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MoA&A Interview #30: Elaine Isaak

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website.

Now that we’re nearing the end of the month, I’m going to let a couple of friends sneak through who were interviewed here last year: Rick Novy and Elaine Isaak.

It’s always nice to be able to see how life is progressing with authors you’ve become familiar with, and how they might answer these new questions for 2012. Did they manage to scratch any items off their “Things to do Before They Die” list?

Without further ado…here’s the lovely Elaine!

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
Jane Yolen—who is a delight in person as well as on the page. J. R. R. Tolkein a best-seller with eternal presence in the minds of millions.

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
A heavy snowfall, not so wet that it snaps trees, but the kind that seems to hush the whole world.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
“Mary Weep for Me No More” by the Battlefield Band. yes, bagpipes!!

If you could win any award, which would it be?
The MacArthur Genius Grant. Except, I think I’d have to be a genius first. Maybe I can get a coach for that?

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
I have to choose? Maybe I can fly the spaceship out to meet an advanced alien race which will bequeath me the magical powers.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The Thirteen Clocks, by James Thurber

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
It’s okay to be a girl—someday, you’re going to really like it.

What’s your favorite constellation?
I’d have to say Orion. A friend and I used to pretend that we were children of Orion, destined for greatness.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
“Vasilisa the Brave”

What thing are you most proud of?
Lately? Taking lifeguard training—that was really hard!

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
Hike Colorado’s 14’ers
dive a sunken ship
hit the New York Times Bestseller list

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Elaine Isaak wrote The Singer’s Crown and two sequels. Her latest sale is to Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader. A mother of two, Elaine works as a part-time rock climbing instructor. Hobbies include weaving and taiko drumming. Visit www.ElaineIsaak.com to find out why you still do not want to be her hero.

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MoA&A Interview #29: Rick Novy

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website.

Now that we’re nearing the end of the month, I’m going to let a couple of friends sneak through who were interviewed here last year: Rick Novy and Elaine Isaak.

It’s always nice to be able to see how life is progressing with authors you’ve become familiar with, and how they might answer these new questions for 2012. Did they manage to scratch any items off their “Things to do Before They Die” list?

Let’s find out what Rick has to say…

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
This changes all the time. I keep an eye on what people are doing, and I model myself after things other people do that I think might work for me. David Gerrold has been something of a mentor for many years, though we don’t talk as much as either of us would like. Recently, I’ve take some inspiration from Matt Forbeck and his 12 for 12 campaign (12 novels in 2012).

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
I suppose that because I live in Arizona I should say I enjoy writing in dust storms. In all honesty, I write indoors, so weather doesn’t really make that much difference to me.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Rush – La Villa Strangiato

If you could win any award, which would it be?
Any award would be flattering, but I don’t write with awards as the objective.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
I’ll take the _Arthur_C._Clarke_ with technology so advanced it seems like magic.

What was your favorite book as a child?
As a young child, I loved Where the Wild Things Are.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Get focused.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Orion, because so many interesting things are going on in that part of space.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
The Boy Who Cried Wolf. But that’s Aesop, and Aesop wrote fables. [That’s okay, we’ll accept this one! ~Alethea]

What thing are you most proud of?
Three things, my son and two daughters.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
Still want to help recover an extinct in the wild species using fish I have bred. Other than that, to write things that people enjoy reading, and live a productive life.

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Rick Novy is an author, anthologist, engineer, aquarist, mathematician, and cruciverbalist. You can connect with him on Twitter @ricknovy, or at his website: www.ricknovy.com

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MoA&A Interview #9: Cat Rambo

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features SF short story diva Cat Rambo. I admire this woman from her pink (or blue, or purple) hair right down to her super intelligent toesies. Of course, I would admire any woman who could sit down to tea with me and go head-to-head about fairy tales for hours on end…and then publish 5 stories to my every one.

Cat’s third short story collection, NEAR AND FAR, will be released this fall. But don’t wait until then to read some of Cat’s work — you can get Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight (which I highly recommend) right now!

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
L. Timmel DuChamp, who manages to write and edit and publish, all brilliantly; Stephen King, whose prolific nature I find highly inspirational

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
I love the rainy Seattle days with an edge of chill to them. Right now I’m writing during one, and I can hear a duck quacking happily in the distance.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Carla Bruni – Comme Si De Rien N’Etait

If you could win any award, which would it be?
I really like to win the Tiptree Award and be on that elevated list of winners. Tiptree’s a favorite writer and I’ve always appreciated the purpose of the award.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
If the spaceship talks, I’m all over it; otherwise magical powers.

What was your favorite book as a child?
The Lord of the Rings

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Stop worrying about what other people think.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Cygnus

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
The Steadfast Tin Soldier

What thing are you most proud of?
My stories

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
Publish a novel
See the Earth from space
Swim with dolphins

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Cat lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest, and has over a hundred published short stories in places such as Asimov’s, Weird Tales, and Tor.com. Her third short story collection, NEAR AND FAR, appears from Hydra House this fall.

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MoA&A Interview #8: Tina Connolly

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features another fine Codexian and fellow performer, Tina Connolly! Her debut novel Ironskin releases this October.

(Click here to go ahead and preorder Ironskin on Amazon. You know, so you don’t forget.)

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
Diana Wynne Jones, because she wrote in any old subgenre she felt like and they were all amazing.  Robin McKinley, because you can pick up a McKinley book and recognize her voice instantly.

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
Rain, so I don’t get distracted by wanting to be out in the sun. Fortunately there’s a lot of it in Portland.  <g>  Also, I face paint in the summer season, so that works out pretty well.  My spreadsheet shows lots of big word counts in Sept, Oct, and Nov — it starts raining, I stop face painting, and buckle down to writing.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
I actually don’t have an ipod/etc. The song currently cycling through my head for no good reason is ‘I know him so well’ from Chess.  (I’ve listened to/sung this song since high school and it only just occurred to me last week that the song is about how badly the two women know him. I have no defense for this.)


If you could win any award, which would it be?
My inner 8-year old would instantly say the Newbery or an Academy Award. I’d probably better write a MG or a screenplay to have a shot at those, though. <g> As far as what I’m currently writing, I love a lot of the books that have been selected for the Mythopoeic Award.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical powers, definitely.  I’d start with teleportation.  Not only do I have friends and family all over the world, I hate driving.

What was your favorite book as a child?
OMG, SO many.  Luckily I also liked to obsess over what my favorites were, so here’s a few I remember deciding as my favorites from my favorite series.  From L Frank Baum’s Oz series – The Lost Princess of Oz.  From Ruth Plumly Thompson’s part of the Oz series – Speedy in Oz. The Prydain Chronicles – Taran Wanderer.  Narnia – The Dawn Treader. From John Bellairs’ books – The House with a Clock in its Walls.  LM Montgomery – Emily Climbs.  Noel Streatfeild – Theatre Shoes.  I’ll stop there.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Probably that a career in the arts is possible. Parents *said* that kind of thing, of course, but it seemed that the odds were impossibly stacked against you. I didn’t realize you could manipulate the odds by working hard until they were only somewhat stacked against you. I figured it out, but maybe I could have done it with a little less angst.  Also, not to go sledding down that one mountain in California at 12, because cracked tailbones hurt.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Orion, because it was one of the first I learned how to find.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Lots, but I’ll tell you the one I always hated was The Snow Queen. I’m not entirely sure why now, but I think it had to do with the sliver of glass in the eye.

What thing are you most proud of?
Writing-wise, it would be getting waitlisted–>rejected at Clarion West, and getting up and applying again the next year. I was kind of at a crossroads transitioning from hardcore pursuing theatre to
hardcore pursuing writing, and I used that year to buckle down and say yes, this really is what I want to do, and I’m willing to get rejected to get there.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
One was publish a novel — and when Ironskin comes out in October that one will be here! One is have a small part in a Hollywood movie — I have this fantasy that I’ll go out to Hollywood when I’m 80 and
audition for things.  Third…well, I’ve always thought it would be nice to spend half-a-year in England, or perhaps Amsterdam.  I spent a month in Paris during college but it’s been way too long since that.

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Tina Connolly lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic.  Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Fantasy, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthology Unplugged: Year’s Best Online SF 2008.  Her debut fantasy novel IRONSKIN is forthcoming from Tor in October 2012, with a sequel in 2013.  She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and is narrating a 2012 flash podcasting venture called Toasted Cake.  In the summer she works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard.  Her website is tinaconnolly.com.

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MoA&A Interview #5: K. Bird Lincoln

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features yet another fabulous Codexian, K. Bird (Kirsten) Lincoln, who has spent like a bazillion years in Japan and takes awesome pictures like the one here. BECAUSE SHE IS A GIRL AFTER MY OWN HEART.

Welcome, Kirsten!

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
People whose Uber-awesomeness inspires me: (but to whom I claim no resemblance) Robin McKinley, Charlaine Harris, Patti Briggs, Guy Gavriel Kay, Neil Gaiman and Terri Windling

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
Rainy. With hail. And scattered lightning.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Colbie Caillat’s Brighter than the Sun

If you could win any award, which would it be?
Guinness Book of World Records for most chocolate truffles and lattes consumed in one hour

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical powers, definitely. I could never handle the maintenance on a spaceship

What was your favorite book as a child?
The Phantom Tollbooth and the McCaffrey Pern series.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Don’t throw away those first editions of Wizard of Oz…actually, what I would say is something Sherri Shepherd from “Dancing with the Stars” said when she was eliminated: “that thing that scares you the most, that makes you say, ‘I don’t know if I can do it. I’m scared,’ run towards it because it’s so amazing on the other side.”

What’s your favorite constellation?
Saggitarius, baby.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Little Red Riding Hood

What thing are you most proud of?
So it’s totally lame and overdone, but really I’m most proud of my two, gorgeous, genius daughters…and I make a mean sweet potato brownie.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
1. Eat beignets and drink Chicory Coffee on a misty morning at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans
2. Walk the 88 temple pilgrim trail on the Japanese island of Shikoku
3. Go scuba diving in Belize or the Fiji Islands

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K. Bird Lincoln is an ESL professional/writer/mother living on the windblown Minnesota Prairie with her family and a huge addiction to frou-frou coffee and chocolate. Originally from Cleveland , Ohio , she has spent more years now in Japan and on the West Coast than in the Midwest . Her speculative short stories are published in various  publications such as Strange Horizons and Abyss and Apex. She also writes tasty speculative and YA fiction reviews under the name K. Bird at Goodreads.com and on Amazon. (Because sometimes reading a book is just like eating a bag of potato chips)

Her first novel, Tiger Lily, set in a fantastical, medieval Japan, is now available as an ebook through Amazon.

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MoA&A Interview #3: Scott Roberts

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features fellow SF writer, Northern Virginian, Codexian, and Orson Scott Card Boot Camper (Class of 2003) Scott Roberts!

(I swear, it’s like we’re twins or something. Or something. And seriously…he NEVER AGES. Look! I present 9-year-old photographic evidence below. Then again, Eric & Uncle Orson and I all pretty much look the same too. Hmm…)

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Author or Artist?
Author. I can’t draw worth spit.

Who are your professional role models?
Orson Scott Card, Stephen King, and Ray Bradbury are my strongest influences.

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
There was a character in Huxley’s Brave New World who summed it up best: someplace gloomy, rainy and cold. There’s a reason NaNoWriMo takes place in November…

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Girl with the Red Balloon, by the Civil Wars. You have no idea how grateful I am to be able to say that honestly. In my family, we share all our music, which means I’ve got some pretty embarrassing kids’ tunes on my iPhone.

If you could win any award, which would it be?
World’s richest, sexiest, most talented, most admired, and best Dad ever for all eternity.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical Powers. I don’t like driving on Earth, and I don’t expect that I’d be able to truly appreciate the intergalactic version of the experience. There are a number of clever things I’d do with magical powers, but I’m going to refrain from elaborating as I don’t wish to incriminate myself.

What was your favorite book as a child?
Age 8: Encyclopedia Brown
Age 10: The Shannara Series
Age 14: Les Miserables

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
Don’t let fear of immediate dismemberment stand in the way of standing up to Mike ‘Hacksaw’ Logan.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Orion.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
The Ice Queen, without a doubt.

What thing are you most proud of?
I have a family that is pretty fantastic. I can’t take all the credit for this, but seriously– there’s nothing else I’ve accomplished that even comes close to how excited I am to share my life with my kids and wife.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
1) Gain magical powers.
2) Go back in time and stand up to Hacksaw Logan. Also, stop him from dismembering me. It will take all my newfound magical prowess.
3) Learn to enjoy driving.

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Scott M. Roberts is a man who has done despicable things with a spoon. In addition to tableware debauchery, he writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. His work has appeared in many places, and sometimes in languages even humans can read.

Scott lives in northern Virginia with his family and a motley troupe of wizards, detectives and crazy persons.  Online, you can find him at www.LordOfAllFools.com.

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MoA&A Interview #2: Beth Cato

Hello, everyone! Welcome to July, and the Month of Artist and Author Interviews here on the website!

Today’s interview features SF writer and fellow Codexian Beth Cato! Beth was the first one to get back to me with her answer to the Questions of the Month, and so she garnered the coveted First (well, technically second) Interview of the Month! I’m so honored to have Beth here.

So without further ado…

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Author or Artist?
Author

Who are your professional role models?
Elizabeth Moon, as she’s a brilliant writer and also has an autistic son. My son was diagnosed autistic as a toddler, about the same time I was starting to take my writing seriously. At the time I wondered if it was possible to balance the two, but really the writing is what kept me sane during those hard years. I like to think, “If Elizabeth Moon could write prolifically and raise her son with all these obstacles, I can do it, too.”

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
In Arizona, there’s not much choice there–it’s sunny all the time! I do miss the overcast skies from when we lived in Washington. There’s something fiercely cozy about a cold day and gray skies. Makes it easier to burrow into your imagination, whether reading or writing.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
Bruce Hornsby’s “The Valley Road.” Which is weird because I’ve had an obsession with this song over the past month and it’s coming up randomly a lot on the radio and while shuffling the songs on my phone. Then–here it is again!

If you could win any award, which would it be?
Nebula Award. I was able to vote for the Nebula this year for the first time, and reading those entries was inspiring and humbling. If a story or novel of mine could make that shortlist… wow.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magic powers, no question. I have several novels with healer characters, and my obsession with that sort of magic goes back to when I was 11. If I played AD&D or any role-playing game, I always had a cleric or white wizard.

What was your favorite book as a child?
Oh geez. That’s a tough call. I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder and read her full series a gazillion times. My favorite was always “The Long Winter,” which I suppose is an odd favorite for a kid–a whole city snowed in, starving to death. Guess there’s a reason I write so many apocalyptic stories and poems.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
“Stay stubborn and don’t let the bad guys win.” My teen years were rough. I was bullied, and my soul was just about crushed. I would wish that stuff had never happened, but then that would create a whole space-time continuum issue; that hell is what made me who I am today. So, I would tell myself to cultivate that stubbornness and trueness to self.

What’s your favorite constellation?
From about age five, my favorite was monoceros. My brother had a brilliant enclylopediac knowledge of astronomy from an early age, whereas my obsession was with horses. He told me about a constellation that was a unicorn, and I knew it was the constellation for me. A few years later, I named a large tree on our property for the stars as well.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
I have a fondness for Sleeping Beauty, even if she sleeps through the most exciting parts.

What thing are you most proud of?
This may seem an odd answer, but just being alive. I’ve been through some rough stuff and I’m still here to tell tales. I’m grateful for that.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
– Have a novel published through traditional means
– Make that Nebula shortlist
– See my son grow to be a functional adult

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Beth Cato is an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. She’s originally from Hanford, California, but now resides in Buckeye, Arizona, with her husband and son. Despite how often her husband’s co-workers beg, she will not quit writing to bake cookies all day long. Information regarding current projects can always be found at http://www.bethcato.com. Sometimes those projects do include cookies.

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Writing Classes with Cat Rambo!

If you are a fantasy writer and not familiar with Cat Rambo, shame on you!

I admire Cat down to her pretty little toes — as both a writer and a workshop instructor.

She has a list of her workshops and classes online here: http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/upcoming-online-classes/

Among them are:

  • Editing Basics (3 week online class)
  • Establishing an Online Presence for Writers (3 hour online class)
  • First Pages (with Louise Marley, 2 hour online class)
  • Flash Fiction Workshop (3 hour online class)
  • Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction Short Stories (6 week online class)
  • Where Sea Meets Shore: Intersections of Literary and Genre Fiction (Physical class for Clarion West, Seattle)

If you have previously taken a class with Cat you are entitled to a 10% discount on class prices, including early reservation prices.

If you haven’t taken a class with Cat before…now’s your chance to sign up!

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A Hellaciously Long Dragon*Con Post

There are those days in our lives that we consider our Best Days. I’m not sure I could pick out one as The Best Day Ever, but there are certainly ones I will never forget: my high school graduation, Orson Scoot Card’s Boot Camp, selling my first book, really kissing Joe for the first time. The Saturday of Dragon*Con 2011 was one of those days for me.

There are people who live their whole lives and never have a day like that. I would just like to let those people know that I honestly and truly appreciated every minute of it.

It started off just like every Saturday morning at Dragon*Con: there was an alarm, a very groggy Leanna, and a parade. I woke up a little before the alarm, so I’d have more time to draw stars on my face and make tea for my lovely nightingale roommate. I was up and dressed and looked FABULOUSLY CUTE and got to SEE LEANNA WEAR PINK. (The latter happens far more rarely than the former.) When we arrived at the staging area, I dropped Leanna/Romana off with the Doctor Who folks and met the Dark-Hunters–a large handful of which were children this year. I love kids. Especially kids who dress up.

Eddie had hurt his knee the night before so he wasn’t able to help carry the giant Dark-Hunter banner. Joe offered, but two strapping young men had already stepped up to volunteer. But as the Bloodmobile bus revved up and started pulling away (vampires always walk behind the Bloodmobile), we noticed that the banner was sagging a bit in the middle.

Sherri groaned and then said, “Alethea, will you go hold that thing up?”

There wasn’t time to debate logistics, and as I never have any qualms about being front and center, I hopped to the task. Happily, my crew of minions (a word I wouldn’t normally use, but they were kids AND Dark-Hunters!) jumped up beside me and helped me hold the banner as well. The little Simi and I had a great time waving to people and smiling, and every time we stopped she yelled, “YOU ALL LOOK TASTY!” or some variation, which sent me into fits of giggles.

The best part about being front and center with that banner was that EVERYONE SAW ME. My dear friend Crissy yelled and waved and blew me kisses as we rounded the corner. My friend Cass did the same later on down the street. I arrived back at the hotel to find numerous posts saying, “I saw you in the parade!” which was just fabulous and awesome.

I also arrived back at the hotel to find that I had completely sweated through my costume (thank you, Atlanta). Since I still had a bit of time before my first commitment (Leanna’s autograph session), Joe and I went to the Walk of Fame (which was closed) and the Exhibitor’s Hall. I’d bought a corset last year at Passional, and I had my eye on getting another one this year before the pickings were slim. I threw on my “back-up dress” (one always brings a back-up dress to Dragon*Con) and proceeded to spend WAY TOO MUCH on a gorgeous green full corset (because green is my favorite color) and a long black ruffly skirt (because if I was going to spend that much, I may as well get a whole outfit out of the deal, right?). We stopped back at the room to drop off purchases and I changed into my new GORGEOUS outfit, ready to face the day!

I left Leanna a little early to make it to the Hour With Sherrilyn Kenyon Panel. I’m so glad I keep getting invited to MC this panel, because I swear I do less and less every year. The best part for me is always warming up the crowd before Sherri gets there. I adore the Dark-Hunter fans–in a way, I’ve grown up with them. Those ladies & gents are my family. We are all friends on Facebook, and every year it’s like a family reunion. They knew me back when I was just a picture book writer and they cheered me when I hit the NYT Bestseller List. So I was INCREDIBLY PROUD to be able to show off not only my new dress, but also the book cover for ENCHANTED! By the time the panel started, I was absolutely giddy. I’m sure it showed.

I’m very glad too that I was able to chat with everyone before the panel, because directly after I was whicked away by my friend Gaia to see another panel over at the Sheraton hotel. See, I’ve been a guest since 2006 or so, but before then I was a FAN, and I miss it! I miss seeing panels (that I’m not on) and getting autographs (they’re so expensive now!) and shopping and collecting things. You have to wait HOURS to see panels now, and I just don’t have that kind of free time. I am a busy woman every year at Dragon*Con. They put me to WORK!

Back before I was a fan of much of anything besides books, I was a Next Generation Trekkie. Yes, Captain Picard was (and in a way, still is) my Captain. This year at Dragon*Con, a lot of the ST:TNG folks were in attendance. Gates McFadden, who played Beverly Crusher (my favorite character — the Warp Bubble episode is still my favorite), was doing a panel with Wil Wheaton & Brent Spiner, moderated by Garrett Wang. It was seriously killing me that I had to miss this.

But my dear, patient, and long-suffering friend Gaia is what we nowadays call “handicapable”, and those folks are allowed to the front of the line and let into the auditoriums first. They are also allowed to have one slave to assist them. I GOT TO BE THAT SLAVE. (Happily, she told me I could be a slave princess sans metal bikini, for which I will be eternally grateful.)

Gaia wasn’t even a fan of Star Trek (as was pointed out during the panel, they just don’t have Star Trek in France), but she loves me, and the panel was SO MUCH FUN that she actually had a great time. Gates and Brent and Wil and Garrett told stories and picked on each other and cracked us all up. We smiled and laughed and I took a bunch of pictures and I had the time of my life because I know this rarity was probably something I would never be able to experience again. It was a gift from a friend–one of the best gifts I’ve ever received–and I will never, ever forget that. Thank you, Gaia, darling.

Of course, squeezing that panel in made me subsequently late for my 5:30 autograph session, and there were already people waiting for me when I arrived. Gaia and Jacqueline and a few other girls helped me set up my table and welcome everyone, flustered as I was. Edmund Schubert had a chance to come in and sit by me a while which was a special treat, as he is someone else I miss dearly and never get to see enough of. He invited me to dinner with David Coe and Faith Hunter, but the hour came and went and I never stopped signing…and the Dragon*Con staff weren’t kicking us out…so I kept on signing and chatting with everyone until Sherri’s line disappeared.

I think Joe and I grabbed a quick bit to eat after–I don’t remember eating much at Dragon*Con this year. Yes, we did eat then, because I changed out of the fabulous green corset and into some jeans so I could eat. I wanted to save the dress to wear to the Yule Ball the next evening, and technically I was “off duty,” so jeans & a t-shirt were more than acceptable.

I knew David and Faith had a panel at 8:30, so I swung by quickly afterward to see if I could catch them before it started. I passed fellow Codexians Mary Robinette Kowal, Danielle Friedman, and Helena Bell who invited us to sit with them in the Marriott restaurant/bar, but I told them we would join them after I accomplished my mission. I found the room the panel was in about two minutes before it started. Jeremy Lewis was there along with Faith and David, and Carol Malcolm (my favorite Dark Fantasy track moderator) was holding court.

Two minutes or no, I proceeded to Hug Bomb the panel. Because Princesses have that right. I never saw Jeremy or Faith or David again after that, but it was just so lovely to see their faces and touch them for five seconds, to remind myself they were real, and how much I missed them (though I think it’s the first time I’d ever met Faith in the flesh)…it’s one of those unique feelings I wonder if anyone outside Dragon*Con knows.

We joined the Codex table at the Marriott, which grew as Leanna joined us, and then Tempest Bradford and Andrew Mayer. The company was both lively and relaxing at the same time, and I began to wind down from my fabulous day. I knew I had promised a few people that I’d make an appearance in the Green Room, and I wanted to make sure I fulfilled my duties before it closed for the night. I reluctantly excused myself from the table and left…but not before I heard “Alethea!” called from a table near the door.

A gorgeous girl dressed as Elvira told me that she’d been at the panel earlier, and complimented me on my bubbliness, for which I thanked her. And then she GOT UP FROM HER DINNER and asked if she could take a picture with me. ME! In my jeans and t-shirt! This happens to Sherrilyn Kenyon. This happens to Felicia Day and Jewel Staite. This does not happen to ME. I was honored and humbled and speechless as I made my way through the habitrails to the Hyatt Green Room.

Everyone ended up there, too, eventually, and they finally kicked us all out in the middle of our fabulously good time, some time about 1:30am. On the elevator down to the lobby, Joe made some fantastically snarky comment about which David Nykl said, “That guy’s funny.” This of course meant nothing to Joe, but I had an inner fangirl moment. David is a frequent visitor of the Green Room. One of these days, I will finally tell him how much I loved his character on Stargate:Atlantis.

Down in the lobby, I waited for everyone to decide what to do…and tried my best to remain upright. I was DEAD TIRED. It had been a long–albeit magically amazing–day! Jim Minz wanted to go to karaoke and Joe wanted to check out Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Leanna recommended tea and bedtime, so I happily took her advice. So Joe and Jim went off to cause trouble and Leanna and I chatted until sometime before three–I think I fell asleep while she was talking. From beginning to end, it was a perfect, PERFECT day.

The only thing I regret–because there is always something–is that I cried off and went to bed as soon as I did. Mom always says, “If you’re having a bad day, crawl back under the covers and give up, because nothing will go right. If you’re having a great day, ACCOMPLISH AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE on that day.”

While Leanna and I were sharing sugar in our tea and talking best friend business, Joe and Jim had gone down to Rocky Horror, where they found Eddie standing in line amidst a completely disorganized mess of people. So they chose plan B and headed over to karaoke. The text I received from Joe read:

Doc Brown and Sylvester McCoy are at karaoke.

Dammit.
But that’s okay. I still consider it a pretty darn perfect day.
And that was only Saturday.

Vive La Dragon*Con!

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Genre Chick Interview: Mary Rodgers

May’s Month of Writers Festival is winding down this Memorial Day weekend — I have been honored to host so many of my fine writing friends here. I hope you’ve enjoyed the company and found some new authors to check out!

Today I bring you an interview with my beautiful and talented Nebula Weekend roomie (and fellow Codexian) Mary Rodgers. Yes, indeedy, I mean beautiful! But behind that Miss Universe exterior beats a geek girl heart I couldn’t help but fall in love with. After reading this interview, I dare you not to fall in love with her as well.

Watch out, world, this woman has some big plans!

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Mac or PC?
PC, now and forever. Apple doesn’t come out with working versions of new video games until months after their initial release. I can’t work with that. 😉

Coffee or Tea?
Ever since the Odyssey workshop, coffee, and way too much of it, at that. I even bought myself an espresso machine. I grind the beans, foam up the milk… I’ve lost all sense of boundaries.
Travel the World or Travel Outer Space?  The world, definitely. I’ve so much yet to see and experience here on earth.

Fantasy or Science Fiction?
Both, as long as the stories are character-driven.

Music or Silence (while you write)?
Monk-like silence. Sometimes I even use earplugs.

What weird food do you like?
Fried pork rinds. I should be ashamed. I know.

What is one of your most irrational fears?
I have vertigo. It’s not so much a fear of heights as it is the fear that my sense of self-preservation will suddenly evaporate and cause me to leap out an open window. I should note that I have no plans to actually do this, but I worry about it.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding?
Why or why not?  Nope. I would have rather stabbed myself in the eye with a fork. I just couldn’t get excited about watching two people who were strangers to me get hitched.

How many novels/short stories/screenplays/poems/etc have you published?
One short story and one full-length screenplay.

How much do you write every day?
Never as much as I would like. Due to the demands of my day job, I get most of my writing work done on weekends.

How much do you WISH you could write every day?
1000 good words a day would be a wonderful pace for me.

What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up final revisions on my dystopian fantasy novel, New Eden. I’m hoping that the agent who liked the partial will like the full version. Crossing my fingers…

If you could write like one author, who would it be?
Elizabeth Hand.  I’ve been in love with her work for years.  Still too shy to approach her at cons.  I’m afraid that she would drown in my fan-girl squee.  Or that I would simply expire on the spot in the presence of her awesomeness.  Did I mention that I was a fan?

If you could be one superhero, or have one superpower, who/what would it be?
I’d like the power to travel through time. There’s so much in our history and our future that I would love to see first-hand.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Slept in a flimsy tent in the middle of a jaguar preserve.  Slept is overstating it; the rainforest is never silent, and the jaguars sniffed at our tent flaps and chuffed to one another for hours before slinking away into the dawn.

What’s the coolest thing you’re about to do?
Finish my very first novel e-var!

Name three things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
1) Take a liesiurely trip through the Galapagos Islands on a boat
2) Accompany a team of archaeologists on a dig in Iraq, home to some of the most ancient and precious remnants of civilization on the planet
3) Get my pilot’s license

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Mary Rodgers was born in rural South Carolina and has a deep affection for the culture and the people who live there.  Currently she shares an NYC apartment with Sophie, the world’s cutest English Bulldog.  A career performer, Mary was the keyboardist and lead vocalist in an all-female rock band for a number of years, and has acted in plays and musicals across the country. Her first screenplay, Common Ground, won a finalist slot in the 2008 Moondance International Film Festival competition.  Mary is a proud 2009 graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop, and published her first short story, Big Girl, in the September 2009 issue of Expanded Horizons. At the moment, she is hard at work on final revisions to her first fantasy novel, New Eden.

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