I flew into New York and almost instantly was in the car down to Massachusetts with my friends Cassie and Josh. While in the car I chatted with my agent and my editor, who are being magnificently fabulous as usual and keeping me in the loop about my cover model. (I have a cover model! And a photoshoot! Some days it is a great effort to restrain myself from going for the medicinal brandy at all hours.)
SARAH: I like this model very much. I admire his dark intensity! In a professional way. Yes. Professional.
CAR RADIO: Hot-blooded, check it and see! I got a fever of a hundred and three!
AGENT: Did you hear something?
EDITOR: I think I heard something.
SARAH: Really, because I heard nothing. Nothing at all!
Before I get into the conventions I have just attended in Massachusetts and Oklahoma, have you ever wondered what else I do on the net besides bothering you guys? No? Too bad, I shall tell you anyway!
Among other things I belong to a very awesome community called fangs_fur_fey, which is set up for writers of urban fantasy. Over there I interview authors. Other interviewers ask insightful and thoughtful questions... I mostly ask about characters' underwear. (I'm not kidding. One writer asked me if I'd do one of my underwear interviews with her. I bring such shame to the entire writing community.)
Despite all the shame I bring and due entirely to the awesomeness of my interviewees, I've done fun interviews with Tiffany Trent, Melissa Marr, Shanna Swendson and Sarah Prineas, and I was looking forward to hanging out with them and other fangs_fur_fey people in Oklahoma a lot. I was also scared down to my socks since the only person there I knew was Tiffany, and I could hardly hang onto her hand and hide behind her all weekend. (For one thing, hiding behind people while being almost six feet tall is a sad and hopeless task.) Plus, in Oklahoma I was going to be on panels. Sitting in front of audiences talking to them as if I knew what I was saying. With cameras rolling, too.
I went to Readercon determined to learn everything I could and to Conestoga hoping I would not make a dreadful twit of myself. And I probably did make a twit of myself, but I had so much fun!
What I loved the most about both the conventions was something Melissa pointed out, which was that writers talk in a particularly fun way. In Oklahoma we all started talking about trying to read in the shower and how it never ends well, lucky numbers and the lovely Rachel Vincent and I launched into a serious discussion of how much we wanted a nemesis. We agreed to share one and combine our powers to defeat them, once they showed up. In Massachusetts Holly Black started a spirited debate about the Functions of Werewolves In Fiction. Number Five is to lose out to vampires in romance. Oh, those wily vampires. I think it's because they're more metrosexual than werewolves.
GIRL: How, how do I choose between my two supernatural suitors?
WEREWOLF: I offer you eternal, almost doglike, devotion. And wild, not to say animal, passion!
GIRL: That does sound good...
VAMPIRE: But I'm a snappy, snappy dresser. And I never have to wax my back.
The conventions were also notably awesome because several people came up to me and said that they liked this journal. Thank you, guys! You are extremely fantabulous and I was terribly pleased to meet you all. Though a trifle embarrassed, since of course there is no book to talk about yet, so most of what I had to offer was clever remarks like 'Watch me - I have learned the arcane art of eating with sticks!' and 'Raisinets, such an exotic name!' Note to self in future: try to be less lame. Perhaps come up with song and dance routine!
Speaking of the book, talking about it at cons has reminded me that I really must think up a brilliant and snappy way to describe it. So far the best I can come up with us 'He's a sullen, slightly sultry sword-wielding mechanic. He's a sweet Sumerian-loving nerd and a crack shot. Together (somewhat distracted by demons, earring-wearing boys and ferocious ladies) they fight crime magicians.' Which is not exactly snappy.
Between conventions I imposed terribly on blackholly and spent several delirious days with her and other lovely folks, popping in and out of her secret library, running through torrential rain in a shoulderless gown to hear a story that blended Frankenstein and Pride and Prejudice, and writing next to a waterfall.
Then it was off to Oklahoma, where not only was I on panels, but I actually moderated the Demons, Fairies and Zombies panel. Moderators have to organise and lead the discussion. (In front of cameras!) I was glazed like a ham with panic and of course all I did was make jokes and try to organise people into Team Zombie, Team Faery and Team Demon. Team Faery (Melissa Marr and Marie Brennan, tragically no relation) knew a thousand interesting things about faeries. I mostly made up stories about the lost Shakespeare zombie play.
SARAH: Everyone likes an undead boyfriend, am I right? We've already got tons of vampire boyfriends lying around the place slippin' girls some tongue and fang combo.
AUDIENCE: Oh God, she is crazy.
SARAH: So I predict that the next big thing will be zombie boyfriends!
MELISSA: What would I do with a boyfriend who was decaying, Miss Vile Imagination Rees Brennan?
SARAH: ... You could keep him in the fridge!
Jen Barnes decided that the whole convention should be translated into song, and I was pretty pleased that my assigned song was something I apparently said at my panel, Rosemary And Her Babydaddy (Didn't Have A Forever Kind of Love). Feel free to think up the lyrics to that one, and I will sing them!
After the panels Ally Carter, blessings and chocolate sprinkles be on her name, took me away and fed me hot fudge sundaes. This sugar high turned out to be a terrible mistake when I was brought back to meet innocent people who were fixed with my crazy eyes and asked: "So, would you be Team Vampire or Team Werewolf?"
Saturday night featured patricemichelle's clever drinks ideas and me, so tuckered out, unable to keep my eyes open. But I couldn't possibly go to bed, because two brilliant and funny ladies were telling stories. Jen Barnes was on one side of the room saying 'And the monkey leaped for my throat, so I had to attack him with limes!' and Ilona Andrews was on the other saying 'The situation involving the pig went badly, but then there was that whole business with the dead body...'
There was no way I could go to bed and miss all that. Which meant I was slightly overtired the next night in Chicago, when I had another adventure that involved an ancient Chinese sage, a fiend in the shape of an airline attendant, a terrified fifteen year old girl and a tray full of buttermilk doughnuts.
I like conventions! I must admit that I'm a little nervous about the video footage...