michaeldthomas: (Default)
Yesterday, I escaped from the house in order to start the next round of revisions on The Scarlet Queen. I chose the B&N Cafe as my coffeehouse of the day. I've had some good writing sessions there over the last couple of months since it's pretty quiet.

Big mistake on this particular Sunday.

I had to sit down near the outlets (my battery is nearly dead on my laptop). Next to my table was a large group of boisterous geeks. They were talking about Doctor Who, World of Warcraft, Firefly, and Anime. I figured they were a gaming group or something.

I opened my document, put on my iPod, and began revising. 45 minutes later, I overheard one of them ask the group if they should free write to a writing prompt. I then noticed the reserved table tents.

This was an SF/F writing group.

For a moment, I became excited. Was this the local group I always wanted to join?

Four of the ten wrote for a few minutes as the others continued reading magazines, chatting, and sewing costumes. The four then read their finished paragraphs out loud after exclaiming how much their work sucked (they weren't wrong).

Without critique or commentary, the group then went back to chit chat, mostly about where to buy awesome Steampunk boots. That went on for the next hour.

While they did this, I revised two chapters.

I considered introducing myself, but I realized that I would come off as Victor Kennedy from "Love & Monsters." I would end up telling them that THEY WERE DOING IT WRONG. (Not to mention all of my unintentional obnoxious name dropping.)

I forgot to mention another reason why I write at B&N. From those tables, I can see the SF/F section. I can look up and view the novels and collections of my friends. That's my goal. This isn't a hobby. I'm writing because I must, but also because I want to share my stories with others and earn a little bit of money from the process.

Do these people want the same things? Perhaps a couple , but I doubt it for most of them. If this meeting was anything to go by, writing is just another geeky endeavor for them. It's an excuse to hang with your peeps and screw around on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I don't begrudge them their hobby, but I'm in a place in my career where it rubs me wrong. Writing is hard work. A writing group should teach, help, and inspire. It should make you a better, more focused writer.

So, I didn't find my local writing group. Next week, it's back to the Caribou.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Caitlin is on Summer Break until after Labor Day. Since this is coinciding with a massive heat wave, it looks like we'll be watching lots of DVDs this week.

We're starting with the Star Wars saga.

There's not much else going on around here. I'm working on a new short story, but it will difficult to write while watching Caitlin. Lynne is editingThe Scarlet Queen when she isn't working on Chicks Dig Comics or her mystery projects. With luck, I can start the next round of rewrites this weekend.

Caitlin has an appointment with her Pediatric Epileptologist on Wednesday. Her seizures have been under control (*knocksonwood*), so it should be fairly routine.
michaeldthomas: (Lynne!)
So, what's up with my Hugo-nominated wife?

1- The SF Squeecast podcast debuted a couple of weeks ago. In the podcast, Lynne, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, and Catherynne M. Valente squee about their favorite things. Yays!

2- Here's an interview of Lynne done at CONvergence by The Omega Podcast. You might hear her announce something during it that hasn't been announced anywhere else yet.

3- Here's the Chicks Still Dig Time Lords panel from CONvergnece featuring Lynne, Tara O'Shea, Christa Dickson, Kathryn Sullivan, and Catherynne M. Valente.

CDTL Panel Vids )

4- Here are a bunch of pictures of Lynne as a Guest of Honor at CONvergence (check out pages 5 and 42-46).

5- Two books containing works by my wife as edited by Robert Smith? can be purchased or pre-ordered. The first is Time, Unincorporated 3 (co-edited by Robert and Graeme Burk). This book of Doctor Who essays is available for purchase and contains Lynne's essay "Camp Noir," a defense of Torchwood Series 1.

The second book is the academic book Braaaiiinnnsss: From Academics to Zombies. This peer-reviewed academic book contains a paper by Lynne (co-authored with our friend Sarah McHone-Chase) entitled "Maintaining Academic Library Services during the Zombie Apocalypse." It will be released on October 8 and is available for pre-order.

Finally, the new edition of Sarah Monette's short story collection The Bone Key (stories featuring the supernatural world of museum curator Kyle Murchison Booth) will be released on October 18 and is available for pre-order. According to the solicitation text, it features "a new introduction by one of Booth''s "successors" at the Samuel Mather Parrington Museum." Hmm... ;-)
ETA- Book news
michaeldthomas: (Default)
No, I didn't quit LJ for Google +.

The last few weeks have been crazy busy. We had wonderful times at 4th Street Fantasy Conversation and CONvergence. We're only now just coming back to reality.

I would write con reports, but they would look like this:

1- We hung out with friends. Many of them are in the SF/F industry. :-)
2- We ate with friends. Mmm, food.
3- Drinking might have occurred, followed by gossiping, pontificating, and/or handstands.
4- We learned many secrets and got caught up in some small dramas (no permanent damage).
5- Lynne was magnificent. You should have seen her in that one dress.
6- Caitlin had a great time at my mom's.
7- We miss our friends. :-(

As we become more embedded in the community, there's just less and less I can talk about. It makes for a great life, but it's lousy for blogging.

Other than coming home to dead A/C (now fixed), everything else is fine. There should be a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT about my editor wife in a week or two (many of you already know what I'm talking about).

That's it for the next few weeks. Lynne is editing Chicks Dig Comics and working on the SF Squeecast. She should also be finished with The Scarlet Queen by the end of the week. Beta Readers should have it in two weeks.

We're pretty much ready for WorldCon.

Caitlin finishes Summer School this week. I'm working on a troublesome short story.

How are you?
michaeldthomas: (Default)
I did it. I revised my mid-grade fantasy novel, The Scarlet Queen. Since I'm sleeping with a Hugo-nominated editor, I figured she should take a look at it before I give it to my beta readers.

I know it isn't perfect, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't suck. :-)

In other news:

1- We're at 4th Street Fantasy Conversation this weekend. Friends! Drink! Literary Theory! Venting about the Industry! Hooray! :-)

Lynne's on two panels. I'm just watching. We expect good times.

2- Unless, the universe screws us. Last night, a squall line hit the Chicago suburbs with 80 mph winds. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power, including my mother and aunt. If they don't have power by late Thursday night, we might have to bring Cait with us.

3- It looks like I'll be able to go to WorldCon with Lynne. I guess I need a new suit. :-)

4- We went to a movie last weekend. We all really enjoyed X-Men: First Class-- especially Caitlin after I reminded her that having Aicardi syndrome meant she was also a Mutant. She's now waiting for her superpowers to kick in. Based on all of her giggling after the movie every time I said, "Boom!", she seems to want Havok's abilities. Mystique, however, is her favorite.

Caitlin totally wants a "Mutant and Proud" t-shirt. :-)

5- CONvergence is next week. We're really excited about Lynne's first GoH gig. More on that next week. :-D
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
We picked up Caitlin's back brace on Thursday. We're calling it her HAPPY BUTTERFLY CORSET. Caitlin doesn't mind wearing it, and it helps her with her trunk control when she's sitting in a chair. Hopefully, her trunk muscles won't weaken too much from using it.

#

After we picked up her brace, we went to 2 different malls so Lynne could TRY ON ALL THE SHOES. She's on the hunt for the perfect pair of shoes for her Hugo gown. She found one possible pair, but the price was too high.

Caitlin bought me some early Father's Day gifts while we were out including a vintage "Hot Rod" Rowdy Roddy Piper t-shirt, two new shirts for con going, and The Very Best of WCW Nitro DVD set. (DON"T JUDGE ME!)

When we got home, the mail contained our new Pertwee DVDs. YAY PREZZIES!

#

We were about to leave the house for my cousin's Home from the Navy party when I discovered a leak from the toilet base. After playing phone tag with the plumber and getting a confirmation from him on my diagnosis, I decided to make the repairs myself.

We spent the night at our friends Sarah and David's house. This was GREAT FUN for Caitlin since she thought it was a sleepover with their baby, Iris.

Our friends Stacey and Dan came over to lend a hand the next day. The repair was easy and cheap. Thankfully, I wasn't surprised with any scary complications.

So far, everything seems fixed. I'm glad that we have wonderful friends. :-)
michaeldthomas: (content)
So, what's going on with my writing career?

1- I'm still revising The Scarlet Queen (my mid-grade fantasy novel with a little girl protagonist with severe disabilities and a weird, mythic America). I'm 2/3 of the way through the revision. It doesn't suck. I should be able to pass it to [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne before the end of the month.

After she looks at it and I perform another round of tweaks, it's off to my beta readers. :-)

2- I have 4 short stories out on the market. I have high hopes for two of them. The other two are running out of pro/semi-pro markets.

3- As I mentioned in my brief WisCon wrap-up, I had the opportunity to hang with my peers during the con. Once again, I can't stress how important it was to talk to people going through the same struggles. It really reenergized me. I feel better knowing that I'm not walking this path completely alone.

4- I have a handshake deal for a possible SEKRIT Project. I can't go into details about that for awhile. I've had a few of these fall through before, but I think this one will happen.

5- A new novel is percolating in the back of my mind.

WisCon 2011

Jun. 1st, 2011 09:28 pm
michaeldthomas: (Default)
I had a great time. I finally listened to [livejournal.com profile] tim_pratt and [livejournal.com profile] matociquala and skipped the whole being-a-panelist thing. I felt a 1000 times less stressed out. At this stage in my career, I just don't get a lot out of being a panelist anymore. I'm also not a great fit for WisCon panel culture.

Instead, I hung out with my friends, met some new people, went to parties, and ate at fantastic restaurants.

I now have too many friends to make shout-outs. However, I miss all of you.

As you can read from [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and Sigrid Ellis, the Whedonistas' party was a monster success. I'm very proud of it. We all worked very hard to make it special.

Now we can try to top it next year with the Chicks Dig Comics' party. :-)

One of the most important things I did was spend time with my peer group. Living in crazy Lynne World means I sometimes forget that I'm not the only writer working hard to make his or her first big sale. My peers help me have a proper perspective. Also, they're awesome.

Next up, 4th Street Fantasy.
michaeldthomas: (content)
After a few doom and gloom posts, I decided it was time for a shiny happy post.

1- I finally scheduled a physical for myself. It's about 2 years overdue. I feel great, but it's time. My only issue is a small spot of uneven pigmentation on my face. It's probably just part of aging, but I want a doctor to verify that it's nothing serious.

2- I have 4 short stories on the market. I'm very happy with my most recent story after receiving some quality critiques. I think I fixed most of its issues. *fingerscrossed*

3- I'm finally revising The Scarlet Queen (my mid-grade fantasy novel). It's slow-going, but I should be finished by CONvergence. Now all I need is a critique partner who specializes in mid-grade fantasy. :-)

4- All of our WisCon plans are solidifying. The Whedonistas party is going to rock. It's going to be nice to hang out with so many of our peeps. Hooray!

5- We loved "The Doctor's Wife." It's now my favorite story of the Smith/Moffat era.

6- The SF Squeecast will premiere in the next couple of weeks.

7- The first batch of Chicks Dig Comics essays came in without any major drama. Lynne and Sigrid are pleased.

8- We have great friends. Thanks for all of the support. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Hey F-List:

What are your favorite shows that never developed a huge following? I'd like to hear about the shows that mean something to you that were cancelled too soon, hidden in the backwaters of cable, or have just been forgotten over time.

Thanks!
michaeldthomas: (Default)
We had an amazing time at Odd Con. Since we were surrounded by good friends (too many to list), it was essentially a Relaxacon for us. We had many great conversations and meals. As always, Odd Con also had a great BarCon. It's the perfect way to kick off the convention season.

Caitlin behaved for Grandma all weekend. :-)

Last night we popped into The City for a lovely dinner with [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at Harold's Chicken. It was nice to see her outside of a convention or signing. I wish we lived closer to her.

After a week of shop talk, I need to bear down and revise my mid-grade fantasy novel. I also need to revise my new short story, but that can wait until I have some more feedback from my beta readers.

Everything else going on around here is SEEKRIT. We can't wait for some of these things to go public. :-D
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Since I can't do much until UPS delivers Cait's meds, I thought I would blog. Let's see if LJ stays up while I type this.

1- This weekend we'll be at Odyssey Con in Madison. [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and I are only scheduled for the Whedonistas panel on Friday. Lynne will be doing her SF/F Archivist thing (we'll pick up boxes, DVDs, or flash drives if you have them). I'll be hanging out with our friends. This should be a nice, low-key weekend.

This con will also be our friend [livejournal.com profile] truepenny's first GoH gig. If you can, come and support her.

2- That's my only panel for the next few cons. I decided that I'm too burned out to be on any WisCon or CONvergence panels this year. I need to work more on my writing career before I feel comfortable again up on a panel. Also, Lynne really needs me to focus on being her assistant at those cons.

3- It looks like the Whedonistas WisCon party might involve Mai Tais and a Buffy Sing-Along. Good times. :-)

4- My poor wife is BURIED in projects. We really don't think about it until somebody asks us about what she's up to. Then we talk about her normal work stuff, co-teaching her class for another university, a SFWA project, the Whedonistas launch, co-editing Chicks Dig Comics, writing something for a friend's book, writing an essay for another couple of friends' book, writing an essay for a journal, working on the least SEEKRIT SEEKRIT PROJEKT podcast ever, and chairing the Tiptree Jury.

And yet, she still somehow finds time to be an exquisite mother and wife. :-)

5- The Bridging the Rift Doctor Who Podcast features Lynne reading her Tor.com essay about the 11th Doctor. Flames Rising is running the Introduction from Whedonistas for free on their website.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
Slowly but surely, [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne's SEEKRIT PROJECTS are becoming public. She is wicked excited about Chairing the next Tiptree Award jury. It's an amazing group of jurors (Karen Meisner, James Davis Nicoll, Tansy Roberts, and Nisi Shawl). They've been setting things up over the last couple of days. It looks like Lynne has some reading to do over the next few months. :-)

If you know of an SF/F book or story that you think "expands or explores our understanding of gender" from this year or the last few months of last year, please email your recommendation to the jury at nominate@tiptree.org. That's one of the ways they discover these gems.

#

The Whedonistas's launch went well. The publisher is pleased with the sales, and the reviews are positive. It looks like we're having a launch party at WisCon. Now all we need to do is plan it. :-)

In case you're curious, here are all of the Whedonistas's reviews:
Reviews )
#
Caitlin's Spring Break is over, so it's back to the writing mines for me. I need to revise a short story this week.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
1- We had a lovely time with our friend, SF/F author Alex Bledsoe, last week. Alex was down for a Friends of the NIU Libraries/DeKalb Public Library event. He finally got to meet Caitlin while we ate German food and talked shop. The event went very well. The SF Book Club loved The Sword-Edged Blonde, and everybody consumed delicious cupcakes.

I love when our author peeps come to visit. Which brings me to...

2- [livejournal.com profile] sarah_prineas will be here tonight and tomorrow for the NIU Children's Literature conference. It will be very nice to see Sarah. Along with being an awesome friend, she's also Caitlin's FAVORITE AUTHOR. Caitlin loves her books more than the Harry Potter series. We've been bribing Cait all week with Friday's dinner.

3- Whedonistas will be out next week. [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and Deb Stanish have been busy with interviews and other book launch activities. Some of the contributors are having a book launch event in NYC. There should be a review of the book in the current SFX Magazine in the UK, but we haven't seen it yet.

4- The new short story is starting to roll. I should finish it next week.

5- Since I started exercising in January, I've lost 10 pounds.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The title sums up our week. DeKalb ended up with about 16 inches of snow. We kept our power. The worst seems to be that our Internet has been wonky in the evening. [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne and I shoveled about half of our driveway and a kind neighbor used a snowblower to finish the job. Other than Lynne and Caitlin getting two days off, the storm was pretty uneventful. Basically we just spent two day watching Hercules, Xena, and Robin of Sherwood episodes (Caitlin is on a fantasy kick).

Some other news and notes for the week:

1- Cheryl Morgan sums up why I mentioned that Chicks Dig Time Lords is eligible for a Hugo Award in the Best Related Work category.

2- About a dozen reviewers now have PDF ARCs of Whedonistas.

3- Gallifrey One is only two weeks away. I'm not on any panels. To put it bluntly, I'm kind of tired of doing Doctor Who panels (especially now that my DW writing project is on indefinite hiatus). I've said just about everything I can say about the show, and I think the world can survive one less middle-aged white guy giving his opinions about the series. I would rather just relax, hang out with friends, and fanboy my wife. :-)

4- I didn't write much this week, but I submitted a couple of short stories (one for the first time). That gives me three currently on the market. I also have a new story percolating in my brain.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
We're having our first major cold snap of the season. They had to send a second school bus for Caitlin this morning after the first one's lift broke.

News and notes from our week:

1- Caitlin continues to improve. She's still very sore, but she went to school every day this week. She's also tolerating the extra physical therapy. Hooray!

2- We're about to send out PDF review copies of Whedonistas to a bunch of magazines and websites. There should be some reviews in the wild before the Gallifrey One book launch.

3- Lynne's Seekrit Projects are still Seekrit (but EXCITING).

4- I'm rewriting a weird fantasy short story I put aside last May. I still hate reading critiques of my work, but my readers definitely help me improve my writing.

It's nice to be working again after a month of Cait's medical stuff.

5- I've been watching the new PBS documentary series about the history of NASA. It's good, but I wish they could go into greater depth. As always, I'm amazed we didn't kill more astronauts during the 60s.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
It's a new year filled with new conventions. In case you want to stalk us, here's the current list:

Gallifrey One
February 18-20
Los Angeles, CA
Lynne M. Thomas is an Additional Guest
Plus: Whedonistas Launch!

C2E2
March 18-20
Chicago, IL

Odyssey Con
April 8-10
Madison, WI

WisCon
May 26-30
Madison, WI

4th Street Fantasy
June 24-26
Minneapolis, MN

CONvergence

June 30- July 3
Bloomington, MN
Lynne M. Thomas is a Guest of Honor

WindyCon
November 11-13
Lombard, IL

Chicago TARDIS
November 25-27
Lombard, IL
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
1- Hey, Chicks Dig Time Lords made the long list for the 2010 British Science Fiction Association Best Non-Fiction Award. That means at least one person put it down on their ballot. Cool beans!

2- As most of you saw yesterday on Facebook and Twitter, Caitlin had her first Physical Therapy session yesterday. We had low expectations. Caitlin, however, had a different plan. First, she independently sat on the floor for the first time since the surgery. Next, she stood on her right leg with minimal assistance. Essentially, Cait displayed all of the abilities she had before the surgery. Considering that she's still recovering from having her hips altered only a month ago, we're very impressed. Cait's PT was flabbergasted. Caitlin's still in some pain, but it seems that she will completely bounce back from this surgery in only a couple of months.

3- Lynne, Deb, and I spent the last few days finding and contacting as many geek culture websites as possible about reviewing Whedonistas. It's amazing how many Girl Geek websites and podcasts exist. There's even going to be a GeekGirlCon in Seattle this year. Quite a few of them have already agreed to take a copy of the book.

If you have a suggestion of a cool review site that might be interested in Whedonistas, please let us know. :-)
michaeldthomas: (Caitlin 10)
We had a quiet weekend. Here are some Things of Interest:

1- After one week of exercising, I manged to lose two pounds. I'm happy, but weight loss isn't my actual goal. As I said when I started exercising, this is about having a healthier lifestyle. Still, I'll take it. :-)

2- Today is the next follow-up appointment with Caitlin's Orthopaedic surgeon. Hopefully, there will be some good news that will make our lives easier. We all want to see that brace go away.

3- Caitlin is more or less fine. She's been really sore in the morning, though. It was bad enough on Friday that I had to call her in sick from school. It breaks my heart when Caitlin screams in pain.

4- Since [livejournal.com profile] rarelylynne bought a WorldCon supporting membership in order to vote for the Hugos, I swung by the library and picked up a pile of SF/F books published in 2010. READ ALL THE THINGS!

5- This D&D video might be the greatest bad thing ever.
michaeldthomas: (Default)
The Hugo Award season is upon us. I obviously have nothing eligible for an award, but I would like to mention that Chicks Dig Time Lords (edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O'Shea) is eligible for a nomination in the Best Related Work category.

You can find out more about WorldCon and the Hugo Awards here. :-)

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