News: Off to the Berkshires

October 2, 2009 at 7:37 am (Appearances)

Your promised news: nothing to do with new fiction, sadly (bangs head against manuscript), but something a little more entertaining.  On Thursday, October 15, I’ll be heading back to my alma mater Williams College (nestled in the scenic Berkshires, right next to Colonial Pizza*) for an evening talk with Elizabeth Bear.  Sponsored by Inkberry and the Williams English Department, the event starts at 7:00 and, as far as I’m concerned, goes till people are tired of listening to us.

The official description’s below.  If you’re in the area, come and see us!

An Evening With Elizabeth Bear & Margaret Ronald

Enjoy an evening of speculative fiction with award-winning author Elizabeth Bear and up-and-coming author Margaret Ronald ’97 . Bear is author of the Shakespearean fantasy novels of the Promethean Age series (most recently Hell and Earth) and of two trilogies of Norse fantasy, as well as two trilogies of science fiction. Ronald is author of the critically-acclaimed Spiral Hunt and its forthcoming two sequels. After each writer reads from her published work, both writers will take questions about their work, speculative fiction, the literary life, how they got into “the business,” etc. Book-signing to follow. Presented by the English Department and Inkberry.

* Actually, is Colonial Pizza still there?  I mostly remember it from the WCFM carts; I think I ate there maybe once in four years. And just asking that question makes me feel old and cranky . . . I gotta get a lawn so I can tell kids to get off it.

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Anticipation Schedule

July 30, 2009 at 7:37 pm (Appearances, Cons)

I’ve got a much fuller schedule than I expected for Anticipation, so I fully expect to be curled up in a corner, muttering to myself about buttered toast, by Saturday night at the very latest. But here’s where I’ll be for the con — at least when I’m not in my toast corner.

Transgression as Progress
Thursday, 12:30, P-511CF
Participants: jan howard finder, Lee Harris, Margaret Ronald, Shira Daemon, Kate Bachus
Does this year’s model always have to be bigger, faster, harder, darker? Are there ways to break taboos which keep the taboos shocking? Indeed, what shocks us now?

Bending Reality: The Films of Satoshi Kon
Thursday, 19:00, P-524B
Participants: Jessica Langer, L. Jagi Lamplighter, MargaretRonald, René Walling
The creator of “Millennium Actress,” “Tokyo Godfathers” and “Paprika” has carved out his own niche in anime. A look at Kon’’s off-kilter world and what makes it unique.

Writing Workshop
Friday, 11:00
Participants: Laura Anne Gilman, Margaret Ronald
Critique session for previously submitted manuscripts

You Like to Write, Now What?
Saturday, 13:00, P-510D
Participants: Amy Sisson, Jeanne Cavelos, Margaret Ronald, Peter Atwood, Merrie Haskell
What does it take for a young writer to get started? Where can you go to learn more? Some folks talk about Writing Programs they’’ve attended. What’’s the next step? What does it take to get noticed?

Saturday, 15:30
I sign books! At least that’s the theory.

Love Bites
Saturday, 21:00, P-518A
Participants: Alaya Dawn Johnson, Inanna Arthen, Margaret Ronald
More than just your normal love-bite: how did paranormal romance enter the mainstream?

Author Reading
Sunday, 12:30, P-512AE
Participants: Laura Anne Gilman, Margaret Ronald, Seanan McGuire, Stephanie Bedwell-Grime

Legitimizing the Woo
Sunday, 21:00, P-524B
Participants: Margaret Ronald, Eoin Colfer, Peter Watts
It is an ongoing tradition of science fiction to rehabilitate overtly fantasy tropes (vampires, zombies, fairies, god) by soaking them in SFnal rationales. What are the rules for hijacking a trope from one genre and reprogramming it for another? And why bother?

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Signing tonight. Also: Back to school

April 21, 2009 at 8:14 am (Appearances, Personal)

First things first: Tonight, I’ll be reading and signing at the Jay County Public Library at 6:30 PM.  There may be cupcakes. There will most certainly be new fiction.  So if you’re in the area, come and say hi — I promise I don’t bite.  Even if asked nicely.

Last night I had the privilege of speaking at my old high school, the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities.  I was pretty nervous about it, since I hadn’t been back for more than a quick walk around the campus in mumblety-ought years, and since the other alumnus who’d been scheduled to speak had to cancel.  I had fears of being That Boring Speaker that everyone remembers from high school.  You remember; the guy who either spoke in a monotone or attempted to be “hip to the youth of today” and whose schtick got old real fast.  Driving into Muncie made me even more tense: for every building I recognized, there were changes I hadn’t known of (many for the better), and almost-scary flashes of deja vu.  Hell, just driving past Wagoner Hall brought back a new flood of memories, and when I started pointing out places to the resident organist (“there’s the front steps, that’s where I played my first game of D&D…”) I realized I was stepping into a different role, one familiar from Williams jargon: the Crusty Alum with stories of Back In The Day.  Urgh.

So I made it into the auditorium, expecting to give a short, rambling, unprepared speech, then answer a couple of questions and let these poor kids get back to what they were doing before this cranky old lady interrupted them.

It wasn’t like that at all.

It was awesome.

I gave a short bio, a few hands went up, and from there it was question-and-answer all the way through — I completely didn’t notice when we went over our allotted time.  The Academy kids were interested, engaged, curious, and their questions made me stop and think several times.  I think I managed to give answers that were both helpful and entertaining, and by the time we hit the third or fourth question, I was on a hell of an adrenaline high.

I realize that by saying things like “and the questions were smart!” that makes it sound like I was surprised, or that I was expecting stupid questions.  That’s not the case.  Hell, in this situation, there aren’t stupid questions.  In many ways, the students were very like my class — bright, snarky, sleep-deprived — and that was both encouraging and a little frightening.  (Also, it made me feel old, but there’s no way of getting around that.)  The Academy shaped so much of who I am today that it’s amazing and scary to see it continuing to shape and train students for the great wide world.  

I wonder how these kids will turn out.  I wonder whether they enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

I wonder how difficult it would be for me to come back sometime.

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