Here's a recap of what's been happening in my life these past weeks:
I returned only mildly jetlagged from an amazing trip to Australia. Did the usual tourist things with my husband, but didn't see nearly enough of the country. This was my second trip and it was wonderful to revisit. I don't know when I'll return, but I'd love to go back again.
My panels at Aussiecon4 (World SF Convention) in Melbourne went quite well. I was tapped to be moderator on both of them. The first one was "Girl meets boy meets dragon: Romance in fantasy". The other panelists were Tracey O’Hara, Fiona McIntosh and Nicole R. Murphy and part of the fun of attending a Worldcon outside North America is meeting writers who I might not otherwise get to spend time talking to. This was a lively group to have discussing romance and fantasy, and the program item was well attended. Plus, I have some new books on my "To Be Read" list, thanks to the other panelists.
My second panel was "Monster Mash-up" about the current trend toward publishing books like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea-Monsters and so on. The other panelists were Scott Edelman, Chuck McKenzie, and Damien White.
This one was more of a stretch for me since it was the horror track of the program, and I don't write horror (though I do read it on occasion). We talked about homage vs. parody, why certain books get picked for "mash-ups" (being a public domain book helps--a lot) and whether this is a brief blip on the publishing radar, or if it can still be mined for gold. An interesting group to have discussing these trends, and again I picked up recommendations for new reading.
I have to say though that one of my favorite parts of Aussiecon4 was managing the Green Room. I've been Green Room manager at other worldcons, and each one is different, presenting its own issues and joys. This time I had the blessing of a capable and experienced staff, and an amazing coffee machine that churned out espresso, lattes, hot tea and more at the push of a button. We all came away with enough barista skills to get another job if the writing isn't paying off for us.