Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fantasy Fantasy League

I have no idea how baseball or football managed to usurp the fantasy game title for so long, but it's time to take back the reigns. Or at least join the fray. Sorry for the late start. I'll do a better job in 2010. For now, here's the Fantasy Fantasy League choices. Make your picks before midnight Oct. 30. If you figure them all correctly - based on the winners, as decided Oct. 31 at the World Fantasy Award Banquet - I'll send you a signed copy of Cinco de Mayo AND a vintage signed copy of The Misspellers. If there's more than one winner, I'll be stunned. When I recover, I'll randomize. Enter now, enter once. Help return the fantasy helm to the righteous, chaotic neutral, and evil hordes.

Create your Fantasy Fantasy Choices with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Fantasy (con)

I'm attending the World Fantasy Convention this weekend (Oct. 29, 30, 31) in Columbus, OH. Not sure exactly where I'll be or what I'll be doing. I'm not all that adept at conventions. I suffer from a persistent sense that I'm a step behind. But the last one was fun, when I wasn't narrowly avoiding injury or trying to push my way back into a conversation I'd been pushed out of by guys who learned their social skills watching Taiwanese Parliament. And that was a con that didn't see a lot of battle axes or broad swords. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TV Again

AM Buffalo had me on, which is very nice, as authors in general - and me in particular - don't make for great television. No singing, no dancing, no cute animals or magic tricks. Thus, I'm quite grateful they let me on. Linda Pelligrino is wonderful. She gets you talking off camera. Then the cameras come on and you're already rolling along. In other words, this is about as good as I get. Of course, that's kind of like saying this is your healthiest donut or best Jackass movie.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good Morning Buffalo

I had the dubious honor of being Bridget Blythe’s second last interview on Good Morning WNY. She is a skilled anchor and a great interviewer. She puts you at ease, asks intelligent questions and lets you answer. Those three things don’t always come together at one time, from one person. I’m very lucky to have made her list. I hope I make her next one, on her next gig.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Signing

I'm going to be at Talking Leaves, Elmwood, Thursday, Oct. 14, 5 to 7, or so. They're not tight on kicking me out. Stop in if you can. Even if it's difficult for you, because I don't want to some sad lump of a human, alone at a table, under a ridiculously huge banner to which no one pays attention. I'll give you a book mark. That's cool, right?

It's a nice bookstore - one of the last of the independents - and they've been very nice to me so far, which makes me want to really bring some activity to the place.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My first time

I didn’t know what to expect from my first science fiction convention. And I’ve kept it that way. It’s been one unexpected thing after another. For instance, my first panel at my first con was the “Novels of Allen Steele”, whereby I got to sit next to Allen Steele and discuss his life’s work. Ha. I know why they put the newbie on that one.

And the moderator didn’t show. So I got to moderate my first ever panel. There’s nothing like getting everything over all at once. Lucky for me, Mr. Steele is wind-up toy. (The steel kind, with the key on the back.) Once I introduced him, I was pretty much done. Questions, answers, conversational tributaries on which to glide. It was over before I knew it.

Oh, until I tripped on a Peavey speaker stand while trying to get a photo. Nearly cracked my head open, which would have been a much better story. Maybe next time. Blood always sells.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This doll won’t beat me

Did you ever have someone impersonate you? One day this friend of mine, Geri, was doing her impression of people those gathered had in common. Her facial expressions, style of voice and – this is the important one – her diction was hilarious. She boiled people down to their comic essence. Which I laughed at until someone said, “do Michael.” At which point I laughed even more. I’m a bland white guy from the suburbs. There’s nothing there. You’d have better luck taking a run at copier paper or salt.

Then, of course, Geri did me. Dead on. My mannerisms, my twitchy face and my expressions. “Fascinating” and “Have fun.” She nailed me in less than ten words.

I let all this slide to the back of my head until last night, when I saw this commercial for the new Fisher-Price Little Mommy Play All Day Doll. It’s got 50 phrases. 50! I did a rough count, and I think I’ve got like 14.

We all have a little quiver of phrases we can draw and fire without much thought. Our pet phrases. I listen for them all the time, because they make characters more real when added to dialogue. I also try to keep my own out of my writing. The last thing I want is every character sounding like me. Now I’m on a crusade to expand my repertoire of phrases. From now on, if someone asks “How are you doing?” I will answer, “I’ll get back to you.” For “have a good one” I’m going to reply “maybe even two.” Certain phrases are invaluable: “Seemed like a good idea at the time” needs to stay. But that’s OK. No, no . . . that’s smashing. Because the goal is to get above 50. I can’t go around calling myself a writer if that $34 robot baby has more to say than I do.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm OK

It would seem not all reviews are great. I’m stunned—stunned, I tell you—that this guy thinks my writing is just OK. I’m mean, sure. I don’t expect everyone to have great taste. Budweiser remains America’s number one beer and Ke$ha is still on the charts. Not every reviewer can smell greatness like fried dough on a hot summer night. But OK? Sharing an elevator is OK. Finding a penny is OK.

The review is intriguing, though, because the writer is surprised to have liked the book. That part amazes me. If somebody spends years writing a novel, and a publisher spends thousands editing, creating cover art, printing, binding, shipping and promoting the thing, shouldn’t the surprise come when the novel ain’t that good? That happens to me all the time. There’s all kind of stuff on bookstore shelves that should never have made it out of .doc format. What I can’t quite figure out is why someone expects a book to be so-so, picks it up, reads it and can’t believe the activity ended as worthwhile.

Eh. I’m glad Don found me interesting. I’ll take it. It’s better than he never found me at all.

Critical Mass Cinco de Mayo review