Sunday, April 29, 2012

Evil on Steph Su Reads

A random check of my name on Google led me to Steph Su Reads, a blog about YA books. In the comments section, in response to a list of books Steph Su had acquired, John the Bookworm said: "Jealous of Evil? though. Paranormal + LGBT protagonist = WIN." Now THAT'S an awesome find for an author!

Back to Temp Work

After nearly eight months of unemployment, I have finally managed to land myself a job - Data entry for QMI Sales, "a full service media solution company." I obtained this position through Manpower, my current temp agency. It should run until the end of July; after that, we'll see. I've done plenty of data entry before, so there's no reason why I shouldn't excel. I might learn a thing or two from them about marketing, too. I start tomorrow; today is my last day of freedom. I anticipate this new job with my usual feelings of anxiety, but also with a great deal of relief. Financially, things are about to get a lot better. I'm also hoping for an increase in my writing output. You'd think I'd get more done when there's nowhere I need to be during the day, but that just isn't true. I need structure; a job gets me out of the house, and forces me to work my writing time around it. Under those circumstances, I have found myself to be a lot more creative. The fact that I'm a lot less stressed about money will also help tremendously. The question is, though, will this job be conducive to my writing life? I've had numerous temp jobs where I've been treated badly, and I can't write when I'm upset. I think I'm better equipped now to handle those situations, but it's still a concern for me. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a good boss and a happy atmosphere. This could turn out really well for me. It might even turn out to be a step in the right direction for my career. I'm thinking positive. Here goes!

2 Days Offline

For two days last week I was thrust mercilessly into productivity. Those of you who read The Onion know exactly where I'm going with this (if you don't, click here) - my Internet was gone. Violet and I made a change with our Internet provider, which necessitated a change with our modems. At least, I think it was our modems. Or maybe only one modem. And possibly a router. Yeah, they love me at the computer store. Anyway, until we dropped off the old modem thingie and picked up the new one, I had no Internet to look at. I've already got rough drafts written for three new blog posts, to be typed up here real soon (this one included). I went for a long walk, did a crapload of writing on my current YA project, and even got some cleaning done. There's a lesson to be learned here, dudes. As soon as I've Googled what that lesson is, I'll Tweet about it. Or maybe make an update on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ad Astra 2012

Another fantastic convention has just passed, and as usual I'm in a state of mourning. Some of the happiest times for me over the last few years have been spent at cons, and this year's Ad Astra was one of the best.

That's not to say there were no problems; the con was held in a new hotel this year, a fact that brought its own unique issues. However, dealing with all those issues was, for me, part of the fun.

For instance, when I arrived Friday evening, I still wasn't entirely sure what my panel/reading schedule was. Unforeseen chaos had hit the programming team hard, reducing that team to only one very stressed but ultimately heroic person(under the circumstances, Adi, you did tremendously, and I'm sorry I never got to buy you that beer I'd promised). I had a reading that night with Gabrielle Harbowy, but our reading room (Salon 1) hadn't been assigned yet! Adi assigned us her own hotel room; Gabrielle and I read to our audience from the bed, making the reading informal yet fun. She read a devastatingly funny and clever story called Deserter(which anyone who has ever known a cat will appreciate) and I read from The Cupid War, and good times were had by all.

Saturday was my busiest day; five panels, mostly back-to-back, and the autograph session! My good friend Mike Bryant came to help me run my table; he had to spend several hours on his own that day while I was off being clever, including a three hour stint in the afternoon. He did remarkably, and I couldn't have done it without him.

Like my Friday night reading, most panels were held in hotel rooms(with the beds removed for extra space). This gave the panels a crowded bus/sardine-can feel, but it also made the experience more intimate. I did two panels dealing with the publishing industry, one panel on 2012 stories, and two panels that I'd been longing to be a part of for several years - Mental Health in Fandom, and the panel on writing for YA readers. Unlike in previous years, I never felt out of my depth or woefully unprepared.

That night Mike and I attended the Dragon Moon Press Launch for Leah Petersen's Fighting Gravity and Marie Bilodeau's Destiny's Fall. Marie is a friend I made at Ad Astra 2010; we've done several panels together over the last two years, including the 2012 panel this year. Time spent in her company is always a convention high point for me. I wasn't as familiar with Leah, which was hardly surprising; it was her first book, first book launch, and first reading! I think she acquitted herself with style, and I hope to get to know her over the next few cons.

The Chizine party was next, but by that point I was exhausted. I stayed for one poem reading and one beer before heading home for some much-needed sleep.

Sunday was mellow. I had one panel that afternoon(Sequels: How Do They Work?), then I was free to interact with friends and sell a couple more books before calling it a weekend. My table's location wasn't the greatest; seven of us were squirreled away in a corner next to the pool. The phrase we heard most that weekend was, "I didn't know there was anyone back here!" Nevertheless, I sold 16 books in total, gained some new fans(this shout-out's for you, Amanda!), and generally had a good time.

On Monday I faced the usual post-con blues. I miss everybody, and wish my life could be like this all of the time. I'm booked for next year, and I have Polaris to look forward to this summer. Long live the cons, I say! And long live Ad Astra.