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This is just to say...

Bone Palace UK
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.

WorldCon schedule & PSA

My schedule:

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

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


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.


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.

Another Readercon survived

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 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.

My Readercon schedule

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.

Friday night not-a-poll

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.

Con-going and bookkeeping

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

State of the valkyrie

(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.

A very tentacular day

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.

See how my tentacles got you under control

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.


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