Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cut From the Same Cloth

Lest you think I only bash Republications, this blog entry should banish that illusion. I bash everyone if they're being stupid. Even myself on occasion. But this time it's Mr. Edwards who, like so many males in the limelight, just don't understand the idea of keeping his equipment under control.

There are many reasons to be pissed at this guy, but the big one is that he broke my husband's heart. Hubby (aka Harold) was 100% behind Mr. Edwards and was truly bummed when he didn't make the cut for the nomination. Now we find out Mr. E. can lie, cheat and weasel with the rest of them. The husband takes a dim view of such behavior at any level, especially in an elected official who claims to want to make a difference.

A Wall Street Journal's editorial called Edwards' behavior, "an egregious failure of judgment and character." To think he could get away with this in the middle of a presidential campaign boggles the mind. Then when he's caught, he lies about it, like all of them. Don't these guys ever learn?

Apparently not. So I asked the sage husband why it was that we don't see that many sexual scandals involving women in power, besides the fact there aren't that many females in office to start with. His notion was that the power they garner at the top is enough to sustain them, at least in the short term. For men, it's just the start. There always has to be more of an adrenalin rush. Adultery provides that rush. Chance of exposure on a national stage really ups the fuel.

Apparently to John Edwards, jeopardizing his marriage, the trust of his family, the opportunity to recapture the White House and send America in a new direction were not sufficient reasons to keep his zipper shut.

How truly pathetic.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Go Home You Fool

Denvention (the World Science Fiction Convention) went well, but in truth I just wasn't there mentally. Too many days on the road, a looming book deadline and such really sorta sapped the fun out of this convention. I did connect with dear friends, ate some awesome food and sampled a number of excellent micro brews. I met the folks from Edge (the parent company of Dragon Moon Press) and did a signing. Still, I was on autopilot most of the time. Sad, actually, since I adore Denver.

The two panels I moderated went better than I'd hoped. We did have a slight issue with a gent in the first panel (he was in the audience) and he firmly believed that everyone else was there to hear him rather than the panelists. It happens. We worked around that. The second panel was about Time Travel and I got to enjoy the sage wisdom of Connie Willis, the wit of S.M. Stirling and to harass the new guys (Eytan and Dani Kollin). Their first book from Tor is out next year and it looks to be unique. I'm definitely keeping my eye on it. To say the panel was well attended would be lying. It was packed and not in a small room, either. I'm guessing 150-200 folks. I know that the majority of them were not there for moi (grin).

Only by sheer will did Melanie Miller Fletcher haul my butt out of my room and get me to the Hugo Reception and the awards ceremony. It did me good. Besides, I got to see her in a dress, which is pretty damned rare, I can tell you. We noshed with the Big Names, watched the awards ceremony (the pro fanzine she works for didn't win - BAH!) and then I trudged back to my room and packed. Sunday morning allowed me even more time to get some work done and then I was finally home a few hours later. Thank G*d.

Ever since I've been euphoric. So damned nice to be home. I liked the trip, but I finally hit the wall this year. It must have something to do with nearly 50 days on the road (and those are just room nights). I'm so burned out about hotel rooms that I'm commuting to Dragon*Con this year so I can sleep in my own bed, even though I have two absolutely cool roommates at the con. Yeah, that's burned out.

The morning after I arrived home came too early. Jury Duty required my buns being in the jury assembly room at 8 a.m. That means I got up at 6. Subtract three hours and that tells you what time my body thought it was since I never really adjusted from West Coast time. Gack.

However, as people sagged later in the day, I hit my stride. I brought along a lot of manuscript to edit (on paper) and worked away until I was called into court for the voir dire. This process allows the attorneys on both sides to determine if you are best suited to sit in the jury box. They posed the general questions that afternoon and I was out of there by 2:15. Score. The questions were pretty benign -- did I own a firearm (it was armed robbery case), had I attended a court trial before, had I ever been robbed at gunpoint, etc. I could answer yes for the first two and (thankfully) no on the last. The defense attorney asked about my courtroom experience as I'm already indicated I'd never been a jury. I explained my time in the British courtrooms. That sorta puzzled him until I added that I was there conducting research for my next book. I'm not sure if that helped, either.

I returned at 11:30 Tuesday to learn if I'd been chosen. Nope. The perp plead guilty and the case was resolved. Drat. I was actually looking forward to this one. To his credit, the judge explained what had happened and why it had happened. Often you're just told "he plead, go home". His Honor got TONS of brownie points for actually taking the time to include us in the process. Cool.

So I puttered home to await my return time for the rest of the week. Which did not happen! So I earned $60 (about three ink cartridges' worth of $$) and spent the remainder of the week slaving away on the book. I'm off the hook for a while until they call me in again. I suspect it's the "I write mysteries and fantasies" that tends to keeps me off the jury. It can't be because I'm bouncing up and down in my seat shouting "Pick me! Pick me!" (just kidding, folks)

Other than the first day home, the jet lag has been minimal, much less than coming back from England. I'm sending the first quarter of the book to the editor for final approval today and then it's off to the proofreader. Do that three more times and we have a book, folks. I can't wait.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Go West You Author

If it appears that I have fallen off the face of the planet, that is only partially correct. I've been away. Not abroad, as it were, but away. Part of that "away" involves the heavy-duty edit we're going through on the latest book (Madman's Dance). My beloved editor has pulled out all the stops this time so there's a lot of work to do. In the end, the final product will reach or exceed the standards of the other two.

The other reason I've been away from this blog is that I actually have been on the road. For the last 18 days. 5 of those days were spent in Las Vegas (actually Henderson which is just southeast of Sin City) at the home of some dear friends. It was a great way of starting the long road trip. Tony Roma ribs, beer on the back porch (with cigars) and the not quite as cool as usual evenings. I really do love Vegas, even when it's 105 degrees. Seeing my buddies was sincerely overdue.

From there I executed a short hop to San Francisco on Virgin Airlines. Never flown those folks before and they were fun. Apparently the Powers That Be allow the flight attendants some leeway when it comes to the FAA mandated safety announcements. I've heard this a million times and I turn my brain to snooze when I hear it again. Except this time the flight attendant (a guy) was having a grand time with the announcement, rifting on theme, as it were. Hilarious. And I listened. Pity more airlines don't get that clue.

I've been through SFO's airport, but not been in the town. So this was a treat. I've always snarked about why in the hell would anyone live on an active fault line knowing it's only a matter of time before the earth truly does move. Well, I apologize. Now I know why they do it. San Francisco rocks. It's a truly lovely town. They've come to an understanding of how architecture outta work: new stuff blends with old stuff. Denver is the same way. London -- not happening there. New ugly stuff doesn't compliment cool old stuff.

San Francisco has a unique feel I didn't expect. The food was awesome, some of the folks on the streets definite book fodder. I was there to attend the Romance Writers of America annual convention. I took part in the annual charity book signing event, but that was a bust for me. Usually I sell six to seven books. This year -- zip. Most of the problem was that RWA made a new rule that the books at the charity signing could only be 2007 and 2008 copyrights. That's book 2 in my series only. So if you've never read the first book, you're not going to buy the second. I was sad they missed out on the sales as it would have gone for literacy in San Francisco. Unintended consequences.

I roomed with a buddy of mine from Wisconsin (formerly of Colorado, Saudi Arabia, etc. She's been everywhere.) She was pitching to an agent and trying to get the most out of the conference. The only downside is the poor soul was suffering from a sinus infection. Jana is a very light sleeper. I can hear a mouse cough on the moon. Sinus infections = snoring. Big time. No way I could sleep that first nigh, even with ear plugs, so I donned my clothes, trucked down to the front desk and asked if we could have a roll away sent to the room. Since we didn't end up with the two queen bed room we'd originally requested (got a king instead) we were able to use the roll away.

When I returned to the room my roomie was up, worried about where I'd gone. There was a happy ending: she took some meds to help her sinuses. I put the roll away near the door, with a wall between us and lo, we both got a great night's sleep. Improvision saves your butt more often than not. To her credit, she took the roll away from that night forward as it was 1) comfortable and 2) close to the bathroom. I slept like a dream. She's a gem, that lady. (Yes, I know, a comfortable roll away bed in a hotel. Absolutely unheard of.)

The conference itself was of value. I am now considered a Published Author by RWA standards so I attended the Published Authors Network programming track. This track aims for more industry specific info such as contract negotiations, input from the major booksellers' representatives, etc. I also had the opportunity to meet with my agent. Yes folks, I've finally reached the stage where I've signed with a NY agent. I got one of the best, which shows that being patient and working hard for seven years does pay off.

After the conference ended, I got the chance to spend a day with my dear friend P.C. Cast and her daughter Kristin (co-authors of the dynamite House of Night Series). We headed up to Fisherman's Wharf, had some excellent breakfast complete with Irish Coffee and then went hunting sea lions. I have some neat pictures on my digital camera, providing I can find the sync cord to unload them (sigh). We visited Golden Gate State Park, toured the horticultural gardens, bought some goodies at a Gem and Mineral Show ( love that bling) and then gave up. Totally tired, but a very fun day. We didn't get to see any sea lions that day, but Kristen got to see a bunch of them the next. P.C. and I so rarely get to spend time together. We met 7 years ago when I was self-published and she was with a small press. She and Kristin just passed their fourteenth week on the NY Times List. Awesome.

More about the trip in the next post. I must get some work done tonight as tomorrow I'm back to Jury Duty when we learn if I've been empaneled or not. If not, I'm back in the pool. If so, I'm going to do my civic duty to the fullest. Who knows, someday somebody might have to do the same for me.