Not Dead Yet

Not dead.  Not carried off by the camelback crickets that insist on taking refuge on the ground level of our home (and some of them are HUGE this year!) Not king yet.

But, um, where did the past ten days go?

Let’s see…

We had houseguests visiting from Canada — the charming Julie Czerneda (in the midst of her book launch tour for A PLAY OF SHADOW) and her husband, Roger.  They arrived with flavored coffees (blueberry! maple!) in hand and a ***gorgeous*** matted photograph of a unicorn ice sculpture, taken by Roger himself.  We enjoyed long conversations about writing, books, publishing, politics, music, travel, and I don’t know what else.

Julie and Roger were in town for the World Fantasy Convention, which took place in a hotel just a couple of miles from our house.  I didn’t attend the con as a member (I’ve been publishing too little fantasy!), but I did hang out in the hotel lobby and bar for two days, visiting with friends and catching up with folks I haven’t seen in far too long.  I also had a chance to meet some Book View Cafe members for the first time in person — I’d love to have a chance to visit each of our co-op members, because communicating face-to-face adds so much more to our online chats!

With Julie and Roger in tow, we went to hear Suzanne Vega play at a small venue in DC.  Stranger to music that I am, I only knew a couple of her songs, but I loved her performance.  Stevie Wonder was playing a huge arena show just a couple of blocks away, and I think we *totally* made the right choice for the evening :-)

I’ve begun outlining my next book, JOY OF WITCHCRAFT, which will be the fifth Jane Madison book.  I’m having a wonderful time getting back into Jane’s world.  Poor librarian-witch! Nothing goes easily for her!

We went to an amazing Smithsonian lecture on Istanbul, taught by Nigel McGilchrist.  Alas, I knew very little about Istanbul prior to the talk, but I learned a great deal of history (and some information about art and food and geology and, and, and, and…)  One of the great things about Nigel’s lectures is his ability to fold together so many different disciplines as he speaks.  His slides illustrate his points beautifully, and he speaks without notes, making everything feel very real and immediate.  And now, alas, I have more travel destinations to add to my list :-)

And I’ve been preparing for a writing retreat next week.  I’ll be stealing away with Maria V. Snyder.  We’re heading off to a state park, where we’ll rent a cabin (just as the first major blast of arctic air is set to hit the region!)  I intend to get about a third of a novel written while I’m there — and to have great conversations about writing, publishing, etc.  (Maria and I keep somewhat different schedules — I wake up early and go to bed before midnight; she wakes up after noon and works until the wee hours of the morning.  That gives us both some “alone time” to get a lot of work done and some “social time” to talk.  A great arrangement!)  I’m generally very productive on retreats — I have to justify taking the time away from Mark and the cats!

So, that’s the past.  And I’ll be scarce for the next week.  But after that, I hope to be back in the usual swing of things!

What about you?  How’s the autumn treating you?  Tell me something wonderful about November!

Read More

Can’t Blog. Brain is Full.

Well, I’m back!  (Did you notice I was gone?  Please say you noticed I was gone!)

index

I just spent five days in St. Petersburg, Florida, attending the 2014 Novelists, Inc. conference.  I knew I was in for something good when I looked at the program and there was at least one panel that interested me in every single time slot (sometimes two or three!)  And I suspected I’d enjoy the conference when I saw the resort hotel, with its white sand beaches.  And I was pretty sure I’d enjoy at least the *meals* when I saw the elaborate menus for every conference meal.

But I hadn’t counted on how much I would learn. And how many ideas I’d have, sitting and listening to others. And how many new projects would start to tempt me, as I traded thoughts with other professional writers.

I’ve been to lots of conventions — tons of World Fantasy, lots of Worldcon, a healthy handful of RWA Nationals.  But this is the first conference I’ve ever been to that ran like the librarian and lawyer conferences I used to attend — career furtherance, from keynote address to final thoughts.

It’s also the first convention where I live-tweeted some of the sessions.  Yes.  Me.  @MindyKlasky. #Ninc14.

Pardon me, now. I’ll be over in the corner, revamping my massive to do list.  Don’t laugh.  That’s what I’m calling that massive scroll of a document!  To do.  Sometime before I die :-)

Read More

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!

playpage-henry2-200x300-2

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?

Read More

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!

Read More

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!

Read More

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:

http://buzzymag.com/morgan-keyes-interview/

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!

Read More
Email Newsletters with VerticalResponse