Posts Tagged ‘World Con’

Writing Excuses, Season 3 Episode 15

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.

WorldCon Wrapup

I arrived home from WorldCon last night, absolutely beat.  The convention was a great deal of fun, but the highlight for me is summed up in this photo.

Presenting David Anthony Durham with the Campbell TiaraThat’s me, at the Hugo Ceremony, presenting David Anthony Durham with the Campbell Tiara.  He wore it the rest of the evening and looks darn good in it.  I’m very happy for him.

The only downside to the whole thing is that there aren’t five tiaras. The field was very strong this year, and if you haven’t already, check out the other Campbell nominees.

The rest of the ceremony was pretty darn cool, too.  I was particularly happy to see Weird Tales when the Semi-prozine category because I think the work that Stephen H. Segal has done to reimagine the magazine has been incredible. It’s not simply the design, but the entire way he’s approaching packaging the magazine. Very smart and clearly it paid off.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I did not walk away with the short story Hugo for “Evil Robot Monkey.” Since I totally expected Ted Chiang to take it, this is not a surprise. What was surprising is that ERM had the most nominations.  That surprised the heck out of me.

I also need to give a shout-out to Kate Baker, who not only rescued me from the hotel of doom, but also turns out to be a fantastic roommate.  We hung all weekend and had more fun than I can tell you about.

Lordy, I’m sure there’s more, because it didn’t seem like I ever stopped moving.

The Campbell Tiara

Campbell TiaraI’m in Montreal where I will hand over the Campbell Tiara to the newest winner of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  I’m seriously looking forward to it.  This year had a really strong field with David Anthony Durham, Aliette de Bodard, Tony Pi, Felix Gilman, and Gord Sellar.

Any of them would look good in the tiara.

When Jay Lake and Elizabeth Bear came up with the idea for the tiara, it was to raise public awareness of the award.  This only works if people recognize the tiara and what it means.

Which means wearing it.

Not that this is particularly onerous, since it’s pretty.  I joke about how I wore it to all “State Occasions” but the truth is, I’ve worn it at every con I’ve been to this year.  I’ll have it on at WorldCon. I’m a little bit uncomfortable with that, because the spotlight should be on the nominees and this feels like I’m begging people to pay attention to me.  But here’s the thing… you know the Hugo Rocket pin?  You see that and if you’re at WorldCon, you immediately what it means because it’s entered the public consciousness.  The same should be true of the Campbell Tiara.  Which means wearing it.

So that when I pass it to the new winner, even if you don’t attend the Hugo Ceremony, you’ll know that the person in the tiara is this year’s recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  That’s the whole point of having it. Plus it’s pretty.

WorldCon 09: Day 1

I have safely arrived in Montreal for WorldCon after a really delightful train trip. The entire train was packed with folks coming up for the con so it was like TrainCon. I wound up sitting with Jim Minz which was fantastic and terrible.  Fantastic, because he’s fun. Terrible because I got very little writing done.

On arrival, I discovered that I had not booked the hotel I thought I had. The one that I was in set off alarm bells in my touring brain when I walked into the lobby.  At the same time, I was like, where else will I stay. The receptionist said she needed to reserve the amount of the stay PLUS a security deposit.

The hotel fee, sure. A security deposit?  More alarms, so I asked if I could see the room.  When I walked in it smelled like a blend of listerine and sweat, but it was also 9:00 and really, where else was I going to find a room. I expressed my dismay on Twitter and then I checked in.  Hoping that someone would be able to take a roommate, I asked for just one night instead of the six I’d planned.

Went back to the room — which, to be fair, was worn and ratty but clean.  But it smelled bad and I found myself not wanting to touch the bed.

Then I got a direct message from Pablo Defendi saying that I could stay in his room if need be.  Grabbed my untouched suitcase, and checked out.  And yes, the hotel charged me for the full night.

Anyway, it looks like I’ll be able to stay with another friend through the length of the con, but I’m deeply, deeply grateful to Pablo for rescuing me.

We hung in the bar with the usual suspects and now I’m going to sleep.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

WorldCon 2009 schedule

I’m heading up to Montreal for Anticipation, the 2009 WorldCon. Here is my convention schedule.


Twitter, Facebook, My Space: Social Media and Writing
14:00, P-513B
What’s all the buzz about the new social media? Writing short-short-short stories on Twitter??? Good grief! Is this networking or a new way to write? Can tweets and Facebook updates be about more than what you ate?
James Strauss, Jenny Rae Rappaport, Mary Robinette Kowal, Walter Jon Williams, John Picacio


The Campbell Awards (Not a Hugo, Honest!)
17:00, P-511A
Jay Lake and other previous winners explain why you should read and vote.
Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Mary Robinette Kowal, Wen Spencer


SF and the Arts
10:00, P-524A
There is a wide variety of art in the genre that has nothing to do with paper or a computer….
Elaine Isaak, Frank Roger, Leigh Adams, Mary Robinette Kowal, Stephen H. Segal, Jill Eastlake

13:00, D-Vitre
Writing Workshop S
Critique session for previously submitted manuscripts
Jay Lake, Mary Robinette Kowal

15:30, P-513C
Puppetry Demonstration

Beginning with an overview of puppetry, we’ll talk about how it relates to SF. I’m planning on bringing some rehearsal puppets to let people try.

19:00, P-513B
Radio Theater – “The Cold Equations”

Two-time Aurora nominee Joe Mahoney directs a reading of his sf audio adaptation originally broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations.”
Joe Mahoney, Mary Robinette Kowal


9:00, Outdoors
Stroll With The Stars

A gentle, friendly 1 mile stroll with some of your favorite Authors, Artists & Editors. Leaving daily 9AM, from the Riopelle Fountain outside the Palais (corner of Ave Viger & Rue de Bleury), returning before 10AM.
Farah Mendlesohn, Lou Anders, Mary Robinette Kowal, Paul Cornell, Stu Segal, John Picacio, Felix Gilman

11:00, P-522A
Author Reading
Readings by me, Tony Pi, Daniel Duguay and Frank Roger. I’m planning to read “Evil Robot Monkey” and either something from Shades of Milk and Honey or Scenting the Dark. There are advantages to having a story that’s only 970 words long.

20:00, Location: P-517ABC
Hugo Awards

No description needed. I’ll have a pretty dress.


10:00, P-513C
Characterization Workshop for Costumers

Good costumes are better costumes when they have a character behind them. Use characterization to bring your costuming to the next level. Give your original design a backstory and personality. Our panel will discuss ideas and show you how.
Mary Robinette Kowal, Toni Lay

11:00, P-521A

A chance to ask those burning questions.

My favorite photo from Denvention 3

Jay Lake, Me, John ScalziAlan Roberts came to the “Strolling with the Stars” event that Stu Segal had arranged and offered me this photo.  It is my very favorite one.  Let me tell you what is happening here.  I’m standing between Jay Lake and John Scalzi, two men who are dear friends as well as being former Campbell winners.  I feel so very proud to share their company, not just because of our friendship but because I admire them both tremendously as writers.

On my left wrist, you see that corsage?  My friends Ken Scholes and Jen West gave me that.  Jen loaned her husband to me for the night as my escort.  See, I’d told Rob to stay home because I was so sure that I wouldn’t win but Ken volunteered to be my date.  Never did a girl feel so supported.  It was like going to the prom, but so much better.

Honestly, as much as the Campbell award means to me, the larger thing that it represents is embodied in these guys.  I am daunted by their talent, but at the same time, I know that I am supported by them.  And that support is why this is my favorite picture.

Back from WorldCon 08

I fell asleep before the plane even left the ground and slept most of the way home. I woke up about half an hour before we landed and amused myself by reading Zoe’s Tale. Yes, I know that makes some of you jealous and it should, because it’s a darn good book.

Since my flight had been delayed by about two hours, it was about 1:30 when we got in. I opted for a cab instead of taking the bus. I picked up a lot of books while I was gone ((Mainspring, Ragamuffin, The Opposite of Life, Children of Amarid, Heaven’s Bones, plus a bunch of astronomy books)) and a plaque.

Despite having food poisoning, Rob had managed to get flowers for me and had them waiting on the dining room table with a note. Made me all weepy.

Today, I had planned on working on the springer spaniel, but didn’t wake up until ten o’clock and then took a nap later today. I had trouble sleeping the entire time I was at altitude and I think my body really grooved on having enough oxygen at night.

Anyway, I’ll be diving in to building the dog this week and will hopefully have some process posts for you.

The Campbell Award

I truly, without false modesty, did not expect to win this. I’m still in a state of utter giddy shock that I have the Campbell tiara on my head right now. It is so beautiful and I am deeply, deeply honored. I would have been happy to see any of the other nominees win, and I encourage you to pick up their novels.

Out of consideration for the audience, I did not take time to thank everyone that I wanted to thank. We would have been there forever. Here’s a partial list of people I want to thank.

My mom, who started my love for stories by reading to me.
Dad, who is my best story debugger.
My husband, of course, for reasons that I will enumerate to him in private.
My brother, niece and nephew, who got me writing again.
Mr. & Mrs. Kowal who have been so supportive, even though speculative fiction is a new and alien thing.
Ken Scholes, my literary dad, who believed in me enough to introduce me to his agent.
Who is now my uber-agent, Jennifer Jackson.
Joy Marchand who has brainstormed with me and shared the road.
Emily DeCola who lets me tell her stories.
Beth Wodzinski who doesn’t let me get away with crap.
Mr.Fisher, Mr. Allen and Miss Sarah who collectively give such insightful critiques that everyone makes me a better writer.
John Scalzi for being one of my dearest friends and being incredibly supportive.
Jay Lake and Elizabeth Bear for coming up with the idea of the Campbell tiara, which I love.
The three fellow nominees I’ve had the fortune to meet are David Louis Edelman (Infoquake), David Anthony Durham (Acacia) and Jon Armstrong (Grey). They are some of the classiest men I know. Go read their books.
Orson Scott Card, without whose Literary Bootcamp I would probably still be flailing trying to understand plot.
Damien Broderick from Cosmos, who bought “For Solo Cello, op. 12” and taught me what sensory detail meant to a story.
Jason Sizemore, for being an early and enthusiastic supporter of my short fiction.
The First Line, who bought my first story.
Strange Horizons, for buying “Portrait of Ari” which started my Campbell clock.
Everyone at Codex Writers Group.
All the Inkslingers.

WorldCon Day 3

I’m just hitting the fast highlights because I’m beat.

I went to the Codex breakfast this morning. Fantastic to see familiar faces and to meet people that I’ve previously only know in two dimensions. Much fun. Then it was off to my workshop on how to give an effective reading. It had twenty-five or so people attending, which was a good size for this. It gave me a chance to do some audience participation.

From there to the SFWA board meeting, which bordered on fun. It’s nice to be working with a group of people towards a common goal and they are good people.

I had a massage tonight, which was a Very Good Thing. I hit the Tor party and the SFWA suite before giving up and deciding I was too tired and need to go to bed.

Which, really, I’m doing as soon as I finish typing this.

Worldcon Day Two

I had a blast today. So much so that summing up is hard. I started the morning by having breakfast with Ron Serdiuk, Pamela and Diana Rowland. Conversation ranged from Diana’s stories about living through Katrina to vampires as lovers and the problems inherent with that. ((They’d be cold. Ick))

I trotted off from there to the SFWA booth in the dealer’s room. Now I know this doesn’t immediately seem like “fun!” but it actually was. I got to hang out with John Scalzi and then later Jay Lake, two of my favorite people.Plus I met all sorts of new folks who dropped by the booth to pick up one of the anthologies or find out where the SFWA suite was. ((Sheraton 3654, sixth floor, shorter building.)) I don’t know, I just like chatting with folks and this was an easy way to do it.

Alethea Kontis and Evil Ed made sure that I had lunch, because I had to go straight from there to my signing. Since I don’t have a book out, I took a stack of anthologies that I had extra copies of to give away to the people in line. The strategy seemed to work well. One person came to chat, because she knew me. The people in the line next to me, perked up win they heard “free anthology” and popped over to my line. So, yay! New people reading my fiction.

I had a little downtime with Doselle Young, while I tried to get my stories printed for my reading. FYI the business center in the convention center was really great, but the Kinko’s in my hotel — while the staff was nice — is crazy-overpriced. $2.50 just to open a file. Not even to print it.

The reading was a lot of fun. Scalzi and I alternated stories. I had picked one to open with and then let the audience pick the others based on their first lines and titles. It was interesting to see which ones they gravitated towards. I also got to read the first chapter of the Sagan Diary for them. I love this book and made Scalzi cry, which was gratifying. In all fairness, we both teared up.

Had dinner with David B. Coe, Doselle Young, Alethea Kontis, David Louis Edelman, Misty Massey, Evil Ed and Eric James Stone at a sushi place. Mmm… sushi. I spent the rest of the evening in the bar. Made a sale. Oh, and the funniest part of the evening was when Paolo Bacigalupi saw my folding keyboard. His expression was like a cross between a kid with a new model train and Gollum with precious. I’ve been warned that he may knock me down to take it later.

All in all a good day.

WorldCon:Day One

I rode down to Denver with Mike Brotherton, David Levine and Deanna Hoak. You’d think the week had been enough, but we kept talking astronomy on the way here. We got in about 11:00 and went straight to our panel on Launchpad, where we were joined by the lovely and talented Samantha Henderson. Basically, we just recapped the experience at Launchpad, talked about some misconceptions, what dark matter was, where seasons come from and stuff like that.

Straight from there, I went to Schmoozing 101 with John Scalzi and Mike Kabonga. It has to be the most fun I’ve had on a panel ever. The thing that’s been sort of fun afterwards has been having people that had been in the audience try out their new schmoozing techniques on me when we run into each other in the hall. It’s like we all get to have a great playtime.

I had an hour break and then trotted back for Survival Tips for the Beginning Writer with David B. Coe and Darlene Marshall. I learned a lot from these two, as the junior writer on the panel. The biggest point that I think we all made is that it’s not just about talent or skill, it’s about hard work. Butt in chair… but you know that, already.

WorldCon: Reading with Scalzi

Thursday at Four PM at the Hyatt Hotel, room Granite B, I’ll be sharing my reading with John Scalzi. I had a crazy hour and a half slot, which I just wouldn’t use and he didn’t have a reading so if you come you can get a special 2-for-1 reading deal.

As he says:

Right now our plan is to offer a “sampler platter” of some shorter works, done in tag-team style. I dare say you’ll have more fun at this reading than you thought was humanly possible! And possibly, more than inhumanly possible as well. I do hope you’ll join us, and will spread the word.

Note: In the Denvention schedule, the reading will be listed under my name, not John Scalzi, or some wacky hybrid name.

Help? — SFWA’s Table in the Dealer Room at Denvention3

We’re still looking for volunteers to help out with the SFWA’s Table in the Dealer Room at Denvention3. Now that the preliminary schedule is out, I figure it should be easier for folks to look at their plans and see if there’s a time when you can volunteer.

In particular, we need help on Thursday. I, personally, need someone to cover my shift Thursday at 1:00 because I’ve been scheduled for a signing that I wasn’t expecting. I’ll pick up a different shift, but I don’t want to leave a hole there.

Just as a reminder, here’s what we’re asking folks to do.

* Job Title: SFWA table representative
* Estimated Time Required: 1-2 hours per shift, 34 shifts needed
* Job Description:
o Help SFWA by being a spokesperson at World Con.
o Set up and staff a booth to draw in new members.
o Be willing to answer questions and be friendly.
o Sell books and other printed material. Attract people to the
Table: tell them that the most wonderful stories in the world are sitting on the table and they’ll never forgive themselves if they pass it by. As a salesperson should, be outgoing & friendly.
* The membership committee will supply you with brochures and a list of talking points. Benefits: Visibility at con, good way to meet new people
* Skills required: Friendly., All Workers must be paying members of the convention. (Sorry, no freebies for working the Table.)

If you’re willing to help, please email me with how many shifts you are willing to take and a list of your conflicts (panels, meetings, departure date). You can also volunteer to take a specific time, but those will go on first come basis. Glenn Gillette, our table czar, will get you set up with a time slot.

Many thanks!

WorldCon ’08 schedule

I have my official schedule for World Con now.

Launch Pad: Astronomy for Writers
Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.
Launch Pad is a week-long crash course in modern astronomy for writers founded by Mike Brotherton and held each summer at the University of Wyoming. NASA foots the bill with the goald of increasing the quality and quantity of astronomy reaching the public. Come hear instructors and participants discuss the experience.

Schmoozing 101
Wednesday, 1:00 p.m.
Conventions offer a chance to meet some of the top names in the field. How can you take advantage of that without coming off like a weasel? Learn about the etiquette of talking to editors and how to effectively ‘work a room.’

Survival Tips for the Beginning Writer
Wednesday, 4:00 p.m.
Once the story is written, what happens next? Panelists talk about cover letters, manuscript tracking, rejectomancy and other blunders that they learned about the hard way.

Thursday, 1:00 pm

Thursday, 4:00 pm
A sampler-platter of short stories from me and John Scalzi

How to Give an Effective Reading – Workshop
Friday, 10:00 a.m.
You may be a good writer, but reading aloud is a separate skill. Learn to make your words sound as great out loud as they do on the page. Using both demonstration and audience participation, we will explore voicing, narration and pacing.

Strolling with the Stars
Sunday, 9:00 a.m.
To encourage a healthier, more active environment at Denvention 3 we are scheduling a 9AM walk every morning. We’ll leave from under the Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center, and we’ll stroll for a leisurely mile through downtown Denver. Each day’s walk will be led by a Famous AuthorTM, Artist, Editor or Scientist who will not only lead the walk but will interact with the participants. Join luminaries like Frank Wu, David Brin, Jay Lake, Ellen Datlow, John Picacio, Lou Anders, Paul Cornell, Scott Edelman, Mary Robinette Kowal and Stephen H. Segal for a gentle, friendly stroll to get the day started on an upbeat note.