Monday, October 29, 2007
I was really happy to finally get a chance to meet Tony Ruggiero. After all the years of exchanging e-mails, it was nice to actually get to talk to him in person, and to reflect on what Jim meant to both of us.
Meeting Frank Wu, was just like, really cool! Too bad the Rockies didn't get their Glory and Redemption. Frank was a great character, and he really livened up the Con. I won't ever forget before the masquerade they gave him this very large glow stick so he could see the ballots...between his absolute amazement that he could make the colors flash and his decision to use it as a light sabre, we were all very amused.
It was great to see old friends that I hadn't seen in a while like Mike D'Ambrosio, Maggie Bonham, Carol Hightshoe, and all the rest. And it was also great to meet a lot of new people, including people I'd only known through MySpace. Yes, the networking actually works!
I learned a lot, and I always enjoy a chance to speak to the fans...not necessarily mine...but fans of SF.
There was one thing that I walked away with a negative feeling on...and this is one of those personal sections that I never post about, so feel free to skip to the pictures if you'd like. Throughout the Con, and especially as it drew to a close, I realized how great it would be to have someone to share it with. In general, I like being alone, but there are times when it might be nice to have someone else...but enough of the emotional drivel.
ON TO PICTURES...
The small press panel
Selling books at my signing
From the Masquerade
Before my reading
My reading with Rebecca Rowe
There are more pictures posted at http://www.jalanerwine.com/milehicon39.htm
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Before I get into day 3, there was one thing I failed to mention about day 2. I had the opportunity on a couple of different occasions to talk to Tony Ruggiero. Tony had been publishing with ProMart Publishing when I first started out as a writer, and then I published a couple of his stories when I started editing for ProMart. In a lot of ways, James Baker, the founder of ProMart, was as instrumental in starting Tony's career as he was in starting mine. I hadn't realized that Tony had actually dedicated his short story collection to Jim. We talked a lot about how much Jim had meant to both of us, even though neither of us actually met the man.
Anyway, on to day 3...I started out by going to the Guest of Honor Speeches, or the Frank Wu and Friends Show as many of us were thinking of it. I like the fact that unlike a lot of Cons, MileHiCon just lets the guests talk about whatever they want. Frank used his time...well, actually it wasn't his time, but he talked about how baseball is like life, and the importance of "Glory and Redemption." Believe me, if you'd been at the speeches, you'd be laughing your asses off right about now...
Frank later went on to talk about microbes in space, while the other guests talked about more mundane things. Ed Bryant, who is a brilliant individual, and has his own quiet sense of humor, made a great foil for Frank. I think they should take the show on the road.
I then went to a panel about SF pirates. It's normally not my kind of thing, but David Lee Summers is doing an anthology on the subject, and he's invited me to contribute...so I figured I should find out a little on the subject. Unfortunately, I thought the panel was very one sided, with one person hogging most of the spotlight, and with way too much feedback from the audience. I'd have to say that Con audiences are great because they love their subject matter so much, and because they really are interested in what people in the field have to say...but sometimes I think they get a bit too exuberant in their desire to participate. Still, con guests are some of the best people in the world!!!!
After the pirates panel, it was off to do my reading. I read two different section from The Opium of the People. I'd have to say that I don't think the audience was ready. The other author with me was Rebecca Rowe, and I could literally hear her cringing at some of the imagery I used. Yes, one of the scenes I read was the torture scene from early in the novel. Rebecca then read a Halloween short story, which was very enjoyable. She's a brilliant writer, and I see big things in her future.
After the reading, I decided to go to a panel about cover art. My main reason for wanting to do this was because Frank Wu and Laura Givens were both on the panel. Given their, shall we say vibrant personalities, I figured the universe wouldn't be able to handle the excitement. It was definitely a great panel. Unfortunately, Frank had to leave early because he had tickets to this little baseball game here in Denver, and he was hoping that the Rockies would find "Glory and Redemption." After he left, Laura and the other panelist, Deb Taber, forged on and I thought they did a great presentation. Deb is the art director for Apex Digest and Laura is the art director for Tales of the Talisman. Both of them really knew their stuff and did a great job of explaining what works and what doesn't work.
I will have a wrap-up of the Con a bit later. I'm dead tired and can barely think straight...which means it must have been a GREAT con!!!
After that, we had the Break Out session, which was an opportunity for people to learn more about the small press, and to pitch ideas. It was a pretty small turnout, but we had some great discussions about publishing. A lot of talking about the pitfalls many of us had fallen into along the way.
We then popped in on the end of the Alien Archaeology panel. I did this panel two years ago, and we had the audience rolling...this year it was not quite as funny. There were a couple of good laughs, but mostly it was a disappointment.
Then I went off to the art room, and while I was there, I ran into Frank Wu. Like many artists, I really do think the guy is crazy, but it's that good crazy. He was actually a very nice guy, and we talked a lot about art and writing, and I'm now more determined than ever to make it to a convention that both he and Jay Lake are doing. I can't imagine what those two are like together, but I'm sure it's a level of insanity that most mortals would not be able to keep up with.
At my signing, I did sell a few books, which isn't a bad thing for a small press writer. None of us really expect to make a lot of money at a convention, but it is nice when someone does want to buy your books! I had a couple of interesting conversations about global climate change and politics. Plus, since I was signing with Maggie Bonham and Carol Hightshoe, we just had to harass each other!
They then had belly dancing in the atrium. The women were dressed up like the green Vegan women (I think it was Vegan women) from Star Trek. It was interesting to say the least. I'll have pictures later today or tomorrow.
Then it was off to the masquerade. This year some of the costumes were absolutely amazing, even though there were only a few entries. We didn't start taking pictures until the end, so we only got a couple of shots. I'll have some of those posted later as well.
That's it for now. My only panel today is a reading with Rebecca Rowe. I'm hoping that it will be pretty well attended. I'm planning on reading two scenes from The Opium of the People. I'll be reading the torture scene with Dominick and Shen's scene from prison...hopefully some of the audience will get the Taoist references in that scene.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I took the bus down there, and while we were stopped at a very busy intersection (for those of you from the Denver metro area, this would be Colfax and Broadway), we saw two mounted police officers chase down a suspect. As all of the lights went red, they galloped across the intersection, chasing a guy into the park directly across from the state capital. As they closed in on him, one of the officers jumped off his horse and brought the guy down. It was like something out of a movie.
The first day of the Con was a good time. I didn't really go to any panels. Instead, I mostly just sat and talked to people I'd met before, like Laura Givens, Ian Brazee-Cannon, David Lee Summers, David Boop, Maggie Bonham, Carol Hightshoe, Cynthia Felice, Michael Turner, Barb Nickless, Patricia Coleman, and I also had the opportunity to meet several others that I hadn't met before. Mostly we talked writing and politics.
After a while, I went to the opening ceremonies. The theme of this year's Con is zombies (don't ask me, I just go to these things), and seeing Ed Bryant, the toastmaster, in a zombie mask was priceless. During the ceremony, artist guest of honor, Frank Wu came in completely zombiefied chasing someone across the stage. Later he tried to eat Ed's brain, and unfortunately, this is when my camera screwed up, because I would have loved to have gotten that shot.
I'm completely convinced that Frank is insane, which means that I'm going to have to introduce myself to him today. You just can't have too many insane people in your life!
After the opening ceremonies it was off to Autograph Alley, which if you're not one of the guests of honor means that you sit around and talk to other authors. I was seated next to Mike D'Ambrosio, who I had met at CopperCon three years ago, so it gave us a good chance to catch up. I was also seated next to Maggie Bonham. I'm not sure what it is about the two of us, but we bicker constantly. I think we're both a couple of smart-asses, and we really enjoy it. We'll renew the rivalry today since we're signing together at 3:00.
Overall, it was a good first day, and now I have to finish getting ready for day two...I have a panel in an hour and a half.
Friday, October 26, 2007
I will try to get some pictures while I'm there...a lot of that depends on one of my friends actually making the Con.
I'm definitely looking forward to renewing some friendships, meeting some people I've only known on-line, and just meeting a lot of people.
See you on the flip-side...
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
His comments and stories about Bush, Bill O'Reilly, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice, and the rest of the Neo-Cons that have almost destroyed this country had me almost rolling in the aisles. His constant references to Bush as "My President" were hilarious.
He also talked about his recent trips to Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. His reasons for going there were because he wanted to meet the people. Too often, we Americans make the assumptions that the people of a nation necessarily support their leaders, and reflect the morals and ideas of their leaders...which simply isn't true. I think most Americans, at least 71% based on the last polls, would be highly offended if some foreigner said that about Americans. Most of the people he talked to in those nations said that they loved America and Americans, but they didn't like our leader, and in the case of Iran, the people said they were afraid of America because they're pretty sure that we're coming to kill them...and of course, by "we," I mean our government.
There were several former (or maybe current) G.I.'s in the room as well, and his stories about visiting soldiers that had been wounded in Iraq were very moving, and he also talked about his USO trip to the Middle East during Christmas. One of the guys even approached the stage (much to Henry's chagrin) and tossed him a card for Iraq War Vets against the War (or something to that degree).
All in all, the show was great. I seriously thought my friend Vik was going to pass out from oxygen deprivation because she was laughing so hard at times.
My only complaint would be the theatre. We had really good seat, row K, but instead of the usual theatre seats, we had padded fold-up seats...and the rows were very close together. I'm 6'2", and it was very hard to find a place to put my legs.
Monday, October 22, 2007
I've felt like I wasn't writing as much as I should, but when I sit down and realize that it's 40,000 words in 30 days...well, I'm not sure what to say other than way to go me!
I think it's certainly true that we've done our best to re-write history throughout, well, throughout history. Even when I was a kid, I can remember people referring to Indians as savages, and even though I'm starting to gray a bit, it really wasn't that long ago. They've been savages, noble savages, victims, it all depends on what time in history you're hearing the facts. Although I think this is one we can agree on...they were definitely victims, and most of them continue to be victims. This is actually an underlying subplot in the novel I'm working on.
Because the Soviets were our allies in WWII, Russia is often portrayed as being a paradise under Stalin, when in truth, Stalin was almost as brutal as Hitler...we just can't look at it that way because we were working with him. It's kind of like how Hussein was our buddy during the Iran-Iraq War, but then he became a brutal dictator and a supporter of terrorism with huge stockpiles of WMDS...sorry, getting off course.
History is written by the victors they say, and I guess history is re-written by whoever is in power. It will be interesting to see how history portrays Bush and his cronies. Hopefully they'll be portrayed as the criminals that they are.
My main character has already begun to undergo his transformation. At the beginning of the book, he's a sniveling little shit that most people will feel sorry for at first, and then they'll just want to slap him and tell him to grow up. At least that's what I'm going for. However, he is now starting to get through his grief, and starting to stand up for the things he believes in. For this to be realistic with the conclusion I have in mind, he has to do his thing here really soon, otherwise it will just be him being strong, and people will wonder why he still isn't doing anything to change his life.
Another character has just gone through a major trauma that puts her clearly on the path I need her to be on...something she was kind of refusing to do for a long time...so she's going through the change she has to go through.
So, pulling out another 40,000 words will be difficult. The only solution I can see is that when I go back to do the first re-writes, I will have to add some scenes earlier in the book. I can already see one of them, but I really have no idea what else I can do to expand it.
As well as this novel has been flowing out of me, I have a feeling the solutions will present themselves clearly to me when I begin to look for them.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Now, I have to admit that I'm not really a Harry Potter fan. I haven't read any of the books, but I have seen the movies...other than the last one, which isn't out on cable yet...as far as I know. I will admit that I liked the first movie, and I've thought that each movie has gotten steadily worse. Yes, I know that the movies are probably nothing like the books, but I don't really plan on reading the books any time soon.
Now, why do I bring this up? A lot of people on various speculative fiction forums have been discussing it, so I figured I'd weigh in. Plus, in less than a week I will be at MileHiCon, and I can just imagine some cosplayer is even now as you read this busy at home working on a Dumbledore in drag costume. Plus, using that title in a blog entry is likely to generate some traffic. I learned from Keith...give me a break!
In some ways, I think this revelation will hurt the book some, at least in America. There are already large elements of the Christian Right that are opposed to this book because it promotes witchcraft and Satanism (which are not necessarily linked, no matter what the CR might tell you.) In Europe, I don't think anyone will care because they're not quite as morally freaked out as we Americans are.
My hope is that this might teach young readers some tolerance, and maybe that will help to grow more tolerant adults...we certainly need them. I don't have a problem with a gay character in a children's book. They are a part of our society and should not be marginalized like the Right would like for us to do.
I was talking about this with a kid at work yesterday. He's sixteen, a huge Harry Potter fan, and he's gay. He thought it was a great thing, but he worried that some people would look at Dumbledore's relationship with Harry and try to draw some sort of pedophile conclusions from that...because we all know that all gays are pedophiles. Where do people get those kinds of ideas from? Oh yeah, the Christian Right.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. Anyone else feel like weighing in?
And just so you know, if you post an anonymous comment slandering me for my views without identifying yourself, your post will be deleted. At least have the courage to let the world know who you are if you're going to attack someone's viewpoint!
My first reaction to hearing that Al Gore had won the Nobel Peace Prize was, "Are you Serious?" After sitting and thinking about it for a long time, my second reaction was, "Are you Serious?" Well, that just kind of kept going.
Already we've seen people on both sides (are there really only two sides) of the political debate weighing in on this. From the Left you've had a lot of comments about how much he deserves the award and how great it is to see an environmentalist win the award. From the Right, you've mostly gotten derision, including several people talking about the relevance of the Prize given that Yassar Arafat won it. Hey, no award is perfect. The first ever Grammy for Heavy Metal went to Jethro Tull...people do get things wrong. Of course, the Right wouldn't feel this way if Bush had won the Prize...wait, let me come up with someone from the Right that's a little more likely to win...I'm thinking....I'm thinking...I'm thinking...well, anyway, you get the point.
Now, here's my take, I think it would be great to give the Prize to an environmentalist, but Gore is not a Green. Yes, he obviously is more concerned about the environment than the typical American, but he is still a part of the political system that thinks it's ok to sacrifice the environment for the sake of big business, no matter what his movie might say. The "Inconvenient Truth" is that Gore is just another cog in the system. When push came to shove during the Clinton administration, Gore sided with Big Business, again and again.
Maybe he has raised public awareness about global warming, but I think the melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and dying polar bears have done more than Al Gore. Not to mention the continued desertification of the world, the dying forests, and all the other problems that too many people are willing to stick their head in the sand about.
So, my reaction to Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize continues to be, "Are you Serious?"
That's right folks, we're getting our very first snow of the season, and that makes me very happy. I love the snow. Of course, thunder snow is kind of a strange thing, but it's Colorado...what would you expect.
Today is actually my day off. Imagine that, a rare Sunday off. There will probably be a few more blog entries later in the day, as I try to clear some things from my cluttered mind.
For now, I'm going to enjoy the snow...
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Friday 8-9 in the Atrium
Saturday 10-11 Mesa Verde B
Get to Know the Small Press
Saturday 11-1 Mesa Verde B
Break out session...a chance to talk to editors from a variety of publishers. I'll be representing Sam's Dot Publishing.
Saturday 3-4 Dealers Room
Autographing along with Carol Hightshoe and Maggie Bonham
Sunday 2-3 Wind River B
Reading, along with Rebecca Rowe
Hope to see some of you there. If you need a copy of my novel, go to Amazon and order a copy.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Still, at least I'm once again putting words to the page...
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Don't get me wrong, I think she's right that the Kremlin has too much power, and I also agree that the way Russia has rolled back democracy is not a good thing, but in my humble opinion, there is now too much power concentrated in the White House. Even with the "democratic" Congress, Bush and his cronies are still basically getting whatever they want, and democracy has been rolled back in our country as well...maybe not as drastically as in Russia, but things can always change.
Let's keep in mind that the Patriot Act, and several Presidential Orders since the passing of the "Patriot" Act make it possible for the current administration to declare martial law in this country, and although it has always been possible to do this, they've made it much easier for themselves. If we ever have another massive terrorist attack in this county, we might well see that the White House is a lot more powerful than any of us can imagine.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
AA is basically just table after table of authors waiting to sign stuff. This is one I was really hoping to get...so I'm quite happy now!
This story has only appeared in a print issue of Aoife's Kiss, so there's a good chance that you probably haven't seen it yet.
So, click on the title of this entry, and read your little hearts out.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
So, if you're interested, you know what to do...
Monday, October 08, 2007
I already knew that they did their best to keep him away from dissenting views. A guy I used to work with talked about going to a rally for Bush (he was pro-Bush,) and they were encouraged to shout down anyone supporting Kerry, to steal signs from people supporting Kerry, and to point them out to security so that they could be removed.
Now it is true that all politicians do their best to avoid protesters, especially when they're on the campaign trail, but to actually have such extensive policies in place seems absurd.
As an example:
"The manual offers advance staffers and volunteers who help set up presidential events guidelines for assembling crowds. Those invited into a VIP section on or near the stage, for instance, must be " extremely supportive of the Administration," it says. While the Secret Service screens audiences only for possible threats, the manual says, volunteers should examine people before they reach security checkpoints and look out for signs. Make sure to look for "folded cloth signs," it advises.
To counter any demonstrators who do get in, advance teams are told to create "rally squads" of volunteers with large hand-held signs, placards or banners with "favorable messages." Squads should be placed in strategic locations and "at least one squad should be 'roaming' throughout the perimeter of the event to look for potential problems," the manual says."
It's difficult for me to imagine most politicians going to these lengths. Yes, they have their private dinners, where only hand-picked people get in, and I'm sure other politicians do their best to discourage dissenters from being at their speeches, but I seriously doubt that any of them are as serious as this!
It makes you wonder if they're trying to protect the president from knowing that people don't like his polices, or if they're trying to make the rest of the world think that there are no dissenting voices in America...it's probably a combination of both, as well as several other factors.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Here it is...
Saturday 10-11 Get to know the small press
Saturday 11-1 Break-out session (this is an opportunity for people to talk to small press editors and publishers)
Saturday 3-4 Book signing
Satuday 6-7 Reading
I'm still hoping to get a seat at Autograph Alley on Friday night, but it's already pretty packed, so we'll have to wait and see...
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Your Score: King Arthur
You scored 85Worthiness!
You're King Arthur. Charged with the nobel task of finding the grail by God himself. You know exactly what you're doing and you're on top of every situation. "It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeator of the Saxons, sovereign of all England!" "The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king!"
|Link: The Monty Python & The Holy Grail Test written by Silent_Tiger on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test|
Monday, October 01, 2007
Voting for the Covey Awards for October has now begun. This is a monthly contest that judges books by their covers, and this month, The Opium of the People, and its great cover by Laura Givens are nominated.
Go to http://thenewcoveyawards.blogspot.com You can vote for "Most Eye Catching" and "Most Relevant." Laura and I would appreciate your votes in both categories...and of course, you should also buy a copy while you're at it!