The Fog of Surreality – (A.K.A. #Readercon) #fb

I’ve been waiting to write this post, because it means I actually have to convince myself that Readercon is over. I guess I can’t live in the fog of surreality forever. I must come out and enjoy the sun. It’s been a week, I know. Allow me my dreams!

I arrived on Friday and instantly met up with Neil Clarke. For some odd reason, I have that weird, “omg I must find a friend so I don’t look like a complete idiot standing around in halls pretending I’m taking a phone call, so no one realizes that I’m too timid  to just come over and say hi” hang-up.  In fact, every time I’ve seen the Goddess known as Cat Valente roaming the halls with her posse, I’ve wanted to go over and say hello and gush about how much I love her writing.  Instead, I end up staring like a jackass.

I have gotten better at this in general and will muster the courage. In fact, from a recent twitter posting — it sounds like she’s just finished a story for Clarkesworld! Yay! Perhaps I’ll have something with which to introduce myself!

Where was I? Oh! Friday night. So I meet up with Neil Clarke who hands me a box of Clarkesworld business cards! I don’t think I showed the first squee I had of the night properly. How cool is it that I’ve been an official member of staff for almost 11 months? I’m almost at the two year mark for narrations!

So as I’m saying hello to Sean Wallace and his most lovely wife, Neil then surprises me with a copy of Sybil’s Garage No.7 that he just bought at a neighboring dealer’s table. I squealed with delight when he showed me. I squeed even more when he asked me for my first autograph! That has to rank right up there with one of the coolest moments of my life. I danced with my book. I didn’t care who was watching.

I went to a “Futures of Magazines” panel at 8:00 that night that included the likes of Neil, K. Tempest Bradford, Liz Gorinsky, Matt Kressel and Michael J. Deluca.  I was going to run up and introduce myself to Matt after the panel but I caught his eye and shyly waved. Much to my surprise and delight, he jumped up, ran over and gave me a warm hug. If I could meet everyone like that, I would be so happy.

Later that night, Neil and I were sitting on the floor having wonderful conversation with whomever decided to stop by and join when, David Mercurio Rivera, Devin Poore, E.C. Myers and Rajan Khanna came over to introduce themselves. I can’t say enough how cool and welcoming these guys were. Devin confessed he was the one who pulled my story out of the slush and sent it on to the other editors. It doesn’t get any better than that! Trying not to be socially retarded, I tried to hide most of my excitement. I think I failed.

Saturday was equally cool. I got up and read for a roomful of people attending the Rhysling poetry awards. I read Susan Slaverio’s “The Reaper’s Wife”. The tongue tripped up on the word, “hagiographer” but it was smooth sailing after that. Special thanks goes to Susanne Reynolds-Alpert who introduced herself and calmed my nerves with some warm words of encouragement.

I caught Mary Robinette Kowal in the lobby, said hello to her busy self and got to hold her upcoming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey. It is a gorgeous book and I can’t wait to read it when it comes out.

John Anealio stopped by the Clarkesworld booth and said hello as well. It’s always great to meet someone who’ve you been conversing with on any online medium and I was delighted he hung out with us after dinner. If you haven’t taken the time to go listen to his music, go do it now!

I got to talk a little with the ever wonderful Charlie Stross and the lovely Margaret Ronald. I wish the time had not gone so quickly.

So by now, if you attended Readercon, you know about the not-so-secret party that Matt Kressel held in his room. A celebration of sorts for the release of Sybil’s Garage NO. 7, he asked if the contributors would read their stories at the gathering. Again, another inside snoopy dance for me. See, I read other people’s work. I can’t get over the fact that I was standing in a crowded room, reading my story! Holy crap. Lots of praise for both the narration and the story left me reeling. I was very nervous that the experience of reading into a microphone in a private environment where I could correct my mistakes would translate poorly to a live medium. I am happy to report I was wrong about that.

After a lovely breakfast with Nora Jemisin on Sunday, I participated in the Clockwork Phoenix 3 reading with a wonderful panel. Gemma Files, Ken Schneyer, Mike Allen, Nicole Kohner-Stace, Claire Suzanne Elizabeth Cooney and Amal El-Mohtar did wonderful jobs with their material. I read from the Cat Rambo story, “Surrogates”. I can only hope I did the story justice!

Afterward, I ran over to the  reading where Chang Terhune was reading along with other graduates from the workshop. It was fantastic! Now, I know I’m missing someone, or something I did. In all, every person I met made this convention truly amazing. It was an event in my life that I will never, ever forget so thank you to everyone who made that possible.

I can’t wait until next year.

(Picture above by Matt Kressel — more photos here)

Narrations, Narrations, Narrations! *AKA Podcasts News*

microphoneI have realized that in the hustle and bustle of the past and forthcoming holidays, that I have neglected to mention that I have new narrations! I have been absolutely wonderfully lucky to have read for some of the best in the SF/F field and I hope the requests keep coming! I love doing this stuff!

Instead of getting a Google alert that mentioned Jon and Kate Plus 8, I actually had some good plugs on various blogs and sites for this week regarding some recent podcasts. Here are the most recent offerings:

The Uncanny Valley” by Nick Mamatas was posted three weeks ago on Escape Pod.
“After the Fire” by Aliette de Bodard was posted two weeks ago by StarShipSofa.
“Pirate Solutions” by Kathryn Sparrow was posted last week on Escape Pod.
“Night in Dark Perfection” by Richard Parks was posted yesterday on Clarkesworld Magazine.

I’ve also turned in readings to Mike Allen over at Mythic Delirium (2 poems), the good folks over at Dunesteef Audio. (They have the most fun with their recordings!) and I have two left to get done for Escape Pod and StarShip Sofa. Once those are posted, I’ll update the site.

A funny story regarding the “Pirate Solutions” story over on Escape Pod. I had sent two versions of the short narration to Jeremy Tolbert. One with my normal American accent and one with my best attempted English Accent. What’s a pirate story without an English accent! (I’m looking at YOU Johnny Depp.)  I figured if he thought the accent didn’t fit with the rest of the readers, he could with my normal husky voice. He ultimately chose the English accent. As I was surfing the mostly (*gasp*) positive comments on the EP forums, a member by the name of Yaksox posted: Can we have the English woman read more stories, please?

Buwhahah!

In Other Podcasting News:

StarShipSofa is also taking nominations for the Sofanaut Awards, so if you haven’t gone over to nominate your favorites, take a few seconds to do so now!

I’d also like to shout out the wonderful thing Tony C. Smith & writer Larry Santoro are doing to raise money for Spider and Jeanne Robinson in their time of need. StarShipSofa is releasing a free original audio story from Larry. You can purchase the ebook via Paypal or a credit card starting at 2.00 GPB ranging up to 100 GBP if you would like to contribute more to Spider and Jeanne as they continue her treatment for cancer.

I am also going to shamelessly and most enthusiastically plug the Clarkesworld Magazine Citizenship Drive. We’re still aiming for 400 new citizens by the end of the year and if you suddenly looked up at your calendar and were like, HOLY CRAP IT’S ALREADY DECEMBER, you have a little under a month to get in those donations. All it takes is $10.00. Higher donations have some nice incentives. Plus you get to be my minion. Clarkesworld is a labor of love that runs on book sales from its yearly publication and donations from you. So thank you if you’ve already donated!

That’s all for now! We now return you to our normally scheduled program.