It’s a Monday: Post-Illogicon and David Bowie Thoughts

We had a local con this past weekend, and I was Guest of Honor. It was the third time I had done the GoH thing, and it was by far the best. One previous time was nice, but I didn’t know a lot of people at the con so I felt strangely out of place, and another previous time should not be talked about in public. *

I also didn’t know HOW to be a GoH. No one tells you that. Well, no one except Mary Robinette Kowal, who included a GoH guide in her series of blog posts for debut authors.

But I kind of know what I’m doing now (in no small part thanks to MRK), what I need from the con, and how to get it. And this con had a lot of friends and colleagues and, bonus, my family were able to drop by.

I had an hour-long reading. I’ve not had very good readings at recent cons, again, not going to go into the details why, but my confidence has been shaken. So I read from a work my agent is shopping around and then just talked to people.

Then something amusing happened. To set the stage: In season 4 of Arrested Development**, George Michael Bluth is in college and, through misunderstandings and trying to impress a woman, suddenly finds that an app he and a friend are writing is blowing up to rival Facebook, VC angels are lining up to help fund, and Anonymous is targeting him. It’s one huge misunderstanding but he’s so taken in by the attention that he goes along with it. When you find out what the app really is, it’s a hysterical reveal.

To bring us back to Illogicon, with time still left in the reading, I started talking about various things I am working on. Because Ursula was my media escort (THANK you, Ursula. Kids, if you’re ever GoH, always get an escort. Even if you’re not going to be mobbed like GRRM or Gaiman, it’s still vital.) she was there with me, and we started talking about a very weird idea we have had together, one that our friends and family and agents think we’re crazy for coming up with. Contrarily, we’re even more driven to create this. I threw out the idea that we should, instead of making it a story, to make it a text based online story app (like the Choice Of Games) and said it could be similar to Hatoful Boyfriend. (Something I’ll write about later.) We laughed about it, and then the hour with Mur was over, and I went on to the next thing.

That night I read a blog post from someone who was there, and he mentioned “the video game Mur and Ursula are working on.” O_O

Then the VCs started calling. Then Sony. Then those TVs at gas pumps started talking about the mysterious game writing geniuses…

OK, maybe not. Ursula said if Sony called then we will do all that we can to make this damn thing a video game. But… Sony’s not calling yet. And we have nothing close to a story, much less a video game. But it was nice to have someone excited about it, at last.

Other highlights of the weekend: my kiddo did a hand-sewn costume of Frisk from Undertale which won her Best Youth entry in the costume contest! Did I get a picture? Sigh…

I did a Live Podcast panel where I brought Ursula to the stage to run through Publishing D&D, like Matt and I did at WorldCon for Ditch Diggers. It was a lot of fun (and I was more prepared). In response to a encounter with a little gelatinous cube that sat in the front row, regurgitated an arm to wave at her and offer “not a question, more of a comment”, Ursula drew this after the panel:

“Not a question, more of a comment.” Ursula Vernon

All in all, Illogicon was awesome! Thanks to the great volunteers for their hard work in making me feel welcome, and I can’t wait till next year because it will have Daniel José Older as GoH.

*Ask me at a con. After you buy me a drink.
** I’m so conflicted about season four of Arrested Development. It had a lot of problems, like uncomfortable problems. On the storytelling craft and episode editing, it was brilliant. On the actual story, showing how the characters had evolved, it was terrible. I can go on about that in another post, because it fascinates me and bugs the shit out of me at the same time.


A lot of times when celebrities die, the Internet goes into loud, collective mourning on social media, and I don’t join in. Sometimes I don’t feel my “me too, sad” addition will contribute, sometimes I feel more comfortable with my own thoughts. Sometimes I feel separated from reality, like I don’t understand how we can attack someone one day and then deify them once they’re dead. (eg: Michael Jackson.)

Or sometimes, as in the case of David Bowie, I don’t feel as if I had enough ownership of the man to mourn without feeling like a pretender.

This is ridiculous on several levels. As someone with perhaps… .000001% of Bowie’s fame, I still resent the idea that fans can claim an ownership of me and my work. But it’s what happens, right or wrong. When you’re a fan, the art speaks to you, it becomes part of you. You feel ownership. This is why people come to blows over insults against a piece of art. You insult this thing I love, you insult ME. But I never owned Bowie.

Aside: I like that. “Wasn’t a fan” implies I have active negative feelings instead of neutrality. “Didn’t own” can mean closer to the concept of accepting their talent but saying their work was never a big part of my life.

To tell you about my music and musical movie upbringing, or lack thereof, the first time I’d heard of David Bowie or Bing Crosby was when they did a duet of “The Little Drummer Boy.” I saw it on MTV as a teen and, since I didn’t know the old crooner or the wild young rock star, I didn’t realize the irony of that pairing for the song. I just thought it was a pretty song by two men.

Later in life when I saw the world outside the wee little mountain town I great up in, I always liked what I heard from Bowie. In particular, I loved Labyrinth. Loved how he snapped at Terry Gross about how Ziggy Stardust was a tiny bit of his huge career, but people love focusing on that part. And “Space Oddity” was the one song of his that simply ripped my heart out.

But still, I don’t own any albums, can’t tell you how his career moved through the decades. The world is mourning and I feel distracted and odd, sad but not sure I have the right to feel sad, and then I’m annoyed because dammit, I deserve to feel however I feel.

I can tell you this much, he was a genius, prolific, always evolving, and I’m very sorry he’s gone.

ADVENTure Calendar: Day 1

Fiona returns to open her Advent Calendar, this time as Carolina Smith, intrepid adventurer, looking for clues to a lost civilization.

Music by John Anealio: Batman’s Rebuttal – buy the song or album and tell him how awesome he is!

As always, inspiration coming from Grant’s Advent Calendar. Go see how it all began.

Game of Thrones night at the Durham Bulls! #sansaball

Wherein I started a bizarre fanfic two years ago that suddenly got attention:

Two baseball seasons ago, I had a silly thought: What would happen if I live-tweeted a Durham Bulls game as if I were the young, innocent Sansa Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones) attending a tournament? So I went on about my hair and the Hound and Joffrey and lemon funnel cakes and calling all of the players “ser” and “the Bulls of House Durham.” My daughter became Arya*. I tagged it #sansaball and ended up enjoying the game a great deal.

After a few games, I made some ground rules for myself. In the books and TV series, Sansa’s story (well, everyone’s story) goes a bit (a lot) dark, and #sansaball would only be fun if I presented as the Sansa who was innocent and had a perfect view of noble knights and perfect royalty. The Sansa who was forced to watch [REDACTED] and then marry [REDACTED], etc, was not someone who would delight in a home run. Speaking of REDACTED, I didn’t want to spoil anyone on the later books, either. (Although I admit it would be fun to try to tweet as Sansa’s evolved character by the end of book five. Her tone would be a bit different. OK, I just spoiled that she’s alive through five books. I FEEL TERRIBLE.)

It turns out that the guy who runs the Twitter account for the Bulls is a Game of Thrones fan and he jumped into #sansaball, talking about how the Greyjoys sponsoring the Norfolk Tides. We decided their mascot was the drowned god, by the way. People who didn’t even like baseball were following the tweets, and I was invited to DetCon in Detroit so I could attend a Detroit Tigers game and tweet as #sansaball (I really wanted to, but schedule didn’t work out.)

The marketing branch of the Durham Bulls are big time geeks, apparently, and last year they had a Star Wars day complete with themed jerseys (auctioned for charity), light sabers for the kids, and Darth Vader doing a force choke on the Bulls’ mascot.

Now we’re at 2015 and opening day is 22 days away. The Bulls recently announced another geek themed day, a Game of Thrones theme, with special jerseys again and more fantasy fun. I’m excited to be mentioned as a part of it, as they pointed out #sansaball in their announcement. But today, Entertainment Weekly did a small piece on it, and covered #sansaball extensively. I’m a bit stunned.

But BASEBALL IS COMING. We have our tickets for Game of Thrones night at the Bulls, complete with #sansaball. So follow on Twitter if you like, it’s a lot of fun!

got-baseball-jersey* Wasn’t sure how to refer to Jim. He’s pretty much better than all the men in ASOIAF – perhaps he’s like Ned Stark but he’s not terminally stupid. And Ned is Sansa’s father, anyway. Ew. Otherwise, Sansa doesn’t have good taste/luck with men. I couldn’t call him the name of the sadistic prince or the whoring, drunkard dwarf** or the burned murderer or the master of lies or the totally gorgeous-but-gay knight or the creepy-ass kid who wants to be an Oedipal complex when he grows up…
** I know Tyrion is a fan favorite. I like him too. But still, some of his most notable qualities that are fun to read about are not something you look for in a spouse.