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.


kathleen duey said...

After many books for middle grade and middle school kids, my last release was an atypical YA fantasy. Locus, and others, were very kind to it.

I need to make time for cons. I almost went to Denver and to Dragoncon in Atlanta, but a shifted deadline got in my way. Thanks for the nice report. I wish I had made time. Assuming you have a minute--and understanding if you don't, any recommendations for which cons I should try to attend 09?

Jana Oliver said...

It can vary. Many times attending smaller cons in your home state will net you more rewards, or at least more book sales.

I'll probably get someone's panties in a twist if I don't mention them, but two cons off the top of my head are RavenCon (Richmond, VA in April) and TimeGate (Atlanta - May). RavenCon is a smaller (but certainly not tiny) con. It's very well run and Richmond is a delightful city.

If you have an element of time travel in your novels, TimeGate might be an option. It's a small convention over Memorial Day Weekend. Very dedicated fan base.

Dragon*Con is certainly one of the biggies and can be overwhelming for the first timer. 40k attendees, long lines, lots of guests, almost all of whom are infinitely higher on the totem pole than either of us. Still, you just gotta come to Dragon once in your life.

I'm not so sure what to recommend from the YA point of view. You'll most likely reach your reader base at any of these cons. Dragon has a YA programming track. Of course, you'll have to start the guest process early next year (as soon as they post the guest entry form online). It takes a while to get through the system, though it is much more streamlined nowadays.

Hope this helps!