Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Under-read book recs, a fantasy sampler, and other assorted news

Upon returning from Worldcon I got about halfway through writing a post detailing all the fun I had and cool people I met, plus my thoughts on some of the less good things that happened at the con (such as the infamous short story panel trainwreck). Sadly, my task load is such right now that I fear that post will never be finished, since I'd far rather spend my scant moments of writing time on actual fiction.

Ah well! Suffice it to say I had an excellent time overall, and I was delighted to see N.K. Jemisin's Fifth Season win a Hugo, because I thought it was a damn good book. Oh yes, and at my reading I did not get to eat all those tasty cupcakes myself, since a good 20+ people showed up. (I let them vote on which story they'd rather hear. Lizaveta won over Cara--it seems people like blood mages.)

But as I've said, my time is short, so here's a quick round-up of news that I've been meaning to post:

1) I'm writing a four-part series on under-read SFF books for a new feature on the Lady Business blog they're calling "Readers of the Lost Arc" (how cute is their title?). I'm doing one post per decade, for the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. My 1980s post is now up and ready for your reading pleasure. I just turned in the 1990s one, so that one should be up sometime in the next few weeks.

2) On r/Fantasy somebody was asking what books we'd suggest as a beginner's guide to the fantasy genre. Here's a fantasy sampler list I put together to show off the range of the genre, just in case the Readers of the Lost Arc posts aren't offering enough book recommendations.

3) In other r/Fantasy news, they're about to start a group read of Sherwood Smith's excellent epic fantasy Inda. I highly recommend the Inda series, and the group read looks to be extremely well organized and should be a lot of fun, so if you enjoy epic fantasy, consider joining in! Oh yes, and for extra group read fun, in September the Goodreads r/Fantasy group will be reading the equally terrific standalone sword-and-sorcery novel To Ride Hell's Chasm by Janny Wurts.

4) If you're a Colorado local, I'll be attending the RMFW Colorado Gold writers conference Sep 9-11, and participating in their group author signing at the Renaissance hotel on the evening of Friday the 9th. (I love this conference. I always come back newly energized and ready to work hard on whatever I'm writing.)

5) I will NOT be attending World Fantasy this year as I'd originally planned. Partially because I'm traveling a lot already this fall, and partially because I'm a bit frustrated with the con's inability to join the 21st century (in terms of ensuring disability access and protection against harassment, as well as the focus of their programming). I've donated my membership to a newer Colorado writer who can hopefully benefit from the networking opportunities, since WFC is terrific for that. While I personally have always had a wonderful time at WFC, I figure I can have just as much fun at a different con that's more responsive to member concerns. (Right now I'm thinking of giving ConFusion a go.)

6) Shattered Sigil short story update: progress continues on the Cara novella, albeit slowly due to family and day job needs. The Lizaveta story is headed off to the anthology editor this week, and the three other stories I promised you awesome Labyrinth of Flame kickstarter backers wait in the wings.

That's it for now! For those of you in the US, hope the upcoming holiday weekend is a good one. We're supposed to fly to Orlando on Thursday...right when a tropical storm is forecast to cross over Florida. That seems to be a metaphor for my entire week right now. All I can do is take things one day at a time.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

MidAmeriCon II (WorldCon) schedule

Oh yikes, where did July go? At least I'm no longer jetlagged! Just very, very busy, as per usual. My husband's about to start a new job, which we're quite excited about, but times of transition are always a bit stressful. Plus my day job is asking for more of my time, which makes it extra hard to fit everything in. Nevertheless, I have been writing! I completed a first draft of the Lizaveta short story for the Evil is a Matter of Perspective anthology (which is fully funded, woo hoo!), and I'm still working on revising my draft of The White Serpent (the Cara novella I promised Kickstarter backers. The other stories I promised are also all plotted out. Just need the time to sit down and write them.)

Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to a little relaxation and socialization in the form of Worldcon, a.k.a. MidAmeriCon II, which is happening in Kansas City, MO on Aug 17-21. I've got a full slate of panels plus a reading and signing this year, woo! Here's my schedule:

Thursday, Aug 18

10:30am Reading, Kansas City Convention Center room 2203: there will be cupcakes! That way if nobody shows up, I can eat them all. (It doesn't seem to matter how many non-empty readings I've done, my instant reaction upon seeing I'm scheduled for one at a con is OH GOD WHAT IF NOBODY COMES. I find cupcakes help soothe the authorial fear. Plus I like to reward my readers.) Assuming it's not just me devouring cupcakes, I'll read from the brand-new Shattered Sigil short stories and maybe give away a signed book or two.

Friday Aug 19

5pm: Dwarf Planets and Beyond the Kuiper Belt, room 2503B, with G. David Nordley, Jennifer Brozek, and Mark L. Olson. This is where my day job in the space industry comes in handy! I'm the moderator for this one, so I'm looking forward to leading an in-depth discussion on recent discoveries from the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres, the New Horizons mission to Pluto, and more.

7pm: Hard Fantasy--Does it Exist?, room 2209, with Preston Grassmann, Sebastien de Castell, Laurel Anne Hill, Michael Swanwick. My one fantasy-related panel! "Hard fantasy" can be interpreted in so many ways I think it'll be an interesting discussion. ("Hard" magic systems vs. mythic magic? Science fiction in fantasy guise like Kirstein's The Steerswoman?)

Saturday Aug 20

12pm Autographing in the convention center autographing space. Unlike readings, I never stress over these. When people show, great! Otherwise I have a perfectly good time chatting with the other authors at the table if they don't have a reader line, or just relaxing and watching the con flow by. (Seriously, never underestimate the awesomeness of a quiet moment to relax at a busy con.)

Sunday Aug 21

10am: Two Suns in the Sky, room 2503A, with Joe Haldeman and Eva L. Elasigue. Exoplanets and binary star systems! I'm so ready for this one, since I work for the company that built the Kepler spacecraft and photometer, and continues to help JPL run the mission. (I've never worked on Kepler myself, but my friend and hiking partner Dustin Putnam is the controls engineer, and he's generously let me borrow and peruse the presentations he gives on Kepler and its many discoveries.)

11am: Is Mining the Asteroids Feasible, room 2204, with Les Johnson, Dr. Jordin Klare, Jennifer Brozek, and Karl Schroeder. Should be another interesting discussion!

As always, if you're at the con, don't hesitate to come say hi. The best part about cons is the people, and I love meeting new friends. See you in Kansas City!