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Archive for the ‘Writing About Writing’ Category

As I’ve been mentioning, Sandemonium is coming up this weekend. This is my first time there, but they’ve been going on for at least seven years. I’m excited to know what it will be like.

My presentation is at noon, and it’s on “Ugly Tropes.” This is a topic I’ve blogged about (relatively) recently, and I just plan to cover that in a more interactive way. It’s also an opportunity for me and my husband to sit at a fan table for our own convention, SpoCon, which is coming up in August.

Finally, Daron’s mother lives in Sandpoint, so I imagine we’ll work some family time in, too. I expect that we’ll have fun no matter what.


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After talking with my husband, I will indeed be attending the MosCon Revival convention. The dates are June 21-23, although I will be there Saturday and Sunday only. My topic is “Do Women Game Differently?” I’m hoping they will put a man on the panel with me, so we can have some back-and-forth to compare our experiences. This is even more on-the-fly than Sandemonium, the week before. I’m really not worried, though. I can talk and be entertaining for an hour, no problem.

For those not familiar with Inland Northwest conventions, MosCon holds a special place in many hearts. When they started in 1979, it was the only SF event in the region. The next closest were in Seattle, WA or Portland, OR. One of the two founders was the late Jon Gustafson, an expert in SF art. At his urging, MosCon became the first SF convention in the nation to have an Artist Guest of Honor. They may also have been the first to invite a Science Guest of Honor, but I won’t swear to that.

The conventions continued for 20 years. Although time took its toll in concom burnout or having to leave for career opportunities, they were excellent for many years. I’m thrilled to be part of this revival. If you’re in the region, I urge you to come up and join us.


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A lot of things have stacked up for me in the past few weeks. I feel like I’m juggling time bombs!

The major one is that SpoCon, our local SF Convention, is just two months away and I’ve started laying out the programs. This is always a combination of great excitement, because of so many wonderful ideas for panels and presentations, with frustration because there are 150 ideas and only about 75 spots. Now is when I have to cut back, and it’s always a special agony.

I also have a group yard sale this weekend that I haven’t gotten my donations ready for. Time is short to get on with that.

Next thing is, the end of the school year. I’m madly trying to get the last bit of teaching that I can. Next year I’m assigned to a different school, so I’ll spend the remaining few days packing up my things and making sure the teachers who are left get all the right data from my students.

In two weeks, I’m at Sandemonium, a small one-day convention in Sandpoint, ID. I’m presenting on “Ugly Tropes and How to Destroy Them.” I haven’t really prepared for that one, either, although at least I have done the pre-thinking part. Actually writing the presentation should go pretty quickly.

The weekend after, there’s an event in Moscow, ID that commemorates the MosCon Science Fiction Convention. I’d love to go, even though I’m not on any panels, because I have such fond memories of MosCon. We’ll have to see how the money holds up for that.

And hopefully I’ll get a chance to write on my novella during all this!


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I am happy to say that we solved our Internet connectivity. I’m somewhat conflicted to say that we solved it by bailing from our previous provider and switching to someone else. I feel bad because we were with them for a long time, and this was the first major service outage.

Maybe it’s dumb of me to even feel guilty. We had neither land line nor Internet for almost two weeks. There was a big storm that flooded a junction box, apparently. Still, for a major utility to be unprepared for storm damage is pretty surprising.

Anyway, my husband couldn’t stand it any more and arranged for a different provider. We’re in the thick of getting everything set up. Just like you don’t realize how much you depend on the Internet, you don’t quite realize how many places you have to enter that password. I’m sure we’ll be finding things that need updates for the next several days.

So! What’s going on with you guys?


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This will be short, because I’m using my cel phone as a hot-spot. That’s because our Internet is down. A cable is broken. It may not be repaired until May 31st. First-world problem, right? I mean, all three of us have cel phones. But our cel data is limited. The DSL isn’t.

It’s been very frustrating, and kind of pathetic, how limited we are without the Internet. We’re so used to it. We take it for granted.

“There’s nothing on TV…” because we don’t have Netflix. While a shelf full of movies gathers dust. “I can’t hear my music…” because Pandora is unavailable. We do have a rack of CD’s patiently waiting, though. “I can’t write…” because my favorite blog is online only.

That last one is my daughter’s complaint. I’m old fashioned and write on a desktop PC, which is doing just fine despite being an ancient dinosaur from 2012. However, the outage has hobbled my ability to market my books and communicate with friends.

So please, CenturyLink, repair the cable and let us live in the modern age again!


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At last weekend’s convention, my volunteer position was to sit at the registration table and put people’s cards through a Square. Most people paid with cash, and attendance was unfortunately light. One way I got through slack times was by browsing a table of second-hand books that were being sold for charity.

As I picked through them — because, books! — I got a very interesting look at the back cover copy over decades spanning maybe 1960 to 2010. The cover art and title styles were interesting, too, but the copy was what caught my attention. After the art sparks an interest, you want to know what’s inside, so cover copy is an important sales tool.

During the 1980s, cover copy was really focused on what you could call Author Reputation. They mentioned awards, especially the Campbell Award, or previous best-sellers. One book’s copy consisted of a brief, general statement, something like “the brightest new voice of this generation.” This was oddly amusing, since I had never heard of the author. How bright was this voice, actually?

Later, in the 1990s and 2000s, author reputation was supplanted by Famous Author Blurbs. No book cover was complete without a snippet from a review. Even today, some cover copy is made up of nothing but blurbs. There also were, and are, comparisons to more famous books. This is fantasy, so Tolkien was the main comparee. Possibly this was an inspiration for the current Also-Bought system on Amazon.

These covers bothered me. As a possible reader, I want to know three main things: 1) Who are these people? 2) What are they doing? 3) Why does it matter?

You probably remember about a month ago, when I was testing variations on my cover copy for The Tower in the Mist. You can see how my focus was on the characters and story rather than awards and blurbs. (Although, if someone wanted to give me an award, I wouldn’t turn them down.)

Anyhow, it was interesting to have such a big sample of books and get that insight into how publishers tried to market them.


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I will be volunteering at Empire Game Con this weekend. So you all get a break from my ramblings. Hope you all get lots of writing done and I’ll see you again on Wednesday.


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