Mea culpa. I’m busy. Like, STUPID busy. So back to the list of stuff to tell you all about!
Ely Cathedral, viewed from the back where there is a lovely cafe/tea house with garden seating. And baby ducks waddling around. For whatever reason, Ely is a ‘city’ because it has a cathedral. Bury St Edmunds, however, is only a town, but is way bigger and has way more shopping. Go figure.
Inside the cathedral. That ceiling!
What happened when I had two suspicious moles removed (well, maybe I won’t tell you about that…)You really don’t want to know. It’s TMI.
Sissinghurst with visitors from the States
Ely was in May. Not too long after that, some lovely visitors from the states came and a bunch of us went to Sissinghurst for a look round. I’d been before (so no pics here), but many others in our group hadn’t. And a lovely time was had by all!
Presenting a paper at the British Country House 1914-2014 conference in Newcastle
Presenting a paper at the Great Writing International Creative Writing conference in London
Part of the ridiculous business this year was the result of having to prepare presentations for two academic conferences, both in June. I presented a paper about time in gardens in children’s novels that are set in English Heritage/National Trust or otherwise very historic houses. It was an interesting conference because it was academic but geeky at the same time; a boatload of smarty-pants people who love ‘house-pr0n’ in books and films, all talking for two days. At the second conference, I presented a paper about finding the theme of a story or novel that you’re writing and not getting caught up in the idea of a moral or lesson. You can blame fairy tales and the Victorians and Disney for that. Well, partially. But in any event, the presentation went rather well, and it’s something I’d love to be able to condense to show to my writing students one day.
Going to Belgium for a couple of days
I went to Brussels back in October 2010, but it was nice to go again and see more of the place.
Chocolate shops. That is all.
The last time I saw the square, it was dark and rainy. This time, the sun shone and made the gold glow.
This goose just cracked me up.
After two days in Brussels, we went to Passchendaele. I had no idea until then just how many of the bodies were buried without being identified.
Seeing the Tour de France
So, I didn’t realise it, but the Tour de France spends the first three days in NOT France. They came to Cambridge this summer, and we totally had to go.
BUNTING! This stuff was *everywhere* in Cambridge. Some was knitted–so cute!–but I didn’t get a pic of it.
Before the race got going, there was a “parade”. It deserves the quotation marks. It was a bunch of cars & vans from sponsors, some throwing freebies into the crowd. Like pens and keyrings. This is a French supermarket chain. They threw NOTHING. Not even cheese!
Before the race, each rider was introduced and had to go up on stage to sign in. For whatever reason, the MCs were American and pronounced in Cayum-bridge, which people in the US don’t even do when talking about the city in Massachusetts!
As close as I could get to the line. Watching a bile race in real life is sort of a 10-second thing: ZOOM they all whiz past, and then they’re gone.
Finding out that I’ve been named as a guest at a SFF con
Getting ready for NineWorlds GeekFest, LonCon3 and British Fantasy Con
Being a panelist at the con
Going to LonCon3 as a volunteer and a panelist
These are all related, so…
I did three cons this year: Nine Worlds GeekFest, LonCon3 (World Con) and British Fantasy Con. One day I checked the Nine Worlds site to see updates, and found out that I’d been named as a guest! You can find me near the bottom of this page.
Doing three cons nearly back-to-back was exhausting but awesome. At Nine Worlds I did two panels, one on ‘school stories’ and the other on sex & love in SFF lit, which was so much fun (and 18 and over only crowd). I did a more extensive write-up and included pics on my ‘official’ blog. I also got to take part in a New Voices reading and share a piece of my PhD novel to a standing-room-only crowd, which was amazing. After Nine Worlds, I had time to go home, do laundry, pack, and head back to London for LonCon3.
At LonCon3, I was a volunteer and helped with set-up in the exhibits hall, part of which was getting a 20-foot-long stuffed dragon to STAY on top of the wall of a 3-sided booth. That’s one for the CV! I was also on panels, and have blogged more and posted pics about it here. The vibe was different from that of Nine Worlds; part of that has to do with the size of the con (LonCon had 8,000 people). While I was there, I found out that I’d sold a new story! (YAY!) There will be a Kickstarter for it, starting soon. I’ll try to find time to share info here, but the story will be my first official SF sale, so I can now add another genre to my collection 🙂
On the second day of LonCon, my throat started to feel scratchy, so I figured that talking non-stop for nearly a week was taking its toll. On the last night of the con I started coughing. Not a good sign. I ended up with the worst case of con crud I’d ever had. I’d not been that sick since pneumonia three years before. I was home sick for close to three weeks. It wasn’t pretty and even included a chest x-ray.
Selling a story and then signing books at a launch for the anthology
Having my short story turned into a chapbook that was put into goody bags at Nine Worlds
A couple of years ago, a friend who is also an awesome editor invited me to submit a short story to an anthology he was putting together. Because of PhD stuff and life stuff, I missed that deadline. It made me feel like such a heel. Luckily he understood and extended another invitation, and so last year (this time last year to be exact) I sent him a short story that matched the brief of order vs chaos in science from 1660-1860. He loved my story “Fairchild’s Folly” and it is included in Irregularity. One of the coolest things is that I got to be part of my first official book signing! We signed in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
Me. In front of the Museum. In a dress.
Before we signed in the gift shop, several authors form the anthology did short readings standing below a collection of ship figureheads.
Fiarchild’s Folly, bite-sized!
My editor is so cool and loves the story so much that he hired an artist, had a cover designed, and made it into a chapbook. Many were dropped into the goody bags at Nine Worlds, I have a few, and he kept some more for review copies. How cool is that? The story has also got some really nice mentions in reviews!
And so that ends this catch-up. Whew!
Up soon: the Kickstarter for my next anthology, moving (yes, I know, another town–but it’ll include lots of pics), PhD stuff (surprised?), teaching maybe, and the run-up to Xmas!