Monday, July 26, 2004

If This is July, This Must be Durham

The weekend in Durham went very well. Trinic*Con is in its fifth year and they've pretty much worked out the majority of the bugs that plague conventions. The hotel was fabulous; friendly staff, good food, excellent layout. That's real unusual and I intend on writing a letter to the management letting them know how pleased I was. They supplied a buffet each night for $12.71 that included choice of entrees, drinks and some really good desserts. They gave you a three-hour window in which to eat which worked great if you had a tight panel schedule. Brilliant thinking on everyone's part.

The high point of the convention was the charity auction which, at last count, raised somewhere around $2200 for Adult Literacy. COOL! Alas, the little yellow rubber duckie with the fangs went for $48 or he would have joined the non-fanged one in our hot tub. The whole thing was a hoot.

I always enjoy the time to catch up with friends; Lee Martindale & hubby George, Stephe Pagel, Laura Underwood to name a few. Had the opportunity to meet Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (the Literary Guests of Honor) and we had many a merry conversation. And, as always, met lots of new folks who were neat to talk to. The 'Sex' panel Sat night took the high road and delivered quality content and viewpoints on one of the most fundamental drives of human society rather than veering toward the salacious. I enjoyed that.

Alas, my time at home is virtually nil as I fly out Wed for Dallas and the Romance Writers' annual convention. This one is more high brow but again, I get to see friends, attend interesting panels and have fun.

Later folks, the hot tub calls...



Thursday, July 15, 2004

Lessons Learned

Had a delightful time in Iowa visiting my mom-in-law on the occasion of her eighty-fifth birthday. This lady is tenacious. She's buried two husbands, one boyfriend and still keeps going. She's sharp as the proverbial tack and just keeps rolling with the punches. I'm hoping that I have that kind of grit when I'm her age. Really neat lady.

Next week I head off to NC for Trinic*Con, home for two days and then on a plane to Dallas for the RWA convention. The Romance Writer's of America annual convention brings in the big name romance authors, which isn't bodice rippers anymore for those of you who haven't picked up one in a few years. Romance now covers a vast sea of options from paranormal to historical to erotic (yup, the really steamy stuff) to inspirational/religious. The genre has really broken out into a ton of sub-genres. I tend to write paranormals and fantasy, but the current WIP (work in progress) doesn't have a lick of sex in it. Go figure. This from someone whose first book was littered with heavy-duty sex scenes and 'strong' language (as the Brits call it). The current book is more a paranormal murder mystery. There is sexual tension between a couple of the characters, but that's as far as it goes. Given I want this to be a series, that attraction will play out over the length of the books. And I can already see that Book II will be a lot darker and scarier.

And of course, if there is to BE a Book II, I'd best get back to the computer. So many verbs, so little time.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Democracy in Action

Well, Senator Kerry has nominated his running mate and now it's really going to get fast and furious. I admit to admiring our British cousins who truncate their elections to only a few weeks, rather than a couple of years. Pity we can't pull that off and then devote the remainder of the time (and money) to public works or building a better BLT.

I've run into a couple of instances recently where the word "Patriot" has been slung around, mostly used to indicate that the other person isn't patriotic because they are questioning something or other our government is doing. Some government types have gone so far as to say that if you question Washington, you're helping the terrorists. Interesting idea. Absolutely detrimental to the ideal of an open society, but interesting nonetheless. Being a student of history, I do believe I read similar comments during the 1940's in such 'free' states as Germany and Russia. Something to think about.

I think the best quote on the subject comes from the venerable Edward R. Murrow:

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it. ."

Or to paraphrase another individual -- it is better for the government to fear its people than the people to fear their government.

Do your research on the candidates and vote. Who you vote for is on your conscience but staying home and ignoring the issue doesn't work. Not anymore.

Just like anything else, a democracy needs light, air and nourishment. If allowed to starve, it will turn into your worst nightmare.