Hey, I actually have something to talk about this week besides So You Think You Can Dance! Something writer-y! That’s because this past weekend I went to something called Readercon with my writer friends Dayna and Kristin.

It’s a literary conference about speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream, anything supernatural) for authors, publishers, and readers. I found out about it too late to sign up as an author, so I went as a book-lover, which was actually neat because I could be all “eeee, you’re amazing, I love your writing” without being, like, “oh, and don’t you want to read my book?”, which can be kinda weird.

For instance, I got to meet Kelly Link, who writes the most AMAZING short stories – check out her anthologies Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen. We knew she was going to be there, so we signed up for her reading and her Kaffeeklatch (a tragic misnomer, as there was no coffee whatsoever, but a really great chance to talk to her and her husband Gavin J. Grant about Small Beer Press, which they run, and also Matthew Kressel, who runs a magazine called Sybil’s Garage that looks really cool).

I also got to see Sarah Beth Durst again, who I first met at my Books of Wonder signing, and she was great on the panels and now her book Into the Wild is out so YAY Sarah!

And, most excitingly for me, I fell madly in love with a new author, so now I can run out and read everything she’s ever written, which will be splendiferous since I have run out of Connie Willis and Mary Renault books. Her name is Catherynne M. Valente, and she’s brilliant and gorgeous and funny, and here is one of her books on Amazon, which I haven’t read yet, but I bought it and plan to take it on the plane with me next weekend, because I KNOW I’m going to like it. We first saw her on a panel about Retelling Fairy Tales, and she said so many smart things that we decided to go to her reading, which was so amazing that we practically followed her around for the rest of the day waiting for her to say more genius hilarious things.

Here’s an example of her smartness: On one of her panels, she talked about the legend of Prester John, which spread around Europe between the 12th and 17th centuries. Ever heard of it? Me neither! But it’s totally fascinating — it’s this manuscript that told the story of a kingdom of magical creatures (and the Fountain of Youth) that existed somewhere exotic (like India or Ethiopia), and so many people really believed it was true that explorers went off looking for it and people talked about it for hundreds of years. WILD! How did we not know about this? Luckily Catherynne did, and she wrote a story about it called A Dirge for Prester John, which is included in an anthology called Interfictions, which, hey, is published by Small Beer Press. Also, it is awesome.

Plus, her name is super-cool because if you type “Catherynne” into Google, her site is the first thing that comes up, but it’s also a name you don’t have to explain at loud parties. (“TUI!” “WHAT?” “MY NAME’S TUI!” “JULIE?” “NO, TUI!” “JULIE?” “UM…OK.”) (And yet, if you just type “tui” into Google, you don’t get me until page five! Dadblasted acronyms. And of course the bird. Although my favorite is the Tui Beer website, where it literally says: “Tui: Distracting the Boys since 1889.” Yeeeee! If I’ve been distracting them since 1889, I bet they’re REAL distracted by me now! No wonder I feel all creaky.) (Actually, that’s the exercising. Dadblasted exercising! Dadblasted wedding dress!)

I ended up with the longest reading list after this convention – apparently I am woefully underread in the very field I thought I read the most of. I’m not under-TV’d, though. I got every Buffy and Firefly and Lost reference they made!

I went to two panels on YA books, which were both very cool (and reassuring, because those books I have read). We also went to a panel on Writing and the Rest of Life, which was interesting especially because of Jeff Ford, who said that he thinks you make time for writing if you want to, and it’s no more ruthless than making time to wash the car or walk the dog, which I agree with, although I must admit I’m lucky because Adam doesn’t mind me staring at my laptop for hours, since that’s exactly what he likes to do, too. (In case you’re wondering, the laptops are not invited on the honeymoon. Sitting I will allow, but sitting and staring at work, no sir!) I prefer to think of writing as something I like to do and something that I’m lucky to do, rather than something that requires pain and suffering and sacrifice, but I know some writers feel differently (such as, say, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I wouldn’t dare argue with him, even posthumously, except perhaps to say, sweetie, must you be so unhappy? don’t you think you could write more books if you stopped worrying about it so much? and maybe also drank a bit less? But then perhaps we’d have gotten The Gatsby Diaries instead, where Daisy and Gatsby are teens who go shopping a lot and have wacky misunderstandings or possibly fight evil.) (Yeah, I’d totally read that.)

Oh, AND! Fantastic news! We have a FENCE!


I have been wanting a fence since we got here, and now it’s finally in! Snuggles is also delighted, and a bit confused. I open the door to let her go out and she’s like, “really? didn’t you forget something? what about my leash? really? OK!” And now I can throw the tennis ball around for her in our very own backyard. WOO HOO! Ecstatic dog. Ecstatic me!

Fence1  I love my fence! I think!

All right, back to things with deadlines. The best news? New So You Think You Can Dance tonight! Yippee!

Quote of the Day: "Before the raiding party arrived, the village packed up all of their belongings and moved into the handbag." — "The Faery Handbag", Kelly Link