Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I want a new toy.

When I was in Boston I stopped into the Sony store. Big mistake. They had the Vaio TX series ultralight on display and it was so adorable I just wanted to slip one right into my bag and take it home. Less than 3 pounds, XBrite screen, 4-7 hour battery, and much easier to schlep through airports than my big Vaio notebook. I could just pop it into my shoulder bag and wouldn't need the computer case.

*Sigh* When I sign that 6 figure book contract, I know what I'm buying first.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

And the final page edits on Captain Sinister's Lady are done! Yay!

At least, I say they're done. I need the editor to sign off on it and then we're really, really, really done and the book goes into the production queue over at Amber Quill Press.

I feel like such a writer. I'm sitting here in my bathrobe at 10:30 in the morning because I needed to get right to work on the edits so I could get it out today. But now I can stretch, do my tai chi, and as soon as the fog clears off, walk the dog.

Then later today I'm going to pick up all those books the library has been holding for me 'cause I couldn't break away from this work to get over there. And I can read for fun again. Yay to that!

And tonight I will go out with my dear husband to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We'll try to overlook the fashion disaster of 30 years ago, when we believed a powder blue tuxedo was a good thing, and celebrate in better style tonight with dinner at a favorite restaurant, and then a concert by The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with Gil Shahan conducting.

I hope your day is as wonderful as mine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Made it home from Boston, but it was a near thing. Went out to lunch yesterday with the college boy, and while we had a really delightful lunch at a Malaysian eatery on Mass Ave., I didn't realize he'd never driven to the airport from downtown. Took him a bit to find the right route, and I made it through the gates only by walking at a pretty fast clip. Thank goodness I'd had the sense to wear the comfortable boots!

However, the flight into Memphis was late, and I had to run to get to the other terminal where the flight to Gainesville was. I went skidding up to the counter with my boarding pass, and threw myself on the mercy of the crew, telling them if I didn't take 2 minutes to run to the loo there was going to be an unfortunate incident during the flight.

"There's a restroom on the plane," one youngster said.
"Yes, but it will be at least 20 minutes before we're in the air and I can use that!" I whined.

So they held the gate for me for a couple more minutes and all was good. Whew!

The panels I moderated went well, if I do say so myself. Jim Macdonald told a wonderful story about the USN and pirates based on his adventures with the navy a few years back (he was a naval officer, not a pirate). I got to meet some delightful writers. In addition to Jim Macdonald and Naomi Novik the panels included Beth Bernobich, Sarah Monette, Steven Popkes, Leigh Grossman and Debra Doyle, and I was a complete fangirl with Wen Spencer, but she graciously signed my copy of A Brother's Price .

Next year Boskone will have a nautical theme and will be down at the harbor, so I've already bought my membership for 2007. See you there!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Boskone '06

I'm having a great time here in Boston, visiting old friends, making new friends, and participating in some super panels. Yesterday's was on history and worldbuilding, a topic near and dear to my heart, and I met Naomi Novik. Her new novel, The King's Dragon, is getting some very good advance buzz and I'm anxious to read it.

Today I sat in on some SF Fandom panels, and one on electronic communities such as Blogger. Thursday night I went out for supper and drinks with my niece and some local celebrity chefs. If I ever write a contemporary, I could see having a chef hero. Some of them are the rock stars of the new decade, with groupies, television shows and huge fan bases. And can they cook! Good times, sped along by some excellent single malts and wine in one of Back Bay Boston's better establishments.

Tonight we've got a Space Cowboy Luau planned (Don't ask. really) and that will keep us busy for a few hours. Tomorow, more panels! And I'm even getting some editing done.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stranded!

I'm stuck in the Memphis airport for five hours because my flight from Gainesville connecting to Boston was delayed. That's the bad news. And I'm going to miss spending the day with my son in Boston. That's the worse news.

Here's the good news:

I wisely told my travel agent to book me a flight in an airport where I had club access and could wait in comfort if stranded.

I brought my laptop and have wireless access.

The galleys of Captain Sinister's Lady are ready to be downloaded and read.

So it could be worse.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My lips are chapped from editing.

OK, I know that sounds strange, but it's true. When I'm in final edits mode I read the manuscript aloud as I'm scanning the page, and all that talking chaps my lips. But the reading aloud helps. It's amazing what the brain fills in because your eye tells it something should be there, like a comma, when in reality it's not there. Reading aloud catches more errors and typos.

So the really good news in all of this is that Captain Sinister's Lady is now in final edits, which is keeping me on schedule for a spring publication! Yea!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Boskone 43

I'll be in Boston February 17-19 for Boskone 43 at the Boston Sheraton, one of the best of the regional SF conventions. You can find me on these panels:

Friday 9:00 pm Hampton: Building Worlds with History

It is almost trite these days to note the layers of deep history that underlay Lord of the Rings and gave it depth and richness missing from fantasy like Conan. OK, a world needs history which never shows up in the stories. How do you go about building that history? Do you need to be a real-world history buff? Do you copy from our history or make it up from whole cloth? Is there such a thing as too much history for the good of the story or the good of the writer? Should an aspiring fantasy writer start out by constructing the history or does the history just grow?

Darlene Marshall, Debra Doyle, Leigh Grossman (m), Naomi Novik

Sunday 10:00 am Hampton: What I Do When I Should Be Writing

G.B. Shaw said of the English encyclopedist Samuel Johnson, "I have not wasted my time trifling with literary fools in taverns as Johnson did when he should have been shaking England with the thunder of his spirit." Done any tavern-trifling yourself lately? How abut TV watching? Web surfing? Cat vacuuming? How else do you distract yourself from getting any work done....and how do you get back to the writing?

Darlene Marshall (m), Beth Bernobich, Sarah Monette, Steven Popkes, Wen Spencer

Sunday 1:00 pm Kent: Nautical Novels

Sea stories of the age of fighting sail.....pirates.....shrimp boats? Why do so many fans like this stuff? (Hmm, well, maybe not the shrimp boats.) Perhaps a cruise is like a convention; we all embark together into a small but stimulating environment with its own rich customs (sodomy and the lash?), language, hierarchy, smells, jokes.....

Darlene Marshall (m), Beth Bernobich, James D. Macdonald, Jim Mann, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Yes! Take that, Buffy!


Darlene Marshall --

[noun]:

A person with a sixth sense for detecting the presence of goblins




'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com


Sunday, February 05, 2006

I celebrated two marriages last night. Three, if you count my own, because both of the other events reminded us of how fortunate we are.

The first event was a reception for a couple married 73 years. Think about that for a moment: Being married 73 years to the same person. The couple was married at the height of the Great Depression. Their marriage survived that, WWII, all the changes brought about at the end of the 20th C., and lives on into the new millenium. When I see this elderly couple walking down the street, they're usually holding hands. Their body language as they lean towards one another to catch what's being said speaks volumes in itself.

We're celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this month, so it was an inspiration to us.

The second event was a wedding for a young lady of whom we're quite fond. It was one of those events which in our community could clearly be labeled "the wedding of the year." It was the fairy-tale wedding little girls dream of--a historic church beautifully decorated, the organist playing Bach, Pachabel, Handel and other classics, and a reception for over 500 people at the country club. The bride looked stunning in her strapless gown with its long train, there was dancing and food and frivolity well into the night.

And that too made us think of our own wedding, 30 years ago, when I was a college student and neither of us had much money but we still managed to pull together a lovely little affair. More importantly, we've weathered some tough times, and as I watched the young couple dance I hoped they'd be able to weather their rough patches and celebrate their own 30th--or 73rd--wedding anniversary.

Oh, and I'd had just enough to drink that I did ask the mother of the bride if she would tell me how much the 8 layer, 8 ft. tall chocolate/strawberry/vanilla wedding cake cost. Roughly. She just smiled and said, "a lot." Estimates among the guests at the party ranged from $1,200 to $5,000 for the cake.

But it was tasty.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

OK, the rumors that my dear husband didn't buy tickets to the Heart Ball this year because last year I placed the winning bid on a massive oriental rug are simply not true.

However, it is true that friends don't let friends drink and bid at charity auctions.

Instead we're going to hear the California Guitar Trio, and for our anniversary, The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields! With Gil Shahan! Now that's a classy way to celebrate the month of February!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The African Queen is on tv tonight on one of the classic movie channels (TCM, 8 p.m. EST). I'm going to take advantage of it being a chilly North Florida night, build a fire, pour myself something that will warm me from the inside out, and once again I'll be swept away by one of the Best. Romance. Movies. Ever.

We're talking true romance here, not pretty people doing pretty things in pretty locales, but a tale of two lost souls who find love where and when they least expect it.

Talk about "you complete me". This is the one to watch.