Monday, March 17, 2014

Bookfest Ate My Brains

This weekend, for the second time ever, I attended the Tucson Festival of Books. Although this seems like an obvious party for any booklover, I resisted exploring it for a number of years, convinced there would be crowds (true), it would be lame (false), mutant scorpions lurked below campus waiting for unwary intruders (still not disproven). Last year was fantastic, and made me realize I'd been an idiot. This year, I returned, and lost my brain somewhere between the best intentions to learn How to Be a Better Author and a dare to pet an author's beard.

No, that's not a euphemism.

I've been writing since I could hold a crayon without eating it, and my technical skills are such that this past year, I became an editor for a bestselling romance-author friend of mine. Now, since I enjoy zombies eating idiot teenagers and tentacle porn with the best of 'em, Regency romance doesn't seem as though it would suit me. It doesn't, generally. But I discovered I really liked Sue London. And then she asked me to read something new she'd written. I critiqued it 'til it bled and sent it back, helpful soul that I am, and Sue ENJOYED my punishment. (Twisted minx.) Though that whole strange trip will wait its telling for a later post, the upshot is: I am now a pro editor. Ish. Paid, and stuff.

But I'm still not the writer I want to be. I've slaved over (and drove to their sorrowful graves) numerous laptops in the quest to write the Great American Horror/Fantasy/Scifi Novel. Since you've never heard of me, you can guess how THAT went. At present, I'm posting a steampunk novel in serial chapters, both for fun and to urge myself to write more, to write better. This is also why I went to the bookfest.

2014 Tucson Festival of Books

 As did over 120,000 others. Well, some might have come for the cupcakes. (Image from the Arizona Daily Star)

I had the best intentions. I swear I did. I perused the whole schedule of panels and picked a couple I wanted to attend. I invited a couple of my housemates to come along. I informed Sue, and Andy Click, co-writers for a new ebook I was in the midst of editing (American Werechaun in Dublin -- and yes, it's as enjoyable as it sounds) that I'd be out all Saturday. This was my first mistake.

"Have fun!" Sue tweeted me. "Pet Wendig's beard for me!"

I've recently begun reading Chuck Wendig's blog and he seems like a witty, helpful guy, if one discounts the screaming in the background. Mr Wendig was co-presenting a panel with Shari Stauch about Hooking Readers with Your Exoskeleton Claws...wait. Sorry, no. That's next year, I think. It was about blogging. Making a blog. Using a blog. BEING the blog. Anyway, I know zip about blogging, so I went. No sooner was I settled into the room when I received Sue's dare.

Hell YES I did.

Mr Wendig was terribly nice about it (he didn't call upon the Elder Gods or douse me with ether when I mentioned Sue's name as my In, which I took as a good sign). And folks, if you've never petted a stranger's beard, this is the guy to start with. It was so fuzzy I could die!

          This is when my brain was eaten. Though I have no proof, 
circumstantial evidence is pretty damning.

I went to two more panels, one with Kathy and Brendan Reichs, who ought to do a stand-up routine in Vegas; and another on platform-building in which the audience were NOT given so much as a Lincoln Log, but which DID feature He of the Cute Scruffiness again. Then I wandered, lonely as the antisocialist nutjob author in a booth all by himself glaring at the passersby...effectively stoopid the rest of the day.

And yet my empty skull SEETHED with Ideas. Most of them are unprintable and probably felonious. One of them was This. This rambling Thing.

I will continue to mine the fertile crossed metaphors of my subconscious, or something, to bring you the best in zombified rants and rambles here. I hope you'll come back. Bring your own beard, though.


  1. Awesome! I love this new blog. The space feels just right for me to settle in with a cup of tea and put my feet up by the fire, watching all those Victorian Zombies filing by on the streets.

    And I probably should have warned you that I have a history of causing trouble AT CONS I'M NOT EVEN ATTENDING. Exhibit A: Exhibit B:

    1. Thank you! Of course, that sort of trouble depends entirely on the dare-acceptamce of the collaborator. You didn't even have to bring out the triple-dog!

  2. I love this blog. Keep it up. It's very entertaining.

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  4. Don't worry about your brain. It will turn up sooner or later. Just get as much writing done as you can before it comes back.