Saturday, October 24, 2015

Take the Con, or: "Is My Sociopath Authentic?"

It is the quiet hour. The JRW conference is not over yet, but I left early; grocery shopping for the week, a bit of silence, the need to post this, and a nap were calling me. Just now, nervous folks are standing up before the bulk of attendees, pitching live and in person in front of everybody for Pitchapalooza. I've done this (twice), and I felt it was more important to leave than to stay, on balance, and let my Conference be over for this year.


That nap I mentioned has intervened, as did the balance of an eleven-day "work" week (well, I didn't get a weekend, with the Conference!) and even some research on the writing. It's now six days since the Conference ended, and ... hey, things got interesting too!

This year, #WeNeedDiverseBooks/#WNDB was a focus, and I asked Ellen Oh and the panel, "Is there a parallel movement amongst READERS, a #WeReadDiverseBooks hashtag?" They paused, laughed, pointed at me and said, "You are starting that!"

I was excited, but as it happens, #WeReadDiverseBooks is in fact already out there, created by Janet Ursel. Not surprising!

There was some fun with new friends and old, the above-linked exciting mystery of the first page whose author never stepped forward - I never got myself together this year to submit a first page of my own, DARNIT - and ideas, ideas, ideas. Ahh, inspiration.

And so I've been reading about wet nurses and trying to find a way to research what a Late Antiquity worship service might have been like in an Arian christian church. Man, that is not easy.

And so I have been finding writers and others on Twitter and blogs, and finding new followers in return.

And today? For the firs time in too long: I finally get to do a bit of housecleaning!

Happy Saturday to all, and to all a good day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Coming Soon!

The JRW Conference will be this weekend, and as usual I have signed up for an agent one-on-one, but this year I think I will use the time not to pitch, but to discuss the retirement of AX and perhaps look toward a synopsis or query for the WIP. It is almost distressingly early to be thinking about querying the WIP, of course, but the agent I plan to meet with is far too good to resist; and, perhaps more than the forward-looking, as little good as it does to look backward, I'd like a professional opinion regarding my instincts about AX and letting it lie. If the chemistry isn't good for that conversation, maybe I can just smile and tell the agent she has seven minutes to herself, and let her go get some coffee.

The old saw applies now, as it does for everyone, as it does all the time, "I haven't been working on writing/research like I should." Ohh the Great Should; who doesn't have Should-shaped bite marks on their behind?

The good news, of course, is that JRW gets me excited about writing - always in ways I don't even see coming - every blessit year.

And I get excited about JRW, too. I study for it, I anticipate seeing my friends and making new ones, little literary lullabies croon inside my head, singing songs of inspiration. I brace my bank account for the BOOKS ... and getting them signed! Squee!

I look at the weather and plan my outfits (hooray, it will be cool this year - a first!) and re-read interviews with whatever agent I plan to meet with, as well as researching all of them, in case we chat through the course of the weekend. I see myself in that chair upstairs, a couple years back, where I rewrote my pitch and was so excited (and block out memories of READING said pitch at Pitchapalooza, which is exciting, but which I have done twice now and am done with).

Perhaps it all sounds like a bit of a do, too much fretting and folderol, but it's an enjoyable indulgence, for someone like me. Getting out to a conference can be stressful and scary for some woodland creatures writers, but JRW is *mine*, and I love it and am grateful for it.

And so I contemplate what hairstyle *won't* be fussy, what sweater will look nice and be comfortable. What jewelry to wear, because my friends and I - a bunch of magpies - always gravitate to each other's sparklies. One doesn't want to be "too much" ... but you do want to garner the notice of pals attuned to your vintage yummy parure, or the boho seventies long, dangling pendant with just the right earrings. Pashminas are never so appreciated as they are by crowds of authorial Frowsy Women, and costume is never so much fun as when you are judging everyone else's of course!

So tonight I think, quietly, about how to ask what questions, and the smiles of those whose writing I love - and writing itself - and mine - and find: I am ready for bed.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


The Pee Dee river runs through the small South Carolina town where my grammaw lived. It's not one of the most famous American rivers, but it is one of the most fun names, and spoken with a good southern accent, it's charming into the bargain. Three cannon have been raised fro this river, and the story of the gunboat Pee Dee is an interesting one for American history buffs. Scuttled at one month of service, the craft's short life was nonetheless a part of Civil War history.

An interesting look at landscapes. Blackfoot art depicting encroachment upon Native American mineral rights at the British Museum. The British Museum blog is focusing on cultural dialogues; this one is especially striking.

The History Girls' Eleanor Updale has a particularly personal post about the Foundling Museum, London. Taking not only society's but artistic perspective on the state of  a woman of damaged virtue, here is a contemplation of the Victorian attitude - and the real history of a foundling's family.

The historical sewing and costume blogs I follow focus, almost necessarily, on the fine and the exceptional in textile history - because it is most often the fine and the exceptional that survive. Mojourner Truth has found a cache' of half century-old clothes we are both hoping he can find someone to preserve. His job has always been cooler than mine.

Back at The History Blog again, we have the unexpected evidence that mummification was more common on ancient Britain than might seem quite obvious. Mummification outside of desert climes: not just for peat bogs anymore! Beware, this does include phrases such as "putrefactive erosion", which I think would make a splendid name for a terrible band.

Local honey is good for allergies. Poison honey is good for exterminating your foes! "This actually works." Eep.