stillsostrange: (Elbow sex)
My WorldCon was an unexpected whirlwind of delights. The obvious highlight was when [livejournal.com profile] matociquala and I presented the Campbell Award and I got to give the tiara and brand new scepter to an astronaut. Then Jessica Jones won a Hugo for "Smile," which filled me with violent, vicious glee. But I think my true favorite moment came during the Losers Party, when the band struck up the Time Warp for the second time. I don't believe I've ever been to a two-Time Warp party before, and I'm very grateful to [livejournal.com profile] grrm for providing that experience. I also participated in great panels, and had a blast with new friends and old friends and random passers-by. I am making every effort to attend in Helsinki next year.

And if you happened to see my Hugos dress, which I hope someone got a good picture of, I'll let you in on a little secret: Jobst: It Stays. I bought a backless bra to wear with that dress which completely failed to function. So in a moment of panic I borrowed [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's sock adhesive and glued myself into the dress. Everything stayed where it was supposed to for ten (10) hours, perfectly comfortably, even through the aforementioned two rounds of the Time Warp. Sorcery!

My agent sent me her notes for The Poison Court just before WorldCon. Now that I'm beginning to recover from the excesses of the con--not to mention driving to Minneapolis and back in four days immediately afterward--I will buckle down and turn those around. I also need to get cracking on another project, and figure out the three short stories I have in various degrees of completion.
stillsostrange: (Plot Octopus)
I leave for Portland tomorrow (now today)! I'll get in too late to attend the VIP party, but in time to dance at the Lovecraft Bar. My official schedule is as follows. Otherwise I’ll be watching movies or hanging out at the after parties.

Friday

8:00 – 9:00 PM, Classroom – Reading (with Orrin Grey and Alex Renwick)

Saturday

10:00 AM – Noon, EOD main/Classroom – Carbload For Cthulhu mass signing

8:00 – 9:00, EOD main – Sexuality and Lovecraft (Downum, Peterson, Cook, Smiley, Joshi)

Sunday

10:00 AM – Noon, Sam’s Hollywood Billiards – Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast (I won't be doing anything here but eating breakfast and drinking mimosas.)
stillsostrange: (Default)
I am in fact still alive. I had a great time at WorldCon, and promptly came down with con crud and failed to post about it.

Today I wrote a synopsis for The Poison Court and sent that and a partial to the Fabulous Agent. Tomorrow I get more color added to Octavia. Other cool things of a not-yet-speakable nature may also be happening soon. Updates to follow.
stillsostrange: (Sif)
My schedule:

Friday
12:00 - 13:00: Kaffeeklatsch (with Rachel Swirsky and Alan Stewart)

Saturday
12:00 - 13:00: Horses Are Not Jeeps - Bringing reality to fictional worlds

Patrice Sarath, Fred Lerner, Amanda Downum, Elizabeth Moon, Taylor Anderson

14:00 - 15:00: How To Scare Your Reader

Vylar Kaftan, John Hornor Jacobs, Amanda Downum, Alastair Reynolds, M. L. Brennan

15:00 - 16:00: Intricate Worlds

Bryan T. Schmidt, Amanda Downum, Robin Hobb, Gail Carriger

Sunday

10:00 - 11:00: Autographing Amanda Downum, Elizabeth Hull, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jack Skillingstead

14:00 - 15:00: Introduction to Eurocons

Alice Lawson, Amanda Downum, Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf, Gareth Kavanagh, James Shields


And because this can never be said often enough, alas: if you are at WorldCon and someone harasses you, I volunteer to be your back-up. I will not say "Oh, that's just so-and-so," or "You should shoot him/punch him/kick him in the balls," or "If I'd have been there I would totally have shot him/punched him/kicked him in the balls." I will, however, escort you to a safe place, provide company in a public place, and/or help you find an appropriate person with whom to file a complaint.
stillsostrange: (Bone Palace UK)
This is just to say that I'm not dead, Space City Con was a very good time, and that I have my second lesson in properly punching things tomorrow. Further updates to follow.
stillsostrange: (Conscious)
Readercon was lovely, as usual. I read from The Poison Court and no one threw produce at me. I listened to other people read things. I drank an intemperate number of cocktails on Saturday night and got five hours of sleep before my 9:00 A.M. panel Sunday morning. I am forever grateful for Neil Clarke for being present and awake and talking about publishing while all I could manage was to sit very still and pray the room didn't capsize. Eventually the hotel stopped its ominous sway and I had breakfast and made it to my panels, where I hope I managed some small degree of coherence. After the last panel, a group of us adjourned to see Pacific Rim, which was...entertaining. The next day we returned to Boston for still more cocktails and dancing.

Today I'm slumped on [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's couch until it's time to go to airport, staring at the internet and wondering if I should try to write a synopsis for Poison Court yet.
stillsostrange: (Read)
Friday July 12

4:30 PM VT Reading: Amanda Downum. Amanda Downum reads a work in progress.

Sunday July 14

1:00 PM F Egalitarian Character Trauma. Amanda Downum, Natalie Luhrs, Daniel José Older, Julia Rios (moderator), Sonya Taaffe. In 2008, Ekaterina Sedia wrote a blog post titled "PSA: Female Trauma!" in which she generated a list of traumatic things that can happen to female characters (spanning a scale from "high heels" to "losing a limb") that don't involve sexual violence. In 2012, Seanan McGuire blogged about an anonymous correspondent who asked her "when" her female protagonists were "finally" going to be raped, implying that rape is an inevitable outcome of being a woman. How can we counteract the predominance of sexual(ized) threats to female characters? Is it enough to simply write other things and move the Overton window, or does the status quo need to be directly subverted? Who's doing it right and what are some examples of doing it wrong?

2:00 PM F Stranger Danger: Secrets and Discoveries in Urban Settings. Amanda Downum, Lila Garrott (leader), Maria Dahvana Headley, Stacy Hill, Patricia A. McKillip, JoSelle Vanderhooft. In folk stories the forest is full of dangerous secrets and the village is usually safe as houses. When the village becomes unsafe, it's because the forest has violated the sanctity of civilization, as when the wolf takes the place of Red Riding Hood's grandmother. However, a slew of recent books find their dangerous secrets within the confines of cities: the many neighborhoods in Kathleen Tierney's Blood Oranges, the occupied city in N.K. Jemisin's The Shadowed Sun, the monster-populated New York in Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon, the gas-filled walled Seattle of Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series. What is it about modern life that leads writers and readers to look for discovery and the unknown in cities? How do we cross the border from safety to danger when it's not marked by anything so concrete as the edge of the forest?

9:00 AM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Neil Clarke, Amanda Downum.
stillsostrange: (Read)
I want to have a reading at Readercon, but I'm not sure what to read. My best three options are Dreams (out on submission), The Poison Court (completely a rough draft in progress, but I could polish up a scene), or "Snakebit", the sappy vampire story that I recently finished and need to edit. Any thoughts? Your opinions have added weight if you'll be attending Readercon.
stillsostrange: (Von says read)
I have survived the Lovecraft Film Festival, where I had a delightful time, even though Portland insisted on being unseasonably warm and sunny all weekend. I hung out with lovely people everywhere, saw fun movies--the Cabal Cut of Nightbreed was worth the price of plane fare, even if they haven't found the footage of Peloquin's sex scene yet--went dancing, and ate way too much bar food. Okay, the bar food wasn't actually fun or lovely, but hopefully I'll stop doing my best Prince of Darkness swollen-with-evil impression by the end of the week.



I have not been keeping good track of books this year, so the order of these is slightly dubious.

1. Alabaster: Wolves - Caitlin R. Kiernan
2. Song For the Basilisk - Patricia McKilip
3. The Changeling Sea - Patricia McKilip

I'm not sure why it took me so long to read this book, since I sought out so many other books in high school based solely on their lovely Whelan covers. This is a jewel of a book, perfect in my heart, and while I'm sure I would have loved it 17 years ago, I love it just as well or better now.

4. Steles of the Sky - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)
5. The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison (ARC)
6. The Paris Affair - Teresa Grant
7. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia McKilip
stillsostrange: (Brigitte)
(Not actually an exercise post.)

I am not dead, despite my poor showing on LiveJournal. 2013 has been a hell of year so far, emotionally. January (and December before it) were fraught, February and March were delightful--so much so, in fact, that they nearly culminated with my passing out from exhaustion at SXSW, as previously recounted. April decided to live up to Eliot after all, and became an emotional roller coaster that left me in a ditch. Lacking any forgetful snow, I can only hope that summer surprises me.

On the upside, I've spent the past three months seeing more concerts than I had previously imagined possible. My brain may have swollen under the constant application of new music--SXSW, Convergence, Austin Psych Fest, and a host of other shows. Last week was Peter Murphy (doing an all Bauhaus set). Tomorrow is The Joy Formidable and Io Echo. I've danced more than ever, and I already dance more than nearly anyone I know.

On Thursday morning I leave for Portland, and the H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest & CthulhuCon, where I will be reading, participating in a panel, and melting into a gibbering puddle of glee at the director's cut of Nightbreed. If you happen to sit next to me in the theatre, I apologize in advance for deliquescing on your shoes.

When I get back from Portland I'm going to lock myself in alternately my room and my favorite coffee shop and write a damned book.
stillsostrange: (Heartless)
Octavia by Amanda Downum
Octavia, a photo by Amanda Downum on Flickr.

Yesterday I sat through the latest coloring session for Octavia. I love her so much. I would kiss her, but that would currently be painful and unhygienic.

And then this morning I woke to my official invitation to the 2013 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland. I have been longing to go for years, and now I will be a panelist and everything! So if you're attending the festival, or will be in the Portland area from May 3 - 5, let me know.

stillsostrange: (Blood)
I survived many hours in the Gothtopus getup today, and even sold a book. An unexpected side effect of my recent weight loss is that my corset fits amazingly well (I had nearly grown out of it at this time last year), but the tentacle skirt is now too large. And it's hard to have a tentacle skirt taken in.

Today's random writerly revelation: I really want to write a gothic*. Crumbling mansions and curses and madwomen in the attic. This dovetails nicely with my equal desire to write a Scion of a Creepy Family story. Now I just need to find a plot to support these dreams.



* I had fun doing high fantasy gothic in Kingdoms, and my unfinished Pinion is a Texas gothic, but I want even more gothic than that.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Another con survived, and this time without "Hotel California."

ArmadilloCon is over, and I had a lovely time. I missed the waterfall in the lobby on Friday, but I was out for dinner and drinks with the Bat City Novelocracy at the time, so it wasn't as disappointing as it might have been. My reading went well, I gave away two ARCs of A Fantasy Medley 2, and my panels were smart, fun, and contained no slut-shaming at all*. The writing workshop also went smoothly. We even got to blindfold the workshop students and do terrible things to them.

And did I mention I have ARCs for A Fantasy Medley 2? I drew names out of a bowl at the reading, so I should probably use a slightly more sophisticated system of placing the next two. Suggestions?


* Sadly, I'm told that wasn't the case in other panels. Panels, I am disappoint.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Sa1630P Reading
Sat 4:30 PM-5:00 PM Pecos
Amanda Downum (What I'm reading from is a mystery. Any requests?)

Sa1700SB Building a Fictional Society from the Ground Up
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Sabine
A. Bishop, A. Downum, A. Goldsmith, J. Mandala, J. Reisman*, M. Wells
A discussion of worldbuilding in sf/f.

Sa1900SB What Do Agents Do and are They Worth Their Fees?
Sat 7:00 PM-8:00 PM Sabine
A. Bishop, E. Burton, A. Downum, S. Johnson, S. Leicht*, A. Martinez
Writers wanting to sell their work need to learn about this important aspect of the business of writing.

Sa2000SB Tips and Tricks to Write More Gooder
Sat 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Sabine
S. Brust*, A. Downum, G. Faust, S. Lynch, C. Richerson, S. White
The craft and process of writing, and how to bring out your best.

I may also have a signing on Saturday, but I don't know when. Friday I'll be attending the writing workshop, and attending the bar afterwards. Sunday I couldn't escape the dreaded Day Job, but I'll stop by afterward to lead an expedition to Peché, if anyone is interested.
stillsostrange: (Byakhee)
I did, in fact, make it home from Boston. Which is half a shame, because I love Boston, but the airport Hilton is too expensive to become a second home. Readercon was lovely, with highlights including drunken yoga in the lobby and cocktails at Drink.

The very best news, though, was that [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia likes the draft of Dreams I sent her. Six and a half years and several drafts later, my little novel has finally grown up. (Which doesn't mean it's ready for submission yet, but so close!) Now I can really start brainstorming for Dreams 2: Byakhee Boogaloo.

ETA: I forgot the other half of today's noteworthy events. First, I've been talking to my tattooist about my next tattoo, a companion piece for my octopus--either a friend or an assistant to answer his fanmail. If he comes up with a sketch we like, the painful part should begin in August.

And in an effort to make the real estate on my arms a little more appealing to potential tattoos, I joined a gym today. Climbing is still the best workout I'll ever get, but the climbing gyms are far, and the new place is right down the street. It's also nice because no matter how hormonally incompetent I may become, I can still manage a leisurely pace on a treadmill or bike. In the airconditioned shade. I meant to run in for maybe half an hour tonight, and stayed for an hour. Now I just have to keep this up enough to warrant the (small) expense.
stillsostrange: (Stuck)
Readercon was delightful, but I'm not out of the woods yet. I missed my flight home today, and have to spend the night in Boston. Thank Cod for my spare underwear policy. Now I'm holed up in an expensively pleasant corner room at the airport Hilton, trying to decide if I'm brave enough to get on the T in search of non hotel food.

Expedia plays "Hotel California" as hold music. I want to shake the hand of the sick fuck who made that happen.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Friday, July 13

12:00 PM VT Reading. Amanda Downum. Amanda Downum reads the forthcoming novelette "Bone Garden." (Also known as boywhores vs. oracular demons, or the story in which I kill [livejournal.com profile] sovay horribly.)

2:00 PM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Elizabeth Bear, Amanda Downum.

3:00 PM F Anthropology for Writers. James L. Cambias, Christopher M. Cevasco, Amanda Downum, Francesca Forrest, John H. Stevens (leader), Harold Torger Vedeler. In a 2011 blog post, Farah Mendlesohn wrote, "'Worldbuilding' as we understand it, has its roots in traditions that described the world in monolithic ways: folklore studies, anthropology, archeology, all began with an interest in describing discrete groups of people and for that they needed people to be discrete." This panel will discuss the historical and present-day merging and mingling of real-world cultures, and advise writers on building less monolithic and more plausible fictional ones.

(This seemed like a good idea during sign up, but I have no idea what I'm going to talk about and expect to embarrass myself completely.)

Saturday July 14

2:00 PM G The City and the Strange. Leah Bobet, Amanda Downum, Lila Garrott (leader), Stacy Hill, Ellen Kushner, Howard Waldrop. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs writes, "By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange." N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy demonstrates that epic-feeling fantasy can still take place entirely within the confines of a single city. Fictional metropolises such as Jeff Vandermeer's Ambergris, China Miéville's New Crobuzon, and Catherynne M. Valente's Palimpsest are entire worlds in themselves, and the fantasy cities of Lankmar and Ankh-Morkpork shine as centers of intrigue and adventure. In what other works, and other ways, can cities be stand-ins for the lengthy traveling quest of Tolkienesque fantasy?

3:00 PM NH Group Reading: Ideomancer Speculative Fiction. Mike Allen, Leah Bobet, C.S.E. Cooney, Amanda Downum, George Galuschak, Claire Humphrey, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Kenneth Schneyer, Sonya Taaffe. Authors and poets read work from Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, one of the longest-running speculative fiction webzines still publishing.




In other news, Brave was adorable, and I strongly support the message that all family problems can be solved by turning someone into a bear. But I'm very disappointed that Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller weren't in it.
stillsostrange: (Blood)
I missed my obligatory daily post yesterday. Great shame is mine.

Is anyone interested in World Horror in New Orleans next year? It's not on my usual convention circuit, but [livejournal.com profile] greygirlbeast is going, and any excuse for New Orleans is a good excuse. Well, maybe not in June, but I can always hide in the hotel while the sun is up.
stillsostrange: (Chairleg of Truth)
[livejournal.com profile] jimhines has an excellent post on sexual harassment today, including links about where to report harassment in SF/F circles and the Backup Project.

If you are being harassed at a con or other event where I'm in attendance, please feel free to grab me for backup. I'm pretty terrible when it comes to confrontation, but I am more than happy to escort anyone out of an unpleasant situation, or help find security, or just hang out and glare until the dickbag in question goes away.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Armadillocon is over, and I've returned [livejournal.com profile] matociquala and [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch to the airport. It was a lovely con, except for the part where I had to cut out of the writing workshop early to drive to Houston and back on Friday. Panels were sane, the bar was full of drinks, and the AC in the hotel was set to 60 to make up for the 110+ temperatures outside.* I had drinks and/or watched bats and/or played Talisman with [livejournal.com profile] catrambo, [livejournal.com profile] stina_leicht, [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat, [livejournal.com profile] matociquala, [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch, and got to meet [livejournal.com profile] upstart_crow at the signing table. There were also climbing, queso, and cupcakes, in the tradition of my people.

Now I have page proofs for Kingdoms of Dust to finish, and then I can return to fidgeting with books.


*The AC in my house went out Sunday. It's been repaired, but the house hasn't cooled off yet.

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