It occurs to me that, this being April Fool’s day, when I talk about taking a yeti on my trip, people will think that I’m making a joke. And I am, but not the kind you think.
As you know, I have sort of astonishingly weird travel karma. At one point, after a flight was delayed because an airline stewardess got “severely shocked” by the warming tray in first class, I tweeted “Also, I think this answers the question of whether having Rob with me makes travel go more smoothly.”
Scalzi replied, “Well, if Rob wasn’t with you, all the passengers would have been consumed by Yeti.”
This led to Howard Tayler and Dan Wells presenting me with a stuffed Yeti at the Superstars Writing Workshop. He’s Bumble the Abominable Snowman from Rudolph and adorable. I’ve taken to tossing him in my bag when I travel figuring that if it weren’t for the Yeti things would be much, much worse.
Anyway, all of that is to say that we’re playing a game of #marygoround on Twitter today because I’m on my way up to Seattle to visit Cherie Priest. I’ll be talking about the yeti, and it’s no joke.
While I was in Utah I joined Dan Wells and Howard Tayler, of Writing Excuses, for a conversation with Dave Wolverton about movie considerations and formulas. Dave explained the three-act structure to us, and we talked about how this applies for transitioning stories to the screen.
I spent the day hanging out with Howard and Sandra Tayler, which was a great deal of fun. Knowing they had kids, I tossed the Broken Bridge into my bag and took it to their house. Not only did I perform the show, two of their children got excited and started doing their own performances on the screen. I loved it. Super-nice kids. Plus I got a giant collection of Schlock (eligible for Hugo) Mercenary while there.
Afterwards, Howard and I went to the booksigning, picking up Dan Wells (::cough:: Campbell eligible ::cough::), author of I Am Not A Serial Killer, on the way. Dan had an ARC of his latest book, I Don’t Want to Kill Youfor me. Not that I’ve been anxious or awaiting this or anything, but I did sort of snatch the copy out of his hands. Squeeing fangirl, that I am.
The signing was fun. Oddly, it was nice that I had the puppet show along because there were a couple of small children there with their parents and I wound up doing the show two or three times. It’s very, very short, but it did get kind of silly. The staff at Sam Weller’s Bookstore, by the way, are really, really lovely people.
Then a group of us went out for dinner afterwards, which was fun. It’s so nice to be able to shoot the breeze with other writers. Such fun.
Tonight I headed out to the Powell’s in Beaverton to hear Dan Wells read from his new novel, Mr. Monster. I went because I like Dan, even though he’s threatened to kill me, he’s seen me twice since then and hasn’t acted on his threats. I figure that makes him a nice guy. In this context.
Also because I really loved his first book I Am Not A Serial Killerand I’ve been waiting for the second book to come out. Dan is writing these in first person and the thing you need to understand is that the viewpoint character is a fifteen year-old boy who’s a diagnosed sociopath.
And Dan makes him sympathetic.
Bear in mind, that I’m a girl who writes Jane Austen books because I like mannerly people and that Dan’s writing makes me root for a sociopath. Mr. Monsteris a strong, utterly compelling first person narrative that is terrifying in part because uses the fear to make you think. Seriously, it is horror, psychological thriller and also, somehow, a heart-warming coming of age. About a sociopath.
You need to buy these books because they are damn good writing.
Two pieces of advice though:
Do not start Mr. Monster immediately after the reading, while waiting for a train late at the night.
Do not plan to do anything else, because you will read it in one sitting.
And… um… it’s now 2am and somehow I need to go to sleep. Maybe I’ll read Peter Rabbit. You, know the book about the cute little bunny and the sociopathic Mr. McGregory who tries to kill him and eat him!
Here’s the problem: Mary Robinette Kowal is too good. Not only is she famous, and gorgeous, and brilliant, she’s also a really good writer. This cannot be allowed. I tolerated it before, when it was just award-winning short stories, but her new book Shades of Milk and Honey is too much: clever and simple at the same time, with an unerring sense of historical yes-that’s-exactly-right-ness, and a mastery of craft and form belying the fact that she, like her characters, pretty much created the form out of nothing. To write a book I enjoyed this much, in a manner so talented I could never hope to recreate it, can only be considered a personal insult. Next time I see you, Mary, you’re dead.
He goes on with the review which, besides being very funny, exactly gets what I was trying to do with the novel. The quibbles that he has are, I think, perfectly fair which also pleases me.
The lovely men at Writing Excuses invited me to stick around and record another episode with them at World Con. They’ve just posted it the Writing Process Q & A. Brandon, Dan and Howard answer a wide range of questions and I tag along for the ride.
While I was at WorldCon, Howard Tayler asked me to swing by and participate in the Writing Excuses podcast panel. He described it as a bunch of fifteen minute podcasts in front of a live audience, which, I must say, was great fun.
Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler and Dan Wells are very engaging hosts and made me feel quite welcome. For the first episode, Brandon asked me if there was anything I particularly wanted to talk about. I said that lately I’ve been talking about how puppetry intersects with my fiction. So we spent fifteen minutes talking about the four principles of puppetry.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]