Friday, August 28, 2015

Worldcon (Sasquan) in Pictures

I know everyone else is busy talking about the Great Hugo Drama, but for me, that's not what Worldcon was about. For me, Worldcon means the chance to hang out with friends and meet interesting new people and hear my favorite authors read from books I can't wait to see released. So I am not kidding at all when I say I had an absolute blast in Spokane last weekend.

Originally I was going to do this lovingly detailed post discussing everything I did at the con and everyone I met. But I've got line edits in hand for Labyrinth of Flame, and I'm pushing hard to get all the prose-level fixes done so I can hand off the book to the copy editor. That doesn't leave me time to write long blog posts. But I can share pictures that capture a few of my con highlights:

I got to meet veteran fantasy author Kate Elliott! I read her recently-released YA novel Court of Fives on the plane to Spokane and loved it. I wanted to steal her Black Wolves ARC - that's her latest adult epic fantasy, coming out this fall. But she only had one ARC with her, so I restrained myself (with difficulty). 
Meeting Kate Elliott was extra-special because she (along with the also-awesome Alison Croggon) helped motivate me to keep plowing through Labyrinth of Flame's first draft, at a time when I was struggling to balance writing and work and life and feeling like I was failing on all fronts. I can't thank her and Alison enough, and it was lovely to meet Kate in person at last. (One day I hope to thank Alison in person, too!) 

The r/Fantasy fan table! Awesome mod Melissa is on the left, while Kate Elliott (right) types away for her AMA.
Another highlight was hanging out with folks from r/Fantasy, both at the fan table and the excellent Drinks With Authors party. Huge thanks to moderator Melissa Shumake and author Megan O'Keefe, who did a fantastic job of organizing on short notice! 

Giveaway table at the Drinks With Authors party
One of the best moments at the party was running into a friend from Caltech I hadn't seen in twenty years - Divya is a fellow mole from Blacker Hovse, and she's also an SF writer, how cool is that! We had no idea we were both authors. Can't wait to check out her work.

Moles reunited after 20 years! Me and S.B. Divya

Similarly, I was delighted to meet up with a friend I first met years ago when we were both skating at the U.S. Adult National Championships. Sharon's not only a figure skater and SF fan, but a mountaineer/climber - we joke that we were separated at birth. I hadn't seen Sharon in ages, so it was great to catch up.

Figure skaters for the win: Sharon Reynolds and me
I also got to see a former member of my critique group: Catherine Montrose (who writes as Catherine Cooke) moved from Denver to Seattle a while ago, and we still miss her lots! 

Without Catherine's insightful critique, the Shattered Sigil books wouldn't be half as good
Lots more awesome folks I didn't get pictures of (like Karen Bovenmyer, and Joel Pearson, and Luke Matthews, and Lyndsey Zusi!) Amid all the socializing, I did go to some actual programming at the con.

Martha Wells reading from the 2nd of her upcoming new Raksura duology. Cannot wait for these books!

Jo Walton, Jack Campbell, Chip Hitchcock, and Ann Leckie discuss the work of C.J. Cherryh (my all-time favorite science fiction writer)
Plus I did a signing, and a pop AMA ("Ask Me Anything") on r/Fantasy, and hung out with my book reviewer brother Matt Hilliard and his girlfriend Rachel. Oh yes, and managed two separate trips to the local climbing gym! Once to take Labyrinth of Flame Kickstarter backer Melissa climbing, and once with anyone I could drag away from the con.  

Climbing with Joey Hewitt and Alex Ristea
Alex posted a few more pics of our climbing fun on twitter:

My one comment on the Hugos is that I did go to as many WSFS business meetings as possible, so I could support the E Pluribus Hugo proposal for changing the method of tallying nominations to a system that will be better representative of fandom's broad range of tastes. 

I was disappointed my flight left too early on Sunday for me to participate in the final vote on the proposal (though I convinced a friend to go and vote for EPH, so at least the proposal didn't lose a vote!). At the airport I was glued to my smartphone, hitting refresh on Rachael Acks's liveblog of the business meeting, hoping to see if EPH passed. Which it did, hooray! The proposal still has to be ratified at next year's Worldcon in Kansas City before it can take effect, but I hope that by 2017, the new (and better) system will be in place. 

Even before then, this next year I encourage everyone - regardless of political persuasion or taste in SFF - to nominate whatever 2015 books you've read and loved. I think a lot of Worldcon members are scared to nominate because they feel they haven't read widely enough in the field, or if they are voracious readers, it's too hard to winnow their list down to only a few choices. (I've certainly been guilty of that last.) Heck with that! Get out there and nominate, even if you have to throw a dart to choose between your favorites. The more people participate, the more likely it is the Hugos will have a shortlist of great reads from all over the SFF spectrum.

And now, back to line edits...

Friday, August 7, 2015

WorldCon Plans

Can't believe in less than 2 weeks I head to Spokane for the WorldCon (a.k.a. Sasquan)! It'll be my 4th time attending a WorldCon, and despite all the acrimony over this year's Hugo awards, I'm hoping to have just as good a time as I did in years prior. Since I mostly go to cons to hang out with friends and talk about books and enjoy a little break from parenting & day job responsibilities, I'm fairly certain that's exactly what'll happen.

I will say that after the nonstop Hugo discussion (and freakouts) over the last months, I'm interested to see what happens at the ceremony. I may even for the first time ever attend the business meetings, as I think the E Pluribus Hugo proposal to adopt a system of nomination that will produce a result more representative of the variety of the electorate and resistant to slate voting is an excellent idea, and I'd like to vote for it. (I hope people won't be scared off by the seeming complexity of the proposed system. I can imagine it's a little intimidating if you're not used to mathematical analysis, but as voting systems go, SDV-LPE is actually not that complex, and it's been thoroughly tested.)

I got skunked on panels this year - no surprise when I don't currently have a contract with a major publisher - but I do have an autographing slot, so if you're at the con, come say hi!

Autographing: Thurs, Aug 20 from 1-1:45pm in CC Hall B. 

Other than that, I'll be wandering the halls and attending panels and hanging out in the bar and the local rock gym and thoroughly enjoying myself. Hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to get The Labyrinth of Flame if you missed the Kickstarter

A quickie post today since I've got a super busy week ahead! Since the Labyrinth of Flame Kickstarter ended, I've gotten a steady trickle of emails from folks who missed the Kickstarter but are eager to get the book. I've decided I'll continue taking "late pledges" for ebooks and trade paperbacks until September 18th, 2015. The process is simple:

$8 USD gets you a DRM-free copy of the ebook plus high-res images of maps

$26 USD gets you a signed trade paperback plus DRM-free ebook and map images. (US shipping included, add $15 for shipping to Canada, $20 for the rest of the world). 

You can use Paypal or (if you live in the US) send me a check. Email me at courtney (at) courtneyschafer (dot) com to let me know which you prefer, and I'll send you back my Paypal account name or mailing address. Once I get the money, I'll add you to my backer spreadsheets, and you'll receive your book(s) at the same time as regular Kickstarter backers. 

Alternatively, you can wait for me to do a general release of the book through online retailers. That'll happen after I send out all the Kickstarter rewards - so likely this winter. I'll announce the general release here and to my mailing list (email me at courtney (at) courtneyschafer (dot) com to join).