Friday, February 25, 2011

BOSKONE 48 or "How I Spent My Winter Vacation"

I arrived in Boston a couple days before the convention to spend time with my son, who's in grad school in Cambridge.  We had a lovely visit, even though my credit cards were smokin' and begging for mercy by the time I kissed him goodbye and headed to the Westin Waterfront.  I didn't have any program items Friday afternoon so it was an opportunity for me to see some old friends, many of whom were working the convention, and get unpacked and ready for the festivities.

The weather in Boston through Friday had been more than tolerable--highs in the 60s, and lots of slush and melting ice.  That all changed Friday night.  We were walking back from supper and about four blocks from the hotel a storm hit us sideways.  It was a combination of winds clocked at over 40 mph, driving sleet and hail.  One of our party had her glasses knocked off and blown away, another was a petite woman nearly blown off her feet!  We eventually made it safely back, and I got toweled off and dried out.

The main Friday night event was the con suite transformed into Fangtasia, the bar made famous in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood books and HBO series.  Charlaine was a special guest of honor at Boskone this year and this was a meet and greet event for her and her fans.  It was followed by the traditional Art Show reception with glorious snacks and pastries.  I made a relatively early evening of it, having learned to pace myself at cons once I reached a (ahem) certain age.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to interview Charlaine during the "Southern Vampire Mystery Woman" program.  She was quite forthcoming with tidbits and stories about growing up in the Deep South, her varied series of mysteries and fantasy, how her own life enters into her writing and her plans for the future.  A delightful interviewee and I enjoyed it immensely.

Saturday afternoon was my reading.  I picked a passage from (Working Title) The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby.  I've never read from a work where I'm only about 25K words into writing it, so it was a challenge but also an opportunity.  Reading aloud gives me new perspective on my characters and how I'm developing them.

The rest of the day was spent attending some selected panels, cruising the Dealers' Room, chatting with friends and relaxing.  We had another dinner excursion Saturday night and this time the weather was cold, but clear.  I was glad I'd picked up a new winter coat while out shopping with my son earlier in the week.  You just don't get the same selection or end of season sales in Florida.

Saturday night was time for bid parties from Texas and other future Worldcon contenders, as well as some time with friends having their own get-togethers.  As usual I had the opportunity to sample some fine single malts and I will write up notes on them later.

Sunday was a full day of programming for me.  My first panel was "The Spirit of the Place", which I moderated.  The other panelists were Charlaine Harris, Alexander Jablokov and Margaret Ronald.  Margaret sets her books in the Boston area and the Red Sox play a part.  Alexander also sets his stories in New England and Charlaine and I talked about how the South influences our writing.  We had some good audience questions as well and I believe the panel was a success.

My next program item was "Cads, Bounders, Seducers and Other Ladykillers" with Joshua B. Palmatier, Beth Bernobich, and Katherine Crighton.   I didn't realize Katherine wrote the well-received debut novel Salt and Silver under a pen-name, There are some characters in science fiction and fantasy who fit the panel descriptions, and Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond of Crawford also came up in the mix as well as some Georgette Heyer and Loretta Chase heroes that I mentioned.

Finally, I had "SF & HF: Why Science Fiction and Historical Fiction Are the Same (Nearly) with Debra Doyle, Michael F. Flynn, Jo Walton, and Walter H. Hunt.  Having that many strong personalities on the same panel can be tricky, but I think we managed it well without coming to blows or ignoring each other's POV.  And that mix of writers can make for the most successful program items.

As always, kudos to the Boskone programming staff for putting together another lively and thought-provoking series of discussions.  I'm looking forward to next year's Boskone, and I hope to see some of the fans and pros at Worldcon in Reno this year as well.


Anonymous said...

Actually it's Katherine who wrote Salt and Silver, not Maggie.


Darlene Marshall said...

D'oh! That's what happens when I have too many events on the same day. Thank you so much for catching that error.

BTW, I meant to tell you, the scene where we're in Lymond's POV is [SPOILER ALERT]

...after the "Lost in 'L'" bit when Phillipa gets knocked unconscious and he's holding her in the boat. The only sentence in the entire six book series where we're in Lymond's head. Amazing.