Saturday, October 30, 2004

AAAARGH! Blogger just ate the rest of my con report. It was long. It took a while to put together. Grrrr. Should've saved it, should've saved it. Maybe I'll repost a shorter version. But for now, back to the synopsis I go. I've finished a draft, the hubby is reading, let's see how many more drafts I need to go through.

Friday, October 29, 2004

More on the Con...Later

I will post the rest of My First Con, but I'm attempting to do something either brilliant or stupid: write a 3 to 8 page synopsis this weekend to submit HD to a writing contest, deadline Monday. I'm making posting the con report a reward for certain stages of synopsis completion. And, since I'm well and truly insane, I'm also toying with the idea of writing from scratch a 6,000-word short story this weekend to submit as well. That, too, would be handled on a reward basis for working on the synopsis. The short story isn't completely from scratch, though. It's an idea generated by Ed Bryant's reading last weekend. Yes, I'm certifiable. I would've been working on this all week long had I known the deadline was Monday. Just found that out today. Yes, this is where it's obvious that I graduated co-Valedictorian of my high school class. :)

Kellie's First Con, Part One

The following documents the first part of my first science fiction convention ever. It was written while at the hotel, in whatever increments of time I could find to sit down at my laptop and type up my comments, thoughts, and experience during the weekend.

Friday, 2:12 PM: Hardly two hours into the convention and I've already experienced a problem. Nobody bothered to tell me that there were THREE hotels called "Four Points Sheraton" within a five-mile radius of each other. Do I really need to explain this in so many words? Let's just say that I started my con at 12:30, and my first order of business was a ten-minute trip in the hotel shuttle. 'Nuff said. Really. I'm working with the idea that this is my total newbie bonehead move of the weekend, and I'm grateful to have gotten it out of the way so soon and no one else at the con was there to witness it. Excellent.

Then I checked in, registered, and went exploring. I decided that, since the early writing workshops I had hoped to check out were cancelled due to lack of interest (that so totally blows), I would see about volunteering until other activities started around 4. Of course, it was too early in the con and they weren't even set up to start taking on volunteers. This is where I bumped into Pat Coleman (can't find her website; she writes mysteries), at the con to do research for her next book whose MC is a SF fan. (I'm beginning to wonder if I have some sort of magnet when I go to these things, as just a couple hours into my last writing conference, I ended getting swept into a dinner with Teresa Nielsen Hayden. By the way, Pat is a big conference planner, one of the original group who put together RMFW, or at least the conference. I don't mind being a magnet for such people, not in the least.) We decided to explore the art and dealer rooms together. We were able to see what was already set up before con staff saw we were there and shooed us out so they could finish setting up. One of the staffers handled this well, another...not so much.

We parted ways with still a couple hours to kill before anything got going. I went back to my room in hopes of writing or just starting this report. Turns out I pulled Newbie Bonehead Move #2 by locking myself out of my room. Note to self: You have two keys (well, three now); never, ever take one out of your back pocket. It shall live there in perpetuity.

Friday, 10:50 PM: Lots of panels and experiences. I feel like a kid in a candy store looking at all the fun costumes, listening to famous authors be people, catching snippets of ConCom gossip. (I think someone might have a stalker, but I didn't catch enough to be sure; intriguing to say the least.) By this point, they were ready to take on volunteers. The great part about volunteering to help with the panels is that you can sign up for the panels you were going to go to anyway, get there early to set up placards and water for the speakers, chat with them a little, then let them know when they're five minutes away from the end of the panel. Easy, fun, you were going to be there anyway, and you can get some author schmoozing time. I'm sold. But the first two panels I went to, I was just Suzy ConGoer, not a volunteer. My writing buddy Pat was the volunteer, so I got to see exactly what my duties entailed. The panel was about the Nuts & Bolts of writing. Good panel, but some guy in the back kept joining in the discussion. He had a green "participant" ribbon, so I knew he was either an author, an artist, or a big fannish sort. He was too far away to read his name tag. I found out later that the eager contributor in the back row was L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Then I went to a panel about future food. Nothing exciting here. I was hoping for a discussion of what food might be like in the future (given the title of the panel, I didn't think it was an odd hope), but it turned out to be a discussion of the current evils of food trends and diets and GMOs--with a lot of wrong, weird, and vague science by all sorts of people in the room. The plus side of this panel was that they had free food.

Then I went to a reading by Hilari Bell and Carol Berg. I sat next to the window that looked west over the city to the mountains. I didn't follow most of what they were reading so much as I listened to them read and stole glances at the sunset.

Then it was off to my first volunteering gig: the Opening Ceremonies (I have no idea how to aim low). I spent the minutes before everything started folding the placards and tracking down a pitcher of water for the head table, which included Bob Eggleton, Elizabeth Moon, Charles de Lint, MaryAnn Harris, Fred Saberhagen, and Bob Vardeman. Bob's toastmaster introduction stint was to make these illustrious personages put on chef's hats and aprons and do a parody of Iron Chef called "Iron Writers". Very entertaining. Then the Fan Guest of Honor candidates were introduced. Lord Voldemort and Lucius Malfoy, complete with a campaign speech. Very entertaining. I bought buttons for their campaign later ("Deatheaters for Voldemort" and a big cross-out symbol over the words Muggles and Mudbloods).

After a quick dash through a couple of autograph signings (got a book signed by Elizabeth Moon for my brother--she's a former Marine herself--and one signed for me by Carol Berg--that "quick signing" deteriorated into a chat about writing, she's a fellow organic writer), I raced back to my next volunteer panel. And who should be the moderator but L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Since I haven't read any of his books, I didn't have much to chat about with him, although he did say I was "angelic" later on (for whatever reason, he was talking about how some people never got caught cutting corners and some people always did; I mentioned how some people always think you're perfect no matter what you do; that's when he said I looked angelic and talked about how one author played on that idea by having a psychopath go through plastic surgery to look more angelic; do we feel story juices flowing yet, people?). By the end of the panel, I had the chance to hold an original Bob Eggleton sketch--for a few minutes before I had to pitch the Coke can he had doodled on into the recycling bin.

In the process of checking back in at the volunteer room, I got roped into playing watch dog at the game room tomorrow morning from 6 AM to 10 AM. I will be bringing a book, my writing notebook, and various research materials that need to be read. And I'm also going to be here shortly so I won't be all that grumping with the RPGers.

After peeking my head into the Charles de Lint / MaryAnn Harris concert, I helped Bob Eggleton find a restroom (I was in need of one myself). Then it was off to my room to change into PJs for a late night reading and my last volunteer gig for Ed Bryant.

I decided to call it a night after that. There was only one problem: my key wouldn't work. Another quick detour to the front desk later, I'm ready to go to sleep after Day One of the MileHiCon.

Saturday, 5:54 AM: The room came with conditioner, but not shampoo, apparently. This was discovered after I was already in the shower. I think the Sheraton hotel chain may have it out for me, which makes sense considering my experience at the Colorado Springs Sheraton last year with the barbershop regional competition. Will have to wash hair later today, instead of going to dealer room and wandering. Probably better for my wallet.

Saturday Sunday, 1:06 AM: Am surprised to find myself still functioning. Am not surprised to find myself sliding fully into incoherency. Saturday's full report must wait for sleep.

Is It November 2nd Yet?

It's really getting annoying to come home and find the answering machine blinking, get all excited that there are *gasp* FOUR messages, and then hear such tin-can pre-recorded salutations as "Hi, this is Al Gore" or "Do you care about stopping domestic violence" or "Hi, this is George Bush". I've never had so many messages on my answering machine in my life. And they all get deleted within seconds. I'm beginning to wonder if it was such a smart idea to sign up on the national No-Call list. How else are all these people getting our number? So it's not OK for telemarketers to call us during dinner, but it's perfectly legal for the government to take that list and spam our ansering machines? Election Day won't come soon enough. Especially now that a couple candidates have taken to standing at some big commuter intersections during rush hours. They don't get in the way, but my drive to work and back home is one of the few times where I can let my brain just go on automatic and ponder writing issues and other entertaining things. I do NOT like having that time interrupted by a candidate doing the standard wave and smile as I pass by, and seeing his cronies waving signs and such.

By the way, Colorado is so much a swing state, that the rest of the country can't seem to agree on whether or not we really are a swing state. One day Kerry and Bush are all about Colorado and courting our votes, and the next they're off to Ohio, each thinking our vote's in the bag. This is nuts.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


My brother is celebrating his twenty-fourth birthday in Iraq (or, rather, he celebrated it already, seeing as how it's now tomorrow over there). I sent him a cheesy Halloween card last week to let him know that his birthday package was coming. I just have to develop some film and send it off. I might hold off on that film and include that in his Christmas package, seeing as how I have to mail that by Nov 13 in order to make sure he gets it by Christmas. Better send off the Birthday gift now so he can get it by Turkey Day. Maybe. Included in the package will be some of his beloved Hot Tamales and an autographed copy of Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon, a very lovely lady I met this weekend. She signed it to him, using his rank, and indicated her own years of Corps service. Brad may not like the book (his reading tastes seem to vary frequently, when he even feels like reading), but I know he'll appreciate the sentiment. And we're also including a copy of "50 First Dates" that we found for a nice price at Costco. Turns out that Brad was able to buy one of those portable DVD players and bring it with him. That's a good Birthday package. I'll send that tomorrow on my lunch break.

As for his Christmas present, it just got a whole lot better. My company is putting together two care packages: one for Brad, and one for another employee's son. So now my mom and I need to put our heads together and come up with a good list of things that my coworkers can toss in there for him and his buddies. This makes me feel a little better after having missed his phone call last week. I do have his voice on my answering machine to replay and feel all those sisterly emotions when I need to, though. I'm going to lose it if some tech snafu gets rid of that one.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I'm Alive, Kinda

OK, I survived my first Con. Barely. I made it until we were heading out of the hotel late on Sunday before the combination of lack of sleep and food overwhelmed and drove me to hysteria. No one really saw me lose it--except for Mark. He got both barrels of it. The plus side is that he had never dealt with a hysterical person before. I was all too happy to oblige. Better he figure out what it involves and how he should deal with it now than when I'm pregnant, as even I can't predict what THAT'S going to be like, but I'm thinking it's a safe bet that hysteria might creep up at some point during those nine months.

Anyhoo, I do have a report on the con, with at least one day typed up while there. The other two days are sketched out in note form somewhere on my writing desk (or maybe in my purse). I will post it, I swear. Here's my problem: in addition to the lack of sleep at the con, I was battling insomnia for the entire week leading up to it. I don't even want to think about how much sleep I didn't get last week. It wasn't pretty. So I've been recovering, and it's getting better, but I'm still not out of the woods yet. At least I started feeling like myself again yesterday. That was a plus. So keep checking in. That report (and it's a doozy) will get posted by the end of the week. I promise.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Time, Again

This week has been especially rough as my bod decided this was an excellent time to fight off the stomach flu that's been going through the office. No worshipping of the porcelain god, though, so I guess I fought it well. It just made life difficult to manage as I felt run-down and nauseous for most of the week. Thankfully it's passed. Just in time for me to go to MileHiCon this weekend. In fact, I can't take as much time blogging this morning as I had hoped because I still have to pack and then bolt out the door. So this quickie post will have to suffice until Sunday night when I hopefully have the energy to do the long "joys of lite rock" post that's been rolling around in my head for a while.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Ugh. I really don't like having a week go by and I've only posted once. It's just hard to find the time to blog at work, especially since I'm now in a fishbowl of a cube and all sorts of people can see what I'm doing on the computer. And my evening time is reserved for writing and Mark. I do need to start getting into the habit of blogging on the weekends, though. And maybe start an entry first thing in the morning at work and then work on it throughout the day in little spurts. I'll try.

It might not work, though, seeing as how Mark and I just started this little "story by sentence" email exchange. So my extra "quick non-working" time has been tied up in that - today at least. I don't know about Mark, but I'm having a blast. This is what he gets when he confesses a past inclination to write down story ideas and play with them a bit before they fizzled out. I gave him a notebook that he's to carry around with him for sudden inspiration (but he left it at home this morning, silly sleepy husband), and I also tossed him my copy of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I just finished the book yesterday. He's already realized that the required Morning Pages are going to be impossible for him to do. He may just have to make them "Evening Pages". I also gave him the NaNoWriMo link. Can you just see me cackling with evil glee at having converted my husband to my own writerly ways? :)

But I do promise to try harder with my blogging. Honest.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sky Captain and Superman

I went to see "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" on Saturday. It was a fun movie, if you ignored the fact that Sky Captain is a total jerk and his quasi-love interest is a flaming be-yatch. The faithful scientific side-kick Dex and Sky Captain's British commander ex-girlfriend Frankie were much better and interesting characters and didn't make me want to hit anybody. I don't mind flawed characters. I don't mind anit-heros. I have a problem watching a movie where I'm obviously supposed to be cheering for a guy who cheated on his girlfriend for three months--but it's OK because meanwhile (and not knowing anything about his indiscretion) she sabotaged his plane and landed him in a war camp for six months just so she could get the perfect picture for a newspaper article. And this revelation is handled in a "ha-ha, funny us, this is the best gag of the movie" way. But it was one of the few movies in which not only do I get to see the two figures in a romantic subplot deck each other (he knocked her out to get her safely away; she decks him later as payback) but I also get to cheer loudly for both punches. Still, it was a fun flick, and really cool in its presentation.

I guess Sky Captain also fell short as a loveable character because Superman was the original super hero to me and always will be. No one holds a candle to Superman except Christopher Reeve. It's very sad to have him gone, but there's a certain joy in knowing he's at peace. Godspeed, Superman.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Black Holes and Black Jewels

Last night Mark and I went to Fiske Planetarium to catch a lecture on black holes and special relativity. It was really good, although it tripped out in the end when they showed what it would be like to fall into a blackhole while listening to the Macarena on roids. The guy giving the talk did an excellent job, making it technical enough for the geeks in the audience, but simple enough that I, with my piddly understanding of physics and quantum mechanics, could follow very easily and comprehend a good deal.

I've also been reading Anne Bishop's Daughter of the Blood, Book One of her Black Jewels Trilogy. I really like this book. It's cut in a somewhat similar vein as the Kushiel books, which is really a eupehmism for "some darker sexual undercurrents". The book is good on many levels, but it took me a while to notice that there's not really a whole lot of "we must defeat the bad guys" action that is predominant in most fantasy. Mainly the book is a story about one girl's struggle with what she is and how those around her deal with it as well. I picked up the book based on some vague mention in a Forward Motion Think Tank. I can't even remember the comment, now. And I also bought the book knowing full well that I have a stack of 50 unread books at home. I picked up Rachel Caine's Ill Wind then too--another fabulous read.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Quick Linking

Hopefully tomorrow night I'll have time to update my sidebar with October's books and talk about what I've been reading a bit. Until then, I've got a couple links I've been meaning to post. Just found this from Joel, society's future as seen by SF writers. Also from Joel, but a long time ago, some spiffy writing links.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Last But Not Least

For my last post of the day, I just want to say:


I love you, Mark. Two down, a helluva a lot more to go. :)


Now that SpaceShipOne has won the X-Prize, they're trying to make the competition annual. This is wicked cool, but just a tad scary. I'm a science fiction writer, and I spend most of my "imagining" time in space or on other planets, but the possibility that I could actually go to space by the time I'm 50 if I've got the moolah for it is a little unnerving somehow. Space seemed more safe and exciting when it was out of my reach. I must ponder this.


I've been slowly pulling a new draft of The Masque from my fingers for just over a week now. The cool thing is that a lot of characters and plot lines are just clicking into place. The bad news is that I'm trying to write the first chapter of a book that kicks of a millenium of story in this universe (not in one book, I'm not that cruel to my readers). So the first twenty pages are so thick with information, foreshadowing, and character introductions that reading a paragraph is enough to induce a headache. I've already got some ideas for fixing this issue, but I'm still waiting for a decent amount of inspiration to strike. All right, subconscious! Sit down with Muse and figure it out!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Bad Football Weekend

It started on Saturday when my beloved Fightin' Irish went head to head with Purdue's Boilermakers and lost 41-16. Ye-ouch. Because we were out and about on Saturday, I only had to suffer this loss via the radio and on-line updates. Sunday was a different matter. Mark was ecstatic because the Bills were on TV again! But they were going up against the Patriots (or, more appropriately, the StuPats; thank you for that moniker, Jaquandor) who were looking to beat some NFL record for longest winning streak or something. Bills lost 31-17. Yowza. We bought those new M&M Amazing candy bars or whatever their called as consolation. They were yummy.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

I Am an Ass

Nearly two months ago, I made the long, arduous, thirty-foot trek to my apartment complex's leasing office, which was doubling as my polling place, and registered myself as a Democrat and voted in Colorado's primary. I had two thoughts running through my mind as I did so: 1) I swore I would never do this; and 2) "But, masters, remember that I am an ass." (One of Dogberry's immortal lines from Much Ado About Nothing)

For nine years, I had sworn to never register with any party, to always remain staunchly "unaffiliated". But as my presidential favorite Howard Dean lost to the likes of John Kerry in the Democratic primaries, I realized I wanted a voice in the primaries. Not that it matters much living in Colorado since our primary was in August (and we didn't even have a section on presidential nominee on our ballot, though I had heard Kucinich was still in the running), but it felt good take on even more civic responisbility. For as much as I agree with the Democratic party and like the way they're doing things, I could've just as easily registered Republican. However, the Republican party as a whole seems to have gotten away from actual politics and moved into the nauseating realm of legislating one particular moral agenda. I can't stomach that at all. However, the only palatable thing about the Democratic party at the moment is that there's enough variety of flavors that I can pick and choose what it means to me to be a Democrat. I am not stupid enough to think that this is a good thing. It's just easier on my stomach than the alternative the Republicans offer at the moment.

I hope that one day in my lifetime I'll be able to see true political reform. I hope that one day both parties will make a committment toward actually improving this nation rather than blaming the other party for the problems we face. I hope that one day I can navigate through an election year without the bombardment of "don't listen to him; he didn't serve the military as he was supposed to!" (And isn't it sad that both our choices have this blemish?) And if registering myself Democrat and making my voice heard beyond the general elections is the way I can help bring about those dreams, then I can swallow my bile and my hatred of the way things are and participate. In fact, it wasn't nearly as I hard as I thought it was going to be. It feels like a step measured in nanometers on a journey measured in light years, but the sensation of forward motion makes it worth it.

As a related aside, I've been noticing recently that writers are often the kookiest when it comes to politics. This excludes Ann Coulter and Al Franken - those kooks who later took their kookery to writing are in a special category of "outright nutzoid" in my book. Whether conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, independent or libertarian, communist or fascist, when a writer sits down and discusses her politics, the insanity meters start going into the red. I'm by no means exempt from this. Hang around long enough and you'll get a sense of my severe absolutism when it comes to politics and the military. And it's not that writers just have it wrong or are truly nuts about politics. It's just that we're extraordinarily dramatic and passionate when it comes to ideas and dialog. It's amazing how that necessary "occupational hazard" bleeds into everything.

And, thus, Kellie's first round of Deep Thoughts on the Weekend comes to a close. Brace yourselves for a week of quick, silly linking and random, abbreviated observations and ponderings.

Friday, October 01, 2004


I managed to stomach a fair amount of the debate last night. I only left the room once (and that was for good so I could write) and I only muted the TV once. As for the number of times I tried to ignore the sound of rhetoric and question evasion, I can only guess. It was a lot. I managed to hear one or two good things from both candidates, but it didn't do much in the way of making me feel better about my choices on Election Day. I did learn one key thing last night, though: a presidential debate is only tolerable with some form of alcoholic beverage in your hand.