Compare and Contrast

It’s no secret that life has been crazy around here — what with three books coming out in four weeks, with six more on the way…  But regular life doesn’t stop in Klaskyville — not for any number of books coming out in any number of weeks.  This past weekend was the perfect example of the “compare and contrast” that makes up my life these days.

Friday:  After a long, hard day of editing SECOND THOUGHTS, I headed down to Nationals Park.  I didn’t plan particularly well — I let myself be fooled by the sunshine streaming in my window.  By the time I got to the park, there was enough of a breeze that I suspected my sweatshirt wouldn’t be sufficient by the end of the game.  Fortunately, I (the world’s coldest-blooded person) am married to Mark (the world’s hottest-blooded person), and he had the jacket he’d worn to work early that morning.  I wore his jacket (and a scarf, and mittens — I didn’t need my earmuffs), and I watched the Nats beat the Cardinals in an unlikely win.  Go, Nats!


Saturday:  I attended Henry IV, Part 2 at the Shakespeare Theatre.  While the reviewer in the Washington Post thought she’d never seen anything funnier than the bumbling country squires, Shallow and Silence, I contemplated plucking out my eyes for those scenes (yes, out, vile jelly and all that).  This play is a weak one — not much happens and what *does* happen is mostly illness, decay, and death.  I would have preferred for them to combine the two parts, dropping most of the tavern scenes and all of the Shallow/Silence scenes.  We had a nice dinner with friends after the play, though, and on our way back to our car, we passed by the Stage Door to the theater and ran into the man who played the Lord Chief Justice — a bright star in an otherwise dull constellation.  It was nice to be able to compliment his work.

Sunday:  I headed down to AwesomeCon for two panels.  I’d been dreading the one on manuscript preparation (an hour for that, really?) and looking forward to the one on YA (cool authors, some of whom are friends.)  The YA panel ended up being okay, but the manuscript prep one was *wonderful*.  My co-panelist, Tanya Spackman, had great concrete information, and I shared more abstract ideas.  I think we made a great team, and I’ve heard from several of the people in the audience that they found it useful.

Monday:  I finished editing SECOND THOUGHTS (yay, yay, yay!), and I headed back downtown for another ball game — this one against the Angels.  It was “Dollar Dog” night at the game — all hot dogs, peanuts, and popcorn on sale for a buck — and we sat in our usual seats (we’ve been in others for the other two games, because my schedule made us trade tickets).  It was nice to see some of the “regulars” around us, and the game was exciting until the last at-bat.  (Yeah, the Nats lost, but it was unreasonable to think they’d win *every* game we attend!)

So, one novel edited, two baseball games, a play, and a media convention (with some knitting and reading for fun in there as well, along with a bit of TV — MAD MEN, anyone?)  Sounds about par for the course.  What are the greatest swings in your own interests, the most unlikely combination of hobbies/activities that keep you busy?

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See You at AwesomeCon!

So, with all the flurry of activity around here, I kinda, sorta forgot to tell you that I’m going to be on three panels at AwesomeCon!  This large, new media convention is in DC at the downtown Convention Center over this coming weekend — it’s only the second year of the con’s existence, but it’s growing by leaps and bounds!  You can find me here:

Friday, April 18, 4:00 – 5:00 – Worldbuilding and Magic, Room 201.  I’ll join Jon Skovron, Lea Nolan, Stuart Jaffe, Jessica Spotswood, Gail Martin, Matthew Bowman, and Eric Menge to discuss what makes a believable fantasy world and a realistic magical system.

Sunday, April 20, 1:45 – 2:45 – Preparing a Manuscript for Submission, Room 209C.  I’ll join Tanya Spackman to discuss how to prepare a manuscript so your words are more likely to be read by editors and agents.

Sunday, April 20, 3:00 – 4:00 – Young Adult Literature, Room 209C.  I’ll join Cristin Terrill, Lindsay Smith, Jon Skovron, Lea Nolan, and Jessica Spotswood to discuss, um, young adult literature!

I hope to see you there!  It’s gonna be awesome!

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A Weekend with a Few Hundred of my Closest Friends

Whew!  I spent last weekend at a “retreat” and I’m more exhausted than when I started!

Okay, it wasn’t really a “retreat”.  It was actually a conference — the annual Washington Romance Writers retreat, “In the Company of Writers.”  I came home more excited about publishing opportunities than I’ve been in a long, long time…

First off, I signed copies of PERFECT PITCH at Nora Roberts’ Turn the Page Bookstore, in Boonsboro, Maryland.  Signings at TTP are always a joy, and this one was no exception.  The store staff keeps things running like clockwork, and the readers are amazing! There were more than a dozen of us authors signing, and many, many customers came through the line buying dozens of books!  I did learn one thing:  If one is offering foil-wrapped baseball chocolates to people standing in line, one really needs to specify that they’re wrapped in foil!  I was surprised that people didn’t realize that fact — but only one woman chomped down before I could warn her!

After buying amazing baked-good treats at Christi’s bakery, I headed over to Westminster for the retreat proper.  In addition to seeing a *lot* of old friends (and making some new ones), I collected amazing publishing intel from the force-of-nature Liliana Hart (and a special guest, whose very identity must be kept confidential from those who weren’t in the room!)  I took so many notes that I ran out of pages in my notebook.  And I have enough new ideas to last for the next five years…

So — a grand time with friends old and new, new story ideas, new publishing strategies…  The only other thing I could have asked for would have been winning one of the dozens of gift baskets raffled off.  ::shrug::  That’s a good reason to head back next year!

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Buzzy Magazine Video Interview

Last October, I attended my local science fiction convention, Capclave, where I had the good fortune of being interviewed by Jean Marie Ward, for Buzzy Magazine.

Jean Marie has now posted her interview for all the world to see:

It’s interesting to me, seeing how I convey on camera.  We were in a dim lounge area, with a lot of background noise; the video actually came through more clearly than I expected.  There *is* something a bit funky with the recording of my voice — I sound like I have a rather pronounced lisp, which I don’t, in real life.

In any case, take a peek at the video, if you want to know more about Morgan Keyes, DARKBEAST, and what’s coming up next for Morgan and Mindy!

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Ancient History (Podcast With, Um, Me)

Centuries ago (or, maybe, several months back — the days all run together…), a writer friend of mine asked me if I’d be willing to meet with an up and coming fantasy novelist from Australia, when we both attended the World Fantasy Convention.  “Sure!” I said, because I’m always happy to meet new people.

I was then introduced to Emily Craven, a woman who expends more energy before breakfast than I do in an entire month.

Emily and I exchanged several emails, and we set our plans for meeting up in Toronto.  Then, Emily asked if she could interview me for a podcast series that she conducts.  We both fiddled with Skype, concluding that audio-only was absolutely the way to go, and Emily asked me some fun questions.

Time went by, and we met up at World Fantasy.  More time went by, and Emily sent me a link to the podcast.  More more time went by, and I finally am getting around to sharing the podcast link with you:

Yeah.  I’ve been a bit behind on housekeeping of the electronic variety.  In any case, go read Emily’s introduction, and then laugh at how funny my voice sounds in the podcast!  Seriously.  It’s the least I can do to brighten your February day!


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Waving Madly

If it’s Monday, it must be D.C.

At least, that’s the way it feels to me — as if I’ve been traveling and traveling and traveling, non-stop, forever.  In reality, life hasn’t been so crazy — Baltimore two weekends ago, and Toronto this past weekend, for World Fantasy Convention.

Of course, I’m supposed to give you a full recap of WFC, but I’ll spare you and share some highlights instead:

  • Dinner with David Coe (D.B. Jackson), in which we discussed the Publishing World ad infinitum, complete with our glosses on how it is and how it should be.  I came away invigorated, with lots of vows to use my writing time and energy in new ways.
  • Readings by various friends and favorite authors, including Carol Berg, Julie Czerneda, Garth Nix, and Ruth Stuart.
  • My panel, on “The Changing Face of YA”, where I got to meet some wonderful new-to-me authors, including Hiromi Goto, who truly impressed me with her insights on the topic.
  • The mass signing, where two very enthusiastic young women collected postcards about the Jane Madison series, the As You Wish Series, and “Capitol Magic”, making me smile at their excitement.
  • Endless conversations that moved from place to place to place in the lobby/bar, with new friends and old, in a way that felt somewhat reminiscent of college.
  • Meeting up with an old friend from my Minneapolis life, for a lovely deli lunch (and kind trip to the airport!), with a chance to meet his family after only reading about them on Facebook.

In between, there were gallons of tea drunk, tons of food-court-Asian-food eaten, a few chilly blocks walked in search of open restaurants (really, there was very little around the hotel, and a lot of it did not serve breakfast or lunch!), and I’m not quite sure what else.

It’s good to be home.  Good to turn toward the writing projects now on the front burner.  Good to  be slipping back into normal.

So, did I miss much while I was gone?

Mindy, diving into her day

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