WFC 2012 Day 2

So okay, maybe it will be (at least) a week between posts. But I do have a ton of other stuff going on right now. So much so, in fact, that I’m barely certain I’ll be able to get this post done today, but we’ll see what happens. (update, took 2 days but hey, it’s done).

Once again, a few things to get out of the way before I jump into my stories from WFC. First, have you bought J. Elizabeth Hill’s book yet? I’m going to keep posting about it until you do.

Okay, next up: The short story that I mentioned last time. There have actually been some interesting twists on that work since then. As I may have mentioned (or maybe not), my crit class is doing a “reading night” next week which I’m absolutely terrified of excited about. I had been told we had about ten minutes to read. I realized I could do slightly less than 2K in that time and picked out two sections, one of which was more than 2K and one of which was less, but would require more explanation since it came later in the piece. Then two things happened:

1. I missed a class for a sinus infection. During that class, several other people climbed on board for reading. Which is fabulous, except that it reduced our reading time to five minutes.

2. A member of my class looked up the average reading rate and it is apparently 150wpm. She reads at 180wpm so there is some leeway. My teacher emailed and told me he didn’t think there was any way I could get through over 2K in less than 10 minutes and have anyone understand me.

Basically this means that I not only have half the time I thought I did, but I have to reduce my word count even more because I must have been reading at an unreasonable rate when I timed myself. This means I have to keep it well under 1K. Probably more like 800.

Of course I got this email at midnight and proceeded to stay up for an hour panicking about it, which was NOT good for said sinus infection.

The next morning I decided on a new game plan. 9K overall was too long as far as I was concerned anyhow, and I really felt it needed tightening up. Very well. I decided I would take it a chunk at a time and see how much I could reduce my word count and still be happy with it.

This has wound up being an absolutely excellent exercise for me. I’m grabbing 500 word sections and trying to knock them down to 400. Usually I miss, though not by a lot. But it is all averaging out so far. I’ve gone through 4662 words and reduced them to 3871. I won’t have time to get through the whole thing before reading night, since I’ll want to give myself some time to edit the reduced version, but I plan to go to the end of the second section I was considering which is just before 7000 words on the original. Anyhow, what this means is that the sections themselves are now shorter, so it should be easier for me to select something that will fit into the new parameters.

Okay, onto WORLD FANTASY CONFERENCE DAY TWO:

When I left off last time, I’d made it to the correct hotel (finally) and was feeling a bit shy about not knowing anyone. Ran into someone I met last year, hit it off with one of her friends. As such, I was feeling a little bit better going into day 2. I wound up showing up a bit later than I’d originally intended because I wasn’t feeling very well. This being “autograph night” I was hauling around a bag of books (though not as many as I’d been given the night before) and in the dealer room I managed to pick up a hardcover of my favourite Charles de Lint books (I’d been unable to find my mass market of the same that morning). I attended a panel on Fantasy Gothic Noir which I planned to leave early in order to grab some lunch, but couldn’t tear myself away because the discussion was so interesting. (the moderator had a PhD in creative writing which still fascinates me). After that, I grabbed and bagel and coffee and then ran to de Lint’s reading which was, as expected, brilliant and inspiring. That man is an incredible writer.

By this point it was 3pm, when I was due to have my coffee date with the lovely Carol Berg. I met her in the lobby and was greeted with a hug worthy of a long-lost friend. Which was wonderful as I’d only met her once but we’d become pretty good friends then and have stayed in touch since. Anyhow, we grabbed some coffee and found a quieter place to chat. I figured that since there was a steampunk panel at 5pm, I’d have somewhere to go once I started wearing out my welcome.

I had a great time reconnecting with her and we talked about pretty much everything that’s happened in the eight or so years since we’d seen each other – families, writing, books, histories. Just everything. I mentioned that I’d seen her the day before but hadn’t wanted to intrude and she told me I should have come over anyhow. At 6pm she stood up and said we should probably find somewhere for dinner. And then took me back to the lobby and introduced me to all of those people I’d missed meeting the day before and then we all went out to dinner together. These people were all fabulous and I’m so grateful to have met all of them!

(slight interjection here: while in the middle of this dinner, one of my readers sent me a tweet to tell me how much she adored the ending to my novel, which she’d just finished. And so I got to show that tweet to my favourite author. At which point I started wondering if the night could possibly get better).

We returned to the Sheraton for the big autograph session. WFC had a much better layout for this than WorldCon, I thought…yes, there was a large line to get in, but once you got in it was just a free for all. I got my new book signed by de Lint, an ARC signed by Guy Gavriel Kay for my husband and, of course, Carol signed her most recent series for me. After that I wandered about for a bit, recognizing more than a few faces but without books for them to sign. That night I went home completely blissed out.

(Spoiler alert – on Day 3 I went home even further blissed out. But you’ll have to wait for the next post to hear about that one).

World Fantasy Convention Day One (also my short and go buy my friend’s book)

I’ve been meaning to post about the World Fantasy Convention for over two weeks now and I just haven’t. I’ve tried. I’ve tried many times even. I think the main problem has been that I wasn’t sure exactly how to post about it. Do I post a day-by-day thing? Do I post a series of out-of-order events that meant something to me? In the end, I think I’ve decided that I will put a separate post about each day. That will stop the posts from running to 3000 words and it means you get more blog posts from me. Exciting, no?

BUT, before I get into that I have two announcements to make. The first is to point you all in the direction of my very good friend and most excellent author Julie Elizabeth Hill. Julie has just launched her first ebook, entitled Bound. I’ve read it, it’s great, go buy it and tell her I sent you. It should soon also be available in print format as well.

The second announcement which is probably far less exciting, but still pretty exciting to me, is that I finished a short story. And I even like it! I managed to keep it under 10K – it’s currently sitting at 9110 and I’m in the midst of trying to tighten it up as much as I can. This is a big deal to me because, as I’ve stated in a previous post (that I have no idea how to link back to) I find short stories to be daunting at best. Anyhow, I’m quite pleased with how this one turned out and – get this – I even like my ending.

Okay, now that that is all out of the way, let me FINALLY tell you all about…

THE WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION 2012

DAY ONE

Day One did not start off as planned. First of all, I had the wrong hotel. Yep, you read that right. Wrong. Hotel. It was a total genius move too: I saw on the website that it was at the Sheraton, thought I know where that is and didn’t for a moment consider that Toronto, being a fairly large city, might, in fact, have more than one Sheraton Hotel. So I got there, later than I wanted to begin with and there was, of course, no fantasy convention. And then I found out that not only was it not in the downtown Sheraton, it was in a Sheraton that was barely in Toronto at all! Thankfully, I caught my husband before he drove too far off and we took another hour getting me to the right location. I did make it in time for the opening ceremonies, but I missed the first panel I’d been hoping to get to. This also thwarted my various downtown Toronto plans which included having dinner with one of my best friends and having countless options for meals and shopping if there was a lull in the programming.

Upon arrival, I immediately saw my favourite author (Carol Berg) in the lounge, but as she was surrounded by twenty-odd people, I wasn’t exactly comfortable approaching. Anyhow, I had plans to have a drink with her the next day. (more on that in the next post! Oooo…teasers!) So instead I went into the dealer room and wandered about, waiting for the opening ceremonies to start. It was here that I started to really notice that this was the first event of this nature that I’d ever attended entirely by myself. I’m pretty shy and the more I walked around, the more it became clear to me that there were a lot of people here that I didn’t know…but they all seemed to know someone. This made me a little uncomfortable. Anyhow, I watched the very short opening ceremonies and then attended a fascinating panel on Fantasy in the Wilderness. During this panel, I began to come around to an author I’d previously not been terribly fond of (his books, he’s fine). He was very witty and humourous and I decided I’d attend his reading later in the convention just to see if maybe I’d give his books another shot.

I almost forgot to mention that on this day I was also given an 800 pound bag of free books that I had to come back and get at the end because I didn’t have a hotel room to go dump them in. (I should add that this had nothing to do with being at the wrong hotel originally – we live close enough to Toronto that my original plan was to GO train in every day though we wound up driving because of the actual location).

Anyhow, dinnertime was rolling around and I had no one to eat with and no Eaton Centre to provide me with options. I figured I would go to the lounge and see if anyone sat down to chat when I ran into a girl from Algonkian last year. I had dinner with her and her roommates, one of whom I wound up getting along with fabulously. We came back, grabbed some starbucks and attended a final panel (this one on music, featuring the brilliant Charles de Lint), and then went our separate ways, me with an 800 pound bag of books on my shoulder. It was like being back in university. 😉

And that wraps up Day One. I’ve made a promise to myself to update this blog at least once a week, but I’m going to try to get the convention covered this week, so you may even hear from me again sooner!

 

The continuing adventures of a writing mom

The other day, in what must have been a fit of sleep-deprived madness, I decided to do a few sit-ups whilst Baby D was having tummy time. Why not, I thought, I used to do this all the time when Kid A was a baby, during his floor-time. And my body is decidedly not recovering the way it did with Kid A, despite the fact that I’m having to run around much more since I also have a five year old to contend with now.

Baby D watched me for a moment, fascinated. Then he grinned. And then he laughed.

And laughed and laughed and laughed.

Everytime I did a crunch, he giggled. It was as though he knew what his giant babyness had done to my body and was thoroughly amused by my feeble efforts to fix it. “Yeah sure, Mom! Keep doing those crunches. I’m sure it’ll help!”

Seriously, I don’t know where he gets this sarcastic attitude.

It was a strange week overall. Both of my kids had check-ups…well Baby D did (and he continues to be huge. One more inch and we have to get a new carseat!) We also got the go-ahead to start on solids so we’ll probably do that this weekend. Kid A’s appointment thoroughly pissed me off, however. I made the appointment for a “check up” and said there were some things we wanted to discuss. The doctor weighed and measured Kid A, discussed our concerns and then made to leave. I asked about the rest of the check up and, apparently, that was it! Excuse me? It appears that, at least at this office, they don’t give kids check-ups of the kind I remember getting: height and weight yes, but also ears and eyes and tummy and getting hit in the knee with that little hammer. When I got home I did some investigating and it now seems that some doctors do check-ups as I remember and some doctors don’t. And so, I looked into getting a paediatrician – which in this little town means that you not only have to get a referral, your kid needs to start going there from birth, and has to have an actual problem to be followed AND there aren’t any in this town anyhow! So I’m not sure what we’ll do…perhaps start looking for a new doctor? I’m not excited by that prospect – as I have no car during the days the convenience of this doctor being a block away will be difficult to give up.

And then the power in our bedroom went out. Again. This happened back in the winter as well. That time, our power died for no apparent reason and then, after several weeks, our clock began to act possessed fading in and out, in and out…and then the power worked. I was suspicious, but we decided to let it go, except then it died again a few days ago. This time my husband tested everything, took out all of the outlets and then finally called in a pro. Said pro discovered that while the house is not exactly wired wrong it is wired kind of stupidly and the damaged wire is buried in our FLOORS. That wire has now been disconnected but a new line needs to be run through the attic – for nearly five hundred dollars. Husband is insisting he can do this himself. I’m nervous but friends of ours who know these things are saying it is possible. I really don’t understand how it can be so difficult to put a house together if that is what you do for a living. We’ve run into the stupidest screw-ups in our various homes (including a central vac that just cut off in one spot and continued elsewhere). Seriously? How difficult is this for some people? And if it really is so challenging, why not find some other line of work and leave this to the Mike Holmeses of the world?

Grrr. Okay, I think I have that off my chest but perhaps not since I’m now feeling snarly. I’ll talk about my manuscript, perhaps that will help. I did speak with the professional contact whom I was having trouble reaching and he  stressed to me the importance of patience. I’m more than halfway through draft two and I’ve cut back my daily quota a bit since I’m starting to notice the signs of burnout, and that would ultimately result in my being even less productive. My writing group is going well and we’ve decided to continue into the fall, even though half of us will also be in the critique class. Fall will be an insane time – I’ll be in two writing sessions, Husband will still be in Aikido, Kid A will be in swimming and wants to start Aikido (and is also begging for gymnastics) and Baby D will start swimming. I have a feeling it’s going to be Christmas before I know it.

And hey, maybe by then, I’ll finally be through my drafts.