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[conventions] Upcoming events and writing related program activities

Been a while since I’ve done this, so here’s a forthcoming schedule.

10/13 – 10/17 Omaha, NE for day job

10/18 OCPWW wrap party (Lincoln City, OR)

10/30 – 11/2 World Fantasy Convention (Calgary, AB)

11/10-11/11 Wordstock, sharing a Sunday morning reading with David Levine, teaching a Sunday afternoon workshop (Portland, OR)

11/17 – 11/21 Omaha, NE for day job

11/21 – 11/23 OryCon (Portland, OR)

12/11 – 12/14 Various events in San Francisco with Ken Scholes

12/15 – 12/19 Omaha, NE for day job

[travel] Like desperadoes waiting for a plane

At SFO. The United economy check-in here is a magnificent example of how corporate systems go wrong when cost cutting becomes the absolute priority. Fifty automated check-in machines, half a dozen line wranglers to get people to the available machines, and four guys behind the counter racing back and forth to tag the bags. So while they’re shoving people into the machines, no one can get back out of the machines because the taggers are so far behind, because they’re badly undermanned. This trip continues to remind me why I try very hard to never fly the Friendly Skies.

Going offline shortly to await boarding and get jiggy on Tourbillon. I believe I’ll start this book with an epigram:

And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
    —Leviticus 26:19

I’ll be tracking both word count and hours-of-effort, and I’m not sure how my post-cancer writing process will influence my raw word count throughput. As usual when I am in first draft mode, expect daily updates but otherwise irregular blogging.

[personal] San Francisco doings

Catching up here. Last night’s dinner at Buca di Beppo was a lot of fun. In attendance were yours truly, along with dinogrl, dave-gallaher, swan_tower, kurayami_hime, zellandyne, jorhett, calendula_witch, witch_husband, and zhaneel69. A portion of the party went off to jorhett‘s house after for more wine, but I was too pooped and so cadged a ride back to the hotel from zhaneel69. Today calendula_witch was kind enough to toot me around to several Bay Area bookstores in her li’l red convertible, plus a very nice Chinese lunch in Berkeley. I’m at my San Francisco pied a terre now, down in the Balboa Park area, and am scheduled to go out to Writers With Drinks later.

Tomorrow, I fly home and commence the writing of Tourbillon, more or less at the same time.

[travel] Hanging round the Bay

Walked 65 minutes this morning. Up Market Street instead of through the Tenderloin, for those of you worried about my personal safety. Other than a scruffy urban outdoorsman having a vicious argument with his blanket, it was pretty calm.

Doing a tour de bookstore today at various spots around the area. Dropping in to sign stock, visit with booksellers and generally be visible. calendula_witch has very kindly offered to drive me. I think I’m hitting Writers With Drinks tonight, then home on the silver bird tomorrow morning.

Y’all play nice while I’m busy.

[personal] The mean streets of San Francisco

Yesterday I went walking a little after 6 am. There is nothing going on in downtown San Francisco at that hour. Not even cops around.

Today I went walking a little after 4 am. Very different. The weirdos haven’t gone to sleep. The hookers are still wandering around. (Well, I did see one hooker yesterday.) I passed four guys breaking into a van. One of me, four of them, me without a cell phone, so I just kept walking without making eye contact. The guy who’d been walking half a block behind me caught up and wanted to talk about it. I had a flipping encounter group on the perils of urban crime at 4:30 in the morning, for the love of Pete.

After that, no so much with the criminal element, but it made me realize what a pokey place Portland is. And Omaha, for that matter.

[travel] Bitch bitch, moan moan

At the airport waiting to board United Airlines for my flight to San Francisco. I have been thoroughly reminded of why I dislike this airline so much. (I’m only flying it today because of the advantageous schedule, otherwise I’d be on my usual American/Alaska combo.) Little upcharges for everything, sullen employees, the whole ball of wax.

Also, today is definitely a “flying with amateurs” day, as elusivem once put it to me. The entire security line had to wait a while for someone who’d clearly never heard that presenting ID was part of the airport experience, and had trouble locating hers. Yadda yadda yadda, bitch bitch, moan moan.

At least I found an outlet. And the trade show ought to be quite interesting, to say the least.

Y’all play nice while I’m gone.

[personal] Miscellaneous updatery

Working today here in Portlandia. Fireside writers this afternoon and evening.

Off at 0:stupid early tomorrow to San Francisco for the CTIA Wireless Entertainment Expo, a major trade show for the Day Jobbe. I will be seeing some, all or none of you there at various times of the weekend, as I’m staying over til Sunday morning to do writerly things and friend things.

In other news, I dropped into the 235.x weight range today. I’m closing in on 50 pounds lost for the year, and I’ve shed eight inches in the waist size of my pants, threatening to go down another step soon. I’m quite pleased with myself.

As of next week, I’ll be working on Tourbillon. There’s always a bit of dread for me right before stepping into a novel project. It’s rather like jumping off a high board knowing I’ll have to fill the pool with water on my way down. I haven’t made the big bug splat yet in my career, but the possibility lurks at the edge of my thoughts like a cat at a mousehole. The only cure for writing angst is writing, so anon I shall write.

[travel] Heading back to the Bay Area

I’ll be in San Francisco for a trade show from 9/10-9/12. I’m actually staying into the weekend just for the heck of it. calendula_witch is helping me organize a dinner Friday night, 9/12. To my San Francisco homies, let me know if you’re interested in getting together then, or possibly sometime Saturday.

[personal] Updatery, and bit on reviews

Busy day ahead at work today. Some socializing tonight. Quite early tomorrow morning, the_child, tillyjane and me are driving up Mt. Hood to go hiking on the Timberline Trail. (That’s about 6,000 feet.) Sunday is low key, then I’m off to Omaha Monday. Also, I’m off to Omaha again at the end Labor Day weekend, with a trade show in San Francisco the week after that. Home, much, me?

I’m planning to have the outline of Tourbillion done early this coming week. Have to bat cleanup on some open projects, get the next IROSF article going with specficrider, and maybe address a few short fiction bits.

Also, I was thinking as I walked this morning about the value of linking to negative reviews. I’ve been asked a few times if I’m worried about creating an Internet dogpile on a reviewer. I should hope not. I find negative reviews interesting, even funny, and very rarely have a challenging response to them inside my own head. I think this stems from my very deep conviction that the story belongs to the reader. Doesn’t matter if that reader is a fan, a critic, an editor or some random person who picked up the book. It’s theirs. When the reactions are good, I take pleasure in them. When the reactions are poor, I learn what I can from them.

How do you handle negative reviews and critique? Is it a door-slamming moment for you? Or do you chuckle and move on?

[travel] Spending the weekend down by the bay

It was a good weekend, but somehow my blog index was much lower than normal. Comes of being in single-tasking health, I guess.

Friday afternoon I got to San Francisco. Had a nice lunch down in Cole Valley with calendula_witch, then went to my Balboa Park pied-a-terre and crashed out until therinth and Mr. Therinth picked me up for a dinner in San Jose with zellandyne and her guy.

Saturday morning I headed down to Santa Cruz, a trip interrupted by a brief but paperwork-free roadside interview with the po-po: “Sir, using a cell phone while driving is illegal in California.” “I’m from Oregon, I didn’t know.” “Well, then get out of here, but don’t do it any more.” (He was very courteous, as was I.) Down in Santa Cruz I spent an hour on KUSP with Lyle Troxell and a cast of half a dozen, including Rick Kleffel. The Trashotron podcast of the radio segment is here.

After that it was back up to San Francisco, another nap, then off to Borderlands Books, followed by SF in SF, all of which was great good fun. dinogrl and dave_gallaher showed up at the store, but there was a logistical mixup about dinner and they didn’t connect after. Terry Bisson hosted me and Susan Palwick for SF in SF, where after a brief memorial discussion of Tom Disch, she read a rather dark and twisted piece, I read the equally cheerful “The Goat Cutter”, then we all interviewed each other.

Afterwards, camillemulan gave me a book for the_child, her graphic novel Raggedy Chan about the experience of being a Chinese girl in America. It came with a lovely doll. the_child was quite thrilled.

Today was an early Vegan breakfast with mine hostess, then I hopped an early flight home. A very good trip to the Bay Area, but I am happy to be back in my own little home (however briefly).