A Few Things

Monday, August 3rd, 2015 07:57 am
marthawells: (Manly Hug)
WorldCon Schedule: WorldCon is in Spokane, WA this year. (It was in London last year.) The program is searchable online, and I think the sign-ups for the Kaffee Klatches are online this year too.

You Like That on Doctor Who? But How Could You Not Like This?
Thursday 13:00 - 13:45, 300C (CC)
Think "The Rings of Akhaten" is better than it gets credit for? Or that "The Caves of Androzoni" is overrated? What episodes of Doctor Who do you like that few others do and why? Which always rank near the top of fan polls but you just don't like? And which are nearly forgotten (and should be)?
Jim Mann (M), Warren Frey, Steven Schapansky, Martha Wells, Charlie Reeves

Writers Workshop section
Thursday 16:00 - 19:00,
All workshop sections are closed to non-participants.


Autographing - Kendare Blake, Randy Henderson, Jason Hough, Lee Moyer, Robert J. Sawyer, Martha Wells
Friday 11:00 - 11:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)

Reading - Martha Wells
Friday 14:00 - 14:30, 304 (CC)
Martha Wells

From Middle Earth to Westeros: Fantasy Worldbuilding
Saturday 10:00 - 10:45, Integra Telecom Ballroom 100B (CC)
Building a believable world, with believable geography, culture, and rules, is at least as important in fantasy as it is in SF. The panel looks at how to create fantasy worlds, citing examples of the good (and maybe the not so good).
Martha Wells (M), Matthew Johnson, Mary Soon Lee, Michael Swanwick, Pat Cadigan

Kaffee Klatche - Martha Wells
Saturday 13:00 - 13:45, 202B-KK4 (CC)
Join a panelist and up to 9 other fans for a small discussion. Coffee and snacks available for sale on the 2nd floor.
 Requires advance sign-up.

***

ArmadilloCon in Austin was a lot of fun this year. It's a small con, with maybe 500-600 people, focused on books and art, but with a lot of authors. Everything seemed to go pretty smoothly, and the all day writers workshop on Friday, run by Marshall Ryan Maresca, went really well. The first half of the day there are two writing-related panels for the workshop participants only, then we break into groups for the rest of the day and do the critiquing. It was neat to see people who had been students in the workshop several years ago now coming back to teach as pros.

Ken Liu was the guest of honor and did a presentation on translating Chinese SF, "Betrayal With Integrity: Conformance and Estrangement in Translating Chinese SF" and a panel on Silkpunk: Asian themes and influences in SF/F.

Most of my panels were on business aspects of writing, and we answered a lot of questions. I also did a reading from the new Raksura book, The Edge of Worlds, and had a pretty good-sized audience of about twelve people.

A lot of the non-panel, non-reading activity took place in the lobby bar area, and it was very noisy and happy down there on Friday and Saturday nights.

And a friend of mine got her nails done in a very cool Raksura pattern: photo on Tumblr
marthawells: (Miko)
Saturday morning, I mainly did the dealers room and art show, and then had lunch with Jeremy Lassen from Night Shade Books. The big news of the convention was the cause of the fire alarm that interrupted the 6:00 panel yesterday. Apparently, someone in a room hung something from a fire sprinkler nozzle, causing it to break off and gush water. Since this was an atrium hotel, the water came out of the room, over the balcony and plunged to the floor of the lobby, much like an attractive water feature. It was startling and entertaining for the people sitting in the bar and the coffee kiosk.

Here's some early morning photos of the dealers room and art show before too many people got there.



more )

In short, I had a great time, and am now very tired.

ArmadilloCon Friday

Saturday, July 28th, 2012 07:34 am
marthawells: (Default)
Here is a sort of pictorial essay on ArmadilloCon Friday, because for once I remembered to put my camera in my bag.

Thursday night I went out with friends AT and Carol and Bill and Judy Crider to Fonda San Miguel.


The restaurant is in a beautiful building and the food is even better than the restaurant looks.

Friday morning I woke up bright and early at 5:30 for no reason. (I think I'm missing Jack, the teenage cat/land piranha) I walked over to L'Madeleine for breakfast and met up with some of the other workshop people. Then we came back and got started:





I was leading a group with Matthew Bey, and we had three great participants with good submissions and some really good discussion.

After eight or so hours of workshopping, I was getting a bit blood-sugar-crashy (conventions do that to me in a way nothing else does. I think it's all the talking). Troyce had arrived by that point so we went to the Zoe's Kitchen next to the hotel and got a snack. I had a panel at 6:00, and we had plans to go out to eat with friends after that.


That's Joe Lansdale, Howard Waldrop, William Browning Spencer, Me, and Neal Barrett, Jr. It was on SF/F in Texas, but after getting interrupted by a fire alarm twice, having to go out the emergency door and stand in the grass, then coming back in and being interrupted by the announcement that the emergency was over, it was mostly talking about everyone's first experiences with fandom and other stories. It was a really funny panel and the audience (and me) were laughing most of the time, including when we had to go stand outside.

After that, we went out to dinner at Z Tejas, which has a great location overlooking the park on the far side of the duck pond. I wish I'd gotten a picture but I was too hungry. (Here's one from their web site).

Then we came back to the convention for the Friday night party, and talked with people a little bit before it was time to collapse.

ArmadilloCon

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 06:40 pm
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
I'm in Austin a day early so I can be at the ArmadilloCon writers workshop bright and early tomorrow morning.

I'm going to try to do more posting from the con than I normally do, but we'll see. And I'll try to talk more about the con and less about what I have to eat. (I've already had pita chips and hibiscus tea.)

Weekend

Monday, July 23rd, 2012 08:38 am
marthawells: (Default)
Family came in last night for a quick visit, and we went out to dinner with them and a group of friends, and there was a pitcher of Bellinis, so the weekend finished up slightly drunk. Other than that, I got done most of what I wanted to get done.

I'm going to ArmadilloCon this weekend and among other things need to dye my hair. The gray tends to come in in weird sporadic patches, so I tend to look like Dr. Orpheus (see icon) without the symmetry. I'm going to use the purple dye I tried before that I really loved. It's a subtle purple, so you can only see it in the right light, and it shows up mostly on the gray patches. Cross your fingers for me that it works this time the way it did before.

Hopefully I can do a book recs post this week, too.

***

ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas, is this coming weekend and my schedule is here. The major guests are: Guest of Honor: Anne Bishop, Special Guest: Chloe Neill, Editor Guest: Liz Gorinsky, Artist Guest: Julie Dillon.

***

Trying to catch up on links:

* Michelle Sagara: In which Michelle has an opinion
If you spend much time on the internet in writers’ circles, you will no doubt have heard about the Stop The Goodreads Bullies web-site. Set up by anonymous bloggers, it purports to be a site created by concerned readers, readers who are dismayed and outraged by the bullies on Goodreads. These so-called bullies are reviewers. They are generally very snarky reviewers.

In order to stop these bullies, our concerned "readers" have gone through the effort of anonymously outing them in public. They have posted their real names, as most of them write pseudonymously. Not only have they posted their real names, but they have also posted their home addresses, their phone numbers, and (some of) the restaurants and parks they frequent.

This is, in my opinion, sick. It is sick, disturbed, harassment.



* You Tube: Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Starship Smackdown, Comic-Con 2012


* Another Comic-Con related link: Frustrations of an Asian American Whedonite
At San Diego Comic-Con 2012, I finally got to ask the question. The question that’s been burning in my mind for almost ten years now.


* Crossed Genres Magazine is opening for submissions again on August 1, now paying pro rates.


* Facebook: The Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-Fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors.


* This is a really excellent article: The Guardian: This is how racism takes root
The different ways the media covered two cases of men grooming children for sex show how shockingly easy it is to demonise a whole community
marthawells: (Reading)
ArmadilloCon is next weekend, July 27-29, in Austin, Texas.

The major guests are: Guest of Honor: Anne Bishop, Special Guest: Chloe Neill, Editor Guest: Liz Gorinsky, Artist Guest: Julie Dillon.

I'm one of the teachers for the writers workshop all day Friday, then my schedule is:

Fr1800T Texas is Fantastic
Fri 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Trinity
Neal Barrett, Joe Lansdale, Carrie Richerson, Wen Spencer, Howard Waldrop, Martha Wells
A discussion of fantasy written by Texans and/or set in the Lone Star State.

Sa1400SB SF/F Mysteries
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Sabine
Scott Cupp, Marshall Maresca, Rob Rogers, Patrice Sarath*, Martha Wells
A discussion of good examples of this mixed subgenre and the special challenges of writing it.

Saturday, 4:30pm Reading
Martha Wells (I'm not sure yet what I'll be reading from. Probably The Siren Depths since my printer is having problems and I can't print anything else out right now.)

Sa1700SB Building a Fictional Society from the Ground Up
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Sabine
Anne Bishop, Amanda Downum, Abby Goldsmith, Julie Mandala, Jessica Reisman*, Martha Wells
A discussion of worldbuilding in sf/f.

Sa2030SM Reading
Sat 8:30 PM-9:00 PM San Marcos
Aaron de Orive (Aaron will be reading from the unsold MG fantasy we wrote together.)

Art Links for Sunday

Sunday, July 1st, 2012 08:25 am
marthawells: (John Sheppard)
ArmadilloCon is going to be this month, July 27-29. The major guests are: Guest of Honor: Anne Bishop, Special Guest: Chloe Neill, Editor Guest: Liz Gorinsky, Artist Guest: Julie Dillon. I'll be on panels, and will be one of the teachers at the writers workshop.

I hadn't seen Julie Dillon's art before. Her site is here and there's some gorgeous work on it. I really love the piece that the con is using for its poster: Planetary Alignment (also because it's a fully dressed female character). Also like this one.

Todd Lockwood did the cover for the new shared world fantasy anthology I have a story in: Tales of the Emerald Serpent (that's the ebook, the paperback is available here). Todd Lockwood's site is here. Some of my favorite pieces are this one and this one

***

The Atlantic: How Good Books Can Change You

Black Gate: Comment on this post at the Black Gate Blog for a chance to win a free ebook or paperback of The Crow God's Girl by Patrice Sarath

The Book Smugglers: On the Smugglers' Radar Upcoming SF/F and YA books!
marthawells: (Zoe)
Got back from ArmadilloCon late yesterday afternoon, and I'm still tired. It was a great con, but after the rain we had last week, the temperature shot up to over 108 here and in Austin for the past few days, and has left everything lightly fried, if not dead.

Very worried by all the hurricane news, too. There's a three other tropical storms pointed towards us at the moment, and one about to descend on Taiwan.


All four panels I was on went really well, especially the cover panel on Sunday morning with Lou Anders, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brad Foster, Rockey Kelley, Rick Klaw, and me. Lou Anders had us send covers to him that we wanted to talk about and assembled a power point presentation (so we could actually show the audience the covers) and also some slides showing how covers are developed from sketches, with the publisher choosing which versions they want to go with.

Also pointing out that authors rarely get input except sometimes towards the end of the process, and talking a bit about how books get face-outs in bookstores, and the placement on the "new books" tables at the front. (The publisher buys those spaces from the chain bookstores, then has to convince the chains which of their books to put there. The chains want the ones with the covers they think will sell best, which is not always the books the publisher wants most to push.)


And I have a link:

Writers and Pellets by Tobias Buckell

The neurotic behavior persists at all levels of writing. It isn't necessarily the writer's fault.

The reason for this is writing, as well as many of the arts, are fundamentally (but accidentally) designed to create horrible psychological atmospheres that are very conducive to creating neuroses if you aren't paying attention. Because the reward systems for artistic success aren't predictable. Which really fucks with the animal brain.


It really doesn't help if you're already neurotic. And it's also a reason why writers can be so vulnerable to depression.
marthawells: (Miko)
Getting ready to leave for ArmadilloCon!


***


Everybody in the path of the hurricane please be careful. We're about a four hour drive from the Gulf coast, and a lot of the hurricanes that hit us flop at the last moment, but they're still scary. The ones that don't (hurricane Ike) are even more scary.

Here's a couple of my favorite hurricane preparations:

Solar water disinfection I've collected a bunch of soda bottles to do this if we have to. They're handy, because you can also use them to fill with water before the storm. (You do want to have a lot of drinkable water on hand in case the water is contaminated after the storm. And fill the bathtub, too, because you can drink it if you really have to, and also use it to water your animals or wash dishes and so on.)


This is an ebay link but it shows a bunch of different models: battery powered fans This was a recommended by a friend who spent about two weeks in Houston with no power after Ike. In our climate, once the hurricane is over, we go back to heat and killer humidity, and the fans can cool the room enough to let you sleep.


During the late summer, I always try to have a few days worth of canned food, plus extra dry food for the cats, on hand, so if one turns toward us unexpectedly I won't have to buy too much at the last minute.
marthawells: (Teyla)
Between a brief informal Twitter poll by me and a consultation at the publisher, the Cloud Roads books now have an official series title: Books of the Raksura I'm still plugging away on the third book.

I'll be at ArmadilloCon in Austin, TX, this weekend, and my schedule is here.

And if you haven't heard, San Antonio, Texas, won the bid for the WorldCon in 2013.

***


WorldCon Saturday was when I really started to mentally and physically crater. Got up early again, finally found the one breakfast restaurant that wasn't exposed to casino smoke, then while my roommates went to the gym, I went swimming in the pools.

The Atlantis doesn't have as elaborate pools as the big one in the Caribbean, but it was still pretty nice. They had a round indoor pool in a glass enclosure with a two story boulder-strewn tropical waterfall. Very neat. Plus an outdoor pool and a hot tub. After that, I finally shopped more thoroughly in the dealers' room, signed books for another book dealer, and then did my reading. Panels were running late so I started out with only a couple of nice people, then looked up at one point to realize the room was much more full of nice people, so that was good.

After a quick break, this was the next panel:

Sat 1:00 - 2:00, The Comeback Genre: Sword & Sorcery (Panel), A16 (RSCC)
Sword and Sorcery has a rich history, going back to at least Howard and Smith. And it's making a comeback. Our panelists talk about its rich history and why it's back and better than ever.
Lou Anders, Dale Ivan Smith, S.M. Stirling, Martha Wells

This was in one of the smaller rooms and was crowded to pretty much standing room only. We talked a bit about the history and current books, and made a lot of recommendations. I recced Charles Saunders' Imaro and Dossouye books, Tanith Lee (Her early sword and sorcery like Vazkor, Son of Vazkor and Cyrion, plus the later Night's Master and Death's Master which feel like you're reading Robert E. Howard while dropping acid.), Howard A. Jones' The Desert of Souls, and Jessica Amanda Salmonson's Amazons anthologies. Someone in the audience also recced Salmonson's Tomoe Gozen books, set in feudal Japan.

After that I went to late lunch (it was after 2:00 by then) with my roommates and Courtney, and was so tired I was calling people by the wrong name. I only had one more panel to go and revived enough for:

Sat 5:00 - 6:00, Designing Believable Archeaology and Anthropology (Panel), A03 (RSCC)
Using anthropology and archaeology to build realistic SF and fantasy worlds.
Martha Wells (M), Jessica Axsom, S.M. Stirling

We had a really good talk for being so late in the day, in one of the big rooms with a large audience. Jessica is a working archeologist, so that added a lot to the discussion. (My degree was in anthropology and I've been on an archeology field camp, and Steve Stirling had done some extensive reading in it.) We talked about things that should inform your decisions while world-building, and I actually have my panel topics I prepared as moderator, so I'll copy them here:

notes )

There were a lot of good questions and comments from the audience, and since it was the last panel of the day in that room, we didn't get the five minute warning or the notice to stop, so people could come up to the table and discussion went on for a while afterward.

That was my last panel of the con, and we were leaving Sunday morning, though the con programming actually went on to late in the afternoon. We went to dinner in downtown Reno with one of my roommates' family, looked at the river and the park there, then came back and read Hugo results online and decided we were too dead for parties.

Next day they dropped me at the airport, I flew home with Amy and Paul, and then drove an hour and a half home from Houston, through once green and now drought-dead countryside, watching a tiny rainstorm dance around in the distance.

Now back to work.

ArmadilloCon

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 08:10 am
marthawells: (Teyla)
Very worried about the rioting in London and surrounding areas and hope everybody I know over there is okay.

***

Today is the day Troyce is doing a presentation at the Kwianis club on our Nasa VIP Tour. He isn't a Kwiani, but someone in the Astronomy club invited him to do the presentation.


***

I now have my schedule for ArmadilloCon, August 26-28, in Austin. Yes, that is the weekend after I get back from WorldCon, and I will be stunned from tiredness, but ArmadilloCon is my favorite convention.


Friday

Building a Fictional Society from the Ground Up
Fri 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Trinity
Paolo Bacigalupi, Elizabeth Bear*, Alexis Gynn Latner, Ari Marmell, Jessica Reisman, M. Wells

Saturday

Reading
Sat 11:00 AM-11:30 AM Pecos

Autographing
Sat Noon-1:00 PM Dealers' Room
Neal Barrett, E. Bear, Ma. Finn, Nancy Jane Moore, Carrie Richerson, M. Wells

Writing a Strong Female Protagonist
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM San Antonio
Aaron Allston, Emma Bull, Amanda Downum*, Julie Kenner, Tess Mallory, M. Wells

Learning from Others' Mistakes: Writing Errors to Avoid
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Trinity
Robert Bennett, Madeleine Dimond, Julie Kenner*, William Browning Spencer, M. Wells

Sunday

Book Covers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Sun 11:00 AM-Noon San Antonio
Lou Anders*, P. Bacigalupi, Brad Foster, R. Kelley, Rick Klaw, M. Wells


My WorldCon schedule is here.

(no subject)

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 04:03 pm
marthawells: (Default)
It's my birthday today, and my husband gave me an iPad as a surprise combination birthday/anniversary gift! That was awesome! Then Verizon took my internet away for most of the day. That was not so awesome.

I just got it back and am trying to catch up on birthday wishes, but thank you, very much, to everyone who sent messages, and virtual LJ gifts and LJ tokens. That's been very awesome, especially since they all came at once!

Anyway, I'm still catching up, but here are the links I meant to post this morning:

The Escapist: Muslims in my Monitor by Saladin Ahmed.

Videogames have, often enough, contributed to this rhetoric, but games also complicate and even undermine such universal hatred. Like TV and Hollywood movies, the purposes of videogames are to make money, and to entertain. But that's not all videogames do - games can also teach us how to think about "other" peoples, how to hate "bad guys," and, once in a rare while, how to take a second, more critical look at the Us vs. Them dichotomy that we've been handed by other parts of our culture.


Lawrence Person's Futuramen: ArmadilloCon photos part 1, ArmadilloCon photos part 2
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
At ArmadilloCon, the last panel I was on went over time, and we were still talking where there was a dramatic BANG pause BANG pause BANG on the door. Then it opened, and Jonathan Miles the programming director came in, and said, "You don't have to leave the convention, but you can't stay in here." That was the best way to call time on a panel I've ever seen.

Also, on the same panel (History as Background), we were talking a bit about why you have to know how things work in the real world -- cultures, cities, wars, etc -- before you can make up your own in created world fantasy, and I said that for example, if you have a floating city, where does the waste go? Someone in the audience said in a dramatic voice "Down!" And how you can use that to have something horrible happen to your characters, something funny, or explain why the people who live on the ground below are so angry all the time.

***

Black Gate is doing a series on their steampunk Zeppelin road trip to Dragon*Con: Black Gate Zeppelin to Dragon*Con Update Episode 4: Boys Smell

Another cool Black Gate-related thing: Managing Editor Howard Andrew Jones' first novel The Desert of Souls is available for preorder now. It's the characters from his Dabir and Asim stories which have appeared in the magazine.

Interesting article from Curiosity Killed the Eccentric Yoruba: Africans in Ancient China and Vice Versa

From Huffington Post: Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner speak out on the Franzen Feud
With the publication of Jonathan Franzen's fourth novel, Freedom, which was extensively covered in the New York Times while Franzen himself appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, a controversy broke out online over whether Franzen's star treatment was indicative of the literary establishment's alleged shoddy treatment of commercial writers, in particular writers of what is commonly referred to as 'women's fiction.'
marthawells: (Indeed)
Back from ArmadilloCon, dead tired. It was a very active and busy con this year, so between the programming and the socializing, I was pretty much in continuous motion. I realized it wasn't until Sunday that I actually had time to walk to the back of our hotel room and look out the window into the atrium. But it was all enormous fun.

(I noticed in my last post I said the hotel was in the Arboretum and had a good view of the part. By which I meant park. Though the view of the part probably sounded more exotic and mysterious.)

The good thing about the site was it was surrounded by trees, including throughout the parking lot, and though it was cooler in Austin than it had been recently, it was still mid to upper 90s, so the shade was nice. There were also many good restaurants either in walking distance or a very quick drive.

The writing workshop, which went from about 9:15 to 4:30 on Friday was great and our students all had talent and potential and great ideas in their submissions, which made it a lot of fun, but by the end of it I was starting my usual con-related blood sugar crash. I always think these are isolated incidents and are never going to happen again, until the next con. It's usually in the late afternoon, and is a combination of not enough lunch plus nothing but water for four hours while expending a lot of energy talking, etc. (And the lunch the hotel forced people to buy during the workshop was pretty gnarly. A hotel this pretty should not produce food like that, it's just wrong.) By the time the workshop was over, [personal profile] morfin was there, and friends carried us off to dinner at Jaspers. We had some good food this con because Austin is brimming with it, but this was the food highlight of the weekend. I had scallops and grits, and I don't know what all they put in the grits, but it was marvelous. Anyway, I felt a lot better afterward.

Then we came back and went to opening ceremonies, which were hosted by the toastmaster Nancy Kress. Michael Bishop spoke also, and explained why he was the steampunk guest of honor when he doesn't write steampunk. (A list of steampunk writers had been assembled, and at the end of it was added "or we could also invite Michael Bishop" and at some point the or got dropped out.) Then there was the guest reception and lots of talking to friends. People kept trying to leave, and then you would later find them about ten feet away having run into more friends they hadn't seen in a while, so getting out was a very slow process.

this is getting long )

(no subject)

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 07:39 am
marthawells: (Indeed)
I'm having a great time at ArmadilloCon and was actually so busy this is pretty much my first time to post.

I got into Austin Thursday late afternoon, successfully reached the hotel, (which is in the Arboretum and has a very nice view of the part), met up with [personal profile] j_cheney and Patrice Sarath, and we headed off to the guest dinner at a really good Mexican restaurant. A lot of the guests and concom were there, and we got to talk a bit to the awesome Michael Bishop.

Friday I was teaching in the writers workshop all day (my teaching partner was Matthew Bey, of the famous Space Squid) and we had a really excellent group of writers and stories.

The weird thing that happened was early Friday morning. Some of the teachers and other people running the workshop met at La Madeleine for breakfast, and while we were sitting there. A car hit the wall of the restaurant. Yes, a CAR HIT THE WALL OF THE RESTAURANT. It didn't go through the wall, but still. It was kind of exciting.

I need to get going now because I have a panel at 10:00 and a fairly full day until after 3:00. Hopefully cars won't hit anything else associated with the con.

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