11 June 2011

CONduit: Sunday panels

Saturday night, Dylan and I spent at the hotel, so as to be able to stay later than trains or get to earlier-than-trains Sunday panels. Despite staying up very late Saturday night, we managed to get up early enough to eat breakfast, check out, and get to the 11am panel:

In Writing a Multi-Book Series, some of the dangers of writing multiple books about the same set of characters was discussed: for instance, reviewers may give a bad review because they don't want to have to read multiple books in order to understand the book they need to review; finding the balance between too much recap and not enough--because there are two types of readers out there: the ones who want nothing but a story, and the ones who will never get enough detail, information, etc.: and You Will Never Be Able to Please Them Both At Once. Also, you can't wrap everything up neatly, or there's nothing to write about next time. In fact, L.E. Modesitt Jr. says to not be afraid to leave loose ends, because life doesn't neatly tie together, and the story will feel more real that way.

The thing I really took away from Using Your Environment for Setting Ideas was, do your research! Especially your geography/geology: if your setting is this world, information is available to both you and your readers; if your setting is your own, do research and be accurate, lest you make your knowledgeable readers cringe (and this goes for pretty much anything, but mostly, the panel was discussing geography/geology/culture).
Also, Utah has an amazing variety of geography, and research trips are tax-deductible.

I was slightly disappointed to find that Building Your Audience was not, in fact, about Frankenstein building his monsters, futuristic scientists building androids, or about steampunk sparks building clanks. Alas.
Instead, we discussed blogging, Twitter, Facebook, newsletters. We discussed you as your own brand, and ways to promote books that are being published.
Toward the end, I asked how to promote and build an audience in absence of a book about to be published, and the answer was basically, get out there, blog about being an aspiring writer (because people like to read about that sort of thing, use your pen name on the internet so people are familiar with it before you start publishing.

I took a break after this, picked up the art I had won at the auction, wandered around some more, hung out with people, and for the last panel, I attempted to go to Urban Fantasy, which ended up being less useful/interesting than I had hoped, so I left to go to Position and Positioning, which talked about social position and social equality or lack thereof, and the myth of upward mobility: in novels, the commoner always gets the title and position promised him, but in real life, it was a small estate, and let's hope he goes away to enjoy that, and maybe his grandchildren would be able to gain the larger estates and possibly the title that was promised their ancestor. Social change happens slowly, was the motto for the panel.

And after such an eventful, exciting, informative weekend, Dylan and I went home and rested. 
Yay! I managed to finish the saga of CONduit! 

Yeah, Not So Much

So, instead of working last night, I talked to the two women I wanted for handmaidens for a while, and then I watched (mmph) episodes of Community, which is a totally great show. (I keep telling myself: the episodes are half-an-hour! If this was House, it'd only be three (or four ... ) episodes. It's not that bad, really. Only then I look up how much I did watch last night ... ummm .... )

Anyway, today I'm going to Logan to meet with my parents, and so Dylan's mom can meet my parents, and we can all sit around and chat. And I suppose I can talk about that soon, but the plan for the long drive north is to finally write up the Sunday panels for CONduit.
And, this is it, because I have to be dressed and ready to go Very Soon Now.

10 June 2011


I just sent three poems to Bull Spec. I think I can expect an answer in about a month. I sent a steampunk poem about a clockwork messenger owl, a fantasy about a phoenix, and a dark fantasy about love gone wrong. Considering the fiction guidelines talking about wanting pieces with hope, I'm not sure the last one is really right for the magazine, but I love it so--and I hope the three pieces together display the diversity I am capable of, or something like that.
B has talked about an open mic night at Crone's Hollow, and I think I'd have fun reading some of my poems there.

On a slightly different topic, I've signed up to pass out the first chapter of Lifechanger to CALLIHOO (the writing group) in a couple weeks, which means I need to finish editing that last chapter-and-a-half I have left over from (mm-hmm) March--NaNoEdMo. Because I don't want multiple drafts being worked on at the same time.
Really, it's just a matter of applying the bum glue. It really won't take me more than two hours, which means I'm just being lazy. So, you know--I'm hoping the deadline will help. Maybe I'll even do it tonight: I'm off work, and I don't have anything going on on Fridays. Dylan's at aikido, I have the house to myself for a couple hours. So, you know, no excuses. I should eat a little something, and get to work.
I'll try it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wedding Blog

Started a blog over there. Not sure how it'll work out; the website doesn't really have a good option for blogs, alas.  But anyway, here's the beginning of the first entry ...

Things are starting to feel like they're coming together: We almost have a venue (just one final hurdle that probably won't be too strenuous), I've secured all but one of my "handmaidens", my mom is offering to help with clothing, and my sister Brooks is doing some honeymoon research for us, to help narrow down our options. Keep reading ...

New Address

I threatened it, about a year ago.
The address of this blog is now
The reasons are entirely writing-related. And even though Google-searching Rowan Fae does bring me up (along with a troupe of Irish Dancers), I still want the URL that has my name in it (and straight-up rowanfae.blogspot is being used by some kind of trapeze artist ... ).

The old address is still there with a link to this address (and I felt fancy doing that: researched what URLs were available, then picked the less-desirable one (rowan-fae--because, strangely enough, things like thisisaplaceholder and unimportant were already taken) for the new blog, upon which I wrote a bit of stuff about "this address is no longer Rowan's blog, go to the new address", then I went and changed the URL for this blog, and once that was changed, changed the new one to the old URL).

Anyway, that's about it for news today. Except that I was super-depressed last night, and my friends did a "healing" on me, and it helped, a lot. I was able to cry and have it mean something, change something.
And Tokyo Cat watched the energy intently the entire time, very much a part of the process.

08 June 2011


Alright, here's the exciting news that is going to yet again take precedence over CONduit's Sunday panels:
Dylan and I are getting married in November. I already told Facebook, but I guess you can't put it too many places. We have a website just for the purpose of the wedding, which will probably get its own--very wedding-oriented--blog. I'll let everyone know whenever that's updated, and I'll probably talk about wedding-stuff here, too, just not as densely.

So far, we're still working out some of the major details--like budget, venue and how many guests. And we have five months. I'm starting to stress out a bit, and unfortunately, I keep telling people we're getting married, so I think eloping is out of the picture.

I'm also feeling like I'm not getting very much accomplished. And this, I'm sure, has somewhat to do with the fact that I don't know where I'm getting married yet, but it also has to do with the fact that I'm not really working on a writing project currently--a friend asked what I was writing and I just sat there and went, Ummmmm ....
And I'm not currently sending anything out because I wanted to edit Ogre and A Ghost Story (which I also want to edit) is hanging out at the Writers of the Future Contest. And that's basically all I've got. I have some poems, which also need a stiff edit, but I'm much less practiced at poetry-writing and -editing, so ... my options seem to be to either send out poems and hope to find markets that give critiques or something ... flashquake gives a couple sentences about why they're rejecting, if that's what they're doing... Or I could try to find a poetry-critiquing group, ideally a local one here, rather than online.

There's also the house: the "office" is still full of boxes. We've done some good work on emptying boxes in the kitchen and living room, but the bedroom is also a mess. Blah. And especially since when my sister comes out to Utah for the wedding, she'll be staying us: it'd be nice if the office was cleared at least enough for her to use it to change, if nothing else.

06 June 2011


Work has consumed my life the past few days. I opened on Friday (wrote about that in my last post), closed on Saturday, opened on Sunday (and slept in and was late), and opened today. A "cleanliness walk" was scheduled for today--big bosses walking through, making sure everything's clean.
So, of course, that means ridiculous amounts of cleaning. I of course have no idea how much cleaning got done in the shifts when I wasn't there, but I worked my butt off: the morning shifts tend to be slow--especially early--so instead of waiting till noon on Sunday when there would be two of us for an hour so I could clean or she could clean or both of us could clean, I spent the morning scrubbing the entire place.
We have a short broom. After two days of sweeping, my lower back hurts like hell.
I left early on Sunday. That was my main motivation for cleaning all morning, that if everything was already clean, I could go home and fall asleep. Which I did, for hours. Which is why, instead of going to bed at 8:30pm (for eight hours of sleep) or even 10:30pm (for six hours), I went to bed around 11:30pm Sunday night.
I did manage to wake up on time this morning, and get to work on time, and open everything up, and ... clean some more. There were a few bits I had missed/forgotten the day before, and even though I did fill the car-window-washing buckets on Sunday, the water-lines had noticeably decreased, so I added water to them. I also spent time spraying down oil spots with this awesome stuff that, when it works, works like magic. Then I had to rinse the spots, so, water everywhere.
But it was fine.
And the walk never happened.
At least, not while I was there. Maybe it happened after I left. I don't know, and I only have a passing curiosity about it.

I got home, checked my email, sent an email, read today's webcomics, and Robin McKinley's blog, updated Facebook ... and then the internet broke. (Power flickered, internet went down.)
And I knew there was a way to fix it, but didn't know how, so I called Dylan, but he wasn't able to find the instructions, and he didn't know where the paper was, etc. Long story short, I ran an errand (University Pharmacy for Lysine (for preventing cold sores) and Burt's Bees Cuticle Cream to rub all over my nails in the hopes it'll mean something--it does smell nice), and watched some House (not on the internet) until Dylan came home and could fix the internet.
So, here I am, ridiculously tired at 10pm, writing about work instead of CONduit. But I have a day off tomorrow. I'll sleep in. And if I don't write about CONduit, I'll at least try to write about something interesting.

03 June 2011

Long Day

Today is NOT the day for covering the Sunday panels. I'll do it soon--before I forget, but today ...
I woke at 4:30am to get to work at 6am, worked until about 12:20 or so, because my replacement was late, then left work and had conversation and planning with H&B and Dylan at Barbacoa. Then we took him back to work and ran some errands. Then, they took me home.
I changed into a corset/bloomers/etc., and got picked up by some friends of mine, who showed up a bit early for an EA meetup--we bummed around Petsmart, looking sadly at the cats none of us were going to bring home. Finally, there was ice cream, and socializing, and general merriment.

But now I am so tired that I cannot write an entire sentence without falling asleep (and possible continuing to type, but without my conscious mind), or bad misspellings, or quantum leaps that mean nothing.
So it's time for sleep.

02 June 2011

CONduit: Saturday panels

We slept in somewhat. Meaning, we skipped 10am panels and went straight to 11am panels. We also got to check into our hotel room early, so we didn't have to lug around lots of stuff.*

I was a little late to the Poetry workshop, but only a little. A lot of what was said was about how learning to write poetry will help prose writers write prose better, because you will learn the weight of each word. But there was other stuff about playing with words, using the wrong words intentionally, being redundant on purpose to effect. It was interesting.

Plotting a Novel in an Hour covered three of the four steps Robert Defendi uses when writing a novel: brainstorming (we all threw out random ideas for an urban fantasy involving a farmer whose cow is killed/kidnapped by the Fae, including overall plot, main character plot, love story, locations, and family secrets), order (we organized the ideas of each plot type into chronological order--first he meets the Fairy Princess, then he falls in love with her, etc ... ), and integration (taking the ideas out of the plot subtypes and putting them into the rough order they will happen in the book). The final stage, polish, can take anywhere from 40-120 hours, and you might want to go back and do the other steps over again, because the first ideas are usually crap.

How to Write Great Villains: one of the main things we talked about, I think, was the fact that the villain is the hero of his own story. And the difference between a villain (a being with will, malice, choice) and an antagonist (which could be a tornado, natural disaster, etc.). A villain is clever, and can have something to say (to which Howard Tayler replied, "I think New Orleans should be more like Venice, Italy").
And if your villain is so smart you can't figure out how to have your hero beat him, you have 75% of a novel; give it to a smarter friend to figure out what the hero should do.

SF/F Mystery, a panel about cross-genre writing, could be subtitled: Because genre is an invention of booksellers.** Just keep in mind that mystery readers are perhaps more demanding than SF/F readers in terms of rules: mystery readers are basically reading to solve a mystery, and if the rules for the supernatural don't make sense, the readers will be angry. Carole Nelson Douglas spoke about her Midnight Louie series: he's a cat who solves crimes, but he's still a cat.

Bad Fairy! You're NOT a vampire! was one that I had been looking forward to, and it was somewhat disappointing. Not saying anything about the panelists, but I thought it was going to be something more than talking about non-Twilight vampires--meaning, talking about Twilight as opposed to other vampires. And while there was some interesting stuff about the history of vampires in legend and folklore, and how the fictionalization of vampires has evolved, the best thing I can say about the panel is that, despite the title, no one brought up the Fae as being friendly and shiny and pretty, like the Twilight vampires. I would probably have walked out.

High Fantasy discussed the differences (if any) between high fantasy and epic fantasy. Also, that high fantasy, with its shining good guys and dark bad guys might be coming back into vogue, considering that with some "gritty" fantasy, there's such a Grey And Gray Morality, you lose track of who to root for. And also, avoiding tropes is the new trope.

After that was the Masquerade, where my friend won Best of Show for his Lego Batman costume, and is thus going to a Costume Con; then there was the Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog (and Buffy's Once More With Feeling) Sing-Along, which was awesome. My friends composed about half the room, and there were a couple Dr. Horrible virgins amongst my friends, and that was even more awesome.

And I will post Sunday panels probably tomorrow.


 *Note to self: I have to figure out a costume that makes use of carrying packs or something, so I can carry stuff and have that be part of my costume. Being a fairy who carries bags around kinda cramped my style.

**Actually, I heard that in multiple panels.

01 June 2011

Listening to Avenue Q

Listening to songs from Avenue Q.
Brilliant musical. Many thanks to James, who introduced this to me ...

For Now
Everyone's a little bit unsatisfied.
Everyone goes 'round a little empty inside.
Take a breath,
Look around,
Swallow your pride,
For now...
For now...

Nothing lasts,
Life goes on,
Full of surprises.
You'll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes.
You're going to have to make a few compromises...
For now...
For now...

But only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)
Only for now!
For now we're healthy.
For now we're employed.
For now we're happy...
If not overjoyed.
And we'll accept the things we cannot avoid, for now...
For now...
For now...
For now...
But only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)
Only for now! (For now)
Only for now!

Only for now!
(For now there's life!)
Only for now!
(For now there's love!)
Only for now!
(For now there's work!)
For now there's happiness!
But only for now!
(For now discomfort!)
Only for now!
(For now there's friendship!)
Only for now (For now!)
Only for now!

Only for now! (Sex!)
Is only for now! (Your hair!)
Is only for now! (George Bush!)
Is only for now!

Don't stress,
Let life roll off your backs
Except for death and paying taxes,
Everything in life is only for now!
Each time you smile...
...Only for now
It'll only last a while.
...Only for now
Life may be scary...
...Only for now
But it's only temporary

Everything in life is only for now.

CONduit: Friday panels

I downplayed the panels in the last post, but they were still wonderful. So, here we go.
Friday, I started with Con Etiquette, which might seem like a boring panel, and it was filled with some common-sense stuff I learned last year (eat food, drink water, get sleep--but I don't think anyone said anything about pace yourself; last year, I went to panel after panel after panel with no down time in the Dealer's Room, Art Room, Media/Anime Rooms, or even just hanging out with other con-goers. I was brain-dead about halfway through ... ), but there were some useful things, like the 521 or 631 rule:
5 or 6: hours of sleep each night of the con
2 or 3: meals per day during the con
1: shower each day of the con
I liked the layout of the rule: I prefer the 631 rule, myself, but I think Saturday was more of a 521 day ... and I survived.

After Con Etiquette, I took a break to stare at the Dealer's Room, and then went to Brainstorming with your Subconscious, which was about using Tarot cards to help you brainstorm your stories. Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury asked if anyone would volunteer a character to be read in demonstration, and I was the only who reacted, so she did a Celtic Cross layout for Olivia, the main character of the Taking (first of four Changeling stories). She gave me some interesting ideas for ways to change and twist the Taking.

Dylan and I ate some food and went outside, and then made it to Screenwriting 101. I won't say I didn't learn anything in the panel (as if I know all there is to know about screenwriting), but they did cover a lot of common sense stuff. The one thing I found useful was the delineation between novel (character vs. himself), play (character vs. other people) and movie (character vs. everything). It will help me the next time I make an attempt to adapt the Taking into a stageplay.

Then it was on to Streamlining Your Fiction. Jessica Day George was present at this panel, and I only bring it up because she's one of my favorite panelists. And someday, I'll read her books ...
But this was a useful panel, talking about editing your fiction, and pulling out nonessentials, which is especially useful for short fiction. One thing I remember especially was: if you can remove a scene, a character, etc., and the story reads fine without it, it should be removed.

Women in Fantasy was next. Panelists: I love L.E. Modesitt, Jr.; and I got to see Amber Argyle (new author), Carole Nelson Douglas and Elisabeth Waters for the first time--though I am, of course, familiar with EW, since she edits the Sword & Sorceress anthology.
Anyway, the panel was about how to use women in fantasy with using stereotypes, how to have believable, strong female characters without making them men with breasts, and just some of the differences between men and women in general. (L.E. Modesitt's qualification for the panel, besides his good female characters, was his six daughters.)

My friend Kelly and I were very interested in A Day in the Life of a Slave, so we sat down near the front and waited for them to start. One of the moderators started putting up pictures of men, none of which I recognized, and Kelly and I sat there wondering what that had to do with slaves.
When they finally started talking, it became clear to us that we were in the Doctor Who Debates panel, and not the panel we wanted at all. (And she mentioned David Tennant, who I think I might recognize, but I didn't see him up there.)
We hurried out of there and went next door (the signs were not epically clear), where we learned that there is no typical day in the life of any slave, and that, in the South, there might be no-whip rules at the plantation next door to the one that encourages whipping, and the screams of the whipped would carry to the next plantation over.
I also learned about Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews, a project that involved interviewing very old ex-slaves, and compiling it into a book, which is available in ebook form.

The final panel of the day was Suspense: Building to a Satisfactory Conclusion. There were plenty of excellent panelists who were all new to me, and I'd like to mention in particular Dr. Michael R. Collings, since he was the one who critiqued my poem on Saturday. I especially enjoyed what he had to say. We discussed techniques for not only building and keeping the suspense, but also for letting the characters (and the readers) get a breath.

And after that, Dylan and I went home to eat dinner, shower, etc., and I adjusted my costume, which was covered in velvet, and was ridiculously hot.
And I'll stop here, and talk about Saturday's panels another day ...