World Fantasy Post

Writing from a dubious state of animism at World Fantasy. There was a VP meet up last night, and I made it to bed by 2:30 am Iowa time. So, Dr. Zombie will be on this morning’s panel in about 45 minutes.

It was cool to be at the VP gathering last night. Truths were learned, most importantly that VP XIII has the best t-shirt. The other folks were great, and I enjoyed meeting and greeting, but it felt like coming home to see Sean Craven and Chris Cornell again. I hope it stays like that throughout our careers, XIII’ers!


Seeing Julie Rose is always wonderful. Julie is the best hostess, and I appreciate her leading me around.

Jay Lake has awesome taste in cheese. And I’m really impressed with his taste in people too, as I’m enjoying rooming with Shelly Clift.

I think I must have some things to say about the convention, like a Greg Van Eekhout Norse Code story, and some comments about Jeff Vandermeer’s new book Booklife, but I need to be coherent, cohesive, that sort of thing. Um, yeah.

I miss my sweetie, the graveyard that’ll be in our yard about now, and handing out cowtails, so we’ll see if we do this next year. Columbus. Discover the new world.

Happy Halloween!


*blinks* The Personal Lives of Your Characters, or TMI

Now I know for sure that the Sigfried and Quartz background stuff won’t be flashback in the novel. I thought at first short story. Then I thought I could use it. Then today happened.

Elves all over each other. Not for a YA novel. No, sir.

I mean, sure, I knew that happened. I just didn’t know that I’d be there for it.

Whatever you might think, this is not a softening of Quartz’s character at all. Which is probably why this isn’t going to work out.

Battery failure imminent, so we shall stop after today’s 1360. I don’t think I’ll get to write tomorrow due to paper checking and World Fantasy prep. Maybe I could pick this up on the plane Thursday.

*fans self*

Has this ever happened to you? Your characters taken you to places you were surprised they’d let you see?


World Fantasy Schedule

Jim’s post about Icon is here. Highlights include pictures of shrubbery.

As you all know, I’m off to World Fantasy on Thursday. It should be a good time. I’ll get to see my good friend Julie Rose, and hang out with some of my new Viable Paradise peeps. I know several folks who are reading and going. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a good time.

As to “official” scheduling, I will be on a panel Saturday at 10:00 am. The panel is called The Academic Treatment of Fantasy and Horror.

The description?

How has it changed things in the past ten years? Has the effect been positive for readers? What about writers? And what have been the reasons for the change?
Chett Breed (moderator), David Bratman, Catherine Schaff-Stump, Darrell Schweitzer, Jacob Weisman

I seem to be the only woman on the panel. That is interesting. I shall have to make an effort to represent!

At any rate, that’s the place to locate me for sure.

If you want to be SURE to meet up with me, and you aren’t coming to the VP party, or the panel, I’m not opposed to schedules. Otherwise, we’ll have to trust to serendipity. Just let me know your level of mistrust.

Off for an afternoon of shopping and writing. After an hour of grammar. Because here in Iowa, we have one hard rockin’ life!


Ruminations; Icon

Hanging out with writers and artists while minimally writing can be a bit dangerous. It makes you feel a bit like you’re productive when you’re not writing all that much. You feel cool and hip. You’re networking and talking to neat people. Word count? Not so much. Gotta get back to that solitary writer thang in November.

On the other hand, this has been one of the coolest months of my life. Viable Paradise has transformed me as a writer, I’ve finally gotten to meet Jim, and in less than three days I’m off to my first World Fantasy. I could get used to this, if I can find a way to get more Bryon into the system.

I’ve been getting some very helpful feedback on the first 5 chapters (thanks Brent and Miranda!) and some more is coming! It may delay getting the book to the almost agent, but if it improves the book, all to the better.

Folks who have volunteered to read the whole draft–I’m taking you up on it, but I am holding out until I have a whole manuscript to give you.


Icon was pretty good. Nevermind that the weekend was a blur as Bryon and I facilitated getting Heather and Jim from place to place, and getting them fed, and making sure some of them got shrubbery. Nevermind that.

What’s really awesome about Heather and Jim is how down to earth both of them are about what they do. Heather is a well-traveled interesting person who has diverse interests and makes her living doing many kinds of art. Jim is accessible to fans and has a sense of showmanship and humor. They were not high maintenance guests in any way.

I do feel a little sorry for Jim. Icon gave him two stickies’ (schedules were on stickies) worth of things to do at the convention, often alone. That was one hard guest gig. Yet, he was good-natured and pulled it off with grace and aplomb.

Jim and I have a few things in common. For example I find his openness about his years as a rape and sexual violence advocate admirable. I have a similar platform on my journal as a survivor. Jim has a serious side, as those of you who have followed him know.

Mostly, we spent time bonding and sharing our sense of humor, vaudevilling on panels together, and talking about writing. I am now the proud owner of a Jig tattoo. Most excellent. The highlight in many ways was Jim’s reading. I’ll be looking for Strip Mauled pretty much so I can own the werewolf muppet story. Which is just wrong, but hilarious all the same.

So. Good weekend. In November there will be pictures. Yup. Because this week is all about getting ready to go to California.

Jim should be writing up some sort of epic on Icon later. I’ll link to it then.

Look for my World Fantasy schedule soon. I’m on one panel, Academia and Fantasy. Came as a total surprise to me.



It’s not a contemplation question. It’s simply this:

I plan to write in November. Whole bunches. The troll book needs to get done, and I’ll stop traveling. In October I made good process, considering what I’ve been up to, but in November I’ll be writing because I’ll be home lots and I’m motivated.

I’ll join NaNo when I’ve complete 50K words, and download them in. If I finish the book in under 30K, I won’t do it. I don’t think that will happen. If it takes more than 50K, I’ll still try to finish the book in November.

Not exactly NaNo, then. More like TrollNoWriMo, but I’ll take credit for the words if I get them.

*grits zipper teeth of suitcase* One more trip–World Fantasy!


It’s a Wrap

Weary, but a good kind of weary. Saw Jim and Heather off at the airport, grabbed some dinner and groceries, and came home. Both are delightful. Meeting Jim in person is about everything those of you who know him on line would expect him to be like.

All I’m saying right now is I’ve gotta go out and buy that muppet meets werewolves story. I wonder if squeaky toy comes with anthology.


Journaling Live from the Collins Marriot

It’s appropriate. We’re doing the panel on networking and presence on line today, so gotta practice what we preach.

Jim is an amazingly easy guest. He’s pretty much what you’d expect from the persona on his blog, and he’s really funny in panels. I think he’s a hit with the locals. At least last night they were very impressed that there are Goblin Quest figures.

My life has been taken up a bit in the logistics of being a girl Friday. Today I have my own reading at 10:30 CST (Oliver Toddle and Overlord shorts), a panel on internet-ness, and some fair amount of shuttling guests and friends to and from meals.

In other breaking news, just about to start the last of the books I bought at Wiscon this year. I’m amazed that it took me about six months, roughly to get through that part of the book stack. I shudder to think what the ARC haul at World Fantasy will be. Shudder in a good way. I understand there is UPS shipping at the convention, and I think we could avail ourselves of that some.

So, gonna scan the rest of the sites, see what’s up, and get down to the business of a day at the convention. All before my battery runs out.


Liaison Action!

First of all, today’s basement cat for the win. It hits all the spooky, spooky buttons.


So, yeah. Dolls of death.


After a whirlwind morning of counseling students about their papers, and hastily checking a few more, and then after a quick meeting with the Deanster, I’m off to pick up Heather and Jim at the airport and begin the whole liaison thing.

Here’s hoping the weather doesn’t foul us up too much. I have a jewelry show to sort of set up for Kim as well.

There may be updates. There may not be updates. I hope that keeps you checking back in suspense.


ps Have finally been seduced by Twitter. I blame Viable Paradise peeps, not because I want to, but because it really is their fault. You can find me at


and yes, it is still short attention span theater.

Cath Writes in the Afternoon

Not thwarted by colleague Kevin’s free brunch entirely, I wrote 1850 words in 1.5 hours. This is keepable stuff. Here’s our first scene.

Feldspar, pale as a December lake, looked at her from over the top of a silver goblet. His pale blue eyes met her dark ones. The wind roared outside of the cavern. Her eyes were almost black in comparison to the snow and ice and rock.

“We have an understanding?” His long fingers caressed the stem of the goblet.

“We do,” Quartz said. The wind filled the silence awkwardly. When it was all said and done, it was ironic that the downfall of his wife could be promised in two small words. Not only promised, Quartz was sure, but delivered.

She backed out of the cavern and melted into the night. Huddling into the deep ermine of her cloak, she plodded through deep drifts on the way back to the winter court. Inside the fragile bubble of warmth under her cape, she hugged her arms and turned her mind to the game of how to succeed.


Paradoxical. That’s our Quartz.

Tonight, I’ll put the finishing touches on getting ready for Icon. I’ll be shuttling Jim Hines around this weekend, so expect my bandwith to lower tomorrow. As much as I love my authorly October, I will equally enjoy my writerly November, when I plan to write loads and loads more because I’ll be AT HOME.

I also plan to read the very beginning of Miranda Stockett’s new novel. You’re not jealous now, maybe, but in five years you’re going to remember this, and be totally jealous.


Really. Writing.

All right guys. It’s time to shoot from the hip in a frank fashion. This is sort of how my writing career has evolved.

This might seem familiar to some of you. Each time a little more fantasy is peeled away, but the idea is that it is replaced by the more interesting possible.

This is my evolutionary path.

1. The want. At this point, my dream of writing is a day dream. I feel like I want to write, like life will be better if I write. I fantasize about writing lifestyles and money. I have not yet graduated college.

2. The frustration. Having determined that I want this fantasy writing life, I am aggravated that my real life and obligations continue to get in my way. I fantasize that writing will make me happy. With a little break through now and then in hobby writing, this predominates three college degrees and a few years as a professional.

3. The epiphany of time and talent. I realize that no one will make time for my writing but me. I realize strangers want to see my work. I fantasize that I am publishable. Epiphany occurs Memorial Day, 2007.

4. Goal driven writing approved by me with suggestions from friends. This has served me well up until this point, but has probably been the reason why I haven’t been published as much as I like. On the pieces that have been published, talent shines through. I fantasize that writing is something I can do with less work than my thesis, and that publication is largely a matter of luck.

5. After workshop thesis equivalency theory. Well, sure I do have talent, and people do want to hear from me. I am in the top 2-3 percent of the slush pile. But my work could be so much more. It’s a good thing I have people to push me now. Oh dear. It looks like this is going to be a lot like writing my thesis, both good and bad.
I can no longer write with the goal of just being finished. Ambiguity is back, in a big way.

I fantasize that I can make a meaningful contribution, maybe by writing a classic, if I roll up my sleeves, listen to other people, and really work.

What have I learned? My writing focus has gone from doing it for self-satisfaction and fun to a serious desire to create something lasting that is quality. My fantasy has gone from thinking how cool it will be to be a writer, to how difficult it is (which may not be a fantasy at all…).

I feel like I’ve been peeling away these layers of illusion until what’s left is my talent and my skill scrutinized under the cold sun of the eyes of writers who evaluate me as they would each other.

Even the troll book seems monolithic at this point. Not insurmountable, but monolithic.

I console myself that it felt this way every stage of the thesis. And I still made it.

This is much more fun. I get to play some before I unleash the editing pen of Damocles. But the creative process is not what I thought it would be in the end, once I’m inside of it and I’m really listening to it.

Life is kind of interesting like that.