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Miss Andre and The Norton Award

(This blog is part of the SFWA Norton Award Blog Tour.)

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I don’t really get nervous speaking in front of crowds anymore. Public speaking is one of those skills that can be exceptionally difficult to learn, but well worth braving that initial terror to get to the other side. The biggest benefit is that when someone in an organization is forced to find people who will shamelessly stand up in front of a crowd, your name is easily at the top of the list.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve entertained a room full of people at the drop of a hat when a speaker or guest of honor is late or forced to cancel. Stretching your improv muscle is important. Warming up crowds can be a really great game. Telling stories is fun!

And yet, the moment I was asked to present the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, I was both honored to my toes and scared to death.

This should not have been a big deal. Two minutes on stage in front of a bunch of people I know and love. The spotlight wouldn’t even be on me, it would be on the well-deserved recipient. So why was I freaking out?

Because this time, it was personal.

How on earth was I supposed to sum up what Miss Andre meant to me in two minutes…or less? (A tired audience wants you to announce the award and get your behind off the stage tout suite.) I wasn’t sure it was possible.

I only knew Miss Andre for the last few years of her life, but it was one of the most important and valuable friendships I’ve ever had. I wrote in her library, High Hallack. I listened to her stories and her advice. We rolled around in desk chairs and laughed while she read aloud from a book of crazy answers kids had submitted on tests. I enabled her book habit by sneaking her new-release catalogs, even after her personal assistant asked me to stop.

It was a friendship that never would have happened if David Drake hadn’t ordered me to go visit her, and I hadn’t been brave enough to write her that first letter.

Miss Andre and I talked about writing, but we never really talked about her published work specifically. She loved being a librarian above everything else. She didn’t know what to do with an adoring fan, but she knew exactly what to do with a budding young writer in need of guidance and a place to work.

The last time I saw Miss Andre was in 2004 when she sold off High Hallack, piece by piece, to fund the Andre Norton Award. I missed the official sale day, but she still encouraged me to come by and personally helped me sift through the aftermath. It was heart-wrenching. The empty shelves looked like a war zone, but a good chunk of the research library was intact. We spent hours putting together four huge boxes of books (one of which turned out to be my most prized possession…but I didn’t discover that until years later). She sent me a Chinese New Year card in February of 2005 (Miss Andre had cards for every occasion), telling me that the benefit anthology project I was working on was a worthy cause. When she died that March, I was in the middle of a book expo and someone mentioned the news to me off hand. I cried for twenty-four hours straight. The first official Andre Norton Award was presented to Holly Black in 2006.

HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO FIT ALL OF THIS IN TWO MINUTES?!?

I lost a lot of sleep. I shared my anxieties with my lovely and patient Nebula weekend roommate, Kate Baker. I wrote down some thoughts on a hotel pad and managed to whittle my presentation down to six sentences. It still felt too long. Kate read it over for me and gave it her blessing. I practiced presenting the award out loud, over and over, while donning my glittery dress for the ceremony. There were bets as to whether or not I was going to cry on stage. Kate told me it was all right if I did. Rose Fox gave me a handkerchief, just in case.

And I made it through.

I congratulated Neil Gaiman in passing, as he walked off the stage and I walked on. My legs shook like crazy and I steadied myself on the podium, holding Rose’s handkerchief in a white-knuckled grip. I had written down my six sentences, but I didn’t need them. I remembered to breathe. I spoke loudly and slowly. When I thought I would choke, Connie Willis nodded and gave me courage. When I came to the end, my voice wavered, but I did not cry. And when I announced that the award went to Delia Sherman I smiled in earnest, for her name was the one I had been practicing out loud in the hotel room.

My mother always called Miss Andre my guardian angel. I remember she had a star framed on the wall, just opposite the door of the library, one of those fancy documents from the Star Registry indicating the celestial body that someone had named after her. Regardless of whether that star is recognized by any professional astronomical organization, I know Andre Norton is up there. I am 100% sure she was shining down on me that night. I only hope I did her proud.

(You can watch the ceremony here and see for yourself–I appear right around 1:11:00.)
Click here if the embed code for the video happens to die again.)



Video streaming by Ustream
For me, the best thing about those six sentences is that it got people talking about Miss Andre and the Norton Award. I swapped some great stories that night with SF luminaries I’ve admired my whole life. As far as I’m concerned, this award cannot have enough praise or visibility. I encourage you all to spread the word about the Andre Norton Award to your friends, teachers, and librarians. Especially the librarians.

For the past two weeks, members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America have been blogging about the Andre Norton Award–its origins, its importance, and recent books worthy of the accolade. I’m honored to be the final essay in the tour…but I’m not sure I can convey the sheer importance of this award in one blog post, even though I was allowed far more than two minutes and six sentences this time.

What can I say? It’s personal.

 

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Click here for a complete list of past Andre Norton Award recipients and nominees.

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Norton Awards Blog Tour Schedule:
Dec 1 ~ Erin Underwood
Dec 2 ~ Sherwood Smith
Dec 3 ~ Norton Jury Interview by Jenn Reese
Dec 5 ~ Malinda Lo
Dec 6 ~ Lee Barwood
Dec 7 ~ Nancy Holder
Dec 11 ~ Peni Griffin
Dec 12 ~ Beth Revis
Dec 13 ~ Jenn Reese
Dec 14 ~ Diana Peterfreund
Dec 15 ~ Alethea Kontis

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Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Yes, my debut fairy tale novel Enchanted is eligible for the 2013 Andre Norton Award.

Click here to find out more about Enchanted.

 

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My 2012 Baltimore Book Festival Schedule

It’s the time of year again — can you believe it? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the 2012 Baltimore Book Festival! (Sept. 28-30)

I will be making appearances on Saturday and Sunday at both the Maryland Romance Writers Stage and the Science Fiction Writers of America tent. The festival is free to the pubic (though you’ll probably have to pay to park somewhere). There WILL be books for sale. Come see me!

Saturday, September 29

Time: 12:00pm
Panel: TRENDS AND READINGS IN YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE
Location: Maryland Romance Writers Stage
Panelists: Jennifer L. Armentrout, Em Gardner, Alethea Kontis, Lea Nolan, Leanna Renee Hieber
Summary: Authors will talk about what’s hot in young adult romantic fiction and share readings from their latest works.

 

Sunday, September 30

Time: 1:00pm
Panel: WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
Location: SFWA Tent
Panelists: Don Sakers, Sara Beth Durst, Richard White, Jack McDevitt
Summary: Authors share inspirations for plots, characters, and settings. Nothing is too bizarre to discuss!

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Time: 5:00pm
Panel: MAKING OLD STORIES NEW
Location: Maryland Romance Writers Stage
Panelists: Kate Dolan, Natalie Damschroder, Stephanie Dray (Stephanie Draven), Laura Kaye, Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber
Summary: Authors will talk about how to create engaging fiction based on fairy tales, folklore, mythology, and history, and how to make those old stories new, fresh, and exciting.

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MoA&A Interview #19: Juliette Wade

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

Today’s interview features  one of those really good friends that I knew online long before I met her in person…but we remedied that when she came to DC to visit a few weeks ago. In one single extended lunch with our mutual friend Jamie Todd Rubin, Juliette made me a fan of all her work, published and unpublished. Her passion made me yearn to get lost in a novel again…which is what I’m doing this month instead of trying to blog every day.

Thank you, Juliette, for being both a fabulous author AND an enabler! xox

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Author or Artist?
I am an author.

Who are your professional role models?
In terms of the writing I aspire to emulate, I’d say Ursula LeGuin is my first choice. I also love the poetic language of Patricia McKillip. As far as practical advice and mentoring, my role model is my friend Deborah Ross.

What’s your favorite writing/sketching weather?
I write whenever I can squeeze in any time. Honestly, I’ve never noticed a particular weather to be most writerly.

Set your current playlist/musical device to “shuffle all” and hit PLAY. What’s the first song that comes up?
I don’t have such a randomized device! But most recently I have been listening to “Love Shack” by the B-52’s.

If you could win any award, which would it be?
I would love to win a Nebula someday.

Would you rather have magical powers, or a spaceship?
Magical powers. I’d be worried, if I had a spaceship, that I wouldn’t know where to go and couldn’t find anything I’d relate to if I went there. Magic I’d know I’d be able to put to use immediately. 🙂

What was your favorite book as a child?
It’s hard to pick just one, but I absolutely adored The Wind in the Willows.

What thing do you wish you could go back in time and tell your 10-year-old self?
I’d tell myself that by the end of fifth grade I would love math.

What’s your favorite constellation?
Orion, especially since you can see him right-side-up where I’m from, and upside-down where my husband is from!

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
The Water of Life, from The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle – because the king asks his faithful servant to do all the tasks, and in the end the princess has the sense to marry the servant!

What thing are you most proud of?
In my overall life, I’m most proud of my children and the wonderful people they are becoming. In my writing life, I’m most proud of my appearance on the cover of Analog with art by Michael Whelan. That was something I never dreamed of when I got into this.

The Colin Harvey Memorial Question: Name 3 things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
I’m one of those people who doesn’t have a Bucket List, but I do have things I’d like to do! I’d like to study more languages – live in France for a while – and have success with my novels!

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Juliette Wade is an author of science fiction and fantasy who loves language and its cultural consequences. Her fiction appears in Analog and other short fiction magazines. She has degrees in Linguistics, Anthropology and Japanese. You can find Juliette online at her TalkToYoUniverse blog, or at http://juliettewade.blogspot.com.

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2011 Nebula Award Nominees Announced!

2011 Nebula Awards Nominees Announced

Congrats to all the nominees!

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Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is proud to announce the nominees for the 2011 Nebula Awards (presented 2012), the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.

Novel
Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan UK; Del Rey; Subterranean Press)
Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
Mechanique: A Taleof the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)
The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Novella
“Kiss Me Twice,” Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s Science Fiction, June 2011)
“Silently and Very Fast,” Catherynne M. Valente (WFSA Press; Clarkesworld Magazine, October 2011)
“The Ice Owl,” Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November/December 2011)
“The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011)
“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” Ken Liu (Panverse Three, Panverse Publishing)
“With Unclean Hands,” Adam-Troy Castro (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, November 2011)

Novelette
“Fields of Gold,” Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse 4, Night Shade Books)
“Ray of Light,” Brad R. Torgersen (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, December 2011)
“Sauerkraut Station,” Ferrett Steinmetz (Giganotosaurus, November 2011)
“Six Months, Three Days,” Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com, June 2011)
“The Migratory Pattern of Dancers,” Katherine Sparrow (Giganotosaurus, July 2011)
“The Old Equations,” Jake Kerr (Lightspeed Magazine, July 2011)
“What We Found,” Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September/October 2011)

Short Story
“Her Husband’s Hands,” Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine, October 2011)
“Mama, We are Zhenya, Your Son,” Tom Crosshill (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2011)
“Movement,” Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 2011)
“Shipbirth,” Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s Science Fiction, February 2011)
“The Axiom of Choice,” David W. Goldman (New Haven Review, Winter 2011)
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees,” E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2011)
“The Paper Menagerie,” Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2011)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Attack the Block, Joe Cornish (writer/director) (Optimum Releasing; Screen Gems)
Captain America: The First Avenger, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (writers), Joe Johnston (director) (Paramount)
Doctor Who: “The Doctor’s Wife,” Neil Gaiman (writer), Richard Clark (director) (BBC Wales)
Hugo, John Logan (writer), Martin Scorsese (director) (Paramount)
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen (writer/director) (Sony)
Source Code, Ben Ripley (writer), Duncan Jones (director) (Summit)
The Adjustment Bureau, George Nolfi (writer/director) (Universal)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book
Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor (Viking Juvenile)
Chime, Franny Billingsley (Dial Books; Bloomsbury)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Hodder & Stoughton)
Everybody Sees the Ants, A.S. King (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
The Boy at the End of the World, Greg van Eekhout (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Freedom Maze, Delia Sherman (Big Mouth House)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Rae Carson (Greenwillow Books)
Ultraviolet, R.J. Anderson (Orchard Books; Carolrhoda Books)
The winners will be announced at SFWA’s 47th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend, to be held Thursday through Sunday, May 17 to May 20, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, near Reagan National Airport. As announced earlier this year, Connie Willis will be the recipient of the 2011 Damon Knight Grand Master Award for her lifetime contributions and achievements in the field. Walter Jon Williams will preside as toastmaster, with Astronaut Michael Fincke as keynote speaker.  More information on the Nebula Awards Weekend can be found at: http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/nebula-weekend/

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of  SFWA. Voting will open to SFWA Active members on March 1, 2012, and close on March 30, 2012. More information about voting can be found at: http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/how-to-vote/

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BBF — SFWA Schedule

For those SF/F geeks, you can find the complete schedule of SFWA-related activities for the Baltimore Book Festival at this link.

Just remember, Leanna and I are both booked solid from about 3pm until 7pm, which means you’ll have to hunt me down at whatever I’m doing to see me. (And if you bring a granola bar, I’ll be your best friend for at least five minutes.)

See you there!

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Baltimore Book Festival

Leanna Renee Hieber and I will be teaming up with our fellow SFWA authors and participating in the Baltimore Book Festival on Saturday, September 24th.

The festival is located on Charles Street in Baltimore, which will be closed to traffic for the festivities. Click here for driving directions.

Click here for a list of all the fantastic presenting authors! (And why Kelly Link isn’t on our Steampunk panel, I have no idea.)

Here is our Schedule for Saturday (subject to change, but I doubt it will):

Saturday, September 24

3:00 -4:00 pm Alethea & Leanna man the SFWA booth/table
I will have midi-sized copies of AlphaOops: H is for Halloween available, as well as a few copies of Magic & Monsters and exclusive Janet Lee prints from our upcoming A is for Alice! I will also be giving away all those bookmarks that I forgot to bring to Dragon*Con.

4:00 pm. Group signing, chat, raffles
Join authors Brenda Clough, Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Heiber, Catherine Asaro, Alan Zendell, and Allison Pang to chat, have your books autographed, and win prizes.

5:00 pm YA fiction in science fiction and fantasy
Panelists K.D. Hays, Catherine Asaro, Leanna Renee Heiber, and Alethea Kontis talk about the biggest selling genre in fiction. Why do “young” adult books such as the Harry Potter series appeal to all age groups?  How do we define YA and how can you break into that market?

6:00 pm Victoriana and Gaslight Fantasy: Everything that’s old is new again
Panelists Brenda Clough, Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Heiber, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail talk about one of the hottest new genres in speculative fiction. What accounts for the current fascination with steampunk and Victoriana?  Just what exactly is Steampunk? Panelists will talk about the genre as a whole and discuss their favorites.

7:00 pm Readings
Come hear readings from Leanna Heiber and Alethea Kontis, two of the hottest, bestselling authors in paranormal and steampunk fiction.

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Nebula Princess

The Prez & The Princess

Juggling is a precious talent. It’s so much fun to see so many things flying in the air over your head. You feel so giddy when they’re up there, so proud of yourself that you have come so far and are able to do so much. In that moment, you’re on top of the world.

God have mercy on your soul if you ever fall behind.

What with pushing myself to the edge and trying to be everything (and almost succeeding) I needed some time to recover that didn’t include new jobs and sick children and dusty to-do lists…but I don’t get to choose that part. Instead, I write notes to myself on the iPhone while I’m half-blind on the elliptical machine in the morning and I keep everyone hydrated and full of vitamins and I wash my new apron and stay until midnight to unload the truck if that’s what needs to be done. And if I don’t get to write about this past Nebula Awards weekend until Thursday (while I’m supposed to be recording another Fairy Tale Theatre podcast), that doesn’t make what happened there any less special.

I have this saying — I don’t remember when I came up with it, or to whom I said it first, but I’ve been saying it for a few months now: Strangers are just best friends I haven’t met yet. I do, in my heart, honestly believe that each one of us is special. Optimistic and crazy, oh yes, I am fully aware. But as a princess, that’s my prerogative.

It’s so easy to turn away from the stranger on the train, so easy to scream at the idiot driver in the car that just cut you off. We know fully well that inside each sack of flesh we encounter is a living, breathing soul full of life and love and complex beauty…and yet we do it anyway. It’s so much easier ignoring all that. It’s so much easier not to know. It’s so much easier managing a small group of friends. It’s so much easier to juggle fewer flaming batons. It’s so much more forgiving for someone with a lengthy, never-ending to-do list.

But I made a choice when Andre Norton died. When I got home Sunday night, I pulled Beauty & Dynamite off the shelf and read that essay again in the twilight to remind myself of the exact words.  I love having friends. I want as many as my heart can hold. I want them all. Even if it means that eventually and painfully I’ll have to lose every single one. The minutes and hours and years on the roller coaster of happiness and sadness with them are worth every second of gray numbness.’Cause when I get to heaven, I want there to be a heck of a lot more than five people waiting.

Friends are worth all the additional balls you have to juggle, and every bullet point on a never-ending to-do list.

Nebula nominee Barry Deutsch appropriately summed up the Nebula Weekend by saying that the convention was a very small group of people with a much higher ratio of really cool folks to the socially awkward off-putting variety. With that in mind, I took the opportunity to step way out of my box and introduce myself to people I didn’t know. I roomed the first night with a friend and a stranger. I threw myself into the one workshop I signed up for and the two that I audited. I sat down next to people I didn’t know and chatted with them until we stood up as friends. I was sure to gush compliments when compliments were due and asked to lend a hand if one was needed. I stayed up until way past my bedtime and I was babbling and incoherent. I took pictures whenever I remembered that I had a camera. And I wore the tiara, because Mary Rodgers reminded me that I wouldn’t be the same without it. She was right.

I would list all the new and wonderful friends I met this weekend, but I won’t — first, out of fear of forgetting someone, and second, because I need to email them all or add them on Twitter or tag them on Facebook, and I’ve spent far too much time on this blog post already. Suffice it to say that I have no idea why Kate Baker and I hadn’t met before, but I’m awfully glad we finally did. Michael Whelan is a fabulously nice guy, and far more approachable than I ever imagined. MK Hobson can seriously rock a dress, and Rachel Swirsky’s gorgeous jewelry brings out my dragonlike tendencies. Amal El-Mohtar can bring the shiny with me any day. Walter Cuirle needs to host his own radio show. Mike Zipser asks great questions. Bud Sparhawk tells great stories. Myke Cole is very good for my ego. Emily Whitten is a godsend from Geek Heaven. John Grace has great taste in comics, Eric Fullilove has great taste in t-shirts, and Shannon Rampe and Trodayne Northern have  impeccable taste in hats. Janice Shoults is a woman after my own heart. Kathy Morrow has great patience. Peggy Rae Sapienza and Bill Lawhorn can do anything, I am sure of it.

My Codex Homies

Possibly even more fun than making new friends was seeing the old ones–most especially, the Codex Writers. Every year that goes by I am so happy that the handful of us little kids with big ideas came up with that place. They are the family that gets reunited whenever there’s an event like this…even when we’ve never met in person. We still know each other. We have that much more in common. We can cheer like hell when one of us walks away with an award…and then stand up and do it all over again when one of us walks away with the next one, too.

Eric, I am so freaking proud of you. I’m still busting at the seams. When you shared your precious bag of Reese’s Sticks with me while my left leg was going numb in that hard plastic chair at Orson Scott Card’s boot camp–even after I’d threatened to slap your characters–who knew that we would be here right now? Who knew how far we would go? Who knows how far yet we still can? I hope that every time you see that shiny award you remember what it felt like…but right on the heels I hope is the memory of sitting at that lunch table with me and Scott Roberts while we each confessed to the fact that we were still freaking out inside at random intervals to the theme of “Holy crap, that’s Orson Scott Card right there!”

For me, watching Eric walk on stage and accept the Nebula Award this weekend was second only to watching Mary Robinette Kowal accept the John W. Campbell Award. It is so hard to believe that these people I love so dearly were strangers to me once. I can hardly remember a time before the Reese’s Sticks and the keys locked in the car running in my driveway (that was Mary). I know it’s true, though. We might have passed in an airport sometime in those first couple of decades, or waited in the same line at the World’s Fair. Back in those days, we were just best friends that hadn’t met yet.

Imagine what life would be like if we’d realized it then.

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Nebula Weekend Mass Booksigning

Not counting last weekend’s mass WRW signing at Turn the Page in Maryland (because I wasn’t officially on the list), next weekend will be my very first booksigning in the DC area. Hooray!

It’s a giant mass booksigning that the SFWA hosts every year during the Nebula Awards Weekend, wherever that happens to be. This year it’s:

Friday, May 20, 2011
5:30 – 7:00pm

Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, District of Columbia
USA 20009
Tel: 202-483-3000

I’ve never done the Nebulas before, so I have no idea how it works. Like all signings, I’m guessing it’s best if you have your own books and bring them with you. I’ll have a hard enough time hoofing my suitcase through the Metro and down the streets of DC, which means I won’t have any books to sell you. But I will probably bring bookmarks and a few buttons, so you won’t leave *too* empty-handed.

Other authors/editors at the signing will be:

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Christopher Barzak
  • J. Kathleen Cheney
  • Aliette de Bodard
  • Tom Doyle
  • Scott Edelman
  • Timons Esaias
  • Cynthia Felice
  • Andrew Fox
  • Kerry Frey
  • Laura Anne Gilman
  • Anne Groell
  • Joe Haldeman
  • Peter Heck
  • Vylar Kaftan
  • JohnKessel
  • Alethea Kontis
  • Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Geoffrey A.Landis
  • Allen Lewis
  • Tom Lewis
  • Lee Martindale
  • James Morrow
  • Catherine Petrini
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Lawrence Schoen
  • Lansing Sexton
  • Bud Sparhawk
  • Allen Steele
  • Eric James Stone
  • Michael Sullivan
  • Robin Sullivan
  • Michael Swanwick
  • Brandie Tarvin
  • Mary Turzillo
  • Michael Whelan
  • Alexander Whitaker
  • Connie Willis

If you’re in the DC area that day, please drop by and say hello!

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A Royal Update

I’m only *mostly* dead.

My sinuses hated me before I hopped on the bus to NY last week, and once I got back (from Thanksgiving and visiting family 3 hours away for the weekend) I was exhausted. I bumped up the cold medicine and took lots of vitamins and turned the humidifier on high and drank lots of fluids…but this cough settled in my chest, accompanied by a terrible headache (those are so much fun), and I just couldn’t shake them.

Finally, I threw in the towel and went to the doctor yesterday. Turns out, there’s a fabulous clinic right down the street that is SO NEW that few people know where they are and hey don’t have many clients yet. I was the only one in the waiting room and the doctor (who seemed very intelligent and also had a bit of a cold) saw me right away.

Turns out, I’m essentially the healthiest sick person he’s ever seen. He had no idea exactly what it was I had, but as it was bad enough to end up in his office, he prescribed Sudafed (the hardcore stuff you need a background check to buy now — it still works the best), more steam, and a Z-pak of antibiotics to kill everything from bronchitis to atypical pneumonia to whatever it was Rob & Mary Kowal have.

I’ve got the meds…now I just have to start FEELING better so I can climb out of this mountain of work that’s piled up. Plus, I’m in the middle of a story I’ve wanted to write for a loooong time…so if I vanish again in the near future, don’t worry. I’m just climbing back up the hill.

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SFWA and OSC Signing Pics

I went to NY on Monday afternoon. Came back to DC Tuesday night and went straight to the OSC launch of Pathfinder at the Borders in DC. (I haven’t seen Scott in forever, I wasn’t going to miss that!) Wednesday morning I got up, packed, and that afternoon drove to FGB’s parents’ house near the coast. Of course, I packed the wrong cord to upload the pictures, which is why it’s taken me so long to post this. (Well, that and I didn’t want to be horribly rude and spend the whole time on the computer, trying to juggle files.)

New York was wonderful, and a whirlwind. Dearest Leanna collected me off the bus and we went straight to her television studio dressing room so I could change for dinner. (Because The Big Apple has a dressing room every ten feet — my second choice was a phone booth, of course.) From there we caught a cab to the Aspen Social Club for the Codex Writers Dinner, where we met Lawrence & Valerie Schoen, Mary Rodgers, and Jamie Todd Rubin.

From there we walked the short block to Planet Hollywood for the SFWA “Mill & Swill” soiree. What with the move from TN and everything, I’ve been considerably off the SFF radar, so I admittedly spent more time catching up with old friends than I did meeting new folks. (Which is typically what happens when one puts a bunch of introverts in a room with too much liquor and not enough quiet spaces.) I did a tad bit of schmoozing, however, and ended up spending most of my time with my two new best friends: Kelly and David Forbes. Thank you, Murphy, for introducing me to them AFTER I left PA, where I was about twenty minutes from their house. Grr.

Mary Robinette Kowal was far too busy doing the VP thing with the entire room, so I only managed to speak with her for about five minutes, long enough to pass on my love to her parents and snap this picture of us so I could show all of you her smashing red dress. I covet.

It was both a long night and not long enough, and I was so dizzy when I got back to Leanna’s apartment that I simply fell into bed and passed out…waking up pink windows full of a magnificent sunrise. Leanna and I stopped at the Dorchester offices for coffee on the way to the bus stop so I could say hi to some old, dear, and much-missed friends, and then a fairly-late bus stopped for boarding in the middle of the road and whisked me away back to the Emerald City of DC. I survived both the bus trip and the metro, and–somewhat worse for the wear–got picked up at the station by FGB to be whisked away again to Orson Scott Card’s Pathfinder signing at the Borders in DC.

As tired and miserable as I was I might have skipped it, but I haven’t seen Scott in a ridiculously long time (read: years), and I felt like the bad niece for not catching up with her favorite uncle. Of course, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a signing that lasted three hours, so Scott and I didn’t get to talk much, and we had to wait forever to do so because we didn’t realize that buying the book FIRST is what gave us a spot in line until it was far too late.

The best part, though, was during the Q&A, when a woman in the front row raised her hand and asked about Scott’s role as a teacher. She mentioned that she had been to a signing a few months ago by one of his students, and asked if Scott had similar success with many other students. I immediately shoved AlphaOops: H is for Halloween in the air (I had brought a copy to give to Scott) — when he noticed, he laughed and asked me to stand up and brag to the audience. It couldn’t have been better had I planned it. And all the waiting was worth it just for this hug.

Check out the rest of the pictures from my NY trip and the signing here!

(And no, before you ask, I will not be reviewing Pathfinder for IGMS. We sort of see that as a conflict of interest. Which means I get to read it and enjoy it…and then maybe tell you what I think of it here on the blog. But only if I feel like it.)

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