Monday, May 26, 2008

A Momentary Taste of WisCon

That's the name of WisCon's official newsletter (though this year they're doing it as a blog), and it sums up my con experience this year.

Although I took Friday off, Eugene had an important errand to run in the afternoon, so we didn't leave for Madison until close to 5:00. We stopped along the way, so we didn't arrive at our hotel until nearly 8:00. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a room in the con hotel this year, so we were in an overflow hotel. The silver lining was that we had a suite, which is nice because we could put Alex to sleep in one room and stay up in the bedroom. But this meant we had to tote everything we needed for Alex and Eugene's photography equipment with us for a few blocks. It's also the main reason I skipped all of the nighttime activities at the con, even the dessert function I'd prepaid for; I didn’t want to be walking around by myself late at night.

After visiting the Farmer's Market Saturday morning, I picked up my registration packet and brought Alex to the on-site daycare. (He clung to me every time I brought him there because it was strange to him; he's much better at his normal daycare. But this afternoon, he was playing like a whirling dervish.) I also brought some copies of the anthology to the BroadUniverse table for sale. Then I went to my first panel while Eugene bummed up and down State Street. We met for lunch (picking up Alex so the daycare providers could have their own break). After lunch, I participated in a rapid-fire reading with a dozen other members of BroadUniverse; people told me afterwards my reading went well. I went to another panel, then volunteered at the BroadUniverse table for an hour. We had dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant. Alex did OK for a while but got fussy toward the end.

On Sunday, I went to three panels. I skipped a panel in the middle of the afternoon to bum around State Street myself. I could have splurged in Wintersilks--there was a teal silk blazer I came within a hair's-breath of buying--but limited myself to one silk tee. (The near-purchase gave me an idea for a short story, though.) We had dinner at a tapas restaurant before returning to our hotel; I had to leave early with Alex because the noise got to be too much for him.

I never do much at the con on Monday. We checked out of our hotel and immediately went to the con hotel to make reservations for next year. Then we left Madison. We stopped along the way to visit my parents. Now we’re trying to unwind before going back to work tomorrow.

It was great to be back in Madison in the spring again; when the weather is good for Memorial Day weekend, it doesn't get much better than it did this weekend. It was also good to be back at WisCon again, though I did feel a little isolated by not going to the parties and other nighttime events. I didn't get much time with my friend Margie either. Apologies to our Madison friends that we weren’t able to get together this time. We definitely will in the fall for our yearly reunion.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Writing News

Lots of writing stuff to post today.

First, I'd like to spread the news about a dialogue contest being run on Nathan Bransford's blog. Nathan is a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. He's challenging people to post up to 250 words of dialogue and supporting description. The contest ends tomorrow at 5:00 Pacific Time (he's out of California). I posted a snippet from Thine Own Self. There are nearly 400 entries already, so we'll see Thursday morning if I made it to the finalist round.

Second, one of the writers I know, Maria Zannini, is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Touch of Fire, a fantasy romance. It's available here as an e-book and will be in print late next year.

Finally, and most exciting personally, I found out from Dragon Moon Press that copies of Firestorm of Dragons are on their way to me. I should receive them Thursday in time to bring them to WisCon. I'm planning to be part of Broad Universe's Rapid-Fire Reading there (reading from my short story) and will be selling copies of the anthology at their table in the Dealer's Room. I can't wait to see the book!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Walk in Lilacia Park

Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers. I didn't get to see much of them last year since I was in my third trimester and couldn't get around very well. This year, we introduced Alex to the lilacs at Lilacia Park. The lilac season is past its peak, but there were still plenty of bushes in bloom. As you can see below, there were also lots of tulips too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Every Breath You Take...

Yesterday was a busy day. (Actually, all of my weekends for the next month will be busier than normal. At least that should be good blog material.) I did laundry and then ran errands with Alex. We went to the bank, to the bakery to order the cake for his party, and to the grocery store. Eugene came home early from work so he could mow the lawn before it rained today. But we were rewarded for doing all of our chores, for we had tickets for the Police/Elvis Costello concert. My parents came down to watch Alex while we were gone. They arrived early so he had time to get used to them (he's got stranger anxiety) before we left.

We got to the concert about a half hour before it was supposed to start. We had seats on the second level--I wasn't going to pay more. I brought binoculars so we could get a better view of the stage. Amazingly enough, the concert started on time, with Elvis Costello opening the show. We knew only a couple of the songs he played (I never got into his music). The music was fine, but it didn't have an emotional resonance for me. Someone came out to duet with Elvis on one of the songs; Eugene identified the singer as Sting. It was hard to recognize him, since he had a hat pulled partly over his face, and his beard was scruffy.

After a break, the Police came out. I could tell from the first song that this was going to be a better show than the one we saw last year with Genesis. There was much more energy in the songs. I have to admit I didn't recognize all of them, since I have only two of their albums. But they did play the two songs I really wanted them to play, "Invisible Sun" and "King of Pain." (They did "Every Breath You Take" during the encore.) They played for less than two hours, but it didn't feel like that. Even so, I have to admit I just don't have the energy I used to. Gee, I wonder why?

Today, for Mother's Day, Eugene gave me tulips and a gift certificate to a spa. I also got a card from Alex with a partial tracing of his hand. (He doesn't sit still long enough for a full tracing.) We had both sets of parents and my grandmother over for lunch. Eugene did most of the cooking since I was busy with Alex; we had pork loin, orange and almond salad, eggrolls, rice, breadsticks, and vegetables. Eugene's mom also brought over more eggrolls and shrimp. The grandparents really enjoyed the time with their grandson. As for me, I'm looking forward to my spa trip.

Top Ten Reasons I Haven't Blogged Lately

10. I look at the floor, and I see it needs sweeping.

9. I have to sleep sometime.

8. Still waiting to get copies of the anthology...

7. so I can pick a section to read at WisCon.

6. There's still a lot to do before WisCon but precious little time to do it.

5. Getting ready for Alex's first birthday party.

4. I'm working on a short story, but I'm stalled, as usual.

3. I'm still trying to develop a query package for Thine Own Self.

2. Eugene needs quality time too.

1. All Alex, all the time.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

We're Out and About!

It seems like work and chores and all the various little projects I want/need to do never end. Still, when the weather is as nice as it was today, it's time to get out and enjoy it. We went to the Chicago Botanic Garden this morning; we even beat the crowds. Here are a few pictures. I don't know why the top two are sideways; I rotated them when I uploaded them to my computer.

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