amazement of the audience. Josh had his own dagger and fought back, while the rest of the panelists edged away.

Both Jennifer and I were exhausted--Jennifer from getting ready to relocate to Colorado and me from working for 12 straight days, so we wound up crashing early both nights, rather than getting to hang out in the bar. But I did get to catch up with numerous friends and had a great meal at the Albany Pump Station (mmm, beer!)

As always, in the dealer's room I bought far more books than I'll ever have time to read. One interesting find was John Grant's Discarded Science: Ideas that seemed good at the time which looks like a fun read and potential launching point for alternate histories. Other scores included an autographed copy of DUAINFEY by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and an ARC of Walter Hunt's soon to be released A SONG IN STONE, which looks intriguing.

Jennifer and Joshua had afternoon panels on Sunday, and then, alas, it was time to head back to home and the day job.

It was a great weekend. Folks were disappointed that the GoH Anne McCaffrey was unable to be there, but co-GoH Todd McCaffrey ably filled in, and for me, anyway, Anne's presence would have been a bonus, but the main reason I was there was to connect with my friends. After the chaos of a Worldcon it was a nice change to be somewhere where everyone's in one place, and there's plenty of time to chat with old friends and make new ones.
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Here's my schedule for Albacon next weekend. If you're trying to catch me, looks like the best time will be after a panel, or in the bar on Friday and Saturday nights.

Friday, 8PM: Ice Cream Social

Friday, 9PM: All You Zombies
Bray, McAfee, Palmatier (aka brain-friend), Schwabach

Saturday, 5PM: My Favorite Bad Sci-Fi Films
Crowley, Huston, Stephenson, Zebrowski, Lay, Bray

Sunday, 10AM: Mining Your Obsessions for Fun and Profit
Bray, Fludd, Macdonald.

Sunday, Noon: Believable Evil
Doyle, Palmatier, Hunt, Sklar, Spoor, Bray


Two of my panels have six participants, which is usually too many unless there is a strong moderator and/or set format. But overall I'm happy with my program schedule and looking forward to a great time at Albacon.
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I have my preliminary Balticon schedule. I keep forgetting how close it is, since Memorial Day weekend is early this year, but it's only 9 days away (yikes!)

Friday 8PM -- Opening Reception (assuming I don't run into too many traffic jams)

Saturday 11AM -- Autograph table (I can haz lizards! U can 2!)

Saturday 3PM -- Chat with the Crooks (ask us anything, we may even answer)

Saturday 4PM -- Real Women Warriors: Tell us about characters that look, sound and feel realistic - and real women who are warriors

Monday 11AM -- Readers: You've Read the First Novel. What determines whether you want to read more by this author?

The Monday panel is a great topic, but the time is problematic given how many people will be ready to hit the road, so we'll see how it goes. Looking forward to the usual fun time at Balticon, plus traveling companion [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow can't wait to get back to his favorite Italian restaurant (Carrabba's, at the mall just down the road).

Wiscon

Apr. 4th, 2007 01:01 pm
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Received my preliminary programming assignments for Wiscon, and I'm quite happy. I get to moderate two panels: "Dead Harry: Killing your protagonist: genius or folly?" and "The Role of Women and People of Color in Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis." Both of these should be lively discussions.

I'm also on two other panels: "Second Acts in Writing and Publishing" and "How To Do Good Work in High Fantasy", plus there's a possibility of a group reading. Just enough to keep me busy, while leaving plenty of time for catching up with friends and actually attending the rest of the con.
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Here's my schedule--as always it's subject to change. It's an interesting mix of topics. Note that I'll be celebrating Saint Patricia's Day at the con....

Friday, March 16th 7:00 PM
Title: Across Art Forms

Description: What aspects of art/film/theatre can be useful to the writer? (e.g. theatre improv to develop dialogue? film editing to understand pacing? exploring folk ballads for inspiration). Participants: Patricia Bray, Barbara Campbell[M], Jonathan Maberry, David Mack, Joshua Palmatier.

Saturday, March 17th 11:00 AM
Title: Jane Austen in SFF

Description: While Austen's work seems about as far from speculative fiction as you can get, multiple genre writers have used her characters, books - or Austen herself - in genre stories. Where does the crossover appeal come from? Participants: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Patricia Bray, Esther Friesner, Peter Heck, Andrew Wheeler[M].

Sunday, March 18th 11:00 AM
Title: Danger in Children's Fantasy

Description: What's an acceptable level of danger in a children's book? The later Oz books are disappointing to readers today because the characters never seem to be in any danger, but isn't there something disturbing about how matter-of-factly students in J. K. Rowling's universe are told they will be killed if they step into the wrong room? Participants: Patricia Bray, Sarah Beth Durst, Amy Goldschlager[M], Tamora Pierce.


And why yes, we're bringing our own dart board, why do you ask?
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This year's Arisia was one of the best organized conventions I've ever been to, and the con staff were friendly and efficient. However the downsides of the new hotel were considerable--among them the wholly inadequate elevator system, and the lack of event space on lower floors which meant the dealer's room and art show were both located at the top of the hotel.

I rapidly became accustomed to walking up and down the stairs to my hotel room on the 7th floor. However, with the dealer's room on the 14th floor, I only visited it twice during the weekend. Many congoers never made it to the dealer's room since they didn't feel like hiking up the stairs, nor braving the endless wait for an elevator.

Pros were thin on the ground, in contrast to the previous Arisias I'd attended, but I did see several friends. Sadly I missed seeing some folks I knew were there, but just didn't run into. I'd been sick earlier in the week and was still crashing early each night, missing the parties.

The long drive was enlivened by the company of [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow and [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne, who tried unsuccessfully to break me of my new verbal tick of inserting "In accordance with the prophecy" at random points during any conversation.

And now it's back to the salt mine. I'll be checking in later this week with a wordcount.

Arisia

Jan. 11th, 2007 10:03 am
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I'm not here, but if I was, I'd be letting folks know that I'll be at Arisia this weekend. Schedule includes:

Literature From Single to Series Sat 11:00 AM
How does an author develop a series concept? Does a series start by accident? Come hear our authors fall prey to the urge to tie up "just this one last plot thread."

Authors discuss how stories that were originally planned as a single novel expanded into a trilogy or a full-blown series. Discussion could include which threads are more likely to lead to a series than others. Panelists could also speak to how the publishing industry informs an author's choice to expand a novel into a series.

Literature The Immortal Dilemma: Not Ending. Sat 4:00 PM
Science Fiction is filled with portrayals of immortal characters, but what is life really like for an immortal? Compare the concept of a solitary immortal surrounded by mortals, to the idea of a society comprised entirely of immortals.

WFC Photo

Nov. 9th, 2006 03:55 pm
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It was all chocolate and lizards at the autographing session.
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Way too soon to be thinking of this stuff, but here's what I've got so far:

Arisia (January 12th-14th)
WisCon (May 25th-28th)
World Fantasy (November 1st-4th)
This one's practically in my backyard! The money I'll save on plane tickets will be offset by how much I spend in the Dealer's Room when I don't have to worry about fitting everything into a suitcase.

Other cons in driving distance are a strong possibility, depending on work and other variables. Barring an unexpected windfall, I'll be skipping both Worldcon and NASFiC next year.
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Beer.

Well actually not, though hanging out in the bar is an important part of any con experience.

Programming can be entertaining, readings spark interest in books I might have otherwise missed, and trips through the dealers room are a favorite indulgence.

But the real reason I go to cons is to hang out with creative, interesting people who share my passions. There's always someone fun to talk to, and you never know where the conversation will lead.

As an example, Saturday I ran into Joe Berlant and chatted about WFC in 2007. One of their themes will be Native American folklore, with a special guest storyteller from the Abenaki tribe. We talked a bit about how many urban fantasies are tapping into traditions of the western and southwestern tribes, but couldn't bring to mind any recent title that tapped into folklore of the northeastern tribes.

Later, as I was chatting with [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia about possible future projects, I mentioned that I wanted to try my hand at an urban fantasy. We did a little brainstorming, and remembering my earlier conversation, I realized how I could tie the setting (a decaying industrial city in the northeast) with legends from the local tribes. Naturally I'd need to do significant research, but I now have the germ of a story idea.

When I got home I sketched out the concept and stuck it in the idea file. So far I've got setting, inciting incident, and a list of things I'd want to research. Going to let this percolate in the backbrain for a bit, to see if the characters come to me. When I start to hear their voices in my head, then I'll know it's time to take the next step.
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Just a quick note to say that I'm back from Albacon, where I had a great time. Saw lots of old friends, made new ones, and completely missed a couple of people that I wanted to talk to but never managed to track down. All in all, a typical con experience :-)

Friday night I helped Joshua, Jennifer, Neil, Sam, and Barbara destroy the electronic darts game at the hotel pub. Two of the players weren't even drinking alcohol, but somehow they became intoxicated through proximity. By the time the second game was finished there were only three functional darts left, along with a stack of bent/decapitated rejects. And let's not even mention the ones that bounced off the board so hard we couldn't find them again....

Now back home and doing laundry in preparation for another crazed week at the day job.

Later!
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I'll be at Albacon this weekend, along with fellow HLSFS members [livejournal.com profile] jpsorrow and [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne. Tenative schedule:

Friday, 7:00PM
Fleshing Out Civilizations

Friday, 8:00PM
Ice cream social!

Saturday, Noon
How to Write About Something You Know Nothing About

Sunday, 11:00AM
Characters Are People Too

Sunday, Noon
Learning from the Pros (Before You Repeat Their Newbie Mistakes)


Looking forward to a fun time. Albacon 2000 was the first SF con I attended in my post-college years, and I always enjoy returning.
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Back from Balticon. The long weekend and drive back drained all functioning brain cells, so expect a longer post on this later in the week. For now, here's a quick recap.

The Good: met old friends and made new ones. Most of the panels I was on were very good, and today's reading from TFB was all I could hope for. I was intrigued to meet several students from Seton Hill University's Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. Maria Snyder, this year's Compton Crook winner, is currently in that program.

The Bad: programming was disorganized, to put it charitably. Among other issues--the pocket program only listed program titles, not descriptions, so both panelists and con attendees were left guessing as to the purpose of some of the panels. For the most part they'd also failed to identify moderators, which left panelists scrambling to choose a moderator as they were sitting down.

The Odd: there were actually two cons going on. The Neil Gaiman con, with a large contingent of his fans only interested in going to his events, and then the con for the rest of us. Preregistration was over 2,000 with many more registering at the con, yet when I was in the public spaces it had the feel of a much smaller con.


In other news, The First Betrayal goes on sale tomorrow. Which completely explains why BN.COM just sent me an email saying that my preorder would be delayed since the publisher had changed the publication date. I called the Ingram's stock line to confirm that the books were in the warehouses, and they are, so BN.COM appears to be experiencing the electronic version of a brain fart. It wouldn't be the first time. I always preorder copies of my titles from the online bookstores, just to check to make sure they are in the channel and shipping, and about half the time I run into a problem with at least one preorder being arbitrarily cancelled, outright lost, or receiving strange status messages.

Anyway, that's all the news that fits to print. More later this weekend, after I recover!

Balticon

May. 23rd, 2006 10:40 am
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Balticon has finally released a schedule for this weekend, and here's where I'll be when I'm not in the dealer's room or bar:

Friday 10:00PM: Arrrr, Matey! It Be A Pirate Panel
Saturday 11:00AM: Strong Female Characters
Saturday Noon: Separating Villains from Heroes
Sunday 11:00 AM: What Kind of Life Does an Immortal Really Have?
Sunday 2:00 PM: Beyond Mansquito & Frankenfish
Sunday 6:00 PM: Meet the Crook Winners
Monday 10:30 AM: Reading from THE FIRST BETRAYAL







Looks like a fun time, though a tad disappointed that the "Writing about Beer & Ale" panel didn't make the final schedule :-)

If anyone is going to Balticon, stop by my reading on Monday morning, where I'll be giving away chocolate and copies of THE FIRST BETRAYAL.

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For those who are interested, here's my current schedule. Thanks to the ever efficient folks at Boskone for getting this out well in advance of the con.

Friday, February 17th

7:00 PM Ghosts on TV: Why are there so many spirits on the screen these days?
Patricia Bray, Don D'Ammassa, MaryAnn Johanson, Paul Levinson, Faye Ringel (M)

While the traditional ghost story is slow to revive, ghosts in episodic TV are now commonplace. What is behind this phenomenon in series from "Rescue Me," "Ghost Whisperer" and the like? How do the hauntings (benevolent or malevolent) affect the show and the audience?

Saturday, February 18th

10:00 AM Reading (half-hour) Patricia Bray

Reading from THE FIRST BETRAYAL for those who are awake.

1:00 PM The Books That Ate My House
Patricia Bray(M), Don D'Ammassa, Geary Gravel, Parris McBride, Joe Siclari

When SF fans admit (with a certain embarrassment, to be sure) "I have piles," they may not mean what outsiders think. Let's talk about the challenges of living with way too many books, confess (OK, boast) about how many we have, and discuss possible solutions. Tesseract-shaped bookcases? Beating fuel prices in inventive new ways (hmm, what *is* the insulating value of paper?)? Or even (shudder) getting rid of some....?

2:30 PM Literary Beer Patricia Bray

The custom printed M&M's will make their Boskone debut at my table :-)

4:00 PM Broad Universe RapidFire Reading

Seven authors in one hour. There's bound to be something to please
everyone. Reading: Patricia Bray, M. J. Danville, Jennifer Dunne [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne, Elaine Isaak, Jennifer Pelland [livejournal.com profile] jenwrites, Wen Spencer [livejournal.com profile] wen_spencer, Phoebe Wray.

Sunday, February 19th

10:00 AM The Happy Peasant
Judith Berman, Patricia Bray, Susan Hanniford Crowley, Joshua B. Palmatier, Tamora Pierce (M)

Description to follow.

1:00 PM Autographing Patricia Bray


Schedule is subject to change, as always.

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