Monday, November 12, 2012

Mile Hi Con Highlights - Days Two & Three

First, I'd like to send my thanks out to our veterans.  I hope to honor those in my family this [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday.  And my love out to my brother who leaves the 20th of this month (my birthday) to go into the Navy.

And before I jump into Mile Hi Con, Day 2, a quick NaNo update (I have not yet written for today): I'm at 18900 words, and had a great breakthrough during a movie last night, which is funny, because said movie had nothing to do with my novel.  It was two words said, and they were being used in an entirely different way than I will now be using them.  I love that inspiration can strike anywhere, for any reason.

Now for Mile Hi Con, Day 2  (Day 1 can be found here):

I had my workshop presentation on "Social Media for the Professional Woman" that morning, so I didn't end up back in Denver until a bit after 3 p.m.  Once I got up there, I got checked into my room (only my second time ever being in a hotel room on my own) and changed, then met up with my friend.  Day 2 was a lot easier on me, more comfortable.  I had a better idea of how things worked, where things were, etc.

We took in part of a panel on "Science Travesties in Current Media," which was interesting.  There was a panel of people with knowledge in different areas (for instance, an ex-Navy man pointed out that the orange torpedoes used in The Hunt for Red October are test torpedoes and would not actually blow anything up, and a woman on the panel discussed how unrealistic it was to outrun the volcano in Dante's Peak).  I don't have a lot to report on this one, though, due to missing most of it.  However, suffice it to say, always do your research.  There will be someone who knows about what you're writing about, and it will bother them when your information is inaccurate.  That's a reader you've just lost.

After that panel, I attended my very first "Once More With Feeling (and) Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog Sing Along."  I only recently started watching the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix (I know...gasp!), so this was the first time I'd seen the episode Once More With Feeling, but it was great fun, and easy to follow along.  Even better, the lights were out, so you could sing without being embarrassed.  And I did!  This particular episode is a musical, with some manner of curse causing everyone to randomly break into song and dance.  Quite fun!  Then came Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, which I'd only seen once before (again, courtesy of Netflix), and only this past year.  At least I'd seen it, though, so I knew the tunes a bit better.  I'd totally do this again!

I attended a reading, and I will not name the readers, because I discovered I don't like just sitting and listening to people read.  I need to be reading it myself.  I can't pay attention to books on tape, either.  Maybe it's the ADHD, I don't know, but I was bored out of my mind.  Now, it did make me want to purchase several of the books.  It was not at all about the books not being interesting.  I just can't sit and listen to people read.  I can't sit and watch a movie without fidgeting, either.  It's just not for me.  Again, some really interesting books were shared, though, and they're on my wish list now.

We grabbed some food and then ended up taking part in some after hours fun.  I won't go into that, because I have to say that after hours at Mile Hi Con, stays after hours at Mile Hi Con.  Suffice it to say that I didn't get to my room until about 2:30 in the morning, and that I hung out with some people that I respected in the writing world, which was fantastic.  I also met a lot of new people and had a good time.  And I can safely say, in case you're worried, that I didn't do anything regrettable or illegal.  Well, I'm pretty sure it was all legal... (just kidding, was all illegal!).  Come on, you all know I'm a boring old mom.

The only thing I'm sad about is that we were going to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I've seen it, of course, multiple times, but I've never gotten to see it with a crowd, singing along, participating, you know?  And that is an experience I'd like to have, just because I haven't.  Maybe next year?  I don't know if they do that every year, but I hope to have the opportunity next year.

Since that was short, I'm going to run through Day 3.  I didn't get up early, because, well, I'm a mom, and I wanted to sleep in, dangit!  And there was nothing I so desperately wanted to do that I was willing to drag my butt out of bed.  Once I did drag my butt out of bed, I had a lovely, albeit overpriced, meal in the hotel (I took all my meals in the hotel at one or another of their restaurants, so they were all overpriced - at least the food was good).  After breakfast, I had to check out and take all my stuff out to my car, so I missed another hour's worth of programming.

After that, I went to the second half of "Transparency & Ethics in Scientific Research" and left feeling dumber than when I went in, not because of a failure on the parts of the panelists, but because a few of the discussions were a bit over my head.  I don't take part in scientific research, don't write papers on it, etc.  I did find it interesting, though, which is why I attended.


I then went to "Comedic Elements in Horror," which was fun.  Those of you who stopped by during Alex's Genre Favorites Blog Fest know that my guilty pleasure is horror comedy, so this was right up my alley.  The panelists were Jesse Bullington, James K. Burk, Wayne Faust, Stephen Graham Jones and Molly Tanzer.  They discussed needing those tension breaks in a movie, and how comedy works well for that.  It's a better version of the startle response (for instance, the cat that jumps out in so many horror movies).  You startle and laugh at yourself, and some of the tension is broken up so it can grow again.  But in horror comedy, you get a legitimate laugh to break that tension.  A quote I enjoyed was "Nobody laughs at a clown at midnight," originally said by Lon Chaney.  It means things that aren't scary in one setting (say, a birthday party during the day) can be scary in the right setting (let's look at Stephen King and the clown in the sewer).  It's about how you handle it, how you set it, and the unexpected.

After lunch it was time for the "Strong Women in Sci-Fi" panel, with Rudy Ch Garcia, CJ Henderson, Cherie Priest, Jeanne Stein, and Molly Tanzer.  They discussed what made a strong female in books, and it wasn't necessarily the cliched bad ass, but just a woman who showed strength of character and fortitude.  Women can be strong in many, many ways, and they don't all involve big guns or vampire stakes.  And they certainly don't have to involve scantily clad females.  Women who weren't strong were those who needed to be rescued (though not accepting help is not, in itself, strong either), who were dependent on others, who were foolish.  Overall, a valid point was to study women you know.  Who do you see as a strong woman?  What makes you feel that way?  What traits make her a strong woman?  Do you know a weak woman?  What points might she have that you'd want to avoid?  As someone on the panel said, it shouldn't be that hard to write a strong woman unless you've never had one in your life.

My final panel before heading home was entitled "Forget About the Midi-Chlorians and Embrace The Force! Religion and Sprituality in SF & F."  On the panel were Stephen Brust, Michael Carroll, Daniel Dvorkin, Warren Hammond, and Aaron Ritchey (one of my columnists over at Writing From the Peak!).  Most agreed that religion should play a part in world building, as religion is big in people's lives.  Look globally.  How does religion play a part in real life?  Consider that when building your worlds.  Religion dictates ways of life, laws, morals, etc.  So don't forget that detail.

At this point, I was thoroughly exhausted and missed my hubby and my babies, so I took off, skipping closing ceremonies and bobbing for authors (fun in the hot tub - I had no interest in being seen in my bathing suit).  Traffic cooperated with me, and I was able to get home in time for a wonderful dinner, put together by my hubby.  And I got to read to my babies and tuck them in at bed time.  Perfect.

Any of these panels you might have found interesting?  Do you know what a midi-chlorian is (cuz' I didn't)?  Would you laugh at a clown at midnight?

May you find your Muse.


  1. That's a lot of panels and classes. Cool one focused on Joss Whedon!
    And I think most readings are a little boring.

  2. I'm so excited about your breakthrough! I need one of those. Or maybe several.


  3. I can't handle readings either, and I'm not ADHD. I think it's just because people don't read with any inflection. You work so hard to write a story, and then you read it like you've been forced to share a college essay in front of the class. No one wants to hear your Ben Stein voice, folks.

    People always perk up their ears when I read at readings, because I actually act like I'm telling a story. It always makes a huge difference.

  4. What an awesome time! I'm with you on listening to books--not usually my thing. Although, the Harry Potter books on CD did save my life. Had to spend a day driving through Kansas, and I think I might've rolled my car for entertainment had I not had those excellent audio stories to cheer me on. ;-D

  5. I'm exhausted reading this! Epic adventure. And lots of love to your brother... Bless your sweet family!

  6. I'm not a book on tape person either. My mind just wanders. It's just that one thing, though. I'd rather just be reading. The voice becomes monotonous.

    And, sure, they don't -need- to be scantily clad, but I'm sure -everyone- would agree that it's better when they are. :P

  7. wow i'm exhausted from reading this will have to re read as i'm sure i've missed some of the points here

  8. I so love Joss. The Sing Along Blog was a fun watch.

    The con sounds fantastic. Wish I was there.

  9. I've never attended a live author reading, but I think I might enjoy it since I listen to audio books often.

    Glad you enjoyed the conference. :)

  10. Alex, they really packed in the stuff at this. I'm accustomed to a writer's conference where everything ends at about 5ish, and then it's dinner and bar time to hang out. They had all night programming! Crazy.

    Debbie, I love a breakthrough! I hope you get yours.

    ABftS, when are you going to have a reading down here? Eh? And yes, you're right. Considering how I read to my kids, I think I'd do pretty well. A couple readers were very engaged, and it did help.

    E.J., we drove across Kansas to Kansas City and I had images of Children of the Corn running in my head the whole time. We listened to Harry Potter cassettes on the way to Oregon years ago, and the reader was phenomenal. I'm betting it was the same guy as on the CD's. I will say that I enjoyed Lemony Snicket, which was read by Tim Curry, as well. We listened to one of those on the way to Oregon this past summer.

    Morgan, it was definitely an experience, and thank you!

    Andrew, haha, admittedly, even I think of the kick-arse chicks as being leather clad. It's ingrained. And yes, my attention just completely wanders. My eyes need something to be doing in order to be fully engaged.

    Becca, it was definitely exhausting!

    Mary, you may appreciate that Amber Benson will be one of the authors at Pikes Peak Writers Conference this year!

    Linda, I bet you would then! I like the idea of them, but just can't keep focused.