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Showing posts from September, 2006

Zombie playlist

Because I know you're all dying to know what an author listens to while she writes, right?

It used to be much harder. You had to find just the right album for a given book. I listened to SCHINDLER'S LIST during THE POLARIS PASSAGE. For SANCTUARY it was Josh Groban (shaddup). For NOCTURNAL URGES it was Evanescence. "Bring Me To Life" is, in my head, Samantha's song.

Now, with the marvelousness that is iTunes, I can compile my own playlists. They change over the course of the book, but while I'm writing the zombie novella with the working title THE COLD ONES, here's what I'm listening to:

1. Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 (Allegro: First Movement)
2. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater)
3. Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen)
4. The Downeaster Alexa (Billy Joel)
5. Farewell to Nova Scotia (Three Pints Gone)
6. Red Right Hand (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
7. Hurt (Johnny Cash)
8. A Sailor's Prayer (Three Pints Gone)
9. The Town I Loved So Well (The Irish Tenors)
10…

A(nother) Good Cause

I'm always asking you folks to ante up the case - to my Relay team, to the Cub Scouts and buy my books, please. But two co-workers are walking in a charity drive, and I am compelled to come to you again.

There's two things making this effort different:

a) It benefits the Violence Prevention Center, and

b) They've only raised $120 of a $500 goal. And some of that is from me.

Domestic violence isn't the sexiest of charity causes. It's not universal, like cancer. Its victims aren't usually wide-eyed children. There is no pretty poster to be made. But every woman who's ever had a black eye knows how vital services to prevent domestic violence are.

Consider donating a little cash. Even $5 is enough. Paypal to elizabethdonald@yahoo.com by Friday. And bless you for it.

The Muse on Zombies

ME: I imagine it's a bad sign when I'm less than 3,000 words into the story and already reimagining the beginning.
MUSE: Yup.
ME: I always want to think stories in linear time.
MUSE: Too bad that sucks.
ME: It really does.
MUSE: You know why, don't you?
ME: The first thing that's important isn't where the story begins. The story begins with the first thing that's different.
MUSE: You're not still listening to Orson Scott Brownshirt, are you?
ME: Just because he's a right-wing homophobic asshole doesn't mean he's not right about writing. I liked SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD.
MUSE: And was that linear?
ME: Oh, shut up.
MUSE: So where does the story begin?
ME: The scream. Jeff Pagliei's scream in the street.
MUSE: That kicks Sara right into soldier mode. We'll never see her out of soldier mode.
ISABEL: And they'll hate her. She's way too cold.
MUSE: She is not.
ME: She's not cold. She's efficient.
ISABEL: Nobody's gonna like her if we don'…

Zombies R Us

That was actually a suggested title. My father is not always helpful when it comes to titles. He did come up with A MORE PERFECT UNION, but that book kinda tanked, so maybe I can blame him.

You ever hear a piece of music that just completely changes the picture in your head? I had pretty much figured out how I was going to write this zombie novella. I don't have enough time to write the whole thing, then research it and rewrite it from scratch, which is my usual procedure. So I'm doing something amazing: plotting and researching it BEFORE I write it.

This is why God laughs when we make plans.

I was just about ready, folks. Had it all, down to the willing victims (though I still need a few more soldiers). Then I attended a pirate festival this past weekend. I heard a terrific band called Three Pints Gone, and their performance of, "A Sailor's Prayer."

Suddenly the novella is going in a totally different direction. And I can't call it "The Monsters on Main St…

In lieu of actual content...

Didn't I promise you actual entries? Okay, it was a busy week.

But before we get to actual content, it's time to save one of the good guys.

Apex Digest is a good mag. It hasn't been around long, but it's printed the likes of Ben Bova. Hell, it's got a sub from me, and I'd be beyond proud to appear. And, like all the good ones, it's in trouble.

http://saveapex.maryrobinettekowal.com/category/raffle/

I wish I'd had the chance to help Undanted Press's Whispers from the Shattered Forum before it vanished. And this is the coolest idea for saving a magazine I've ever seen. Here's some of the stuff being raffled off:

A signed print of Burning Names by Alex McVey (8.5 X 11 in. acid-free archival quality print)

Have a story edited by Beth Wodzinski of Shimmer Magazine

Have a story edited by Jason Sizemore

A signed first edition hardcover of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

A signed Midnight Syndicate t-shirt plus stickers

Copy-edited manuscript of Ben Bova’s …

Sept. 11: Kings of a Shattered Mountain

If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

There seem to be three schools of thought as to how to commemmorate the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11: a) swamp us with "I remember..." interviews for 24 hours; b) tell your story of Where You Were When It Happened; c) say nothing at all. A friend of mine posted that no one should say anything unless we have something new to say, and no one has anything new to say.

It was a crazy day for us in the news business, even as far removed from the crisis as St. Louis, and it wasn't until the special edition was on the street and things had calmed a little that we realized we were covering the biggest story we'd ever see.

Or so we devoutly hope.

Each year, I have tried to think of something to say on Sept. 11. Each ye…

Sleepwalkers Chat!

We said we'd do this quarterly, so here we are! Tuesday is the second Sleepwalkers Chat, featuring 10 percent more snark!

WHO: Jeff Strand, Elizabeth Donald, Frank Fradella, Kit Tunstall and Jay Smith
WHAT: Sleepwalkers Chat!
WHEN: 8-10 p.m. EST Tuesday, Sept. 12
WHERE: Wilderness Chat Room (directions below)
WHY: To talk! Hear about the new books, the adventures on tour, that thing about Frank signing women's breasts at Dragoncon... Oops! Also some new stuff coming out. Oh, and maybe some PRIZES...

So drop by and join us! Or else!

WILDERNESS CHAT ROOM INSTRUCTIONS

a) Go to http://wilderness.homeip.net/wilderness/connect/bean/index.html.
b) Wait while it loads. This can take a minute. You may see a little coffee cup thinking.
c) If it asks you if you trust the applet, you say YES.
d) You'll see a little black screen. Click File and go down to Connect. 
e) It will ask you for a login name and password. You only have to do this step once. Don't worry, no one's logging so mu…

DRAGONCON: Post-Con Depression

Happens every time. Conventions are like mountaintop experiences, trapped in a small space with people who share your interests and most of whom bathe. You can crack a joke that the convention center layout was obviously designed by Hal 2000, and you don't get a funny look that says, "What the hell are you talking about?" Hey, sometimes you even get a laugh. Because they've seen the same movies, read the same books, and they get it.

You can wax literary about Wonder Woman as the balancing archetype of truth between Superman's archetype of justice and Batman's archetype of vengeance. You can discuss the impact of feminism in latter-day science fiction television and warrior-woman imagery in fantasy art. You examine the impact of Victorian sexual repression on the popularity of Bram Stoker's vampiric vision and compare it to the evolution of the vampire in modern popular culture as related to the sexual revolution(s) in the latter half of the 20th century.

I…

DRAGONCON: Selling Like Quark

Happy beyond words to report that as of Sunday night, I am down to one NOCTURNE and two SETTING SUNS.

This convention has succeeded beyond my imagining. My insane schedule has proven manageable with extensive amounts of caffeine. The panels have been well-stocked with intelligent, friendly audiences and terrific panelists. I don't think there really has been a true asshole encounter yet. The booth is doing well - New Babel is selling books like candy.

Today I took a little time to be a fangirl. Just an hour, okay? I shook Nicholas Brendon's hand, and he's just as yummy in person. No, seriously, I wanted to thank him for his work as the spokesman for the Stuttering Foundation, as the mother of a stutterer. If I'd had the time, I'd have told him that my little boy used to suffer from a terrible stutter, and he's an enormous BUFFY fan. I can point to Xander and say, "He used to stutter too," and my son feels better about himself, and knows the future can …

DRAGONCON: The Agony of De Feet

Today has been a zooming day thus far, and it's only half over. Spent much of the day in the dealer's room, hawking books like mad. We're selling quite well, from my point of view, at least. I'm down to only a handful of SETTING SUNS and have sold at least half the NOCTURNEs.

Only one fan showed up for my signing, but that's to be expected, I guess. I'm signing books all the time at the booth, so that's probably why. I met the marvelous Elonka Dunin, and we chatted about Wikipedia for quite some time. Also met up with the force of nature that is Sara Harvey and several old friends.

I also had my reading, and the crowd demanded that I read "Jesus Loves Me." Good lord, do you people love the evil teddy bear. I think I may need to design a T-shirt for the "Can't Sleep... Bear Will Eat Me" image Devin Harris created. Speaking of T-shirts, Anne Freitas and Kelly Parker wore their T-shirts together, and I got a great photo of them. The shi…

DRAGONCON: Sex and Booze

Okay, not really sex.

Today was a very good day. I spent much of the day at the iHero booth hawking New Babel books, including my own. We moved several books, and I was quite pleased with the turnout considering the iHero booth is as far in the corner of the dealer's room as you can get and still be in the dealer's room and not the parking lot.

I finally met the dashing David Wallsh, and we attended the artists' reception together. There's a few really interesting pieces, and I already know the piece of art I'm going to buy if I make enough money at the booth.

I wore the Cleavage Dress to the sex panel - there's always a sex panel, and I'm always on it. The marvelous Fred Grimm was the moderator, and tossed a good bit of snark this way. He also stuck me with the Question: What's the difference between erotica and porn? I could repeat my answer, but the post-panel alcohol has muddled my brain. Suffice to say I have made an ass of myself only twice today - …

DRAGONCON: Swimming in the Hard Rock Cafe

11:32 p.m. EDT Thursday
Atlanta Hilton

This just in: Frank Fradella cannot be trusted near water.

After spending hours waiting for Anne and Dana to make it down from North Carolina, and for Frank to make it up from Florida, we finally met up at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was loud, and we're old. But a good time was had nonetheless.

I am never getting over the sight of an entire restaurant of conpeople and several waitpersons doing the YMCA dance as the Village People cavorted on TV screens. I think I laughed so hard I ruptured something. Particularly when we all pointed at Frank every time they sang, "Young man!"

This was after Frank had spilled a full glass of ice water in my lap.

This was before Frank spilled another full glass of water on Anne and himself.

The waitpeople started making cracks about our table. Each time they brought us more water, they placed it as far away from Frank as possible.

Dana suggested that perhaps our table was salvaged from the Titanic.

Conclusion: Fra…

DRAGONCON: Flying the Friendly Skies

11:11 a.m. CST Thursday
Airborne

Okay, smartasses. Whoever called my cell phone at the instant the plane was taking off? You're verrrry funny. If they take me away to Guantanamo for forgetting to turn off my cell phone, or my plane crashes because your signal mangled a thingamabob in the cockpit... well, you'll be very sorry. Meh.

In other news, INFERNII is now exactly 50,001 words. WOOOOOOOO!

----
In case anyone was wondering, Anne was the smartass.

DRAGONCON: Liftoff

9:36 a.m. CST
St. Louis Lambert Airport

I am disappointed. Not only did I not get strip-searched by the TSA, but the St. Louis airport does not have wireless, free or otherwise. Rats.

Muchas gracias to Chris, for generously getting up at the crack o' dawn to help me finangle my enormous luggage and less-enormous son. I am happy to report that a combination of judicious packing, logistics engineered by Chris, and a small shipping issue reduced Monstro's weight to 50.5 lbs. and they let me slide on the half pound. Which is good, because I try not to throw fits at airports for fear of Gitmo, but damn.

Of course, it means I'll be hauling 50 lbs. of Monstro, 22 lbs. of DanaBag and 25 lbs. messenger bag across Atlanta. Dragon Ladies: I will need a shower and possibly a shot of morphine when I arrive. Darn books.

After all my fretting and careful planning, I got through check-in and security molestation in about, oh, ten minutes. It took longer to take off my boots and barrette and pu…