It’s good to be back home.

July 8, 2012

I had a great day at Polaris, but it’s nice to be back in my own apartment in Hamilton after having had so many adventures over the past two weeks, in Lawrence and Toronto.

The place was 33C when I got in, because of the summer heat and my leaving the air conditioner off to save on energy. Last I checked, the kitchen thermometer was saying 28 after a few hours of full power conditioning. 😉

A few more Polaris highlights – waiting for over an hour to volunteer help set up the autographs room, which I didn’t get a chance to because nobody showed up to unlock the room, sigh. (But I got some extra credit with the volunteer people, including a volunteer pin that I didn’t quite qualify for based on my hours. 😀 ) Got my picture taken with Miracle Laurie, had this big crazy grin on my face.

Also panels for: Ad Astra convention, Castle, Star Trek, Isaac Asimov, Chuck, and Doctor Who. And I made pretty good time driving back. I’ve been keeping track of my mileage for car trips, to help figure out how much I spend on gas going places, and from the Best Western parking lot to my building was exactly 100.0 kilometers.

Saturday at Polaris

July 7, 2012

Well, I got to see Miracle Laurie…


Stood in line for some signatures…



Had a great time with Wil Wheaton… Read the rest of this entry »

Polaris 26 begins

July 6, 2012

I’m so excited to be here!

My day started back in Lawrence Kansas, before 4am local time, and has taken me through three airports, and one Swiss Chalet restaurant.

Got to the Polaris venue around three this afternoon, got signed up for volunteering though there weren’t many volunteer spots left open for today. I’ve participated in the Star Trek geek-off, come in third but very much awed at the level of knowledge shown by the winners. And I was able to watch some of the Constellation awards.



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Workshop is drawing to a close…

July 4, 2012

How’d that happen? I feel like it was only yesterday that I showed up here at Krehbiel Scholarship Hall, dragging my suitcases behind me. It can’t have been a week and a half already!

I’ve learned a lot and had a blast, met some great new people, learned a lot about my craft and my stories, and I’ve started planning for the trip back to Canada – which is going to be a little bit crazy, since I need to get picked up by the airport shuttle at (gulp) 4:30 am on Friday.

And I’m both excited and daunted by the fact that I’ll be charging directly into the Polaris convention experience, instead of going home, once I return to Canada! 😉

Certainly getting my money’s worth on vacation days, at least.

How’s your summer going?

Bittersweet news for the Toronto fandom scene…

June 4, 2012

I got an email yesterday with an announcement from the TCON Promotional Society, which is the fan non-profit that runs the Polaris convention in Toronto every July, and also holds the Constellation awards to celebrate excellence in science fiction movies and television, here in Canada and around the world.

The news was disappointing. This summer is apparently the last time that Polaris will be held in its current format. TCON will be holding an event next summer, but the details haven’t been sorted out yet, and it will probably be smaller and less elaborate than Polaris.

The email didn’t go into a lot of detail about the reasons for this change, but there were some hints. The fandom scene in Toronto is growing and diversifying, and Polaris, as a big generic fan-run hotel con, is facing competition all over – competition for the disposable income of fans, for the time of their potential volunteers, possibly even for attendance with anybody who might schedule an event opposite them. And the expectations of the fans are rising higher.

I’ll miss Polaris when it’s gone. I had a great time on the two occasions that I attended, (I wasn’t really plugged into the Toronto convention scene before 2010,) and I guess I didn’t really value it as much as I could have. Since it’s been running under some name or another for 25 years, I really figured it would continue forever.

But I’m glad that I made a priority out of going to Polaris 26, even though it was a little tricky to schedule it as well as the CSSF workshop in Kansas. I’m going to have a blast, I’m going to spend money like a big shot, I’m going to rack up as many volunteer hours as I can, and I’ll go to the town hall on the future of TCON if they don’t schedule it against the Geek-off finals again. (Or if I don’t qualify for the finals this year.)

Most of all, if there’s another email that arrives in October, saying that TCON is holding a meeting in some library in Toronto to get input from the fan community, I’m damn well going to get off my butt and trek into the city for it, even if I’m not sure what I’m going to say. There were a few of those emails over the past year, and I thought about attending one of the meetings but never actually did anything about them. I don’t imagine that I could have changed this decision if I’d been part of the process… but I should have gone and spoken my piece if I thought of anything to say.

My weekend in the city.

August 7, 2011

I didn’t end up getting much editing done so far this weekend. But I had a pretty great time, met some new people, and got out of my comfort zone a bit to spend time with people, which is something that I generally see some value in, as opposed to shutting myself up in my apartment and writing – or writing on public transit with my headphones in, for that matter.

So, the fun kicked off with my brother picking me up on Saturday afternoon. I drove his car along the Lakeshore route up until around downtown Oakville, which seemed to be having a festivity of some sort that shut down the main road, and I stopped to switch places with him, and he drove the rest of the way to North York, and a Karaoke fundraiser for charity that somebody on the Toronto Whedon-fan mailing lists had mentioned. I do like Karaoke when I can go in a situation where I don’t feel like a complete outsider, and Jason mentioned that there were several special Firefly and Buffy themed songs in the program.

It was a lot of fun. I sang four numbers:
Rest in Peace, Spike’s solo from the Buffy musical
The Downeaster Alexa, by Billy Joel
The Impossible Dream, from ‘Man of la Mancha’
The Hero of Canton, from the Firefly episode ‘Jaynestown.’

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On clicking the refresh button.

August 4, 2011

There seems to be a lot of people struggling with their impatience, waiting for digital news around, and I’m one of them.

Over at Camp Nanowrimo, the server has been assigning cabins for a while now, and ever since August 1st camping writers have been anxiously waiting for their cabin doors to open and find out who their cabin-mates are. There’s a thread on the Nanowrimo forums for campers to commiserate about the angst of waiting in, and some of them have also shared stories of woe about waiting for things like job offer emails, responses from agents and publishers, and getting into exclusive Harry Potter websites or something.

Myself, I’m waiting for something else in my email. While I was at Polaris, I volunteered to help with setup, and got a little slip of paper inviting me to the staff thank-you party. I promptly managed to lose track of both the slip and the date for several weeks, and only found both this morning. The party is this Sunday, but the slip said to please RSVP by July 22nd. 😦

So, I sent an email to the RSVP address asking if it would still be okay for me to come by and meet the crew, and I was thinking that if I got a reply today it would be kinda cool to book a hotel room in Toronto for the weekend and go to a few other social events – Nanowrimo Odd Fridays at Runnymede, and a Karaoke for Cancer charity thing. But I didn’t really want to make those plans until I heard back from the Polaris volunteers people.

And there’s been no response in just over 12 hours. 😦

Sigh. I’ll probably be able to go in even if I keep my options open – it’ll save me money on the hotel and mean more travelling time, one way or another. I can live with that. And maybe, if I get the word soon, I can manage to swing the hotel thing anyway.

Wish me luck!

Revision on the brain.

July 25, 2011

So, I had my first live Revision class for Storywonk yesterday – it was the second class in the course, but I joined late because of the Polaris craziness and caught up on that class with the on-demand replay, which isn’t as fun as being in chat live and getting to answer questions.

But I’ve got all kinds of things running through my head with all the stuff that Lucy’s covered in class so far, and other things that I’m just thinking of because of tangents. I think I’ve got a good idea for the opening scene, but it’s going to be a big rewrite – partly because, as Lucy points out, the opening scene has a lot that it needs to do.

But I’m also starting to think about ‘the trouble’ from the bad guy’s point of view. My antagonist is really resourceful and clever, and when he decides to take a Princess prisoner, he’s not going to do it by sending armed soldiers into the festival. I think I’ve managed to come up with a much more clever scheme that does him justice, involving poisoning and food vans. Now I just need to figure out how to tell it from the POV of my protagonist, and let her stand up for herself just a little but still end up in the really hot water.

I’ve also got a new beat breakdown up on my corkboard – this one is for my current draft of ‘The Long Way Home’:

Each card is a scene, with the sequence of scenes in the book going ‘Summer Glau style‘ back and forth from the top left down to the bottom left. Some types of scenes are color coded:

  • Yellow – ‘anchor scene’ candidates, as per Lucy’s structure
  • Pink – key scenes for Ereyu the ferret
  • Green – scenes involving my antagonist, Merlik, or where his influence is felt.
  • Blue – flashbacks.

So, I guess I’ll leave it at that for now, except to ask – if you’re not doing revision, then what have you been up to for July?

Polaris update – Day 1

July 15, 2011

Let’s see. Woke up very early this morning, rushed around making sure that everything was packed before work. Work was rather dull.

My brother got me to the hotel around 3:30 this afternoon despite Toronto traffic, and then I spent some time waiting in line for the hotel check-in at the Best Western desk; there were more than a dozen people waiting when I got there, and it took nearly half an hour to clear the line. Then rushing around to get my badge for the convention and a few other things, grabbing a bit of food, and wandering past some of the kiosks and through the Dealer’s room, which was a lot of fun.

In the dealer’s room, I considered buying many things, including doctor who sonic screwdrivers, t-shirts, and promotional photos of some of my fave actors, but only ended up making one purchase – a collection of Doctor Horrible comics, which I positively couldn’t pass up. Then I went to the opening ceremonies, which were rather good as an orientation session, and watched the screening of the Doctor Horrible fan-made prequel, “Horrible Turn.”

There was sing-along karaoke after the screening finished, and I stayed for two of my favorite songs from the Horrible sound-track, and then it was time to go to the Geek-off room.

I played in two Geek-offs tonight. The first was Battlestar Galactica/Caprica, which I’m not a complete ignoramus in, but I couldn’t catch a good question and ended in last place with zero points, but what the heck, I had fun anyway. Then came the Whoniverse geekoff (Doctor Who/Torchwood,) where I did better, just managing to survive the elimination round and ending up with a respectable but not incredible four points.

I’m really looking forward to defending my title in the Whedonverse geek-off tomorrow night. Last year, I was weak on Dollhouse, so I’ve been cramming for a few weeks, but I’ve still only really managed to get up to the end of season one.

Wish me lots of luck, not just in the Geek-off, but in making the most of everything that’ll be going on this weekend!

The Lost Ad Astra Notes: part 1

May 20, 2011

So, it’s been nearly a month since I went to the Ad Astra science fiction convention in Toronto, but I didn’t post that much about it because that was in the middle of the A-Z challenge, and the good letters like A for Ad Astra and C for Convention had already passed. And I didn’t pull my notes out as soon as May started. So here are my somewhat scattered thoughts.

My overall impression of Ad Astra was that it was ‘more Polaris than Polaris.’ Polaris 24 was my first hotel-based convention, and in some ways it was crazier than the conventions with bigger celebrity guests at fancier venues, like Wizard World or Fan Expo, because there were so many really cool panels going on, always something interesting happening, the action starting relatively early and ending really late, scrambling to find some time to grab a bit of food in between panels that I really wanted to get to. Those are all the ways that Ad Astra was moreso than Polaris.

And it was at least as much crazy fun.

So, my Mom picked me up at work this time to drive me into the city, on the condition that I at least try to buy any of a long list of Mercedes Lackey books for her. The drive went reasonably well, except that we got somewhat lost actually looking for the driveway into the hotel, though we spotted the building quickly enough. Then there was a bit of a wait for my room to be ready when I was checking in.

I registered, started going over my program and the schedule to see what panels I thought I’d be able to make, and a friend from the Firefly fan group, Colleen, spotted me sitting in the lobby and asked if I could keep watch over her suitcase for a few minutes, and I agreed. Then she got dragged outside by her grandkids and I had to hang around for a while until she got back.

My first panel was with Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, who were a lot of fun; that one was about continuity in an ongoing series. Then a panel on how to find good beta readers, which had lots of interesting tips. I was making notes like crazy on whatever came easily to hand – the iphone for one panel, a palmpilot for the next, and so on. I’ll put together as many of the notes as I can and share them with you all.

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