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Orycon 2015 report!

It’s a bit weird these days for Dara and me to show up at a convention that we’re not actually working–or which I wind up missing because I need to blow the whole con actually writing because I suck at deadlines. *^_^*;; Medical shenanigans have also kept us from going to cons we’ve wanted to go to for a few years running.

Like, for example, Orycon! We missed the last couple ones due to those medical shenanigans, but this year, we finally made it down. This was the first Orycon we’ve been to in some time, so it was pretty much like going to the con for the first time all over again.

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Hi all, back from Worldcon!

Dara and I returned from Worldcon yesterday and I’m taking today off to decompress–because I spent the entire con pretty much working the NIWA table in the dealers’ room, and that’s dealing with a lot of people by my introvert standards. So I need some downtime!

I will, nonetheless, post today!

Since I was at the NIWA table so much I actually wound up seeing very little of the convention. And I gotta say, we were totally spoiled for space at our table, occupying a corner booth as we did. We had a truly magnificent spread of books, with 37 different authors represented on the table! Seriously, check this out, this was the booth space we had to play with! (And you can guess which portion of the table was my favorite, I expect!)

(Putting in a More tag as this post is kind of long!)

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Going to Worldcon! Will I see you there?

For those of you who haven’t already seen me posting about this on the social networks, tomorrow Dara and I head out to Spokane for this year’s Worldcon: Sasquan!

I plan to be spending a good chunk of my time helping staff the NIWA booth in the dealers’ room, so I will be easy to find. I’ll have plenty of copies of Faerie Blood and Bone Walker with me, as well as copies of the Bone Walker Soundtrack! Look for me there if you’ll also be at the convention. I’ll even have posters of the Bone Walker cover art for anybody who might happen to want one, so you have reason to track me down even if you already have the books!

And here’s hoping there will be minimal drama all around, yes? Yes.

OH YES and don’t forget: Faerie Blood and Bone Walker remain on sale for 99 cents each for the duration of the convention, and three days afterward as well to give folks time to pick up the book if they talk to me at the con!


Anglicon 2015 report!

This past weekend was Anglicon in Seattle! This was the first Anglicon in many years, resurrected via a recent Kickstarter, and it proved to be a great success–biggest Anglicon ever, apparently. Dara supported the Kickstarter, so she and Paul and I all got to have memberships.

Dara spent the most time at the con of any of us, but I did go down with her on both Saturday and Sunday, and so got to enjoy several things about it. It was in the same hotel where Norwescon is held every year, but since Anglicon was so much smaller than Norwescon, it was very odd to be strolling around the same space with so fewer people and with programming in different places than I’m used to. In particular, it was very strange having the area I’m used to thinking of as the dealer’s room, i.e., one big open space, actually reconfigured into three smaller spaces being used for panels.

On Saturday I didn’t stay too long, but I did attend the Q&A’s given by the three primary guests of honor–Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), and Sophie Aldred (Ace). This was the first time I’d ever laid actual eyes on any of the Doctor Who cast from any point in the show, and I gotta say, all three of them were quite entertaining and engaging in their own various ways.

Colin was charmingly self-deprecating about his age and repeatedly had to ask fans to speak up on their questions, admitting that he was old and deaf–he’s 72 now, so yeah, he’s pretty up there. But he was still quite lively on stage, and particularly amusing when going off on a rant about how he wanted to exorcise the word ‘favorite’ from his vocabulary. Not terribly surprisingly, this was motivated by his often ranking fairly low on “favorite Doctor” lists, and he had some snark to level about David Tennant: “oooh I’m slim and good-looking! I have stylish jackets and spiky hair!”

Which totally reminded me of Invader Zim’s ranting about Dib to an innocent bystander. In rather a similar tone, too. 😀



He perked up considerably every time someone in the audience asked him about his Big Finish work, and he expressed deep love and enthusiasm for working with them. It turns out he’s done quite a bit of voice work for Big Finish even outside the Doctor Who stories–he’s done a Dark Shadows and other work as well. He’s gotten a lot of positive reactions from the Doctor Who fandom for the Big Finish Sixth Doctor stories, though, and speaking as someone who’s heard one of these, I’m very much looking forward to listening to more.

Katy Manning turned out to be entirely adorable. And lively! She moved around like someone half her age, and was very warm and friendly to all the fans, too. Hugged everybody and called us all “darling”. I think my favorite story of hers that she shared during her Q&A was about Ron Delgado being seasick during the filming of “The Sea Devils”, and how she and Jon Pertwee kept totally giving him shit about it, swaying back and forth and dropping deliberate mentions of salted pork.

Sophie Aldred by contrast was a bit more restrained personality-wise than the other two, but she was still quite delightful as well. She talked some about her feminist background, which I hadn’t been aware of, and some about lesbian subtext in “Survival”, the final episode of Seven’s run–something which the writer of that episode later said was absolutely the intention, but nobody really got it at the time.

On Saturday Dara and Paul and I also spent some time wandering around the dealers’ room, and I wound up coming home with a jar of vanilla-pear-rhubarb preserves (just because they were tasty AND because it was something I hadn’t seen in a convention dealer’s room before), several bookmarks for books I want to investigate, and a knitted eyeball catnip jingle toy for George.

At least two different life-sized Daleks were making the rounds, which was awesome. One of them even came up to guest Jon Davey’s table, and it was kind of hysterical seeing it ask in Dalek Voice, “Can I have your autograph?” Also hysterical: the other Dalek specifically being Dalek Clara. It was wearing a wig on top of itself, too.

Paul and I left early, leaving Dara to spend the evening at the con. And kind of unsurprisingly, we came home to watch a boatload of Doctor Who: “Attack of the Cybermen” (with Six and Peri), “Survival” (and yeah I TOTALLY bought the lesbian subtext there between Ace and Karra, HA), and 4 of the 6 episodes of the “The Sea Devils”. Which I mention because this was totally pertinent when Dara and I came back to the con on Sunday!

We wound up getting in the autograph lines for Baker, Aldred, and Manning all so that Dara could get them to sign her program book, and I was pleased to tell all three that I’d just gone home and watched their episodes and quite liked them. I specifically wanted to tell that to Colin Baker, just because he’d also told a story the day before about a fan coming up to him and being all “well you’re not one of my favorites, but I’d better have your autograph”, and I mean damn, rude much? So I wanted to give him some positive feedback. And also because I did rather like the Cryons in that episode. AND, Dara and I both told him we wanted to hear the audio he’d done with Big Finish in which his Big Finish-era-Six plays off the TV-era-Six, which sounds like great fun. It’s The Wrong Doctors, specifically. He perked up when we mentioned that, too.

I was pleased to tell Sophie Aldred I’d gone home and watched “Survival”, too, specifically because she’d mentioned it, and that I did quite like the bits with Ace and Karra.

And Katy Manning again was totally adorable. She got up and hugged me and Dara both, twice even, and I wound up buying one of her photos and asking her to sign it for Paul–just because Paul after all has been my main conduit into the older era of the series! And Dara showed off the Second Doctor sonic screwdriver she’d built, which amused Katy quite a bit; she made jokes about it looking like an e-cigarette. This does, I believe, mark the first time I have ever been hugged by an actual actress in my life. <3

When I told her we’d watched most of “The Sea Devils” the night before, she went “ooh, tell me what happens!” To wit: LOL. (And later, when we got home, Paul was delighted when we handed him the signed pic, which was one of Jo and the Third Doctor on a motorbike. He proclaimed he’d frame it and put it up on his wall. YAY!)

After we got the autographs, we went to a couple of panels. The Big Finish panel was pretty much required, although that turned out to be pretty much a chronological overview of Big Finish, and wasn’t really much new to Dara and me since we’d become familiar with Big Finish courtesy of the Doctor Who Podcast. Who we specifically gave a shout out to as significant in getting Tom Baker to sign on with Big Finish, finally! SHOUTOUT TO THE DOCTOR WHO PODCAST! \m/

The “Defend This” panel was also quite amusing, in which the two panelists (one of whom was one of the guys from another Doctor Who podcast, the Happiness Patrol–GREAT name for a podcast) took turns trying to give two-minute defenses of various dodgy things in Doctor Who. Things like “Colin Baker’s coat”, the episode “Fear Her”, and Peri’s accent all came up, as well as “The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon”.

Colin Baker did another big Q&A panel on Sunday, and it was during this that he got in a lovely interaction with a fan who asked him about the Dark Shadows audio he’d done with Big Finish–told him it’d scared her silly and made her afraid to go in her basement. He was rather sympathetic about that, told us how houses in Britain aren’t so much with basements, and proceeded to add how he’d actually listened to that audio himself later and gotten rather creeped out by it even though he knew what was going to happen!

I also liked his answer to a fan’s question about how, if he could switch costumes with any other Doctor, whose costume would he want? He was very firm about his answer: he’d totally want Christopher Eccleston’s costume, on the grounds that his outfit felt most like “clothes this guy would just wear”. And I gotta say, I rather like the mental image of Six in Nine’s outfit, even though I’ve also seen some very nice renderings of Six in the blue coat Big Finish has put him in in a lot of his adventures!

Six With Blue Coat

Six With Blue Coat

What was particularly charming of Colin during this Q&A though was how he told us all how our convention, to him, felt just like conventions from back in the 80’s–still a bunch of fans all gathering together to show our love of Doctor Who, with panels and costumes and all. He also spoke very highly of fan-made Daleks and Cybermen and such, calling out quite correctly that the actual costumes and sets and props for the show are often not nearly so sturdily made as fan work, since the fan work has to stand up to going to convention after convention.

The closing ceremonies were also very nice. We learned that this Anglicon had turned out to be the biggest ever, clocking in at just over 900 registered members, and that yes, they’d be running it again next year. Dara and I certainly had a great time, and chances are good we’ll be coming back next year!

Dara’s got her own report up on the convention, as well as a bunch of pictures on her flickr account. I think my favorite of her shots is this one of three guys cosplaying Nine, Ten, and Eleven, who all conveniently happened to wind up sitting in chronological order and so naturally had to pose for pics together!

Anglicon 2015

All in all: lovely little convention! And as I said on Twitter:


The Norwescon 2015 report, and what I learned running merch!

This year at Norwescon was a totally new experience for me, since I spent the vast majority of the convention attempting to sell stuff!

I got in a bit of a trial run with that last year, working with Brad and a couple other folks in NIWA to run our table then. This year I did that again, only this time I turned out to be one of the primary people working the table–because Lee French and I were the two at the table with actual Squares, so we were the ones ringing up transactions. Jake Elliot, Connie Johnson-Jasperson, and Madison Keller were also helping work the table, and we got in a pretty good groove going, engaging with folks. Luna Lindsey popped by periodically, but she was also on a lot of panels, so she was only able to check in every so often.

Here are a bunch of things I learned from that:

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Bone Walker, Vengeance of the Hunter

Status update from VCON

Well, I think this is a new first for me: I’ve just spent practically all of VCON holed up making a mad dash through the rest of developmental edits for Draft #2 of Vengeance of the Hunter. I swear to gods, people, my editor? She’s made of solid gold awesomeness, and I’ll go on record here and now as saying that Draft #2 has improved considerably because of her. It’s still the shortest book I’ve ever written, but at 84K, it’s still a credible length for a novel.

(I did at least get to see a couple of things at VCON, though. I made a sweep through the dealers’ room and spotted a couple of books I liked the look of, one of which I’ve already bought in ebook form, the other of which I’m going to track down if I can. I would have gotten the paperbacks, except that my shelves are already pretty damn full, the lament of book geeks everywhere. And oh yes, I bought a new Doctor Who t-shirt, one which has all of the first 11 Doctors on it. And it’s weird to type that, rather than ‘all of the Doctors’, now that I know there’s a new guy on the way.

And I did go to the Turkey Readings today, which were awesome and full of win and LOL. Also, I did get to say hi to GoH Mur Lafferty, whose name I know from her work on the podcast Leviathan Chronicles.)

But anyway. Vengeance is in, though my brain is goo. The Editor of Awesomeness will be commencing her next round of edits on it ASAP and I expect to be on tap to charge through those as soon as she throws them back to me.

Those of you who are patiently awaiting updates on Bone Walker, I swear to god I haven’t forgotten you. Vengeance however has eaten my brain. So has the Not-So-Happyfun Medical News I got earlier this week, and the other reason I’ve more or less spent the entire convention hunched over my computer is that I’ve not been in much of a mood to make social noises at a hotel full of strangers.

Y’all will be getting an update on Bone Walker as soon as I can get my brain back. The next thing that’s likely to happen there is that I’m going to get the long overdue posters and postcards made, so stand by for an update on that by the end of this week, mmkay?

Now I think I need to sleep for a week.


This year’s Norwescon!

I’ve had more fun at Norwescon in recent years, in no small part because it’s actually pretty cool to be Dara’s water fairy–i.e., the person who runs water to the musicians she’s bringing in for the concert tracks. It means I get to hang out listening to all the music, and every so often, somebody’ll play something really awesome.

For example, this is the year I discovered Molly Lewis and Hello, the Future!, both of whom involve awesome geek girl singing. And ukeleles. I’m totally now hearing the Doctor in my head saying “I play a ukelele now. Ukeleles are COOL.” And while nerdcore remains not really my Thing, I did nonetheless quite enjoy what I saw of Klopfenpop and Death*Star, in Dara’s MONSTARRS OF NERDCORE concert.

But I also had quite a bit of fun attending three excellent panels. One was a complete geek-out about the movie edition of The Hobbit, in which I amused the panelists by announcing I was reading the book as we speak, in two different languages (and I was told that why yes, that IS extremely geeky). I was particularly pleased that one of the panelists was a young woman who’d just taken a semester on Tolkien at the U-dub, in fact–and that the two men on the panel cheerfully deferred to her as their expert, since her knowledge of the canon was significantly more current.

It will probably surprise none of you that the entire room was pretty much in agreement that 1) yes, we all liked the movie, 2) yes, we all had issues with the movie, and 3) yes, we’re all going to go see The Desolation of Smaug, probably two or three times. I was also quite, QUITE amused at one dude talking about how they prettied up Thorin, Kili, and Fili to get them to appeal to the “tweens and twenty-somethings”, at which point I and the fifty-something woman behind me were all “whaddya mean, twenty-somethings?” Because yeah, we were on board with the Unexpected Hotness of Dwarves.

Another panel was excellently moderated by Diana Pharaoh Francis, and was about Rogues and Anti-Heroes in Fantasy and why we love them and such. We had a delightful discussion about the differences between those character archetypes, and moreover, I was quite charmed by Diana’s purple hair. And Browncoat lanyard. You can’t go wrong with a Browncoat lanyard.

The third panel I quite enjoyed was one on Big Publishing Vs. Small Publishing Vs. Self-Publishing, which, for reasons that should be obvious, is Highly Relevant to My Interests. I wasn’t terribly surprised to see the guys who run small presses of COURSE being all “but of course you should send your stuff to big presses and if not then the small presses”… and this was where I started diverging in opinion from them, because I’ve come to believe that whether or not you submit to a big NY press should in fact depend on what your goals are and how much patience you have. Meanwhile, though, the two women who had more experience with self-pub had stern opinions about whether or not big publishing had worked for them (spoiler alert: it hadn’t, not really).

And in particular, I was pleased to note that Karen Kincy, an author whose book Other had been recommended to me, was on this panel. She spoke quite passionately about her experiences and why she chose to run a Kickstarter for the fourth novel in her series. As a Kickstarter author myself, that was pretty much the most interesting part of the panel for me.

Meanwhile, I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of local authors I’d seen at a previous Norwescon–Tiger Gray and Vivien Weaver, who have a couple of books in a shared universe that are published under the moniker of Hard Limits Press. When they found out I was an author as well we had quite the delightful chat about each other’s covers–and when I told them I had a book coming out from Carina, they were all “ooh, Deb Nemeth” and I said quite happily that she’s my editor. I quickly bought both of their books in trade, and then came home and bought them again in digital form just so I’d have them easily at hand for my commutes.

And. AND! I sold five print copies of Faerie Blood, three of which were with the help of the lovely people of Book Universe. I sold them on consignment so I didn’t get as much money for them, but hey, they were sold, and I was quite happy to give them a cut for doing the work of selling the copies for me!

Music-wise, I had huge fun at the Find Your Instrument panel, in which I totally bugged userinfosolcita to show me her violin. Because RESEARCH. Also because AWESOME. I finally got it explained to me exactly how a violin does in fact physically differ from a fiddle, and even managed to get a few coherent notes off of Sunnie’s instrument. WOW, holding that thing felt weird to flute-player me, since it was at a completely different angle. And playing it felt even weirder, since I had to try to figure out how to angle the bow to get it to make proper noises against the strings.

I did learn two things that may eventually become useful when writing Kendis, though. And those are: 1) there’s not really any such thing as a chord on the violin, but you can sometimes play two strings at once and that seems to be about as close as you get; 2) if you want to do quick staccato notes, you will want to bow down rather than up, since you get more force that way. (Since one of the questions I asked Sunnie was how to know which direction to bow when.)

Cascadia’s Got Talent was fun again this year, even if it was short, and was sadly lacking in a gong. But that was okay, since nobody was really bad enough to deserve being gonged, and a couple of people were actually actively funny and sang well. And I did love Dara’s schtick about the grand prize of Metro bus passes to Kenmore (“Kenmore! It’s on the way to Bothell! Kenmore! We used to be interesting, thank God THAT’S over! Kenmore! Where the appliances go to die!”).

Dara and I closed out the con with what’s becoming a tradition–the Intro to Irish Session panel, which is small but fun and eventually I’ll have enough damn tunes to actually carry a fair share of one of these. But in the meantime, this time, I heavily geeked out about podorythmie and Quebec music as opposed to Irish music, and had the delight of a lady in the audience name-checking Le Vent du Nord. “YES!” I proclaimed happily, as the aforementioned userinfosolcita beside me gestured in my direction in a “why yes she IS a raving fangirl” sort of way, “I love them!”

And I got told by Alexander James Adams that my singing was good on the GBS fanvid that Dara and I showed off to him. Which was awesome. <3