Here I am! With two whole weeks before I hit the road for Alt*Con, my task list is almost manageable. I’m steadily chipping away at the fifth book in the Children of the Desert series, setting up lots of promotions and free fiction offerings for The Scribbling Lion, reviewing my stack of books from The Sleeping Hedgehog, working through my To Be Read pile… and finally, finally, returning to this long-neglected blog. The price of adding on more and more tasks, I suppose–something had to slide, and this blog was the target this time around.
Let’s see…so much to tell you about, where do I start?
Well, how about with the Virginia Festival of the Book, which was a lot of fun. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for walking around the city, and I took advantage of that as much as possible, discovering fabulous chocolate shops and toy shops and bookstores (yeah, surprise!).
The SFF panel on Friday night, led by Chris Oakley, featured myself, R. S. Belcher (Six Gun Tarot), David B. Coe (Rules of Ascension, many more), and Colleen Doran (Vampire Diaries, Absolute Sandman, many more). I’d met Rod and David before, but this was my first encounter with Colleen–and I’m pleased to say that it was very rewarding. She’s sharply intelligent, passionate about her career, knowledgeable about her field, and articulate. Definitely someone I’d recommend as a panelist, and she’d make a wonderful artist GoH.
The panel went to audience Q&A right after our introductions–and, predictably, the majority of the questions involved making money as a writer, self-publishing, the impact of ebooks, and so forth. They weren’t in any way bad questions, mind you, and it was a very good discussion overall. It’s just that I hear the same line of questioning over and over at conventions: how do I make it big as a writer? Do I need an agent? An editor? What about self-publishing? How do I “win the game”?
(Hint: the answers don’t change that much at the end of the day. They could best be summarized as–Write a lot, then write a lot more. Then keep writing… Sometimes…. ALWAYS … It’s a shitload of heartbreaking work; and There is no game to win. There is just you, the keyboard, and your vision.)
To me, if you’re going to attend a panel of smart and talented creative folks with a wide array of experiences and backgrounds and skill sets–why the hell would you ask a question that you can answer for yourself within twenty minutes of searching online? Why not ask questions that the panelists are uniquely qualified to answer?
But at the same time, in every audience, someone usually comes up with good, challenging questions that are a delight to answer. So it balances out in the end. And to be totally fair, Colleen is uniquely qualified to answer those sort of questions, and did so with an admirable, precise clarity.
Moving away from my not-enough-coffee grumpy grumbles and into something more interesting, I’ve recently discovered an intriguing blogging challenge: the A to Z challenge. Essentially, it asks you to commit to writing a blog post of at least a hundred words a day for a month (weekends off), subject chosen by consecutive alphabet letters. Since I’m not currently feeling broken-down-overwhelmed, I’m considering taking up this gauntlet. It does mirror my own research-for-fun model, after all; I love using the alphabet as a guideline for random research topics.
Of course, I’m looking at the calendar…and at the April 1 start date of the challenge…and at the free fiction I’ve committed to putting up over on The Scribbling Lion…and the support I’ve pledged for Gail Z. Martin’s April 1 book launch…and the visit to see the grandkids that I’ve promised myself this weekend…and the editing job on my desk…and the 500 words a day I’ve promised myself to accomplish on Book Five…and the work I need to do on my main web site…and the work I need to do on sprucing up and smoothing out wrinkles in TSL’s web site…and….
Hmm. Maybe I’ll pick up that challenge in May…