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Ah, Florida. Land of glorious sunshine.

It's kind of cruel that I was born and bred in Ireland, Land of 363 Days of Rain, when I love sunshine so much.

It may also have been kind of cruel of me to woo my roommates Karen Healey and R.J. Anderson out into the glorious light of day when they find the endless beautiful golden sunshine oppressive (I don't understand this - are they vampires in their souls?) but I feel no shame. I bribed R.J. Anderson with the third book of the Demon's Lexicon trilogy and the first hundred pages of my new thing, which were both on my ereader, and Karen Healey (handily enough for me) bribed herself with poolside Diet Cokes.

However, I did do things in Florida besides lounge like a giant brunette lizard.

There was much hanging with awesome authors! Ali Wilgus (aliwilgus) talked about writing a tie-in novel for an existing universe (Avatar: the Last Airbender) which was really interesting, and I wished to corner her and learn more, but sadly she escaped my clutches! Naomi Novik (naominovik) drew dragons doing shocking things on my copy of Tongues of Serpents.

And there was much hanging with awesome readers! Not only after my panel, in which I got to sign and chat and was even given gifts, among which was lovely fanart and a gorgeous steampunk talisman (Readers, your mere presence is enough, but thank you very much!) - but also at an excellent panel discussing diversity and prejudice in fiction. And I saw the Harry Potter World, and thought how strange it must be to be J.K. Rowling and have your imagination brought to life this way, and my night was made by a lovely lady telling me she loved Demon's Covenant in the sweet shop.

And then came the time for mine, Karen Healey and RJ Anderson's reading. It was a time of great nervousness, as 1) Would anyone show up? and 2) Would my Curse fall upon us all?

It has become clear, over the years, that I am cursed in some way. This curse is something along the lines of 'May you live in interesting times.'

Things just go wrong for me. It is nobody's fault. It is The Curse.

KAREN, RJ AND I: We can haz room?
PEOPLE: Ooops, room is taken. Er - follow us this way!
KAREN, RJ AND I: Are you guys coming to our reading?
PEOPLE (taken aback by our wild eyes): Um. Maybe?
KAREN, RJ AND I: YOU MUST FOLLOW US NOW.

So we sat on tables in our wee room. People who came to our reading, you are one and all heroes. (Also, awesome ladies all. Thank you very very much.) (Edited to Add: Also one of said ladies was Jaclyn Dolamore (fabulousfrock, author of Magic Under Glass, so that was very pleasing!)

Karen Healey (karenhealey) read aloud a certain super creepy section from Guardian of the Dead which made me relive the trauma of reading said super creepy section, and for the rest of the weekend I had traumatic flashbacks and cringed in fear away from tiny lizards. (Don't ask me to talk about the lizards!)

R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) talked about reading Madeleine L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet, in which a lady is bffs and soulbonded with a paraplegic character - and is romantically with his able-bodied brother.

I haven't actually read that book, but it immediately reminded me of George Eliot's A Mill On the Floss. Which is a book I am fond of, because it focuses on a fierce young lady by the name of Maggie, and her love for her brother. However the romantic plot drives me crazy.

MAGGIE: If only my brother Tom would keep me company and let me enjoy lessons with him!
PHILIP: Uh, we could do lessons together. The other boys and I, not so much compadres. Given the fact I am hunchbacked. I am sullen, pale and have some issues!
SARAH: Wow. It's like Colin Craven and Richard III had an awesome baby.
PHILIP: But I love learning and I want to teach you Latin and revel in our love of books together and also I love you hopelessly and passionately and I want to give you EVERYTHING!
SARAH: Sounds good to me, dude.
MAGGIE: Well, you know, mayyybe, but there is something missing...
STEPHEN: Hello! I am handsome, manly, athletic, did I mention manly? Sooooo manly. Soooooooo manly, I'm engaged to your cousin Lucy.
MAGGIE: HAWT.
STEPHEN: Whoops, we accidentally eloped in a boat.
MAGGIE: Oh my God, this is terrible! I was confused by your hotness!
STEPHEN: It's very distracting I know! And I have these magnificent arm and shoulder muscles! They only helped me row the boat faster - to our sexy doom.
MAGGIE: Oh my God, but Lucy!
STEPHEN: Sigh. I'm such a manly, manly heartbreaker.
MAGGIE: Oh my God, but Philip!
STEPHEN: Come on now, Maggie, I like Philip, but he couldn't seriously expect me to marry him...
MAGGIE: Let me off this boat! For honour's sake! But let me make this clear - you, Stephen, are the sexiest gentleman in all the land.
STEPHEN: Imma flee to Holland from the scandal, k?
MAGGIE: So manly. Just so manly.
LUCY: It's cool, Maggie, you're still my best cousin.
SARAH: So okay, if Maggie is deranged and doesn't fancy Philip, perhaps Lucy will observe Stephen's gross cheating ways and go for-
LUCY: Oh Stephen, I'll wait for you. You're so manly. Just so manly.
PHILIP: dies alone, after a lonely life. DESTINED to be alone. Epitaph reads: Should've been more manly.

So you could say I found Philip's fate a little irritating. But as writers are just as inspired by the things in books that they hate as the things in books that they love, seeing this sort of thing inspired RJ to write Paul of Knife (UK title)/Spell Hunter (US title), who sketches, weightlifts, helps out faeries, uses a wheelchair, is crazy hot, and gets the girl. RJ actually has a great essay about this phenomenon here.

One of the things I talked about the way we sometimes see girls, positioned from other girls' points of view, in books, movies and TV, as being dazzlingly beautiful or crazy talented at something. And we understand, just through seeing them that way, that the other girl doesn't like them, and we're not meant to like them either.

Which is just kind of baffling! So I talked about wanting my heroine, upon first seeing my other female MC being both dazzlingly beautiful and crazy talented, to react by going 'Whoa, who is that awesome person?'

We all basically agreed that we are inspired by being annoyed. And we forced everyone to stay an extra hour with us, talking about Alaya Johnson and Georgette Heyer and what we wanted to read and what we wanted to write, and it was just lovely.

My favourite thing, in a Harry Potter convention, a Twilight convention, or an Attolia convention (is there actually such a thing? Because that would be amazing, and I would go) is to see everyone excited about and talking about books. Because that is my favourite thing basically ever.

And it is always wonderful for me when people are excited about and talk to me about mine! So thank you, Florida. (I miss you already, sweet sunshine!)

Edited to Add: And I came home to this wonderful present of fanart. Sin in the middle is just right.

Comments

( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
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serena_mcmurray
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
I always love your adventure posts! I have never heard of someone who causes so much mischief when away... must be the curse :)
sarahtales
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
The Curse! Some have doubted it. My agent Kristin threatened me with dire threats if I kept talking about it. But finally even she admitted it existed. Nobody can deny the curse forever...
rj_anderson
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
I am not a vampire! I am just a Person of Delicate Skin Sensibilities. Who hates all forms of sweating. And furthermore, is a wimp.

However, if there was an Attolia convention in the middle of the Sahara I would go with you and sit in the sun FOREVER until I turned black and shriveled up, even if you did not give me books to read, because -- dude. Attolia convention. That would be AWESOME.

Thank you for warning me about Mill on the Floss. At least now, if I ever decide to read it, I will be forewarned that the romantic plot will send me into CAPSLOCK RAGE.

And it was glorious meeting you and hanging out, and I hope we can do it again some time! Hopefully at that ATTOLIA CONVENTION.
sarahtales
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC)
I know you and Karen are vampires in your souls. But I love you both anyway. Perhaps because of the fatal vampiric allure, who can say?

I just made up the Attolia convention, but now I long for one. That, and the Retreat of Destiny. You totally wouldn't sit with me in the sun, though, you'd be attending panels called: How To Lose A Thief In Ten Days. Day One: Maiming.

Mind you, even I'd skip out on the sunshine for that.
(no subject) - rj_anderson - Jul. 20th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosaleeluann - Jul. 20th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
kathleenfoucart
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Argh, some day I will get to go to one of these conventions with fun panels and cool authors. Until then I will have to gnash my teeth and read your posts.
sarahtales
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
There's Sirens, later this year. Holly Black will be there, and Cindy Pon, and Sherwood Smith, and Malinda Lo! (And me, but disadvantages must be coped with...)
(no subject) - narutootaku - Jul. 19th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jul. 20th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - slythwolf - Jul. 19th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
narutootaku
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
Your posts are always so entertaining, I love hearing about them. I am sad that I didn't get to go to the awesome big convention in Florida, but super excited to see you in Arizona. I have formed a small group of minions who worship your writing down here and will be taking them with me to see you. :)

as a side note when I finished reading The demon's covenant "Whoa, who is that awesome person?" Pretty much summed up my thoughts about Mae. I love her so incredibly much.
sarahtales
Jul. 20th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
Hurray, a group! Wherever I go, I am doomfully sure nobody will want to see me, so I will be delighted to see all of you.

And *beams*!
(no subject) - narutootaku - Jul. 20th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sarahtales - Jul. 20th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC) - Expand
sabriel75
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
Am excited to let you know that I wrote fanfiction of the sketchy 30 word ficlet kind that immediately caused a friend of mine, saphariel to go out and read both your books and texted me about twenty minutes ago to say that she will be joining my fanfiction Demon's Lexicon brigade. XD
sarahtales
Jul. 19th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
Well, thank you for that obviously extremely effective pimping! You are too kind. ;)
aome
Jul. 20th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
It was lovely to see you again, albeit briefly. I wished I had been able to stay to the end of the diversity panel so I might have been able to do more than wave, but I was trying to juggle too many things that afternoon. :P Anyway - I'm glad you had a great time. :)
nqdonne
Jul. 20th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
The reading was lovely, and I am the one who got your UK addition cover, for woe, I had left my copy at home and the lovely essie007 gave me her prize. It was super great, and I am so glad to have met you!

If you decide to come to Ascendio, I shall make sure you have a GREAT BIG ROOM and not a storage closet. With shiny, pretty graphics in the program! XD
hakkai_duo
Jul. 20th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
It is such a shame, I live in Tampa which is less than an hour away from Orlando (I fear I am more like the Lovely Ms. Anderson and Ms. Healey, I prefer to stay out of the hot, humid, sticky and generally icky sunshine...but that is besides the point)I heard about Infinitus, but was unable to get my resources together quick enough to be able to make it. My weekend was spent in woe knowing that I missed a great convention that was home to some of my favorite Authors (fear not you are included in that category lol)

Oh well, are there any plans for you to attend sometime again? I would love to be able to meet you. I think you are simply amazingly inspiring. (More trips to Florida maybe? We are pretty much sunny all year around...lol)

Glad you enjoyed my homestate so much.
sheron
Jul. 20th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
[One of the things I talked about the way we sometimes see girls, positioned from other girls' points of view, in books, movies and TV, as being dazzlingly beautiful or crazy talented at something. And we understand, just through seeing them that way, that the other girl doesn't like them, and we're not meant to like them either.]

Oh word! This has always baffled me as well. I'm just getting to like the character, and then wham, I realize from the rest of the girls-on-screen reaction that she is not on the Approved list. Bizzare!
rivki8699
Jul. 20th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
Sarah, this is totally unrelated to your post (which was awesome, as per usual). But I just saw the news that Draco Malfoy (ok, Tom Felton, close enough) got a record deal. And I felt moved to share this news with you.

http://music.msn.com/music/article.aspx?news=511485>1=28102
boojumlol
Jul. 20th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
That is one of the many, many things that pissed me off about Disney's Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Ok, it's Disney, they give it a happy ending, it's expected. The thing is, the obvious happy ending would be for adorable Quasimodo, with his hunchback, deafness and unshakable integrity, to actually get the girl he's madly in love with. No. Disney heroes must be devastatingly handsome and manly, and they can't change Quasimodo without changing the name of the movie to The Devastatingly Manly Man of Notre-Dame, which doesn't have quite the same ring, and also, won't make people watch it because it is a classic. So what do they do? They make the handsome, caddish villain into the hero. Bah and bah again.

I haven't read The Mill on the Floss but the romance in Daniel Deronda annoyed the hell out of me. I have great adoration for Middlemarch, though, and ship Dorothea and Will Ladislaw like crazy.
msmcknittington
Jul. 20th, 2010 06:26 am (UTC)
Well, to be fair to Disney in this one circumstance, Quasimodo does die in the book. Um, while clutching Esmerelda's hanged body in the grave, which is pretty weird and probably not appropriate for children. But it is galling that they made the handsome blond guy into the action hero and Quasimodo into . . . the sidekick with disabilities who talks to gargoyles? I don't even know what to call him. Of course, the fact that there's an animated version of this book is strange on the whole. It's almost like an animated Duchess of Malfi.

I haven't read The Mill on the Floss but the romance in Daniel Deronda annoyed the hell out of me.

What was it about the romance in Daniel Deronda that annoyed you? I kind of loved that Gwendolen and Daniel didn't end up together -- that Gwendolen's character arc didn't involve true love at the end.
(no subject) - boojumlol - Jul. 20th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msmcknittington - Jul. 20th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - insane_duckfish - Jul. 20th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - boojumlol - Jul. 20th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC) - Expand
boojumlol
Jul. 20th, 2010 02:26 am (UTC)
Oh, and you know that Australia is also a land of sunshine, right?
areth_lovejoy
Jul. 20th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)
So glad to hear that your trip went well:) And am now ridiculously jealous of Rebecca. She has no right to be so fortunate as to have access to book three and a WIP!

Hope your own Ireland gets some sunlight soon!
thegreatmissjj
Jul. 20th, 2010 03:51 am (UTC)
New York! New York gets sunshine! ...some of the time! You should come here again!

When I was a child I adored Madeleine L'Engle's books about the Murray children, although A SWIFTLY TILTING PLANET is a strange and rather infuriating book. It's more philosophically sci-fi/fantasy than her previous works about Meg and Charles Wallace Murray, and sort of self-consciously meta in that there is the barest hint of a suggestion that the wheelchair bound brother is writing/has written the entire novel you are reading. (My 9 year old brain wasn't equipped to handle that, which is probably why I always cast the novel aside when I reread the series.) Which, dude, way to write yourself into the short end of the stick, buddy.
rockinlibrarian
Jul. 20th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC)
Yeah, Swiftly Tilting Planet was always a bit too much for me too, and this is from someone who named the little girl in my icon Madeleine for a reason. I know exactly what you mean about it!
zumie_ashlen
Jul. 20th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
There should totally be an Attolia convention. Heaven knows the reprobates of the Sounis community would be crazy enough to go.

Or at least I would.

And I love reading about how things people read in books inspired them to do them ~*~with a twist~*~, because I realized recently that's what happened with my own writing.

I hope someday I can make it to one of these conventions/readings! I think I would be very happy there!
beth_shulman
Jul. 26th, 2010 02:58 am (UTC)
So, a place where I believe being called a reprobate is actually a compliment :)

And there was an Attolia convention. A really small one about 3,000 miles away from me, so I couldn't go. *weeps* Still waiting for updates on that.
(no subject) - zumie_ashlen - Jul. 26th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
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