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Book Festivals 2013

I finally have a moment to gather my thoughts.  After a too quick break between the summer and fall semester, I found myself right back in the grind of work and school.  So far this new class is going well, but it is very different from the last two classes I have had.  In my previous workshops, the focus was on character development, verb usage, and a lot of your typical examinations of a story (plot, pacing, structure, imagery, etc.).  This new class is more about atmosphere, language, and tracking the emotional arch of a character.  The hard stuff! I fully admit, there are a few moments when I am lost.  Not because I don’t think about those things when I write, but because I don’t think about those things when I read.  At least, I don’t think about those things on a conscious level. This is all under the surface for me.  I’m aware of the reaction I get from the story, but sometimes I don’t register how the writer got me there.  That is what I need to work on this semester.  How does a writer manipulate a reader (for better or worse) and do it well.

September had a nice moment for me and my book collection.  Margaret Atwood came to the National Book Festival (She is promoting her new book Maddaddam, which is awesome!). I stood in line for 2 hours and was rewarded with a signature on my 1st edition Handmaid’s Tale.  I wish I could’ve gotten more signatures, but I understand.  The line was long and she wanted to get everyone a chance to have their book signed.  I was so nervous when she was signing my book, I blurted out, “You’re my favorite writer, I just wanted to say.”  She smiled at me and said, “Oh thank you.”  Yes it was a nice little literary geek moment for me.

Oddly enough, the line for Linda Ronstadt was pretty long too!

Margaret Atwood Signed Copy

Margaret Atwood Signed Copy

The literary stories don’t stop yet.  Last weekend, I attended the Washington DC Science Fiction Writers Association annual conference called Capclave.  Guest of honor was George R.R. Martin.  I heard him read from two of his forthcoming works (one of which is the next book in the Song of Fire and Ice saga). He was funny and engaging and it was a pleasure to hear him read.

Not the best pic of George R.R. Martin, but you get the idea.

Not the best pic of George R.R. Martin, but you get the idea.

There were also some other great panels as well.  I heard Sharyn November speak about publishing, YA books, and her editorial career.  I also went to a couple of panels on diversity in SF and Fantasy literature, a really great panel on faery tales, and one on the short fiction market (always good to squeeze in the industry info panels too).  I also met author (and JHU alumn) Alma Katsu.  She was kind enough to sign my book and chat with me a little.  Her book was great.  It reminded me of old school Anne Rice with their gothic, sexy, mood.  Her stories aren’t about vampires or witches.  I have read The Taker and can’t wait to start the next one and get the third when it comes out next year.

Speaking of books, I held myself back at the dealer’s room and only bought one book.  Yes, I am on a tight budget so one splurge was enough.  It was Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops: Control Point.  I’ve been meaning to read it for a while, so I treated myself.  (I think it might be signed, but honestly the signature is so odd, I’m not sure.)  Next year, I will save up ahead of time and then Christmas will come early for me!

A Signature or No?  Still not sure.

A Signature or No? Still not sure.

Capclave was fun.  I look forward to next year.

Nothing much else to report.  I’m still writing, writing, writing.  Still submitting like a fiend, but so far just rejection letters.  We’ll see if my New Year’s Resolution comes true. (The one where I wanted to sell something this year.)

Cross fingers for me!

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