Old news recap

I’ve been working hard on some projects and thus only updated where I could be brief – twitter, Facebook and a couple of times even tumblr. But now I have a little time, so I’d like to recap some of the old good news.

I didn’t make a final post for my Carolinas trip, but there was not much more to tell. I had a fantastic time at Orange County Library and Chapel Hill Library with audiences that were far more mainstream/literary than SF, but very attentive and appreciative of my work. I also did a reading at Flyleaf Books. Very enjoyable – smaller audience, but the questions were still of a high calibre.

People who follow me on twitter would have seen that I came home and quickly went into AnimeKon Expo, our Bajan SF convention. Tobias Buckell was back, Robert Edison Sandiford had a new book out, and we had a bit of a Three Musketeers thing going where we had a panel together, kept our book tables side by side, and even managed a field trip for some story research. This was so soon after the Carolinas trip that it was hard for me to be at 100 per cent. I wish I’d had more energy and preparation time to get full benefit from the event, but I’m fairly happy with what I was able to do, and it’s always hugely inspiring to hang out with Tobias and Robert and talk Caribbean SF.

I’ve been invited to be Guest of Honour for the 2014 Åcon SF convention in Finland (SO EXCITED YOU HAVE NO IDEA). Details to follow in due course!

I celebrated the release of Jeff VanderMeer’s amazing writing guide Wonderbook on twitter, tumblr and Facebook. I’m extremely proud to be one of the contributors; you can find my essay on page 27 (here’s a teaser). There’s so much beauty and inspiration in that book that you’ll never get bored.

I was surprised and very pleased to find that The Best of All Possible Worlds made it to the semifinal round of the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Sci-fi category as a write-in-vote with reader support. Thank you so much to all those who voted!

Finally, I was absolutely thrilled that RT Reviews nominated The Best of All Possible Worlds for both Best Science Fiction and Book of the Year. The awards ceremony takes place at their annual convention, which is being held in New Orleans next year! Tempting! Very tempting!

Some new links and a reminder

First the reminder. My last book giveaway continues at this post. Go comment to enter!

Apologies for not giving some of these links sooner. I’ve been busy and now I’m both busy and fighting a cold/fever. There are new guest posts, and interview, and a mini review:

Next week I’m travelling to the Adelaide Writers’ Week in Australia. I will post a selected itinerary over the next few days. Unfortunately, I will be travelling at the time that the Kitschies are being awarded, and I have no guarantee of wifi in airports or on planes. Expect intermittent twitter and blog-silence next week and the week after.

Adelaide Writers’ Week

I was waiting anxiously for the first public news of this so I could tell everyone, but when the time came I was at the start of my Toronto WFC experience and had to make do with a brief but gleeful tweet. So let me now belatedly post that last Tuesday the 2013 Adelaide Festival released its programme, including a look at the lineup of authors for the literature component, the Adelaide Writers’ Week (2-7 March 2013). I am very happy to announce that I am a part of that lineup. Here’s my info page on their website.

I am so grateful to the organisers of the Adelaide Festival. It will be my first visit ever to Australia. I’ve already been enticed by Tim Tams and podcasts (Galactic Suburbia, The Writer and the Critic, and half of the Coode Street Podcast), and I’m really looking forward to it!

World Fantasy Convention 2012

I haven’t the time to tell you everything, so here are the highlights:

The Truly Marvellous VanderMeers

Heartiest congratulations to Ann and Jeff for winning the Best Anthology World Fantasy Award with The Weird. I cannot recommend this book too highly. It is a gift to both genre and mainstream readers. A lot of hard work and love went into this anthology, and it shows.

It was my great pleasure to meet Karin Tidbeck and attend the book release party for her excellent short story collection Jagannath. I remember watching in delight as Jeff VanderMeer tossed a stuffed toy bunny (a stand-in for giveaways that were too fragile to be airborne) into the squealing crowd rather like a bride throwing a bouquet to desperate bridesmaids. Also launching were Ann VanderMeer’s anthology Steampunk Revolution (contributors enthralled the room with one-sentence readings from their stories) and At the Edge of Waking by Holly Phillips. The cakes were gorgeous … iced with the covers of the books. I had some of the Jagannath. Delicious.

Why Is the Rum Gone?

It went to a better place. Two better places in fact. I brought with me two bottles of Mount Gay Extra Old. One went to the gentlemen of the Coode Street Podcast, Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan. The other was handed over to the Cooke Agency, specifically my brilliant and hardworking agents Sally Harding and Ron Eckel. I have reason to believe that the rum was thoroughly enjoyed by those who were invited to partake. They shared generously; I saw a lot of bright eyes and dreamy smiles as people approached me later to thank me for rumrunning!

The Toastmaster’s Hashtag

Gary K. Wolfe delivered a top-quality speech at the awards, full of humour and edge and insight into the genre. When discussing the issue of spoilers in reviews, he demonstrated the skill of the ‘three syllable synopsis’. The Whale Wins. The Ring Melts. George Shoots Jay. Such sweet brevity should easily find a place on twitter under #3syllablesynopsis. Make it trend!

The Cool Kids

I know I’m inviting trouble by naming some names and not others, but I have to say that I was especially revved up and inspired by the conversations I had with E. Lily Yu, Ellen Klages, Daryl Gregory and Ted Chiang. Ted thinks I’m a little insane because I remarked that the WFC bookbag was so heavy I could drown someone with it. Ellen and Daryl know I’m insane and pretty much encourage me to ever greater heights of functional literary insanity. Lily is, I think, relieved to learn just how insane I am because together we can plot to take over the world. (I’m Pinky, she’s The Brain. Narf to you too.)

Talking to Derryl Murphy made me rush out and buy Napier’s Bones and bring it back the next day for signing. Hearing Amal El-Mohtar read from The Honey Month had the same effect, but when I ambushed Amal in the hotel corridor in hopes of getting a copy and a signature I learned that I was too late; they were all gone. Never mind. It goes to the top of my acquisitions list. Nene Ormes (compatriot and friend of Karin Tidbeck) was another person I wanted to read after only a few minutes of conversation, but I will have to wait on a translation or learn Swedish for that.

In conclusion, let me say congratulations again to all the nominees and winners. My sympathies to those who were unable to get to Toronto because of storm-related difficulties. Thank you to all who told me how much they enjoyed Redemption in Indigo or mentioned listening to SF Crossing the Gulf.

This post could be three pages long, but I can’t permit it. There are other things afoot, as those who follow my twitter will know. Stay tuned (by the end of this week perhaps, but definitely before the end of the next) for a post about me and the Adelaide Writers’ Week 2013, and a wrap-up and commentary on the first complete series of SF Crossing the Gulf.

Post-Conference Post: ICFA’s delights

I LOVE the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. Love it. I hate travelling to and from it, which is why I come to this blog post a little worn at the edges, possibly lacking in eloquence, but doggedly determined to let the world know that ICFA rocks.

I got there on a Tuesday evening in advance of the opening. I had a plan to pace myself: scheduled naps, cod liver oil capsules, B-Vitamin supplements and careful selection and timing of meals. I even slotted in two sessions of Zumba (thanks Karen Hellekson!) to compensate for the ridiculous amount of sitting I would be doing. It worked pretty well, I think, except that no-one is a match for the nonsense that is trying to make a connecting flight in Miami Airport. I arrived with a bruised knee; my departure resulted in sacroiliac pain.

Highlights of the conference included meals and conversations with … oh no, I can’t bring myself to list all the names. I’m going to forget someone, which isn’t fair and certainly will have more to do with the fried state of my brain at present than the importance of those conversations to me personally. But let me try …

Karen Burnham, Liza Groen Trombi and Francesca Myman of Locus Magazine. Karen gets a first-mention not only due to her name (ICFA was well-supplied with Karens, let me tell you), but because in addition to running the Locus Roundtable, she is my science and technology advisor for the sequel to The Best of All Possible Worlds, my sci-fi novel due in March 2013. Since Karen is an engineer at NASA as well as a book reviewer extraordinaire, I’m in good hands. Her husband Curtis Potterveld and their adorable baby Gavin are also excellent company! Also of Locus, and known for the Coode Street Podcast, is Gary K Wolfe. I had the pleasure of recording a podcast with him and co-caster Jonathan Strahan along with Nalo Hopkinson (always an honour!) and Ellen Klages. So much fun!

I met the VanderMeers at last! Jeff, I thought you’d be taller ;) We had a great lunch and chat and they put me completely at ease. I still feel very much the newbie, and they have been so supportive and kind. Another kindness I shall never forget is Guest of Honour Kelly Link’s conversation with me at the opening reception. This ICFA was my first time meeting Kelly and her little daughter Ursula (not so little! That child is going to grow tall!). I’d already met Gavin Grant at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival. Together they are the amazing Small Beer Press, the first publishers of Redemption in Indigo and my portal into this magic world of spec fic community. Without being too luvvie about it, I must say I’m huge fans of Gavin and Kelly and all the work they do. But hey, it’s hard not to gush a little at ICFA; you feel this immense fondness for all those people who understand and love and work hard at the same things you do.

A Tiptree gathering meant that I got to meet Karen Joy Fowler (another of the Karens). It thrills me that as a Small Beer Press author I get to be listed with people like her and Delia Sherman and Ted Chiang and Nancy Kress. Oh, Nancy I am so sorry about the one-legged squat, honest! I know it wasn’t the best etiquette, but they dared me!

I enjoyed a long conversation with Andrea Hairston, this year’s Tiptree winner and last year’s winner of the Distinguished Scholarship Award at ICFA. We discovered much to our amazement that a friend and former student of hers is one of my former students from when I taught secondary school physics in Barbados! The serendipity did not end there. While in conversation with Farah Mendlesohn, we discovered that the friend who I’d promised to visit on my next trip to the UK is chaplain at Anglia Ruskin, where Farah will be taking on head of department duties very soon!

So many good conversations and pleasant encounters: Charles Vess, Rachel Swirsky, my Crawford cousins Daryl Gregory and the newly-minted Genevieve Valentine, Siobhan Carroll, Theodora Goss (shared a reading slot with her; her story, and her delivery of it, was amazing), Andy and Sydney Duncan, Stacie Hanes, Mari Ness, Peter Straub, China Mièville, the brilliant Brit Mandelo, Dennis Danvers, Nancy Hightower … and all those whose names I have forgotten, whose name-tags I failed to read properly, especially those who gave me rich conversations on literature and folklore and pure, beautiful, creative silliness.

 

Catching up

I’m seizing this moment, a brief lull between projects, to pull together various bits of news that I’ve been mentioning quickly on facebook and twitter. First of all, I don’t think I posted about the lovely cover for the UK edition of Redemption in Indigo:

Cover for UK edition of Redemption in Indigo

Publication date is 1 March, which is two weeks from now!

Next, I wanted to talk about the extremely weird and wonderful Shared Worlds 2012 critter map. Hover, click, explore. It’s filled with little descriptions and entries on various fantastical beasties written by the likes of Tobias Buckell, Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Lavie Tidhar, the incomparable Ann and Jeff VanderMeer and many more . I greedily snagged two entries, but if you read them you’ll see why. If you like what you read, take the time to donate to the Shared Worlds SF/F teen writing camp.

Finally, I’m attending a number of conventions this year. I’m confirmed to be at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando USA from 21-15 March, the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad from 26-29 April, the Bim Lit Fest in Barbados from 16 -20 May, and the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto Canada from 1-4 November.

That’s it for now. I’ll update soonish as more happens!