Sunday, February 25, 2007

I am such a history geek. I'd planned on spending yesterday curled up with the new Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel, Natural Born Charmer. Instead I picked up Six Frigates--The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy by Ian W. Toll and I couldn't put it down. I find this stuff fascinating, particularly the period of the early US Republic. So much hinged on a few brilliant individuals. Yes, I admit it, I'm probably the only teenage girl who had a crush on Alexander Hamilton. But I love history.

So eventually I'll get around to SEP, but in the meantime, they're about to launch the Constellation, so I'll see all of you later.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Boskone 44, Part Deux

I forgot to mention that I did a reading Saturday afternoon. And there were people there! Some of whom were strangers, which is a good thing. You want folks to show up at your readings who are there not solely because they're your friends, but because they have an interest in your writing.

I read a passage from Captain Sinister's Lady, and it seemed to go over well. It's not easy finding just the right passage where you don't need too much backstory, you're not giving too much away, and you can begin and end in the time alloted. This one worked because I was able to end it on a little bit of a cliffhanger, which is always good. Keeps 'em interested.

Sunday I was up relatively early for breakfast with my best friend, where we had, as they say in the Regencies, "a comfortable coze". We opted for Starbucks rather than the hotel restaurant, a good choice given the lines at the restaurant.

My last panel of the con was "Pirates in Petticoats" with Jane Yolen and late addition Victoria McManus. I felt especially prepared for this one, not only because I'd written a "chicks in breeches" pirate novel, Pirate's Price, but because I'd done the talk on female pirates to the University Women's Club just a few days earlier.

It was a lively discussion, and we covered a lot of territory. When Jane Yolen wrote at the beginning of her career about Anne Bonny and Mary Reade, there was very little on women pirates, but since then the field of available literature and histories has grown substantially. I'm glad I could do my part to contribute.

I left the convention early to catch a train to NYC, and I'm sorry I couldn't linger for the Dead Dog party. Maybe next year. I was very pleased to have a chance to see some of my online friends, the usual suspects from NESFA, and a host of other fen and pros. I'm looking forward to Boskone 45 and since I won't be at Worldcon this year, I hope to see scads of you there.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Boskone 44

Here, finally, is my Boskone 44 report:

Let me start by saying I had a wonderful time and want to congratulate the con committee, particularly the Program staff, for putting together a first rate regional convention.

There were problems with the Westin hotel, and people spoke longingly of the Sheraton at the Pru Center, with its access to the food courts and retail. While the Westin was a nice enough hotel, it was isolated and there were limited food options, and what there was was expensive. This created a problem for me on Friday night, when I had to miss the "Boskone in Death--J.D. Robb panel", a Boskone tradition. I was supposed to be on that panel, but was still waiting an hour and a half into being seated at the hotel restaurant. I would have felt worse if fellow panelist Janice Gelb hadn't been with me, and if moderator Priscilla Olson hadn't wandered by and seen what was happening.

I stopped by the art show reception after supper and enjoyed the variety and quality of the art offered, but nothing sang out to me with a siren song of "Buy meeeeeee..."

Saturday began a full day of programming. I attended a panel on plot and structure, and got enough out of it to get me thinking about my work in progress, and how I can make it better. My first panel was at noon, "The Business Side of Writing". Sharon Lee of Meisha Merlin Press was the moderator, and the panel was a good mix of authors, editors, agents, and business managers. The discussion was lively and well received by the people in the audience, and I'd suggest doing this panel again in the future.

Later that day was "Keeping Your Day Job: How to Sustain Creativity When Writing is Your Second Profession". This was fun because I was moderator, and didn't have a clue as to how people would respond to our thoughts, nor did I know what the panel would say. Karl Schroeder had some fascinating ideas on how to finance your writing career, while Ian Randal Strock talked about the difficulty of getting your creative juices to kick in when you've come home from an exhausting day at work.

And another panel on my line-up, "A Sea Of Words: Naval Fiction Both Historical and Fantastic" with Michael F. Flynn and Jim Mann was a lively discussion of why we like O'Brian, other authors we recommend, and why a spaceship is like a wooden ship. And why it isn't. The nautical theme seems to be popular at these cons, and works out especially well for Boskone.

That night I went out to supper with some folks from the con, leaving the Westin for a delightful Italian restaurant at the North End. When we returned I slipped into hostess mode since I'd volunteered to help work the Australia in 2010 bid party. My high heeled feet finally gave out around midnight, and I was glad to put an end to a long, but productive day.

Tomorrow: Sunday at Con and what came after.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I spoke today to the University Women's Club and I was on fire. No false modesty here, I was snappy, I was organized, I was funny, and I sold through most of my stock of books. Not a bad day's work.

My talk was "Female Pirates: Good Girls Go To Heaven, But Bad Girls Go To Sea", and it was fun putting it together. This gives me a second presentation I can pull out when asked to speak, my other one being "19th C. Florida Pirates". I'll be doing that latter one in June at a branch library nearby. But today's talk was fun because getting to speak to a women's group about women pirates just seemed so right.

I'll be able to pull the notes out again in a few days at Boskone, when I join Jane Yolen for a panel on "Pirates in Petticoats". I'm already hearing from people who are saying they're planning on attending that session, so it should be lively.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Translation fun

I get interesting emails from my German translator. Last night it was a request for the specific Andrew Marvell poems I quoted from in Pirate's Price. I haven't looked much at my Marvell book since I finished Pirate's Price. I'm often that way with books I use over and over again while writing, but it was pleasant to pull it down from the shelf and re-read some of my favorite poetry. And in case any of you are wondering, the poems quoted in Pirate's Price are "To His Coy Mistress", probably Marvell's best known work, "The Garden" and "The Fair Singer".

Friday, February 02, 2007

Two steps forward, one step back

I realized midway through the chapter I was typing yesterday that the Work In Progress (WIP) wasn't going in the direction I wanted. I was moving away from the relationship and focusing too much on the quest. Plus, by taking them off the ship and putting them on a road trip on land, it was just not going where I wanted it to and it made the hero, a privateer, confusing.

What the book needs is more pirates! Always a good plan of action. Now, this will mean going back two chapters to when they were aboard ship and taking it from there, but I'm energized by the new direction the writing is going.

Yo ho ho.