Wednesday, July 30, 2008

They Stole Frazier's Brain Ep. 5

It's back. Yes, once again, I've dared to pick up the World's Cheapest Microphone (actually, I bought a new one, so it's actually now the World's Second-Cheapest Microphone). I've never been thrilled with the Internet Archive method of podcasting, so I'm trying something new. Click the widget below to listen to a streaming version or to download.

A New Old Secret Lab! Mysterious Noises! New Toy, Old Cliches! A Mysterious Enemy Arises! Running time: a little over 31 minutes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Triple F

So as I was saying, I had a lot of fun at Conestoga on the panels I had with the Triple F (Fangs, Fur, & Fey) folks. The urban fiction writers appeared on several of the main Conestoga panels, but they also had their own dedicated track of programming. I only attended one of their events, their last panel on Sunday. And in some ways, I regret that, because I wonder now if it would have been a better use of my time. Not that I didn't enjoy the panels I attended, but after a while, there's a sameness to them all. The same writers talking about the same subjetcs in the same ways.

But the Triple F's don't come from the same fandom. They aren't stuck repeating the same tropes so often that they don't even recognize them as tropes anymore. The Triple F's come, often, from a romance background. It's genre literature. Like science fiction, it's often formulaic, has a devoted fan base and a professional literary organization dedicated to writing it.

But those formulas and fans and professionals are different from science fiction community's, and I wonder if it wouldn't have been valuable to learn more from them while they were there. The romance writers aren't just fluffy bunnies, after all. From my brief exposure to them, they are as professional, as dedicated to their craft and to the sales and marketing of their writing, as any SF writer I've met. And they do sell. Boy, do they.

Oh well, maybe next year.

I'm going to WorldCon in Denver next week. I wasn't sure if I would make it, but decided to take the plunge and bought my membership last week. I thought I had a place to stay, but that now appears to be in jeopardy, so I may need to find a room on short notice. But I'm looking forward to meeting some people I've only met via email, and I'm hoping to join SFWA while I'm there.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Conestoga 12

So another Conestoga is over. As usual, I had a lot of fun and forgot to take any pictures of it.

Fridays always present a slow ramp-up. I attended one panel about future trends in science fiction, then wandered around the not-fully-set-up dealers' and art rooms before running into Paula and Rick of Baen's Universe. Even though I haven't published with them in almost a year, they treated me like family, bought me dinner and a beer (thanks, guys). I never thought when I submitted "Astromonkeys!" to them a couple of years ago that it would yield such great personal dividends. I vaguely hoped to get a check; I didn't imagine friends would come with the deal.

Friday night was the Yard Dog Press party, which featured Hurling Monkeys and entertainment by Bradley "Bland Lemon" Denton and David Lee Anderson. Brad has written some of the most violent stuff imaginable, but personally, he seems like the nicest guy around. He spent the weekend carrying around a huge-ass Get Well card for Howard Waldrop, which he was having everyone at the con sign.

Saturday was when most of the action occurred. I started the day with a reading. Here's the deal: like last year, this year's Conestoga had another mini-convention piggy-backed onto it. Last year, it was 1632 fans, and I ended up attending a lot of their events, because 1632 is a Baen thing, and I really like the Baen folks (as I may have mentioned above).

This year, the con-within-a-con was a group called "Fangs, Fur and Fey," a group of urban fantasy authors. The books mostly seem to be by and for females, and usually seem to center around vampires-werewolves-witches in the modern world. One branch is mostly suspense, private eyes and like that, and the other branch is chick lit--funny, sassy books in the Sex and the City vein, only with, you know, vampires-werewolves-witches.

I'm glad they were there. Science fiction as a genre seems to be aging, and not entirely well, and the urban fantasy contingent have brought fresh life. Plus a bunch of the authors and their fans are hot. I had a great time on panels and readings with Shanna Swendson, Michele Bardsley and Dakota Cassidy. Dakota is a sultry-voiced natural beauty who had great fun purring into the microphone on our panel and teasing the audience. She sort of reminded me of those guys in the dunk tank at the fair, trying to taunt people into hitting the target, only, you know, hot. Later, Renee George took an awful picture of me, but in my defense, her flash thing took forever to go off and I got bored waiting... twice.

More later...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Conestoga Is Coming

I'll be a guest at Conestoga 12 this weekend in Tulsa, OK. I'll be giving a "Humorous Fantasy" reading at 10 AM Saturday, and I'll be participating in two other panels that afternoon, "Two Truths and a Lie" at 3 PM and "Great Cliches in SF and Fantasy" at 4 PM (yes, back to back). On Sunday, I'll be on the "Favorite Fannish Blogs and Websites" panel at 12:05 (and this is probably the only time you'll ever read the word "fannish" on this blog).

Now I just need to get my home internet access back so I can visit some blogs and websites.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Second Try

Went to a cigar and wine bar. Lots of women, insanely overpriced. And strangely, though cigar friendly, it was a non-smoking place, at least inside. Odd...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cheap Beer

Blogging from Caz's Pub in downtown Tulsa. Cheapest night out I've had in a long time. I literally cannot buy a beer. Waitress walks right past me. I go up to the bar, and the bartender ignores me to start washing glasses. I'm saving so much money!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart...

Well, this has been a long time coming, but here's the story behind the long absences: my wife and I are no longer together. The last couple of months have been filled up with finding a house and moving out and telling the family, not to mention all sorts of work craziness since the Newport buyout of Clear Channel Television. Never fails: ownership changes, then in comes the new broom to sweep clean and show the people left who's boss now. My group was spared any layoffs, but that may only be due to the fact that a quarter of my staff has left of their own accord. I'm trying to operate eight TV stations with the staff we used to use to operate two, and accomodate summer vacations at the same time. Not easy.

I don't have internet access from home yet, so updates may be infrequent, but they are starting again.