A couple of us at Sirens made some random gifts. [personal profile] lnhammer made little origami creatures during the convention (I got a beautiful pink pegasus and a slightly wobbly blue rat) and I had, before arriving, made some clay figurines of their characters for any victims authors who expressed interest.

[personal profile] janni got Ari and Freki from Thief Eyes, [personal profile] coraa got a set of characters and a bonus pigeon from her novel-in-revisions about a pigeon shapeshifter, and Cindy Pon got Ai Ling and a dim sum banquet. The accompanying dragon is by Larry. (Page down for photo.)
rachelmanija: (Unicorn emotions)
( Oct. 15th, 2010 12:35 pm)
I am still in Arizona, writing and riding at [personal profile] dancinghorse's place, admiring and interacting with her beautiful Lipizzans.

The day before yesterday we did yoga with the horses. They came over, quite fascinated, and began to interact with us. As usual, I was correctly perceived as a potential source of hilarity, and also ticklish. Several of the horses, especially Khepera, came over and began gently bloooowing across my belly and tickling bits of bare skin with their whiskers. When my squirming and giggling got old, he attempted to eat my hat, my hair, my shirt, and my boots:

Photos of attempted hat-eating.

Once the class ended, even though we were physically in the same configuration, we apparently ceased to be herd-like. The horses quickly got bored and wandered off.

Yesterday I got a riding lesson on Carrma, who walked me into a tree four times in a row. Another horse, Pandora, attempted to do the same to Cora, but Cora sensible brought her to a stop. I was monomanically fixed on getting Carrma to turn rather than stop, and so got repeatedly whacked in the face by a gauntlet of dry, low-hanging twigs. This may be some sort of revenge by the hero of my current book-in-progress, as I had a horse walk him into a saguaro.

Here's video of me riding, though luckily for me and unluckily for you, Cora failed to record my unfortunate tree encounters:
From Horse
Camp, October 2010
and
From Horse
Camp, October 2010


[personal profile] coraa is still posting reports on and photos of Sirens - check her LJ for panel summaries and women with wings.
The Golden Age of YA Fantasy, featuring myself, Sarah Rees Brennan, Malinda Lo, and Janni Lee Simner. Check [personal profile] coraa for more!
Photos of me modeling various outfits from Sirens, including my debut as the Prohibition Pixie!

Read more... )
I have completely lost track of what I did on what day, so this will be a bit random from here on out. Check [personal profile] coraa for ongoing panel write-ups and photos.

I loved this con more than I have loved any con since the very first time I went to World Fantasy and met Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman (who were at Sirens) and Charles de Lint and Joe and Gay Haldeman and Sharyn November (who were not). This despite the rather daunting altitude, which made me seriously sleep-deprived the entire time. I am hoping that should Sirens get enough attendance next year to be able to continue its existence, it will move to a more accessible - namely, lower - location.

I especially enjoyed how overwhelmingly female it was - there were literally three men there. (Hi, Larry and Kyle!) I very rarely get the chance to be in such a female-majority space, and it made the experience of, among other things, dressing up and going to parties much less fraught and more fun. I suspect, for instance, that had the number of men reached a certain threshold, far fewer women would have danced.

The launch party for Marie Brennan's A Star Shall Fall had Marie holding court, magnificent in modified Elizabethan dress, attended by her husband Kyle, eye-catching in a suit and full mask with moss and rather tentacle-tastic dangling roots, and Manda in an amazing mermaid knight costume with blue fish scale armor and makeup and a rapier. Later, at the ball, we got to see them dancing, complete with huge whirling skirt and swinging rapier. Here's a slightly blurry photo by [personal profile] sartorias.

I was also impressed by the Aspen Fairy, with wings of branches and golden aspen leaves which she'd collected hours before the party, so the colors didn't fade; a woman with constructed monarch butterfly wings, and another set tattooed on her back; [personal profile] newsboyhat in steampunk wings with gears, goggles, and a dress whose circle theme echoed the gears; and another woman in a perfectly coordinated and styled black steampunk outfit.

There was still yet more prettiness at the ball. I was happy to just lounge and watch all the women dancing, in artfully tattered drag and painted silk, in wings and swords and swirls of gauze.

I wore a black and white knit lace dress, flapper-style, and was soon dubbed the Prohibition Pixie. I lounged on the sidelines of the ball, using a glowstick as a faerie cigarette-holder. A murder mystery was going on at the same time for those who wanted to participate, and eventually a faerie wandered over and asked me if I knew the Spider Faerie.

"What will you give me if I tell you what I know about her?" I asked.

"What do you want?" asked the incautious faerie.

"Your firstborn."

She hemmed and hawed, offered me other things, and then gave in. "Okay!"

"I saw her attending the Queen about an hour ago," I replied, and smiled.

Later, another faerie came up and asked the same question. I made the same reply, but this faerie was more cautious: "I already gave birth to four books. I don't have a firstborn left to give."

"I'll tell you what I know if you buy me a drink," I offered.

She fobbed me off with a rather pretty business card, and I gave her the same answer.

Later, I was sitting in the lounge, when a small group tapped me on the shoulder and told me I needed to come get my photo taken for a group picture of the suspects.

"I'm not a suspect," I said.

"Yes, you are!" one said triumphantly. "We're on to you! You're the Spider Faerie, and you killed the king!"

Apparently my slightly spiderwebby dress, sinister smoking, and suspicious behavior had convinced everyone that I had done it. But I had only been inhabiting my Prohibition Pixie, and acting with suitably fae capricious malice.

I explained that, and that I was not even playing the game. They retreated, astonished and regrouping. Later I heard that the innocent-looking Aspen Faerie had done it.
rachelmanija: (Autumn: small leaves)
( Oct. 8th, 2010 08:11 am)
I am posting early because apparently a side-effect of high altitude is insomnia. The night before last I woke up about every hour all night. Last night I couldn't fall asleep till after 4:30 AM, then woke up at 8:30. I am really hoping this goes away before I leave.

Last night I went to Holly Black's keynote presentation, wearing a little black dress and black silk opera gloves in honor of Holly's con artist fantasy White Cat - there will be photos eventually. There I met Cindy Pon, Malinda Lo, Shveta Thakrar (in a gorgeous high-necked black lace top), and other cool people. Larry Hammer made me a pink origami pegasus and Cora a green origami griffin. We decided they were Mercedes Lackey characters and their love was pure and true. (There will be photos of that later as well.)

The keynote address was very entertaining, especially the part where she and Sarah Rees Brennan enacted an elaborate con on the audience.

Holly: "Sarah and I are the con artists. You [the audience] are the mark. You're baristas.

Holly (after pondering): "I need a stuffed animal."

An audience member tosses her a red-haired, blue-skinned Nac Mac Feegle doll.

Holly: "This is a dog."

Holly comes into the cafe and asks to leave her dog inside while she's at a job interview. The baristas refuse. Holly then asks if it's okay to tie it up outside, does so, and leaves. Enter Sarah.

Sarah: "Hello! I have just jetted into your strange land. My goodness, how quaint you little common people are here... say... IS THAT AN ALBANIAN SWEFF-HOUND? IT IS! I breed them, and I am in need of a stud. How many gold bars... no... what currency do you funny little people use here? How many dollars for this precious hound?"

The baristas tell her it belongs to someone else. Sarah leaves her card with them so the owner can sell it to her for five hundred million dollars. She also leaves $1000 cash as a guarantee. Holly returns, woeful.

Holly: "I didn't get the job... Me and Spot will be out on the street... I can't afford to feed him and me..."

Honest barista: "There's a lady who wants to buy -"

Dishonest barista # 1 (Ellen Kushner): "I'll buy your dog for fifty bucks!"

Holly: "Oh, I couldn't... What about for five thousand?"

Dishonest barista # 1: "I don't have that kind of money..."

Dishonest barista # 2 (I think Delia Sherman): "We can pool our money! $1250!"

Holly: "Okay! Goodbye, Spot! I'm sure they'll take good care of you."

Exit Holly, to rejoin her confederate, $250 richer and minus one stray or stolen dog.
rachelmanija: (Autumn: small leaves)
( Oct. 7th, 2010 09:34 am)
I have arrived and am rooming with [personal profile] sartorias, [personal profile] coraa, and [profile] rhinemouse. Vail is at 8100 feet, and is covered with brilliant yellow aspens and evergreens. The aspen leaves are jointed at the stem, so they quiver individually in the wind, like suspended confetti.

The majority of the attendees arrive today, so the convention doesn't really get started till tomorrow. But those of us who showed up early had a nice dinner (my favorite part was the superb berry-apple crumble) and got our programs and an adorable T-shirt with a fairy and a reading girl. Last year was a reading girl and a woman warrior, and next year will be a reading girl and Medusa - the themes being, respectively, fairies, warriors, and monsters.

I got to briefly say hello to Terri Windling, and had a lovely long chat with Delia Sherman, whom I hadn't seen in at least ten years. At dinner, Ellen Kushner said something which intrigued me: we had been asked what books changed our lives (many cited Harry Potter) and Ellen mentioned that she had found, while looking at her own work and sometimes that of others, that sometimes the first books we read over and over and over again - the very first books after we graduated from picture books - crept into our prose style forevermore. (Not the subject matter or themes necessarily, more the rhythms of the sentences themselves.)

I am now trying to figure out who might have left his or her fingerprints on my six-year-old soul and thence my current work. Possibly Kipling's Just So Stories, with their strong rhythms and repetition. "But I am still the Cat Who Walks By Himself, and all places are alike to me."
rachelmanija: (Naruto: Start as you mean to go on)
( Oct. 5th, 2010 05:50 pm)
I am right now in a room in Utah with [personal profile] coraa and [personal profile] sartorias, fulfilling my long-held dream of going on a road trip with friends! We are driving from California to Colorado - halfway across the United States. (It is very large.)

I am writing in haste as we need to go eat, but a few highlights:

- Rock formations in Utah - striated red cliffs jutting up from the ground, others worn down to the black volcanic stone beneath the red, and wind-worn rock formations like elephant feet (said Cora), like a fat grasping hand, like castles, like lego blocks.

- We visited Fort Cove, a Mormon fort and telegraph station, built in fear of Indian attacks but where the only gunfire on the premises was caused by one small white boy accidentally shooting another small white boy - his brother - in the knee. It was beautifully preserved and renovated, and we had a very sweet guide who was rather bogglingly consistent in relating EVERYTHING to Jesus:

Brother Joe: "See how the quilt has an uneven pattern? They ran out of red and finished it anyway."

Me: "Yes, they didn't waste anything."

Brother Joe: "It shows how Jesus doesn't care what you look like, only how you are on the inside."

- Driving through Nevada, we were inside a spectacular lightning storm. Brilliant sheets of lightning flashed, and great jagged bolts shaped like question marks, loops, and arrows split the sky. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm glad Sherwood was driving.
.

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