Sunday, October 25, 2009

Archon 33, GBMojo and other adventures!

I had the great pleasure of attending Archon for the very first time. Apparently in time for a great deal of changes. The convention is moving to a new location in Westport next year. So, I guess we were there at the end of tradition and beginning of a new one. I look forward to seeing people next year.

Jen and I took Friday off in order to heard out a bit early. We were surprised when we found out that programming started at 1000. We hung around the house, did some laundry, watched some dvred telly. We didn't start leaving until later in the day. The drive went smoothly. I misunderstood the directions Jen gave me and we had a small mis-step where I over drove the road we were supposed to be on and had to back track. We came up on the hotel and the convention center, they were over an embankment from each other. Pulling up front, we see a group from Zombie Squad. We checked in to the Double Tree, they give you a warm cookie when check in. We parked and went up to the room. Jen got the clothes unpacked and I got the computers unpacked.

We headed over to the convention center and got checked in. My badge hadn't been printed or lost. Still, they remedied that quite quickly. Jen and I headed out to start learning our way around the center. We took a stroll around the artists room. We found that most of the art was HIGLY amateurish and overpriced. We then found out how to get tickets for the autograph signings and got all prepped for those on Saturday. We did a it more strolling around and then it was time for Laurell K. Hamilton, Angie Fox and co. to do a panel asking if Vampires are snobs. The panel agreed that they weren't and quickly ranged onto other topics. After the panel Jen and I headed back to the hotel room. We stopped by Denny's to get some food. Then I took Jen back to the hotel and I went to the local Wal-Mart. I bought some necessities. We got some bottled water and candy.

Saturday morning Jen was up before me. I don't know how she does it. She wakes up very early. But, generally needs a nap later. I woke up, ready to take on the world. We read for a bit and then I moved to the sofa in the room to let Jen go back to sleep for a while. I messed around on my laptop. I tried writing, but as so often happens, I keep deleting what I had written. I woke Jen up to get ready to go back to the con. I went to take a show and had a horrible time trying to get the water to warm up. For a while I really thought we were having issues with the water temperature and for some reason I turned the knob all the way to the right. Lo and behold the water is backwards: left is cold and right is hot.I got showered and we got dressed to leave. We stopped by Arby's to get some food and then headed to the con. An autograph session with Tom Kidd was first up. I had Jen get in line and parked the car. I came in, saw Jen in line and tore off for the dealer room. I'd promised to get 1632 signed by Eric Flint for Brian (my old boss). I tear off for the dealer's room for to get to Glen Cook's both. I purchase a copy of the book in question and the next three in Mr. Cook's Garrett P.I. series. I asked him to personalize the books and tore back off to get in line with Jen. We bought Mr. Kidd's new book Kiddology and he did a remarque for us. We chatted for a minute, well I did. Turns out Mr. Kidd is a child of the air force and had spent time in England. Funny, we'd been to some of the same or similar places. Jen and I took the book out to the car and looked through it. We came back in to the convention center and strolled down to the dealer's room. As we walked down the hallway looking at the sellers there. We were stopped out of a dealer when Jen stepped back and right into Laurell. It was funny, because I could tell that she actually recognized Jen. Right outside of the dealer's room was Peter Mayhew. We stopped and I got an autograph and a picture with him. I was truly a fanboy! We went back inside and picked up our books from Glen Cook. Jen picked up an astronomy book by John Scalzi and we continued on our way. We walked up and down the aisles, again there were some really good places, but most were woefully over-priced or of, what I consider, substandard quality. We stopped at a bookseller for Jen to rest. They had chairs set up. I realized that we were following Laurell, she was at a jewelry stand further up the next aisle. I handed Jen the latest book by Alton Brown and turned back to look at a few other books. When I turned around Jen was talking to Jon (Laurell's husband). They must have talked for about 20 minutes. I think Jon's minder (or bodyguard) was getting nervous. Jon went his way and in a little bit we got up. Down the last aisle we found Curious Cat Clothing and their lovely staff. When we were down we wondered down to the concession room and hung out for a while. We crossed the convention center to get in line for the Eric Flint. He was really nice and I got the books signed that I'd brought with. We chatted for a few minutes and then we moved on to let others have their turn. Jen wanted to go see the presentation by Zombie Squad. They were horrible. Don't get me wrong they were terrible that is fun, in a cheesy B-movie way. From there we headed to the Laurell panel about strong female characters. We stopped off and got pizza and sodas. We were part of the way through the panel when I realized the books we need for the Laurell signing were still in the room. I took off to go get the books. I ran back while Jen stayed in the panel. I got back without incident and books in two. We headed from the panel down to the signing area. We beat Laurell and crew, but there was already a line forming. Although this was the largest singing line I saw all con there still weren't near as many people as there were at a normal signing. We waited for the line to start dying down before we jumped in. Jon was prepping the books, as usual, and Jen tucked a dollar into his kilt. Too funny, I'm glad both Jon and Laurell are good sports. From there we headed back to the hotel room.

Jen wasn't feeling so well. She decided to take a nap. While she slept, I messed around on the internet. I watched the season premier of How I Met Your Mother. Our DVR had messed up and did not record the first half of the episode. The jokes are MUCH funnier when get the call backs. Eventually, Jen woke up and decided that she needed food. I went out to The Saint Louis Bread Company and got Jen some chicken noodle soup. There was a Wendy's near by, so I stopped and got myself a baconator. Got to love a sandwich predicated on meat, cheese and bacon! I went back to the hotel room. Mostly, I sat around not writing. This is a disturbing trend for me. I need to put words on paper (or characters on screen--same diff)even if they are bad words. I can fix bad words, but I can't do anything if I don't make the words first. Bleh! This isn't about that particular failing. We didn't return to the con that night. There were a few panels we might have wanted to sit in on, but nothing pressing. We hung loose in the hotel. I had problems falling asleep, eventually I did.

We slept late on Sunday. I got up and read. I took a shower. Sadly, we needed to start getting ready to leave. Jen and I did what we do best; we divided up the packing and got the car packed with a few minutes to spare before check out. We headed over to the convention center. I asked Jen to run in while I parked the car. Tom Kidd was at the tail end of a signing and I decided that I really did want the out of print book that he had for sale. I got the car parked and headed in. Mr. Kidd was very nice and generous as he had been the first time we saw him. He chatted with Jen and as I was joining her, he was mentioning needing to be off for a pizza party. We let him go. We headed off to get a message from the dealer's room. From there we got the last panel with Laurell K. Hamilton taking about hiding in plain site. There the panel was interesting. Sadly, Ms. Hamilton has done extensive research on her subject and her panel-mate had done less. She actually had to take time out to correct him at one point. After much fun was had, Jen and I packed up and headed home.

On the way home, Jen says we should see if the arch is open. We stopped off and the arch was open and we could get tickets to go up soon. I can't believe that my wife who doesn't like heights, small spaces, or crowds suggested we go up in the arch. We went up, I had a nice time, but they really do pack quite a few people in a small space and try to get you up and out relatively quickly. We came back down, strolled around the museum and then headed back to our car. The rest of our drive was nice.

Thursday, Jen took the day off and I worked. I left work and sped home to take off for St. Louis. Sadly, Jen and I spent more time getting ready to leave than we'd intended. Therefore, we were late getting to MoKaBe's coffee shop in St. Louis. They place was really nice. The half of a set that we heard was really. I dropped Jen off and then headed off to find a place. I did and hied myself over attentive, but not intrusive. to shop. They ladies were in good form. The coffee shop was wonderful. They barristas were attentive without being intrusive. After the ladies had finished up, Jen stepped out onto the patio and I grabbed the cds for sale. I joined Jen outside and realized that people were starting to leave, so I headed off to move the car. I walked past a bookstore that had a great quote from Frank Lloyd Wright on the transom: "Take care of the luxuries, and the necessities will take care of themselves." Just what I needed to see. I got the car and moved it around the block to be closer to MoKaBe's. I head back up to be with Jen. After a bit we headed back inside, we got the ladies to sign their respective CDs. We didn't stay too much longer and headed back home.

Friday Jen and I had the day off. That was nice and enjoyable.

Saturday, Jen and I lazed around the house far longer than we intended. We got a late start for the St. Louis Science Center. We did get on the road and stopped off at a Mr. Goodcents we'd spotted the last time we were in St. Louis. Sadly, we were too busy enjoying our food we didn't realize we'd missed our exit. I attempted to navigate from existing directions and sadly got us more lost. We didn't show up until about half hour late. We did manage to get there, get in and get into the talk. I'm not sure, but someone thought it would be good let me ask a question, towards the end. Anyone who knows me could tell you that I'm dangerous around microphones. I really, really like to be in the spotlight. I managed to ask my question without being a complete arse! When all was done, Jen and I headed home. WE had a good ride home. Jen stayed awake for the ride home.

That is mostly what we've been up to. While all of this was going on our house-mate David bought a house and we are packing up and moving.

I hope all is well with you folks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mermaid Madness

Mr. Jim C Hines put out a call of questions to celebrate the release of his latest book, Mermaid Madness. I couldn't help but ask a question to my biggest issue as a writer. Here is what transpired.

Thanks for the question!
Q: Where did you get the name for your most difficult to name character?
A: That's a tough one. I can tell you who my easiest character to name was (Jig the goblin), but the hardest? In the current series, I'd have to go with Snow White, aka Ermillina Curtana. I wanted to use names that were associated with the old fairy tales, but most of those old tales never actually give the characters names. The characters are more symbols than people: the beautiful princess, the brave prince, the evil stepmother, and so on.
I was able to name the other two, but Snow continued to elude me until I finally discovered the name Ermillina in The Crystal Casket, an Italian fairy tale with elements similar to Snow White. I honestly don't recall where her last name came from. But even then I wasn't happy. "Ermillina" was a clumsy name to write out each time. The first draft of Stepsister Scheme had her going by "Lina," but I didn't like that either. I finally decided she was the kind of person who would be happy with her nickname, and everyone called her "Snow" from that point on.