So y’all get a Three-for Thursday. 🙂 I still wrote a poem for each day; I just didn’t get to post about them.
Actual deadline day, so we went for a kinda haiku. Definitely needs work, but the photo is from Kamakura, Japan. I was able to catch one of the golden eagles that hang around there diving for a fish.
This is from Meiji Temple in Tokyo, Japan. There was a raven on the tori, which looked really cool. It was a super foggy, rainy day, so it took some cleaning and cropping to get the photo to a place where I was okay with it…
I’m also watching American Gods, so Odin’s Ravens decided to poke their beaks in and make this cross-cultural. And about warrior sacrifice and corpses.
I call the pair “Munin at Meiji.”
This pair is more whimsical and based on American soil…and from Arisia, where I got to go to an Absinthe Tasting room party. There’s a long history of absinthe and artists, so that’s where I went.
Poems and photos are rough and raw; I’ll edit and fix them up later. My April challenge is about the creation, not the finessing. Please do not copy or share the photos or poems I’m posting. I am not finished, and sharing them can hurt my future plans for these pieces. Thank you!
Not that I figured I’d get far in any poetry journey without a faery poem, but in going through the pictures I’ve taken and am using for inspiration, there’s no less than three that are titled “Faery ________.” If you’ve known me or been following me for some time, I’m sure you’re shocked. Completely and utterly shocked. <insert sarcasm>
This particular photo is “Faery Bed,” and I’ve named the poem to match. I took this picture in Scotland while I was doing research for my MacArthur series of books. It was at this wonderful and magical place, Traquair House, which is the oldest inhabited home. It has a hedge maze; secret passage ways; Victorian furniture (including a writing desk in the room and a canopy bed!); delicious food (with option for a romantic dinner with fancy crystal-ware!); all sorts of trails through the woodlands, wetlands, and gardens; free range farm animals and peafowl; and nesting grey herons that sound like dinosaurs. Really, what else could anyone ask for?
I found this copse of azaleas that looked like a canopy bed and had recently discovered our camera did this “punch” thing with colors that makes them more vivid. (This was 2012, well before cell phone camera and Instagram filters.) Even without the color “punch,” I was intrigued by what looked like a faery bed of purple flower petals beneath a branching canopy of twisted limbs and green leaves. This was the best of several pictures I took, and I knew I’d write something to match it eventually.
The poem, like all of what I’m posting, is in its rough draft form, too. My aim is to compose the poems this month, and then go back and edit later.
Please do not share the photos or poems I’m posting; I am not finished, and sharing them can hurt my future plans for these pieces. Thank you!
Three months into the year, and it’s a FOURTH convention schedule I’m posting! Woohoo!
(At some point my personal blog posts will be more than convention schedules; I promise! I have thoughts on a variety of things and some health updates, too…)
Anyway, I know it sounds redundant, but this is another beloved convention of mine! Conbust!
Conbust is a student-run feminist SF/F convention held at Smith College every spring. I found out about Conbust through Broad Universe, not realizing that such a gem was basically in my back yard. (I grew up in Springfield, about 15-20 minutes from Northampton.)
I have a pretty ambitious schedule this year at Conbust, so if you’re looking to follow me to all my panels (and they are pretty awesome panels, so you might want to), make sure you are loaded up on your favorite coffee or energy product! I’m scheduled in the very first panel slot, the very last—with eight panels in between!
Also, I’ll be traveling to and from the convention with my friend and editing colleague, Suzanne Lahna, who has their first novella out. They’ll be on a bunch of excellent panels, too. Find out more on their blog!
Since Conbust is on a college campus, I won’t be hosting a party here, and we don’t have either a Broad Universe or New England Horror Writers table here, so it’s all panels and catching up with some of the great people I only get to see at this convention. I’m excited!
Oh—quick note, these aren’t the official convention descriptions. They’re mine—and subject to change depending on the audience / panelists. I’m also not listing the panelists here because there were some last minute changes that I don’t know got finalized… but just check the guest list! I’m on panels with almost all of these spectacular people!
Without further ado, here’s where I’ll be:
Friday, March 23; 5:00 PM; Room 101 – Fandom and Criticism
Can you criticize what you love? Should you? Why is it important?
Friday, March 23; 6:00 PM; Room 201 – Hero, Protagonist
Discussing writing the protagonist hero, or analyzing them.
This was my favorite panel of last year’s Conbust. Actual reenactment fighters play out writer battle scenes! Of course, now I need to figure out which gods’ awful fight scene of mine needs the most work / will provide the most entertainment to the audience…
Saturday, March 24; 10:00 AM; Room 101 – Suspension of Disbelief
What throws a reader out of a story? How can writers avoid these pitfalls? What’s the term “Flying Snowman” (coined by John Scalzi) and what does it mean to writers and readers?
Saturday, March 24; 11:00 AM; Room 109 – Freelancing: More Ways to Make Money Writing
This panel will discuss the ways people can make a living working with words. No, it’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible. See if this career works for you or if you want to stick to the day job.
Saturday, March 24; 2:00 PM; Room 204 – Everything but the Writing
Note above panel on making money while writing? That’s Making Money Writing 101. This is Making Money Writing 102 and talks about the business decisions you’ll have to make if you decide you want to make money while writing.
Fairy tales is my jam. So is writing for kids. This is a thing that far predates my efforts, though, so I love studying and talking about it. Come discover all the nerdy, geeky goodness children’s fairy tales have to offer!
Saturday, March 24; 5:00 PM; Room 109 – Fairies
Rather apropos that this is in the same room immediately following Children’s Fairy Tales. Except the fey are NOT just for children. In fact, they can be kind of predatory on children—or humans in general. And they go waaaay beyond “fairy tales.”
I have been under a bunch of deadlines for editing and writing… and had a bunch of fresh new health issues pop up over the past couple of weeks…but despite being late posting this, I am SUPER EXCITED to be returning to Boskone this year! And DAMN, look at that great schedule!
And if I’m not on a panel… I’ll likely be found at the Broad Universe table in the Dealer’s Room…
or, if it’s Friday Night, I’ll be throwing the Broad Universe Party again! Look for us on the hotel Party Floor!
Outside of tabling and partying, here’s my fabulous schedule:
Tarot and Divining Fantastic Fiction
Format: Discussion Group
16 Feb 2018, Friday 17:00 – 18:00, Lewis (Westin)
Author and Tarot guru Trisha Wooldridge leads a discussion on Tarot, fortune-telling, and the art of the seer in fantasy and science fiction. Trisha will provide a live demonstration.
Folktales Within Poetry
16 Feb 2018, Friday 18:00 – 19:00, Marina 3 (Westin)
From “The Lady of Shalott” to “Goblin Market” to The Iliad, some quite engaging poems are inspired by folklore, legends, or myths. What other examples can we add — perhaps from non-European poetry? What do folk sources bring that an original story might lack? Our panelists will discuss (and perhaps read) some of their favorites — what are yours?
Theodora Goss (M), Jane Yolen, C. S. E. Cooney, John Chu, Trisha Wooldridge
Group Reading: Fiction for Kids and Young Adults
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 12:00 – 13:00, Griffin (Westin)
Boskone presents a special group reading for lovers of children’s and young adult fiction. Our authors provide a range of stories and topics that are sure to delight and entertain!
Kristy Acevedo, Daniel P. Dern, Erin M. Hartshorn (M), Sarah Jean Horwitz, Justin Key, Trisha Wooldridge
This is a special group reading designed to generate a larger crowd in order to introduce more people to the work highlighted in the session. There may only be 5 chairs at the table. If so, we ask that the moderator has a couple extra chairs moved to the table area. The group reading is scheduled for 50 minutes and each reader has 5-minutes to read. Please be sure to time your reading to ensure that you don’t go over time. The “moderator” is assigned to welcome everyone to the reading and announce that each reader will introduce herself/himself along with their piece as their turn to read comes up. If there is time available, please open the room to questions.
Border of the Unknown
17 Feb 2018, Saturday 17:00 – 18:00, Marina 1 (Westin)
Much fine fantastika involves crossing the boundary between the known and the unknown — especially that uneasy border between the village and the trees. Let’s look at the long history of that great unknown, the enchanted forest. Why has it pushed and pulled at people’s imaginations since ancient times? To find out, let’s stroll away from safety and into the woods, as the liminal light fades and the shadows gather all under the boughs unbowed …
Theodora Goss, Errick Nunnally (M), Trisha Wooldridge, Dana Cameron, Gerald L. Coleman
Live from Boskone: A special selection of tall tales as told by our program participants — plus audience members. All show off their open mic skills in the third annual Boskone Open Mic extravaganza. This year features the myths and legends of yesterday, today, and tomorrow! Each participant contributes his/her most legendary performance — a 5-minute story, poem, song, skit, interpretive dance, or whatever!
OPTIONAL: For extra appeal, feel free to come dressed as your favorite mythic or legendary character.
The Rules: Boskone members are invited to join our participants in the open mic by signing up for one of the six open slots at the door to the event, which opens for sign-ups at 7:30 p.m. Each performer is given a firm 5-minute time limit (max), including setup time. So a quick transition between acts is key. Please no profanity: DragonsLair is within hearing distance.
Elaine Cunningham (M), Lauren Roy, Kenneth Schneyer (M), C. S. E. Cooney, Carlos Hernandez, Gabriel Erkard, E. Ardell, Benjamin Newman, Roberta Rogow, Don Pizarro, Trisha Wooldridge, Mary Ellen Wessels, Edward L. Stauff
Neil Gaiman Anniversary Reads
18 Feb 2018, Sunday 13:00 – 14:00, Harbor II (Westin)
It’s a notable year for Neil Gaiman, with publication anniversaries for his engaging, ironic dark fantasies The Graveyard Book (10th) and The Ocean at the End of the Lane (5th) — plus from his lighter side, Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion (30th). Let’s gab about his novels and stories, comics and characters, movies and TV adaptations and rock-star aura.
Bracken MacLeod (M), Jane Yolen, Justin Key, John Langan, Trisha Wooldridge
I love doing conventions, and I’m always really thrilled to return to the Arisia family each year!
And look… I am actually remembering to post my schedule so people can find me!
During hours I’m not on panels or giving workshops, there is an excellent chance you will find me at the Broad Universe table in the Dealer’s Room. I have books! It makes me super happy when people buy said books and ask for signatures. <3
So, outside of the Broad Universe table, here’s where you can find me THIS weekend at ARISIA!
Friday, January 12, 8:30 PM, Room 404 – Party Not Found? 2 (Electric Boogaloo)
I’m hosting the Broad Universe party at Arisia, and they put me in Room 404 again—and even a technophobe like me can make bad puns. Do find us and enjoy great food, great stories, and meet some awesome Broads!
Saturday, January 13, 10:00 AM, Adams – Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
(I’m waking up early after throwing a party for y’all!) Come discover your new favorite writer as members of Broad Universe read short excerpts from their work. Each writer has just a few minutes to show you what she’s capable of! We offer chocolate and the chance to win prizes. Broad Universe is an international organization that supports women writers, editors, and publishers. NOTE: Not all authors may be in attendance for the entire time slot. Other members of Broad Universe not listed may be reading.
Saturday, January 13, 7:00 PM, Douglas – Rewriting Fairy Tales: Updating our Mythologies
(I’m moderating!) With anthologies such as _The Starlit Wood_, along with many authors choosing to rewrite and rework old fairy tales, what is the purpose of rewriting our myths, or writing new ones? What can we learn about ourselves when we bring these old stories into today? What is the purpose of creating new fairy tales?
Sunday, January 14, 11:30 AM, Bulfinch – Writing & Tarot
Last year we filled this up, so this year you gotta pre-sign up at PROGRAM NEXUS. In any case, I love teaching this hands-on workshop that talks about Tarot as both a tool for divination and a tool for your writing.
Sunday, January 14, 4:00 PM, Alcott – Tricks for Self-Editing
I’m thrilled to be giving this workshop again too, and this is another that fills up quickly, so pre-sign up at PROGRAM NEXUS. Why should you sign-up and come to this workshop? I’ve edited over 50 books for multiple publishing houses; I teach writing and editing; and I put a lot of effort into not making people cry. And what I can teach you will make you a better writer because most of writing is editing.
Sunday, January 14, 7:00 PM, Independence – Everything But the Writing
This is Trisha’s killing the workshops year at Arisia! And it’s another one you should pre-sign up for at PROGRAM NEXUS. I’ve been in business as “A Novel Friend” since 2003—and I have the tax forms to prove it. This is a look at the business side of making a career as a writer or editor, whether you want to stick to fiction or branch out into journalism, non-fiction, or “other” realms.
I also write poetry! And so do a bunch of other awesome folks. Do you? Join us or come listen. If you want to read, come early to sign up for a slot.
Monday, January 15, 1:00 PM, Alcott – How to Train Your Dragon & Other Writing Issues
(Because animal stories! And as an editor, I have been known to leave…detailed…comments on misuse of animals in Track Changes.) Whether you’re writing horses and dragons in a medieval setting, or having your space hero(ine) bond with a psychic cat or flying banshee, incorporating animals into your fiction requires knowledge of how real-life animals act. Our panel of experts will discuss how to write real and unreal animals, what they eat, how often they need to rest, how they act around humans, other animals and machinery; and other interesting tidbits which can bring your sci-fantasy stories to life.
I’m thrilled my first post is from Vonnie Winslow Crist, a woman after my own heart when it comes to faery tales and folklore. I just love her post here!
Ogerhunches and other Goblins by Vonnie Winslow Crist
Goblins are dark Faeryfolk often associated with Halloween. They appear in fantasy literature and film from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter to scary nursery rhymes like Little Orphan Annie by James Whitcomb Riley. And there are so many terrifying varieties of goblins that a Red-cap, Bogy, Padfoot, Barguest, Tankerabogus, Grindee, or Ogerhunch could be hiding under your stairs this very minute!
Not all goblins are as fearsome as Red-caps who wear hats died crimson in the blood of their victims. Nor as frightening as a Bogy who is known to follow people around calling out, “I want my bones.” Nor as unnerving as a Padfoot who walks behind an unsuspecting person, then runs up to his side and roars. Nor as scary as a Barguest with its horns, teeth, claws, and fiery eyes. Nor as dreadful as a Tankerabogus who comes and carries naughty children away to its pit-hole. Some goblins are actually more terrifying!
When I wanted to add goblins to my Young Adult fantasy adventure novel, The Enchanted Skean, I had to decide what my goblins would be called and what they’d look like. Plus, I wanted to give them characteristics which would make them repulsive and fascinating at the same time.
The first type of goblin I created are Grindees. They’re smallish nocturnal goblins that travel in swarms of 20 to 30 individuals. Grindees chase down travelers, devour both animals and humans, then steal whatever valuables they possessed. They have glowing orange eyes, mottled skin, elongated fingers, multiple horns, and wide mouths filled with razor-sharp teeth. Able to speak in a hissing, lispy manner, Grindees are happy to let a person know just how much they despise humans – just before they bite them.
When it came to creating the second type of goblin for The Enchanted Skean, I decided to find an archaic word for a frightening creature. One of the fabulous words I found in Jeffery Kacirk’s The Word Museum was Ogerhunch. According to Kacirk an Ogerhunch is “Any frightful or loathsome creature, especially a bat.” Well, I’m a fan of bats, so I decided to make my Ogerhunches goblins that looked like forest debris and stumps. A horde of Hunches will sneak up unnoticed, knock their victims to the ground with their branch-like limbs, then suck their juices out with their rootlets. Luckily for the protagonist in my novel, Ogerhunches aren’t especially smart and they’re afraid of fire.
In the sequel to The Enchanted Skean, Grindee and Ogerhunches are sure to appear. The trick will be to add an even more devious goblin to the mix.
So this Halloween when your doorbell rings and you open your door to trick-or-treaters, keep your eyes peeled for goblins. It’s easy to separate them from the neighborhood kids – their ugly faces aren’t masks and they don’t come off with make-up remover. And remember “you better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear, and cherish them that loves ya, and dry the orphans tears and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about, or the goblins will get ya if ya don’t watch out!”
About the guest writer: Vonnie Winslow Crist is author of a YA fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, 2 speculative story collections, The Greener Forest and Owl Light, and other books. A firm believer that the world around us is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, Vonnie celebrates the power of myth in her writing.
Finn (not bleedin’ Finnegan) MacCullen is eager to begin his apprenticeship. He soon discovers the ups and downs of hunting monsters in a suburban neighborhood under the demanding tutelage of the Knight, Gideon Lir. Both master and apprentice are descendents of the Tuatha De Danaan, a magical race of warriors from Ireland. Scattered long ago to the four corners of the world, the De Danaan wage a two thousand year old clandestine battle with their ancient enemy, the Amandán, a breed of goblin-like creatures.
Now with the beasts concentrating their attacks on Finn, he and his master must race to locate the lost Spear of the Tuatha De Danaan, the only weapon that can destroy the Amandán, all the while hiding his true identity from his new friends, Rafe and Savannah, twins whose South African roots may hold a key to Finn’s survival.
Armed with a bronze dagger, some ancient Celtic magic, and a hair-trigger temper, Finn is about to show his enemies the true meaning of “fighting Irish.”
Vikki and I were going through the slush pile when we both fell in love with this manuscript. Irish mythology! Adventure! In the suburbs!
Only… it was skewed a bit young for what, at that time, we were familiar with as the type of book SHP went for.
At first, unbeknownst to each other, we each still individually jumped on Kate to expand the SHP vision to include mid-grade.
Kate, in her usual awesome-Kate-ness, said something to the effect of, “Sure, I think we can do that!” and then informed us we each had asked for it, and wouldn’t it be nice for us to co-edit the manuscript.
Lots of fun ensued.
Including Vikki snickering at me searching through tissues for this one particular scene I was editing at her kitchen table. Because snark and teasing so don’t fit with the things we adore about Darby’s characters. Noo… not at all! Finn is such an angel… no, wait, that’s Darby’s other books (also awesome.)
So, with the ups being the immediate emotional ties we had to the characters, our love of the humor and dialogue, our appreciation of the story… what was there left for us to edit, you ask?
Well, there was a big chunk of “No, you need to write even more about this, this… and definitely more Gideon!” (Seriously, wait till you meet the knight!)
Since this is also written in third person, mostly through Finn and Gideon’s eyes, we also played around with the point of view, which is a lot of fun to play with because it can both offer some excellent insight to the characters, but get confusing if it gets away from you… as writing often does in its journey.
Also, for my part, my roommate-at-the-time and I experimented with my collection of daggers, dirks, and knives to ensure the plausibility of using one’s jeans to hold a blade (notsomuch, boy/girl-butt shape regardless). Vikki picked up on the specifics of knife sharpening (whetstone needs oil) and set me to work helping her sharpen some kitchen knives for missing something I should’ve caught. ;). Of course, in my geek world, any excuse to (safely) play with blades and talk about them makes me a happy camper.
As I said, much fun ensued.
Furthermore, because having so much fun editing wasn’t enough, I managed to hook Darby up with one of my favorite Celtic bands, Emerald Rose, who let us license their music for the wicked cool trailer! Darby loved them so much, she also asked about licensing to quote their lyrics to “Fire in the Head” in the novel. Way cool!
While I have not had the chance to hug Darby in person for this release, I’m happy to direct you to her page where, if you’re out west-ish, you might get to do that for me. She’s got an excellent tour planned with her boys (Finn and Gideon… and possibly Griffin and Basil might make a showing), that, if at all possible, you must check out.
At the very least, you have to get yourself your own copy of Finn Finnegan to love and hug.
And be tortured by as you wait for its sequel, Gideon’s Spear, coming out next year.