Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lunacon 2008: Part 3 (Reading with the Broads)

How could I forget to mention this? On Saturday night, I participated in a "rapid-fire reading" with other members of Broad Universe.

I always enjoy participating, as I might have said before, because I get to listen to the others' readings while I wait for my turn. This time, just because of where I was sitting, I was the last to read, so I got to hear some interesting readings.

First up was April Gray, reading from her very funny, "I'll love ya forever, but..." story of a woman whose husband shambles back from the grave -- and onto the white shag carpet.

Phoebe Wray read a selection from her just-released novel Jemma7729, a story of the future where an independent spirit rebels against a controlling State. In Phoebe's reading, Jemma sees the stars in the sky at night, stars she had been led to believe didn't exist anymore.

Racheline Maltese, whose Harry Potter trivia book was released in November, read next. (At this point I was starting to get jittery because I was up next, so I forgot to write down the name of what she read -- will get that info and update this later. Sorry, Racheline!)

Finally it was my turn. I read a scene from The Old Power Returns in which Frederick, the vampire, has promised his girlfriend that he'll go bowling with her and decides to practice. Bowling? A vampire? Yup! It's both funny and touching and I enjoy reading it. I tried to record my reading, as I did another time I read it. One of these days I'll listen to the two recordings and try to get at least a short excerpt posted.

Well, time to start winding down for bed. Hope you all have a good weekend,


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lunacon 2008: Part 2 (The "Escher Hilton")

Joe Mahew says, in Lunacon Report, "For those unfamiliar with the Rye Lunacon’s Town [sic] hotel, it earned its nickname, ’Escher Hilton,’ with its convoluted, eccentric building design in which one needs a native guide to get from one point to another. Finding anything there for the first time is a sort of built-in adventure game. "

I first heard someone call it the Escher Hilton when I almost bumped into her in the halls, not looking where I was walking because I was too intent on trying to figure out where the heck I was. "Sorry, but this hotel really confuses me," I said. "They don’t call it the ’Escher Hilton’ for nothing," she replied.

It’s not just that walking straight down the hall of the fourth floor and down a few steps gets you suddenly on the SEVENTH floor that was the problem. I can handle the fact that floors 1-4 on one side are called 5-8 on the other. And I could get used to the fact that the lobby on one side is on floor 2, but on the other side it’s floor 7. But the layout is not the usual rectangle of a modern hotel. And even if it were, it’s always days before I can figure out how to get around a normal hotel. It’s hard to explain, but there were angles and shifts and the map had such small print that it was hard to read in the soft lighting of the spacious halls.

But, hey, it’s not the hotel’s fault that I’m directionally challenged. Eventually it started to make some sense, but only some. I guess the good part about it was that I was too afraid of getting lost going to the Con Suite that I didn’t make many trips, which cut down on my snacking

But it also meant that I wasn’t able to make a quick stop at the dealer’s room between panels. I had hoped that I could slip out of each panel a little early, run to the dealer’s room, relieve Phoebe at the Broad Universe table, and meet and greet for 10-15 minutes at the end of each hour. I figured that if panels ended 5 minutes before the hour, I could leave 5-10 minutes before that and not miss too much. But because I couldn’t get the hang of the layout until the last day, and because a lot of the panels ran close to the end (or interested me so much I forgot to leave early), I didn’t make it.

Unfortunately that meant I missed the woman who bought The Old Power Returns! According to the woman minding the table at the time, the woman said she knew me from a long time ago, which makes me doubly sad I missed her! So, if you were that person, please contact me here or go to the contact section of my web site.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Lunacon 2008: Part 1 (Heat and Panels)

Lunacon was HOT! Yeah, really, really hot. I mean it.

Even if hubby told me beforehand that he read a review of the hotel that said it tended to have air conditioning problems, I wouldn't have taken much notice. After all, this is March, and it's still technically -- and evidently -- winter. So, had I heard, I would have just forgotten it. And maybe I did. There's a good chance that he mentioned it and I totally discarded what I considered to be irrelevant info. And, of course, I didn't pack a tee shirt or short-sleeved shirt -- after all, this is WINTER, oil prices are high, and I thought I lived in an environmentally-aware part of the country. Maybe the Rye Hilton is in another universe?

But enough about the hotel. How about the con? I attended a some great panels, ate some great gnocci in a nearby restaurant, and picked up some good books.

I've never seen so many choices for panels! Okay, so I really haven't been to that many cons, but this con certainly had the most panels and most diversity of panels that I've seen so far. Hubby was even able to find a few he found interesting. Writer Dan Robichaud from w was on a couple of good panels, including "The Carpetbaggers" (a discussion on why some genre terms aren't used in literary circles) and other differences between the two worlds, and "Gaming on the Dark Side," a panel I thought I'd have no interest in since I don't game, but which held hubby and I rapt. Also on those two panels was Adam Nakama, soft-spoken, but always with something interesting to say. I met Adam on the ride to Lunacon when we both bummed a ride from Dan and Trista because our significant others wouldn't be able to get away until late. (Speaking of interesting programming, Adam taught Tango on Saturday, but I was just getting lunch about then.)

Rosemary Edghill moderated a great panel called "Fantastic Females," a discussion of writers who wrote strong female characters in their fiction. More than one panelist and audience member mentioned that they used to read boys' adventure stories as a child because the ones with female characters just weren't interesting. Rosemary herself writes strong, believable characters and it was a pleasure to hear her thoughts and knowledge on the subject.

Jeanne Cavelos, fellow New England Horror Writer and HWA member, and director of the Odyssey Fantasy workshop, also contributed much to that panel. I caught her on an earlier panel, "Horror in the Escher Hilton," which I found interesting, especially the very brief discussion on torture porn's place in horror, and some insights that Jeanne and another panelist had on "The Blair WItch Project." (I'm one of those people who couldn't understand what the fuss was about. Now I'm wondering that if I had read their website first, would I have had a different experience?)

And finally I got to meet fellow HWA author Jonathan Maberry, but, darn, I forgot to get a copy of his Vampire Universe! Jonathan and urban fantasy author Mark del Franco were on a panel on "Social Networking for Writers" and not only did I get some good tips, but got to hear a lot of interesting related chatter on writing in general.

Whew. Gotta stop here. There's lots more to tell, including what, exactly, is the "Escher Hilton," but I'll have to hold that until later.