dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
October is waning. Many years I have gone to WindyCon in November, but since this cold thing has run its course over most of two weeks, I feel like I am behind too much. Too many evenings and weekends where I haven't gotten stuff, including writing, done. I had contemplated doing a day trip to Chicago -- or even an overnight, though I wouldn't be able to get my shoes on and off -- but I think I'll just have to pass on WindyCon this year. (sigh)

But... we're in the active planning phase for the 42nd iteration of ConFusion, the wonderful January con in Michigan.
The answer is 42. That's right, ConFusion is celebrating its 42nd year of science fiction and fantasy fandom. Join us at our new hotel January 21-24th, 2016. We have some amazing people joining us this year. Don't miss it while we discover the meaning of life, the universe, and ConFusion!
Pre-registration runs through 15 December 2015 -- adult rate is "$42". Then it'll cost you more.

This is the fourth hotel ConFusion has been in since I started going around 2003. The Doubletree in Dearborn the last couple of years was okay, but I really miss the Marriott in Troy MI.
We’re at a new hotel this year, the Novi Sheraton in Novi, Michigan.
The hotel is now booking reservations for the weekend.
$109/Night -- 2 night minimum, must book before Jan 1st, 2016
There was a notice on Facebook the other day that rooms in the ConFusion block were filling up fast, so Monday I jumped on it. You can make room reservations here. Not only did the Sheraton have a choice of accessible rooms in king or two double beds, but this is the FIRST con hotel I've dealt with where there's a pull-down menu for checkout time... including LATE checkout! Normal checkout is Noon, but I signed us up for a 2pm checkout. I typically try to do panels through about Noon or 1pm on Sunday, and it's nice not to have to be all packed and loaded before you even start the day, especially in the winter.

All this flurry of activity was partly driven by the Programming people, who are working on setting up panels and stuff NOW. If you are thinking of going to ConFusion and be on a panel, you need to get your badge name and hop onto the Programming tab and make sure the good people running ConFusion know what you're interested in.

Haven't heard back yet about Readings. The last several years there have been joint Readings, which often works out well. Last year I had a very early Sunday morning reading (DW) (LJ), which didn't get me a lot of feedback, as I read from Book 1 of my YA series. This time, I hope to be reading from the beginning of Book 2... We'll see. (grin)

For future reference, the floor plans for the Sheraton Novi and its meeting rooms:



Hope to see some of you there!

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2015)
I had high hopes of getting some feedback on the progress of my YA triology, by reading the first chapter-and-a-half at Back to the Confusion this weekend. Alas, I knew it was going to be an exceedingly tough sell when I was scheduled to share a 10am Sunday reading slot. The readings were in the small meeting rooms, like Warren, a bit off the track from most of other sessions. I've been here before, where my WindyCon 39 reading in 2012 was to an empty room (DW). This time, there was me, eventually the other author who left to try to find some audience for his part of the reading, one person who actually had missed the reading he thought this session was. So I had to go first. By this time it was already 10:10 and since this was a shared reading, I had to cut some parts on the fly. Steve Buchheit stopped by after I started, so it was no doubt somewhat confusing. Al Bogdan came in after I finished, so his string of attending nearly all of my readings continues to get tarnished. (grin)

So, alas, I didn't get much in the way of feedback. Again. (grin)

But... Saturday night I did briefly talk to a YA editor from Tor. We got as far as agreeing that the genre for The Lost Kingdom is best described as a "secret history fantasy". And I got her card.

Slowly we make progress in a brave new world of novel writing -- and then trying to get it published.

New Researches include: The seaport of King's Lynn in England. Aftenposten is Norway's largest newspaper. Ålborg, Denmark. Häagen-Dazs is not Danish -- there is no umlaut in the language -- but was made up to sound Danish in Brooklyn. The rescue of the Danish Jews in WW II. The myth of the Danes and the yellow stars. Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Muhammedkrisen and the Jyllands-Posten cartoons controversy. In humans, dwarfism is sometimes defined as an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches (58 in; 147 cm). The plural "dwarves" was conceived of by author J.R.R. Tolkien. Sønderborg, Denmark. The Eurovision Song Contest. Polarsirkelen (Norwegian) vs polarcirklen (Danish). Bodø to Tromsø is about 550 km or 8½ hours driving on the E8.

The Shiny counters now stand at:

The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.07 (01-18-15 Su)


The Lost Kingdom Fourth-Fifth Novels Version 1.07


*** Note3: Decided to go ahead and insert/split a book between Books 3 and 4, so the extra file is technically now Books 4-5. We’ll see if I keep this configuration. The extra file version number was jumped from 1.03 to 1.07 to stay current with the main trilogy efforts. The percentage completion has been halved, due to adding in another 80,000 words goal to the total.

And no, I am not planning to wait to try to sell the novel(s) until after writing some 400,000 words. My goal is to have the first two books completed in the next couple of months and then move onward.

At any rate, I am still having fun.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2012)
Final Updates!

This weekend.. Back to the ConFusion -- Friday 16 January to Sunday 18 January 2015. The Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn, 5801 Southfield Road, Detroit, MI 48228, is hosting for the third year.
Back to the ConFusion, the 41st ConFusion by name and 42nd annual January gathering (starting with the AA Realx-I-Con in 1974), is a go! 2015 looks to be an exciting year--it will be the year that Marty McFly really traveled to in Back to the Future II, whatever that Facebook meme says, so look out for those hoverboards, they must be right around the corner. (No, seriously, look out!) We're anticipating another excellent con, with the first-time appearance of author Karen Lord, researcher Dr. Cynthia Chestek, and gaming gurus Monte Cook & Shanna Germain. We'll also welcome back Heather Dale, now performing as our Music Guest of Honor. And then there's Aaron Thul, longtime fan and conrunner, returning after two years away as our Fan Guest of Honor. Please do join us, and we hope to see you there in January!
For some previews, ConFusion has a cool Tumblr.

Plus Detcon1 -- last summer's NASFiC in Detroit -- is holding a party Friday night. See below.

The full Program is now available as a PDF.

Six panels, moderating one -- and a reading! Now with panelists and rooms!

ConFusion Schedule for Dr. Phil Kaldon

Friday 6pm: Dearborn
Every Creature (Real and Fantastical) Poops
You may have read the book Everyone Poops, but it's 
so human-centric. What about mermaids, centaurs, 
and other fantastical creatures? Let's see if we can 
analogize from real species to arrive at a theory of 
fantastical pooping. (Caution: conversation may stray 
into food, sex and gestation.)
Rowena Cherry, Cindy Spencer Pape, Lucy Kennedy, 
Dr. Phil Kaldon

(Friday 7pm: Michigan - Big Top
Opening Ceremonies)

Friday 8pm: Warren
Ghosts of SyFy Past
Come reminisce about the actual science fiction SyFy
used to show, and talk about the network's plans to
get back to its science fiction roots.
Julie Winningham, Philip Kaldon, Aset, Steve Drew'

(Friday 9pm: Erie
Detcon1 Thank You Party)
Life seems so empty now that we're not running a NASFiC 
anymore. So we're going to throw one last party this weekend 
at MI Official ConFusion to say thank you to everyone who 
supported us. We'll have ribbons and shirts and some other 
surprises to give away, food and drink, plus a DJ Scalzi-inspired 
playlist and a slideshow of our favorite pictures from the con. 
Join us in the Erie Room Friday night!

Saturday 10am: Dearborn 
Building a Better Dragon
No two writers imagine the same dragon. How would
yours be different? Flying, fire, temperament,
teeth: what makes a good dragon?
Christian Klaver, Philip Kaldon, Cinda Williams Chima, 
Steve Buchheit

Saturday 11am: Southfield 
Time Travel Devices, Doors, and Deus Ex Machinas
How to travel through time (in literature and media)	
Philip Kaldon, Ferrett Steinmetz, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Laura Resnick
 
Saturday 4pm: Dearborn 
Time Travel (im)Possibilities
Would 1.21 gigawatts get the job done, or would
the flux capacitor even work? Time for our panelists
and audience to debunk our favorite time travel
devices in literature and popular media.
Bill Higgins, Philip Kaldon, Ron Collins, 
Andrew Zimmerman Jones 

Sunday 10am: Warren 
Tomlinson/Kaldon reading
Patrick S. Tomlinson and Philip Kaldon read from their works.
This will be the first public reading from
the opening chapters of The Lost Kingdom YA project
I am working on.  I had planned to read this at
WindyCon, but alas the weather kept us away from
Chicago in mid-November.  Their loss is your gain.

Sunday 11am: Erie 
Science or Science Fiction?
Science fiction novels continue to impress with
amazing technological advances in so many areas.
What's more impressive, though? That some of them
are reality! Come talk about some of the things
you see on the news today that you first read
about years ago in a book.
Philip Kaldon, Jason Sanford, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Patrick S. Tomlinson, Brent Seth 



Note: Room map is from 2013. (Click on map for larger.)

Anyway, these are all fun panels to be on and I am very excited about my reading.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2012)
Now with Updated Almost-The- Final-Schedules and Room Maps!

Not this coming weekend, but the next. Back to the ConFusion -- Friday 16 January to Sunday 18 January 2015. The Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn?, 5801 Southfield Road, Detroit, MI 48228, is hosting for the third year.
Back to the ConFusion, the 41st ConFusion by name and 42nd annual January gathering (starting with the AA Realx-I-Con in 1974), is a go! 2015 looks to be an exciting year--it will be the year that Marty McFly really traveled to in Back to the Future II, whatever that Facebook meme says, so look out for those hoverboards, they must be right around the corner. (No, seriously, look out!) We're anticipating another excellent con, with the first-time appearance of author Karen Lord, researcher Dr. Cynthia Chestek, and gaming gurus Monte Cook & Shanna Germain. We'll also welcome back Heather Dale, now performing as our Music Guest of Honor. And then there's Aaron Thul, longtime fan and conrunner, returning after two years away as our Fan Guest of Honor. Please do join us, and we hope to see you there in January!
For some previews, I just discovered ConFusion has a cool Tumblr.

Six panels, moderating one -- and a reading! Now with panelists and rooms!

ConFusion Schedule for Dr. Phil Kaldon

Friday 6pm: Dearborn
Every Creature (Real and Fantastical) Poops
You may have read the book Everyone Poops, but it's 
so human-centric. What about mermaids, centaurs, 
and other fantastical creatures? Let's see if we can 
analogize from real species to arrive at a theory of 
fantastical pooping. (Caution: conversation may stray 
into food, sex and gestation.)
Rowena Cherry, Cindy Spencer Pape, Lucy Kennedy, 
Dr. Phil Kaldon

(Friday 7pm: Michigan - Big Top
Opening Ceremonies)

Friday 8pm: Warren
Ghosts of SyFy Past
Come reminisce about the actual science fiction SyFy
used to show, and talk about the network's plans to
get back to its science fiction roots.
Julie Winningham, Philip Kaldon, Aset, Steve Drew'

Saturday 10am: Dearborn 
Building a Better Dragon
No two writers imagine the same dragon. How would
yours be different? Flying, fire, temperament,
teeth: what makes a good dragon?
Christian Klaver, Philip Kaldon, Cinda Williams Chima, 
Steve Buchheit

Saturday 11am: Southfield 
Time Travel Devices, Doors, and Deus Ex Machinas
How to travel through time (in literature and media)	
Philip Kaldon, Ferrett Steinmetz, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Laura Resnick
 
Saturday 4pm: Dearborn 
Time Travel (im)Possibilities
Would 1.21 gigawatts get the job done, or would
the flux capacitor even work? Time for our panelists
and audience to debunk our favorite time travel
devices in literature and popular media.
Bill Higgins, Philip Kaldon, Ron Collins, 
Andrew Zimmerman Jones 

Sunday 10am: Warren 
Tomlinson/Kaldon reading
Patrick S. Tomlinson and Philip Kaldon read from their works.
This will be the first public reading from
the opening chapters of The Lost Kingdom YA project
I am working on.  I had planned to read this at
WindyCon, but alas the weather kept us away from
Chicago in mid-November.  Their loss is your gain.

Sunday 11am: Erie 
Science or Science Fiction?
Science fiction novels continue to impress with
amazing technological advances in so many areas.
What's more impressive, though? That some of them
are reality! Come talk about some of the things
you see on the news today that you first read
about years ago in a book.
Philip Kaldon, Jason Sanford, Andrew Zimmerman Jones, 
Patrick S. Tomlinson, Brent Seth 



Note: Room map is from 2013. (Click on map for larger.)

Anyway, these are all fun panels to be on and I am very excited about my reading.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: Dr Phil Confusion 2013 (dr-phil-confusion-2013)
WisCon 38, May 23-26, 2014 / SFRA Conference, May 22-24, 2014.
Madison Concourse Hotel, Madison WI.
Memorial Day weekend.

I'll be attending my third WisCon this year, after a nine year absence. WisCon is the world's first feminist science fiction con and features panels and discussions you just don't always see.

I am on three panels and a reading:
Saturday 24 May 2014
8:30-9:30
SPONTANEOUS WRITING CONTEST


4. The 1st 8 people on the list who are physically present at the WisCon (not the hotel's) registration desk (2nd floor of the Concourse Hotel) at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning (for example, #s 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, and 12) will be the contestants.

5. Each contestant will get a USB flash drive which contains a single RTF (rich-text format) document. That document will contain a few lines of dialog. Your task is to load the document onto your computer, construct a story that incorporates the supplied dialog, save it back to the flash drive, also as an RTF document, and turn it in within 60 minutes. We'll take care of printing them out.

Food, Glorious Food
1:00-2:15 pm Caucus

Catherine Krahe(M), Matt Austern, Penny Hill, Philip Edward Kaldon, Rich McAllister
In our lived lives food of our cultural background, or our ancestors, plays a significant part of our sense of home and cultural identity. Who are the writers who integrate details of food with an eye toward cultural specificity and diversity in their speculative fiction? What is the significance of food in stories? What is its function? How does this inclusion affect the world/setting of the story?

Sunday 25 May 2014
The Corporation as Character in Science Fiction
8:30-9:45 am Senate A

Marguerite Reed (M), Alex Gurevich, Chip Hitchcock, Philip Edward Kaldon, Catherine Lundoff
Science fiction, particularly in films, is full of corporations with evil or morally ambiguous intent: Yoyodyne, Terrell Corp, Umbrella Corp, the list is nearly endless. They may be represented by a single villainous character or by numerous faceless functionaries, but what the viewer remembers / is presented with is the corporation itself as the villain. Is that enough to make the corporation an entity, a "person," in their own right? Are corporations inherently evil? Or simply amoral? How has the depiction of the corporation changed in SF? Is it different in anime or manga, comics, written SF vs media SF? Where do we see that image of the corporation going in the near future?

Fashions of the Future
2:30–3:45 pm Conference 5

Jenny Sessions (M), Lucy Adlington, Philip Edward Kaldon, Rebecca Maines, Heather McDougal
Would there be humans in space without zippers and Velcro? Captain Picard wore a spandex corset under his Enterprise uniform because Gene Roddenberry decreed there should be no unseemly bulges in space. How do sci-fi clothes reflect contemporary fashions and social prejudices? Shiny jumpsuits, micro-mini dresses, tribal robes and spacesuits… let's explore how gender/race/status/exoticism are shown through the clothes and uniforms of sci-fi past and present, from 19th century images of "deep-sea diver" spacewear to NASA-inspired outfits, plus more fantastical sci-fantasy creations. Are we seeing inventive or derivative clothes in sci-fi films/TV shows? Is there still a routine overt sexualisation of female spacewear? How might emerging textile technologies affect future human space travel and off-Earth colonisation?

Monday 26 May 2014
Twists and Turns (Readings)
10:00-11:15 am Conference 2

Carrie L. Ferguson, Philip Edward Kaldon, Lucas James Pralle, Zora M. Quynh
Four authors of diverse genres. Life, death, after death, multiverse, getting a date on a starship and the stories we tell children. The only common theme? Some of the stories have protagonists named Lily. Come for the melange, stay for the stories.
The full schedule is here.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2012)
Immortal ConFusion
18-20 January 2013

Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn‎
5801 Southfield Road
Detroit, MI 48228

It's almost time to drive across the width of Michigan and whoop it up in a ConFusion sort of way. They've got the Programming Schedule up on the ConFusion website now. So here's my five panels and a reading:
Friday 18 January 2013
7:00p
Dearborn
Planning The Perfect Murder
Television and movies have given us the impression that forensic scientists are modern day wizards. In the real world, things work a little differently. This panel discusses the ways that television gets it wrong, both in what police can and can't do. Then they work out how to get away with murder...all in the name of fiction, of course. (Diana Rowland (M), Dr. Phil Kaldon, Sam Sykes)

Saturday 19 January 2013
11:00a
Dearborn
Doing It Wrong... On Purpose
Story trumps all; sometimes research takes a backseat, anachronism becomes expedience, and logic needs to curl up next to physics and cry. What have authors deliberately done wrong to further the story? Do they have favorite examples of such? How does one do something "wrong" right? (Dr. Phil Kaldon, Holly McDowell, James Davis Nicoll (M), Laurie Gailunas, Ron Collins)

2:00p
Ontario
Let's Remake Star Wars
Star Wars stands as one of the most influential science fiction franchises in the world, but the titular movie is now 35 years old. In an era when a movie half that age is ripe for a remake, why would Star Wars be immune? What would a post 9/11, technologically more advanced original trilogy look like? How would characters change, as an audience would know who were twins, who gets the girl, and who is the father? Does the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 make this more likely, or less? (Dick Smith, Dr. Phil Kaldon (M), Josh Parker, Michael Underwood, Saladin Ahmed)

3:00p
Model T
Reading: Dr. Phil Kaldon & Mary Turzillo
Join Dr. Phil Kaldon & Mary Turzillo as they read from forthcoming works. (Dr. Phil Kaldon, Mary Turzillo)

4:00p
Dearborn
Lady Voldemort
How would Harry Potter have changed if the ultimate dark lord had been a female? (Dr. Phil Kaldon, Jim C. Hines (M), Sarah Zettel, Steven Harper Piziks)

8:00p
Dearborn
Pop Culture In SF/F
Fantasy has its urchins, Sci-Fi the dilettantes...but what about everyone else? When crafting a world either fantastic or futuristic, what do we imagine that the common folk would do for fun? What news or events would they discuss? Would they know what village produced the most heroes, or debate the thrust/weight ratio of government warships? Would there be a general popular culture in an imagined past? Could we avoid one in an imagined future? Does the addition of these elements do more than aid verisimilitude? (Brian McClellan, Dr. Phil Kaldon (M), Holly McDowell, Lawrence Schoen, Sam Sykes)


(Click on map for larger.)

So if you're at this end of the globe, come join us for a weekend of SF/F fun. We're in a new hotel this year and the weather... well the weather is expected to be coldish and there may be some snow. But I'm not seeing the blizzard we got one ConFusion a few years ago. (grin) Anyway, Monday is a university holiday -- MLK Day -- so should I get snowed in...

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (seasons-best-kate)
It's January and You Know What That Means

So the New Year has rolled over and the new semester begins on Monday. But in just a couple of weeks, it'll be time for ConFusion -- Friday 18 January to Sunday 20 January 2013.

After being held at the Troy Marriott from 2004-2012, ConFusion gets a new home at the Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn‎, 5801 Southfield Road, Detroit, MI 48228.

Today I got an email with the:
Preliminary Schedule for Dr. Phil Kaldon

Friday     7:00:00 PM  Planning The Perfect Murder
Saturday  11:00:00 AM  Doing It Wrong… On Purpose
Saturday   2:00:00 PM  Let’s Remake Star Wars
Saturday   3:00:00 PM  Reading: Dr. Phil Kaldon & Mary Turzillo
Saturday   4:00:00 PM  Lady Voldemort
Saturday   8:00:00 PM  Pop Culture In SF/F


Don't have the room locations yet, and of course this is a new hotel for me, but barring any weather disasters, I will be there and if you're in the area, you should come, too. ConFusion is a great SF/F con and I've been delighted to attend and participate for about a decade.

As for the reading, given that the theme this year is Immortal ConFusion, I think I will be reading from a story that I've been working on for some time, "On The Report Of The Navy Auditors".

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
I'm Here

Arrived Friday night and checked in. Saturday was my busy day, with three panels and a reading.


Actually I'm rather impressed with this self-portrait -- centered and all. This is the second shot -- the first had a grim looking face as I concentrated on lining up the lens and... forgot to smile. Yeah, that's a little wry grin. (Click on photo for larger.)

About That Reading


I did read my zombie murder mystery police procedural... (Click on photo for larger.)


... to an empty room. (Click on photo for larger.)

I expected this, or at least anticipated it. Readings were scheduled late and weren't in the Program book -- and I'm not a Mike Resnick, whose 4pm reading sounded pretty full. (The door was shut.) There was no 5pm reading, so I couldn't even watch an audience file out on me. (grin)

And for the record I DID read my story. Found two missing words, so it wasn't totally unproductive.

The Zombie Steakpunk Dinner

The three people I'd expected for dinner couldn't make it, but I'd made a reservation at Harry Caray's for four at 7:30pm anyway. But without an audience I couldn't even invite anyone -- still I wasn't going to miss my steak dinner. I can dine alone.

Half order of calamari (part of their secret is that they marinate the calamari the day before), 9 oz. filet encrusted with Gorgonzola, asparagus. First two... perfect. Alas the asparagus was grilled and I didn't like it. Wasn't going to have dessert, but they had key lime pie. Came with candied shavings of lime peel -- really intense flavor. And the manager bought it for me, as I'd been "stood up". (grin)

Y'all missed a great steak dinner.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (worldcon-70-2012)
Thursday 30 August 2012

65. The Hunger Games in the Classroom
4:30pm (Bronze West) Comiskey

After my meat-up with Al Bogdan (DW), I stopped in on this panel on using The Hunger Games in the classroom. I've been thinking about adding this book to my Science Literacy reading list, with the instructions to look for the use of high technology and its consequences in the story. At least one of the panelists was from a Canadian university and from what I heard, there was a lot of discussion about what would and what wouldn't fly in a Canadian university classroom. This one panelist kept saying -- even after I made a comment about my assignment and how it (a) was about science and wasn't about literature and (b) students are urged NOT to read books they've already read -- that it was bad to pander to students' baser reading interests. Not really of help for my decision.

Afterward I ducked out and checked out the Con Suite one level down to get something to drink. Was impressed that it was an open air space, rather than stuffing people into a fixed size room, and that they had an array of salad bar items. Don't know how they were for meals or other treats, but it struck me as different from some of the cons I'd been to. As I mentioned earlier (DW), as a panelist I took advantage of the Green Room for lunch, and it was well done for me.

Then it was on to:

80. Jim C. Hines Reading
5:30pm (Silver West) DuSable

Getting to DuSable was tricky, as there weren't escalators to this level and not all the elevators served this floor. This West Hyatt building struck me as being older and more convoluted and we had a helluva time getting off that floor afterwards.

When I got there I got one of the last seats and then people started to line up or sit against the walls. Jim was busy munching on some sort of a candy bar -- apologized for having his sugar level out of whack and that it would be at least entertaining for a few minutes as he'd sit back and freewheel for a bit. (grin) Of course I've been to a number of "normal" readings of Jim's, so I'm not sure I could judge that there was much difference. It's just as well that Jim didn't read from Libriomancer at his August Schuler's event (DW), but just talked about it, so I could enjoy his most excellent Chapter One reading at WorldCon. (grin)


Jim being a little loopy to start. (Click on photo for larger.)


Chapter 1 of Libriomancer with great voices... (Click on photo for larger.)


... to a packed room. (Click on photo for larger.)

I just finished reading Libriomancer this afternoon, and I'll post a review Real Soon Now, but I'll say right here that it's an excellent book.

As we left to get ready for the Wendy Wake at WorldCon, the next reading featured donuts. (grin) What I'd forgotten from the schedule sheet, was that it was Nancy Fulda. Darn, I've read her blog for a long time now. Oh well, that's WorldCon -- you can't do everything and meet everyone.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (pleased-to-meet-you)
The Magic of Books

Michigan writer Jim C. Hines [personal profile] jimhines launched his first DAW hardcover book, Libriomancer, this week. Since first seeing him at ConFusion years ago, I've attended quite a number of Jim's book launch/tour/events (DW) across the width of Michigan. So making a run up to Schuler's Books on Alpine in Grand Rapids at 7pm tonight was pretty much a no-brainer. Especially when you have a book about a Yooper librarian!

The basic idea is of a class of wizards who are libriomancers -- people who can reach into a book and pull out an object from the book. Of course it can't be bigger than the book in width and some books are locked by the Guild -- no One Ring To Rule Them All -- but swords and other things are fair game. And it sounds like our hero not only loves books, but loves being able to do magic with books. Who wouldn't?

A Bite To Eat and Then On With The Show

I drove up from WMU in Kalamazoo to Schuler's in a steady rain -- the temps were running in the mid- to upper 60s! -- in plenty of time to buy some books and then hit the Chapbook Cafe to get "my usual":

English Roast Beef with Aged Cheddar and Fresh Horseradish Cream, and Caesar salad. Plus the inevitable Coke. (Click on photo for larger.)

Saw Jim arrive while I was eating, later gave him a hard time because he's been busy the last couple of days updating the Amazon sales figures and watching the book fly off the shelves. Needless to say, it hasn't been a productive writing week for him. (grin)


Waiting for the clock to strike seven. (Click on photo for larger.)


Oops -- false start. The rep from Schuler's had to come in and properly introduce Jim. And remind every one that Schuler's is celebrating their 30th anniversary. Yay, Schuler's! (Click on photo for larger.)


About my new book... You don't just listen to Jim, you get to watch, too. (Click on photo for larger.)


In the Q&A part, of course Jim's recent postings about the poses of women (and men) in urban fantasy covers. Here we are demonstrating the bare midriff reveal, including Jim's insulin pump. (grin) (Click on photo for larger.)


Some of the crowd of about two dozen at Schuler's. Say, isn't that SF/F writer Mary Robinette Kowal in my row? (Click on photo for larger.)


Dave Klecha (center), who will be handling Programming for ConFusion in January and indeed that is Mary Robinette Kowal, who was in the area doing audio recordings. Both Jim and Mary Robinette are up for Hugos at WorldCon in Chicago in a couple of weeks. (Click on photo for larger.)



And on to the task of signing books... (Click on photo for larger.)

Congratulations, Jim! Great launch week and now we have a copy to read.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
It's Here!

I'll be at ConFusion this weekend -- Friday-Sunday 20-22 January 2012 at the Troy Marriott in Troy MI. I'm on two panels in the Literary track and a panel and a presentation in the Science track. Plus I'll share a reading with another ConFusion regular, Ferrett Steinmetz. Plus I get another panel with Doselle Young. This is Epic Win for me -- and Epic ConFusion for everyone who comes.
Saturday 21 January 2012
1:00 PM
Dennison I/II
The Physics of Digital vs. Film Photography
Taking pictures in 2011 versus 1981. Just a matter of putting a sensor where film used to go? Not exactly. And can't you just fix everything in PhotoShop? Not exactly. If you understand how cameras have changed in the last thirty years, you'll take better pictures. (Dr. Phil Kaldon)

2:00 PM
Salon F
Reading with Dr. Phil Kaldon and Ferrett Steinmetz
Join a Writers of the Future winner and a Clarion writer as they read from forthcoming works.*** (Dr. Phil Kaldon, Ferrett Steinmetz)

3:00 PM
Salon E
The Writing Process
How do authors go about the actual process of writing, does it change over time or across projects, and is there any general advice, or is it all individual? (Elizabeth Bear [M], Dr. Phil Kaldon, DJ DeSmyter, Sarah Zettel, Anne Harris)

5:00 PM
Salon E
MASS AUTHOR AUTOGRAPH SESSION

Sunday 22 January 2012
10:00 AM
Salon G
Novels to the Small Screen
True Blood and The Song of Ice and Fire saga have made the jump to television, and Gaiman's American Gods and King's Dark Tower saga are headed there in the near future. Is television uniquely suited to the adaptation of the novel, or is this a short-lived trend featuring a handful of works with crossover appeal? (Doselle Young [M], DJ DeSmyter, Ferrett Steinmetz, Dr. Phil Kaldon)

12:00 PM
Salon E
Science and Society Panel
A free flowing discussion of the impact of science on society and of society on science. (Dr. Harley Thronson, Dr. Phil Kaldon, Ben Best, Dr. Henri Gooren)
*** - Technically that would be a WOTF Published Finalist and two Clarion writers? (grin)

I Say This Every Year

ConFusion is one of the best run cons I've attended. The Troy Marriott has done a great job for years. Guest of Honor is Patrick Rothfuss, a great wild man I met at the WOTF XXIV workshop, Toastmaster is most excellent goblin & kick-ass princess author Jim C. Hines -- and author Jay Lake is making his way East as well.

West Michigan is in single digit temps tonight, but most of the icy roads are less so today. Hopefully heading east Friday afternoon (and west on Sunday) will be uneventful.

See you there?

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
It's Coming Up To That Time of Year

I'll be at ConFusion in just two weeks -- Friday-Sunday 20-22 January 2012 at the Troy Marriott in Troy MI. I'm on two panels in the Literary track and a panel and a presentation in the Science track. Plus I'll share a reading with another ConFusion regular, Ferrett Steinmetz. Plus I get another panel with Doselle Young. This is Epic Win for me -- and Epic ConFusion for everyone who comes.
Saturday 21 January 2012
1:00 PM
Dennison I/II
The Physics of Digital vs. Film Photography
Taking pictures in 2011 versus 1981. Just a matter of putting a sensor where film used to go? Not exactly. And can't you just fix everything in PhotoShop? Not exactly. If you understand how cameras have changed in the last thirty years, you'll take better pictures. (Dr. Phil Kaldon)

2:00 PM
Salon F
Reading with Dr. Phil Kaldon and Ferrett Steinmetz
Join a Writers of the Future winner and a Clarion writer as they read from forthcoming works.*** (Dr. Phil Kaldon, Ferrett Steinmetz)

3:00 PM
Salon E
The Writing Process
How do authors go about the actual process of writing, does it change over time or across projects, and is there any general advice, or is it all individual? (Elizabeth Bear [M], Dr. Phil Kaldon, DJ DeSmyter, Sarah Zettel, Anne Harris)

5:00 PM
Salon E
MASS AUTHOR AUTOGRAPH SESSION

Sunday 22 January 2012
10:00 AM
Salon G
Novels to the Small Screen
True Blood and The Song of Ice and Fire saga have made the jump to television, and Gaiman's American Gods and King's Dark Tower saga are headed there in the near future. Is television uniquely suited to the adaptation of the novel, or is this a short-lived trend featuring a handful of works with crossover appeal? (Doselle Young [M], DJ DeSmyter, Ferrett Steinmetz, Dr. Phil Kaldon)

12:00 PM
Salon E
Science and Society Panel
A free flowing discussion of the impact of science on society and of society on science. (Dr. Harley Thronson, Dr. Phil Kaldon, Ben Best, Dr. Henri Gooren)
*** - Technically that would be a WOTF Published Finalist and two Clarion writers? (grin)

I Say This Every Year

ConFusion is one of the best run cons I've attended. The Troy Marriott has done a great job for years. Guest of Honor is Patrick Rothfuss, a great wild man I met at the WOTF XXIV workshop, Toastmaster is most excellent goblin & kick-ass princess author Jim C. Hines -- and author Jay Lake is making his way East as well.

We're about to have a winter storm to finish this week -- maybe we'll have clear driving for ConFusion? If not, well, we've wintered over at the hotel during an icy blizzard before. It is Michigan in the wintertime. (grin)

Dr. Phil

This Weekend!

Thursday, 20 January 2011 22:24
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
A Reminder About ConFusion

As noted before, I'll be at ConFusion this weekend -- Friday-Sunday 21-23 January 2011 at the Troy Marriott in Troy MI.
Saturday 22 January 2011
11:00 AM
Dennison I/II
Scale and Space: Seeing Neil Armstrong's Footprints
What can we see from space? Popular TV shows suggest we can infinitely enlarge any image without any loss, but the real world is both much more complicated and much more interesting. We know Neil Armstrong's footprints are still on the Moon - but can we see them? And from how far away? And what else can we see? The Internet is full of fascinating images. (Dr. Philip Kaldon)

12 Noon
Salon G
Education, Science Fiction and Fantasy
Can SF and Fantasy be effective tools in the classroom? If so, how and what are some books that would be good to teach specific concepts? (Lisa Garrison Ragsdale (M), Dr. Philip Kaldon, Stephen Leigh, Steven Harper Piziks, Paul Melko.)

2:30 PM
Boardroom
Author Reading
Dr. Philip Kaldon reads a police procedural with civilized zombies. (Think "Alien Nation with flesheaters")

3:00 PM
Salon H
Science and Society.
Our (almost) all PhD panel discusses the impact of science on society, society on science, past, present, and future. (Doselle Young (M), Dr. Philip Kaldon, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. Don Kleinsek, Dr. Christine Purcell.)

5:00 PM
Salon E
MASS AUTHOR AUTOGRAPH SESSION
ConFusion's authors will be lined up to sign your books. Authors planning to be here include: Paolo Bacigalupi, Peter V. Brett, Cherie Priest, Mike Resnick, John Scalzi, Sarah Zettel (aka C.L. Anderson), Anne Harris (aka Pearl North and Jessica Freely), Lois Gresh, Stephen Leigh (aka S.L. Farrell), Steven Harper Piziks, Tobias Buckell, Paul Melko, Jim C. Hines, Merrie Fuller, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Suzanne Church, Steve Buchheit, Christian Klaver, William Jones, Dr. Christine Purcell, Stewart Sternberg, Charles Zaglanis, Ferrett Steinmetz (aka "The Ferrett"), Doselle Young, Catherine Shaffer, and Jim Frenkel (Tor Editor).

9:00 PM
Dennison I/II
Political Correctness
Are we politically correct, should we be politically correct, and can we have fun having a non- politically correct discussion about it? Where is the line? When do we as writers 'cross the line'? What happens when we do cross it? (Paolo Bacigalupi (M), Jim Hines, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Steve Buchheit.)


Sunday 23 January 2011
10:00 AM
Dennison I/II
Popular science books
We will engage in an interactive discussion of popular science books such as Freakanomics and others. (Richard Herrell, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Dr. Arie Bodek)

11:00 AM
Salon E
Brown is the New Black
What are the reasons for the blooming popularity of Steampunk as an aesthetic life style choice? (Cherie Priest (M), Suzanne Church, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Cindy Spencer Pape.)

My big PowerPoint presentation at 11am on Saturday is pretty much ready to roll -- the file has lots of pictures and ended up about 100MB in size. It will be entertaining AND science-y. (grin)

Maybe I'll see you there?

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
It's Alive!

The ConFusion 2011 Panels & Events Schedule, that is. No changes from what I posted the other day for my part, so I'll just repost:

ConFusion 2011 -- 21-23 January 2011, Troy Marriott, Troy MI

As I said last month, I'll definitely be at ConFusion again this year. ConFusion was not only the first SF con I went to, but it is also one of the best run regional cons. The ConFusion 2011 Guest of Honor lineup runs as:

* Pro: Paolo Bacigalupi
* Pro: Cherie Priest
* Science: Aubrey de Grey
* Fan: Lisa Garrison-Ragsdale
* Special: Peter V. Brett
* Featured: Tom Smith

Dr. Phil in the Land of ConFusion:

Very proud of my first presentation -- an expansion of a professional talk I've given to the Michigan Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the national AAPT meetings. Plus I'll be reading another new short story.
Saturday 22 January 2011
11:00 AM
Dennison I/II
Scale and Space: Seeing Neil Armstrong's Footprints
What can we see from space? Popular TV shows suggest we can infinitely enlarge any image without any loss, but the real world is both much more complicated and much more interesting. We know Neil Armstrong's footprints are still on the Moon - but can we see them? And from how far away? And what else can we see? The Internet is full of fascinating images. (Dr. Philip Kaldon)

12 Noon
Salon G
Education, Science Fiction and Fantasy
Can SF and Fantasy be effective tools in the classroom? If so, how and what are some books that would be good to teach specific concepts? (Lisa Garrison Ragsdale (M), Dr. Philip Kaldon, Stephen Leigh, Steven Harper Piziks, Paul Melko.)

2:30 PM
Boardroom
Author Reading
Dr. Philip Kaldon reads a police procedural with civilized zombies. (Think "Alien Nation with flesheaters")

3:00 PM
Salon H
Science and Society.
Our (almost) all PhD panel discusses the impact of science on society, society on science, past, present, and future. (Doselle Young (M), Dr. Philip Kaldon, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. Don Kleinsek, Dr. Christine Purcell.)

5:00 PM
Salon E
MASS AUTHOR AUTOGRAPH SESSION
ConFusion's authors will be lined up to sign your books. Authors planning to be here include: Paolo Bacigalupi, Peter V. Brett, Cherie Priest, Mike Resnick, John Scalzi, Sarah Zettel (aka C.L. Anderson), Anne Harris (aka Pearl North and Jessica Freely), Lois Gresh, Stephen Leigh (aka S.L. Farrell), Steven Harper Piziks, Tobias Buckell, Paul Melko, Jim C. Hines, Merrie Fuller, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Suzanne Church, Steve Buchheit, Christian Klaver, William Jones, Dr. Christine Purcell, Stewart Sternberg, Charles Zaglanis, Ferrett Steinmetz (aka "The Ferrett"), Doselle Young, Catherine Shaffer, and Jim Frenkel (Tor Editor).

9:00 PM
Dennison I/II
Political Correctness
Are we politically correct, should we be politically correct, and can we have fun having a non- politically correct discussion about it? Where is the line? When do we as writers 'cross the line'? What happens when we do cross it? (Paolo Bacigalupi (M), Jim Hines, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Steve Buchheit.)


Sunday 23 January 2011
10:00 AM
Dennison I/II
Popular science books
We will engage in an interactive discussion of popular science books such as Freakanomics and others. (Richard Herrell, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Dr. Arie Bodek)

11:00 AM
Salon E
Brown is the New Black
What are the reasons for the blooming popularity of Steampunk as an aesthetic life style choice? (Cherie Priest (M), Suzanne Church, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Cindy Spencer Pape.)

The current long range forecast is actually quiet for Friday and Saturday, at least in West Michigan. While that might not last, it is hopeful. Maybe I'll give a quiz at my 1pm class on Friday and let them go early so I can get on the road. (grin) It's not really cheating -- twice weekly quizzes are due/handed out on Tuesdays and Fridays. They're usually take-home quizzes, but don't have to be. (double-jeopardy-grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (cinderella-fabletown)
Apologies

For those who saw a raw version of this post which accidentally got posted before it had any text...

Chased Across The State

Michigan author [livejournal.com profile] jimhines was having a reading of his latest "kick-ass princesses" novel at the Schuler Books at Meridian Mall in Okemos MI (east of East Lansing). I'd been to his reading for the last book at Schuler's on Alpine in Grand Rapids MI in October 2009. It being summer, it would be easy enough to run from work in Kalamazoo and get back just as it got dark. Well, that was the plan.

Instead there was an ugly furball of severe thunderstorms coming our way. I managed to get off campus and onto US-131 south and thence to I-94, driving east at 70 mph while the storm was coming at 50 mph. It threw off a possible tornado at Battle Creek, but shortly after that I was heading north on I-69 and by the time I got to Schuler's it wasn't raining.

Also ran into this Jim C. Hines fellow in the parking lot. Told him there was going to be a Big Name Author at Schuler's tonight -- he hoped to get some books signed. I told him these big swelled head BNA's don't sign books for the little people any more. He said that what was worse was authors featured in big coffee table books -- which would be both of us. (grin)

Just In Time For The Show

We got there at 5:50pm, just as the guy from Dominos was arriving with the pizzas for the party. (grin) Not wanting for the pizza to get cold, food came first. Then the good sized crowd, which had to be in the 20-30 range, settled in as Jim read the original James Bond-like opening to the next/fourth Princesses book -- which he's decided to cut, so we may have been the only public airing of that scene. (grin) You wouldn't have liked it. It has humor, fighting, crowds, and a spy running as fast as he can who turned out to be a golem made from a dark spicy cookie... (double-trouble-grin)

The reading and signing was a great success for Jim, as far as I could tell. He posted on Facebook tonight that: "Bookstore ordered 50 copies of RED HOOD'S REVENGE for tonight's signing. When I left, I believe they had two copies left. Victory!" Huh, I only saw one left. Someone must've been holding one back at the bookstore. (triple-word-score-grin)


The Many Reading Faces of Jim C. Hines

Just part of the line to get books signed, interspersed with Q&A with the crowd.

Note how the well-prepared book signer has (1) multiple pens, (2) a big stack of special Red Hood's Revenge bookmarks and (3) a sheet of paper to write down names before you sign the book. Just in case you try to spell "Linda" with a "Th". (evil-grin)

Anyway, I got home before the next storm came to Allendale -- and at that hour northern Kalamazoo County was getting clobbered. So I pretty much managed to make the triangle drive of Allendale-Kalamazoo-East Lansing-Allendale without getting blown, flooded or hailed off the road. Definitely a good summer outing.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-confusion-2009)
A Good Time Had By All

ConFusion 2010 is History now.

Will post of my adventures Real Soon Now. Have to get my rest early tonight, because I'll be driving in snow and dropping temps tomorrow. (grin) Pretty much only did my 6 panels and my reading, plus finishing the story I was going to read. (double-grin) But really, that was quite a lot.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (read-or-die)
Friday 22 January to Sunday 24 January 2010
Troy Marriott, Troy MI


General reminder that this weekend is ConFusion on the other end of the state from West Michigan. You can get more info via my post about my Six Panels and A Reading at ConFusion here.

Getting There Is By No Means Half The Fun

I mean, who wants to drive I-94 in Michigan, even if you can switch over to I-69 in Battle Creek and I-96 in Lansing? Thankfully, the weather looks to cooperate, at least on the trek eastward. My second class ends at 3pm. As soon as I can, I'll hit the road, getting off the overly used I-94 before rush hour formally begins. But times vary. Not sure if I can make it to Troy, fight the last few miles of heavy Detroit traffic to I-75 and then up to Big Beaver Road -- yes, that's its name, no snickering you in the back row -- check in and grab my con badge in time to hear Cat Valente's reading at 7pm. But that's how things go.

Good news is that the big western storms that dumped so much snow in the Californian mountains will be reduced to rain on Sunday, high around 42°F. So that when I leave ConFusion between 1-2pm, I at least won't have to deal with ice and snow.

If You're In The Area

This is a really nice regional con and it attracts lots of writers, editors, artists, fans of all flavors -- and it is well run and the hotel really likes hosting ConFusion. Can't always say that about hotels. (grin)

So come on over if you've got a chance. It'll be fun.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-in-person)
22-24 January 2010, Troy Marriott, Troy MI

ConFusion 2010, "I See By My ConFusion", is coming up and they've got a schedule up online. And Dr. Phil is scheduled to do a mess of panels (six) on Saturday and a reading on Sunday.
Sci-Fi Television
Diane Frkan, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Ed Gardiner

* Saturday 10:00a - 11:00a
* Salon E

It's another season of network programming! What happened to Heroes? Sara Connor and Dollhouse dumped, sexy Vampires, the "Visitors" and the Prisoner have arrived and LOST! A discussion panel on the new, returning and revamped shows that fall under the sci-fi, supernatural and other cross-over genre

NOTE: This panel is a hybrid of a TV panel and one Dr. Phil proposed on Why All The Remakes? Alas, it's at the same time as another panel I'd proposed on the Rate Fail debate, with some of the people who blogged on the issue. (grin) But the TV panel needed another body, so Dr. Phil is taking one for the team and will miss the Rate Fail fun. (double-grin)

Rate Fail: Does it matter how much writers get paid for short fiction?
Catherynne Valente, Jim Hines, Mike Resnick

* Saturday 10:00a - 11:00a
* Dennison 3&4

A new market offers genre writers one-fifth of a cent per word, but considers it okay because it's the exposure that counts. Yet this is less than the pulps paid eighty years ago, even unadjusted for inflation. Minimum SFWA pro rates are 5 cents a word, and even that isn't a lot of money. Exposure versus payment? For The Luv versus Business? Does money equal quality? Authors discuss differing views on these questions.


Dark Carnivals and Red Planets: A Bradbury Discussion
Dr. Philip Kaldon, The Ferrett, Carl Lundgren

* Saturday 11:00a - 12:00n
* Salon G

Our theme this year is Creepy Carnival, and what Con would be complete without a look at the master of creepy carnivals... Ray Bradbury!

Legends of SciFi
Dr. Philip Kaldon, Mike Resnick, Diane Frkan, Matthew Fanny, The Ferrett

* Saturday 1:00p - 2:00p
* Dennison 3&4

A discussion on the legends of Science Fiction. A look at the past legends who have past on and who the new ones are? Who is your legend?


The Family in Science Fiction
Catherynne Valente, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Jim Hines, Sarah Zettel, Matthew Fanny

* Saturday 2:00p - 3:00p
* Salon E

The variety of families within Sci-Fi and how they're conscructed from Heinlein to Robinson and everyone in between

Influence of Speculative Fiction on 20th/21st Century Music
Dr. Philip Kaldon, Carl Lungren

* Saturday 3:00p - 4:00p
* Salon G

How has music been shaped by science fiction? From the Who to Muse... there has been an influence, join us for a discussion

Writers Contest for New Writers
Catherynne Valente, Dr. Philip Kaldon, Jim Hines, Catherine Shaffer

* Saturday 9:00p - 10:00p
* Dennison 3&4

Having a deadline is a great way for the new writer to be motivated to get short stories completed and sent out

The Terrors of the Universe
Dr. Philip Kaldon

* Sunday 11:00a - 12:00n
* Boardroom

A travelling carnival visits a distant planet and has a house of horrors.... Come hear Dr. Phil Kaldon read his brand new short story.


Come On Over

The Troy Marriott has been a fabulous host hotel for ConFusion the last several years. They have an excellent Don Shula's Steakhouse -- and the bar serves some serious burgers and meals, too. And ConFusion itself is a very well run SF/F con, and its proximity to the Canadian border makes it an attractive con for Canadians to come. Lots of top flight authors and a number of editors and publishers make it a point to come as well. Always some good programs and panels for new writers. And the anime and film rooms are a lot of fun.

All in all, one of my favorite regional cons -- all kinds of great people come out in mid-January near Detroit every year, so you know it's got to be good. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (WnC09-Dr-Phil-100)
Saturday 14 November 2009 - Evening

Continuing with WindyCon 36, we've arrived at 6pm, my reading. This is my second reading at a con -- I gave one at ConFusion in January. I know I'm behind in updating my website, but memo to self: need to add a page about giving readings and signings. (grin)

Given that the con's theme was Steampunk, I decided to go counterculture and do a "high tech" reading. Forget those Kindles, I've been impressed with the Sony Reader eBooks. I can hook up the PRS-300 with a mini-USB cable and treat it like a flashdrive, downloading at RTF version of my manuscript at no cost (or even installing the interface software). For the reading I stepped up the font size to Large.


Other than having to anticipate page turns by hitting the page button a trifle early so the electronic ink can update in time, I had no problems reading the bright contrasty screen. In Standard Manuscript Format, my story was about 7900 words in 32 pages -- as you can see, enlarging and reformatting it made it 112 screens long.

Dammit, Dr. Phil -- What About The STORY?

So glad you asked. "Z.P.D. (Zeppelin Police Department)" was read before an audience of about five people -- of which I only knew two. I previously described it as "Noir. Police. Zeppelins. Steampunk." I had promoted it earlier at some sessions, one does have to be proactive about these things after all, and one person told me, "You had me at zeppelins." (grin)

I've been told that a good reading is about twenty minutes. Naturally, when I test read the story last Thursday it took about 32 minutes -- I always write long. That said, I must say I had people glued in their seats and managed to elicit some reactions at some of the twists.

Yeah, my reading went REALLY WELL. And "Z.P.D." will be sent out to the majors as soon as it can be fit in the rotation. I'd brought a couple copies of WOTF XXIV, which Al and I signed, and handed out to those who attended.

Steakpunk

It looked like we had four to go over to the Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse for dinner afterward. Al tried calling over, but the number didn't work. We wandered over -- Walnut was literally the furthest room from the lobby -- and found out that there'd be an hour wait. So we went out to the lobby and took over one of the tables used by groups during the afternoon. Matt couldn't stay for dinner, but hung around for the chat, then it was just me, Al and Allen. I guess Jill, who was meeting other friends for dinner, had gone later to the restaurant to look for us, but we were still in the lobby.

Dinner, of course, was magnificent. Had them make some calamari without breading. Al and I had the 9 oz. fillet -- a ball fillet not a strip -- mine had Gorgonzola and his had peppercorns. Allen had really lovely looking fettucini alfredo -- which at one time I ordered all the time at Italian restaurants, but cut out because it's just too rich and I don't need it. (sad grin) Split a huge Idaho baked potato, and some broccoli and mushrooms. Stuffed all, I told our excellent waiter Christopher that he should at least tell us about desserts. Allen and I shared a chocolate bourbon pecan pie -- you thought I'd pass up an opportunity for a really fine not-too-sweet pecan pie?

Although not cheap, WindyCon 37 is also at this Westin on 12-14 November 2010 -- and if you come you owe it to yourself to splurge at Harry Caray's, if you love steak, Italian and/or seafood.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Packed up, check out, stash stuff in the Blazer. Then off to do a quick check of the Dealer's Room, to see if anyone was selling any Steampunk stuff. One dealer had some lovely leather and brass goggles, one set complete with extra magnifying lenses, but the ones I liked were $120 and $149 respectively -- too rich for today. So on to...

11am, third Christian Ready show with latest Hubble Space Telescope images. Noon, "Alternative Technology", What assumptions are made about steampunk technology? What is possible from a materials engineering standpoint and what breaks the rules of physics? I'm on this panel and we had a lot of fun talking metallurgy, the time that steam engines require, lubrication and maintenance issues, etc. As with the Science of Steampunk panel, the emphasis was made that alternative universe stories which are well crafted and consistent, can always get away with murder -- scientifically speaking. (grin)

Jeff Karp, my friend from Northwestern days, was supposed to meet me at 1pm. And I quickly found him, and as I mentioned before, he bought me lunch while we caught up.

All too soon it was time to leave and hit the road. No problems racing into the heart of Chicago on I-88 and I-290, through the Post Office and hang a right turn at Buckingham Fountain, then off onto Lake Short Drive and Indiana. Naturally, the only problems were at the end. The Shell station at M-89 was overrun with vehicles, so I drove on. Road construction on I-196 closed the last Rest Stop before Holland. And the exit for US-31 North was closed, probably due to reconstruction on the flats from previous washouts during the flooding this summer. So I got off at M-40, hit the McDonald's for a restroom, then home.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (rose-airplane)
Blue Sky, As Blue As... Blue Skies

Glorious ride into Kalamazoo today. Bright blue sky with just a few high hazy clouds to remind you how big the sky really is. Too bad tomorrow's weather is not going to be quite as sunny, as I head off after noon to Chicago for Dr. Phil at WindyCon.

Saturday 6pm CST - Willow Room

Finished my story "Z.P.D. (Zeppelin Police Department)" Version 1.01 late last night. It came in at 6900 words by Microsoft Word's count, or about 7900 words in 32 pages by the 250 words/page method. I was shooting for about six thousand, so it is properly long by Dr. Phil's standards. (grin)

This morning I read it aloud -- amazing how useful that is for catching word errors -- and it clocked in at about 32 minutes. I've been told that a good reading is about 20 minutes, but I'd like to be able to read the whole story to whomever shows up. And if no one does, I'll still read it. It's good practice. (grin)

I'd finished Version 1.00 just before dinner last night, printed it out as a 2-up on the LaserJet and did a quick read-and-edit. Then worked on Version 1.01 with the edits and a bit more. One thing that's funny is that it was only in finishing it up, in like the last three paragraphs of Version 1.01, I suddenly revealed an interesting side to a main character that I hadn't seen before. And after reading it this morning, I emphasized that twist a bit more, so I am pretty pleased with this story.

Of course none of the markets I would send "Z.P.D." to first are available to me for submissions at the moment -- either closed or they have a story from me right now -- but this will be sent out as soon as I can.

But if you are at WindyCon and can come to my reading on Saturday evening for "Steakpunk", you can be the first to hear "Z.P.D." And maybe hang around for a good dinner, too.

Dr. Phil

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