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They Say They Were Laughing With Me

May 10, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Terrific day yesterday. I had dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant with some of my favorite people, and then I did a reading at the monthly meeting of the Albuquerque Science Fiction Society. And-- I was not booed out of the room.

I drove down to Santa Fe to meet up with Melinda Snodgrass and Carrie Vaughn (who had driven down from Boulder a few days in advance of the Rio Hondo workshop, so that she could meet Melinda's new horse, Shadowfax Vento). Melinda showed off the newest development in her neverending landscaping projects: a long, lucious swath of Kentucky bluegrass growing behind her (magnificent) house. She also showed us where the new grill and kiva fireplace will soon be installed, just off her porch with the grand view of Lamy just a boulder's roll down the cliff, and the Galisteo basin in the distance.

We hit the road to Albuquerque around 4:30, with only a slight delay caused by Melinda's dog, Nikki. The big black Chow/Newfoundland mix came gallumping after us as we drove down the windy, spine-pulverizing road. She finally gave up after a couple of miles. Poor thing.

Traffic snarls got us to the restaurant after everybody else had arrived: Sage Walker, Hank Messinger, Yvonne Coats, Mike Collins, Walter Jon Williams, and Vic Milan. It was well worth the drive. I always have a terrific time when I get to join the Albuquerque folks for a meal. Fascinating conversation is virtually guaranteed, and yesterday was no exception. We missed Kat and Daniel Abraham, who were, I'm told, previously engaged with a fancypants cocktail shindig.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy Thai food? If I could eat pineapple fried rice and pad thai every day, I would.

And then, after dinner, we moseyed on down to the art studio/former radio station where the ASFS holds its monthly meetings. The ASFS folks are the people who put on Bubonicon, one of the best "small" regional cons anywhere. (How is it that just three years ago I had never even heard of Bubonicon, and now I actively look forward to it for six months?) They're also some of the very nicest people around. They haven't known me very long, since I'm the new kid around here, but I always feel welcome when I make it to an ASFS meeting.

At last night's meeting the program was, well... me. They had kindly invited me down to be their guest for the evening. I wasn't sure how I would possibly be able to make myself sound interesting to these folks, since as I've said I'm definitely the newest (and least established) member of the New Mexico writing mafia. But I talked a little bit about my background, my job, how I ended up in New Mexico, Clarion, how Clarion led me to Critical Mass, and how Critical Mass led me to Wild Cards. Turns out I can blather at length about myself, if pressed. I'm not sure whether I should be relieved or ashamed. But it was a friendly, congenial atmosphere, and people seemed to enjoy the conversation. (Or at least they pretended to, convincingly.) I sure enjoyed it, which is saying something, since Ian is usually my least-favorite topic of conversation. (As suggested by the infrequent updating of this blog.)

And, of course, I gave a little spiel about my trilogy, The Milkweed Triptych. And hey, you know what? People genuinely liked the idea. They found it interesting, even. Wow.

I was nervous about the reading. This was, in a manner of speaking, the "public debut" of Bitter Seeds. I had been torn between reading something from the middle of the book -- one of the big action sequences with magic and spectacle and superbeings doing super things -- which would have required a lot of setup to explain the relevant preceeding events and to introduce the characters, or simply starting at the beginning (which I hope to hell is interesting, even if there are no explosions in the first 26 pages). In the end, I decided to read the prologue. Because, you know, that's where the story starts.

It went really well. Much better than I'd expected. People actually seemed to enjoy it. They gasped at the ominous things and laughed at the funny bits. Their attention and enthusiasm made me feel like a million bucks (to coin a phrase). And they gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, my books will find an audience.

And, continuing the roll of awesomeness, I managed to finish my story for Rio Hondo this morning. The story itself is the opposite of awesome (I predict a spate of blindings up at Taos next week, as people choose to shove forks into their eyeballs rather than finish my story) but the fact that I finished it before leaving town is a relief. And I even managed to update my blog in a timely fashion, and with just enough time left over to go see Iron Man this afternoon.


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