January 26th, 2010


Portland......was swell

...was swell, and a good time was had by all, I think. So many thanks to Rebecca and Zach for their fabulous hospitality! :)

The haul from Powell's:
Bangkok 8 by John Burdett, which I'd seen recommended by Ellen Datlow. Already devoured, passed to my mother with a hearty recommendation, and I'll be looking for more in the series.
Flesh Circus by Lilith Saintcrow, also already devoured, because I love her stuff and hadn't run across this one before.
Knights of the Cornerstone and Land of Dreams by James Blaylock
The Drowned Life by Jeffrey Ford
Saffron and Brimstone by Elizabeth Hand
The Seeds of Time by Kay Kenyon, whose sf I invariably enjoy, and who I consider a match for most of the bigger sf names.
The House of Storms by Ian R. MacLeod
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Black and White by Jsckie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge (yay for female superhero fiction!!)

Notable events included: a staged reading of To Kill A Mockingbird; hanging listening to Jeff Johnson tell hysterical stories as his hair grew more and more fabulous with each Jameson's; a spectacular walk to a point where Portland lay sprawled out before us in municipal splendor; a great meal at the Cozy Cat accompanied by elaborate cocktails; not one but two lunches with Wayne's dad; and the sugary goodness of Voodoo Donuts.

This week: more bathroom struggles (right now I'm painting, then installing the new switch/outlet plates while we still wait to hear from the contractor), starting on a project that I'm not going to talk about quite yet; a dentist appt, a Friday reading, and on Saturday the SF Shorts program.

Busting Up A Starbucks

 I'd like to write about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding corporations and campaign contributions but every time I think about it I get really depressed.  Instead, I'll point to this opportunity if someone's looking to work with a magazine in a volunteer position. (And Fantasy usually has a need for volunteers in one capacity or another - right now I'd love to find someone to work with the podcasting side of things.)

It's useful (imo) for new writers to get a taste of working with a magazine and to see some things from the other side of the rejection slip. Reading slush gives you a good idea of what to avoid and why editors keep insisting that a simple cover letter is just fine, thank you. You arrive at some sense of how many people are out there writing, at varying levels of skill, and the maxim that perseverance is crucial gets underscored. It makes you step up your own game in a major way.

This is NOT something I'd advocate over writing, though. If you've got the bandwidth for it, though, it can be useful, but avoid throwing all your energy and identity at it. Unless you're a born editor rather than a writer, in which case you may find out something very useful. And others before me have pointed out the importance of women being involved in publishing to the project of seeing more writing by female f&sf writers being published.

Go vote for your favorite story of 2009 from Fantasy Magazine!

Other editors and people who work with publishing, chime in.  Has it been useful to you or a detriment? What am I overlooking?