Thursday, July 28, 2005

Results for the "What Kind of Novel Should I Write?" Quiz

HISTORICALS! - Adventurous and somewhat dark, but
that's true adventure. From the heart of Olde England, or the Caribbean isles, adventures in the past, are a fire that burn in your soul to be written. History books, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Alexander Dumas are your inspirations!

What Kind of Novel Should I Write?
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This quiz is probably pretty accurate (even though most of my first unpublished novel is set in 2003). My second novel, however, will all be set in the past, with quite a lot of it set in medieval Edinburgh.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The True Story of How I Did Not Meet Billy Boyd

This is a true story. Swear to Ghu, even though we have no photos to back it up.

I bought a ticket to see the Pittsburgh Symphony perform "The Lord of the Rings Symphony" a few weeks back, after having been on the fence for a while. I bought a ticket the night Billy was announced as a performer, and went for the left box seats. The really neat box seats near the stage. His "Mist and Shadows" solo was a particularly lovely part of the music for Return of the King, and I wanted to hear it live.

A few days later, Sue (who goes by the name Eomer's Woman on The One and I started talking about getting together at the Pittsburgh concert. We met with her traveling companion Chris for lunch on Friday at Joe's Crab Shack which was fun.

On Friday night, we met up in the lobby of the concert, and found we were sitting in the same box! Wow, talk about a weird coincidence in a hall that seats about 2,000 people.

We went to the pre-concert Q&A: Billy Boyd, Conductor John Mauceri and local classical music commentator Ken Meltzer:

Just before the concert started, a Heinz Hall employee stopped up in our box. "Back up during the fifth movement of the symphony" she warned the two people in the front of the box. "Billy Boyd is performing his solo from this box."


So Billy was performing the world premiere of his live version of "Mist and Shadows" two seats in front of me, and three seats in front of Sue.


It was a major thrill, and he was great. But we couldn't take a picture or record it, for obvious reasons. So you'll just have to take our word for it.

I went to last year's LOTR Symphony in Pittsburgh, conducted by Howard Shore, and I was somewhat disappointed. The symphony wasn't as together as usual, and the "first" seat players were not to be seen. This year, John Mauceri, conducted a better performance. While the "first" seat players were still missing, the orchestra was much more together (after the first five minutes or so, which was kind of mushy). The Two Towers/Isengard part was stupendous - even better than the London Symphony version.

If you're in the area, this is definitely worth seeing. The first show was very close to being sold out (the hall was probably about 90% full).

Since I had bought the expensive tickets, it included a ticket to the post-show reception. I wanted to meet Billy, partially because I admired his LOTR work, but also because I wanted to get him an invitation to attend the upcoming Worldcon, which is in his hometown of Glasgow in less than two weeks.

During the reception, I spent time talking to other fans from The One Ring.Net, and talking a little to John Mauceri (the conductor) rather than standing in line to meet Billy. When it occured to me that I should stand in line, I started getting really, really tired (I have insomnia and have been averaging under 4 hours of sleep a night lately).

Now, it turned out that Sue and her friend Chris had gone to the pre-concert dinner. And they had wound up sitting at the same table for dinner as Billy Boyd and his sister from Glasgow. So I asked if she could show me who Billy's sister was. She could. I asked her to introduce us, and she did. Billy's sister has the most charming Scottish accent I've ever heard, and I handed her a letter from Interaction, and a small gift for Billy (a snapbook of some of my Return of The One Party photos).

(Note - this in no way means that Billy will be at Interaction, it just means he's been informed that the Interaction committee would like him to drop by.)

After I left the stuff with Billy's sister, I felt really tired so I walked back to my car and started it up, blasting the air conditioner. And then I got my second wind, so I went back and managed to get a fairly close-up picture of Billy:

Unfortunately, the autograph line was closed, so I had to be content with the photo.
Then, I found Sue, and partied with some fans after the reception. And here's our party, after the dinner, after the Q&A, after the concert, after the reception and before too much of the drinking got started. On The One Ring.Net, these folks are commonly known as DJDeathkiss, her husband, Wednesday Addams and Eomer's Woman (seated)

One of our partiers shared an elevator with Billy and his sister in the hotel. However, he was so flummoxed he forgot to invite Billy and his sister over for a drink... But we had a good time anyway! Most of us are going to try to be at the IndyMoot in October, to visit the LOTR museum exhibition.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Review of The Lord of the Rings Symphony performance for 7/22.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Astronomy Delivers a Real SensaWonder Sighting....'s report of the discovery of a planet in a triple sun system is one of the most wonerful things I've seen in a long time.

Triple sun planet.

Leave it to scientists to find the really interesting things!

And a possible sunset on this planet.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Fire Karl Rove

Teagan Goddard's Political Wire had a link to Fire Karl Rove, a petition urging Bush to fire Rove since it looks like (to almost no one's surprise) that Rove is the one who disclosed a CIA agent's identity. While it's a waste of electrons, I signed it to go on record. Here's what I said:

President Bush, please show us, at least once, that you can be a man to keep your word. Firing Rove for outing a CIA agent would be a very small step for you to acquire an iota of credibility, because you have none with most of us.


Last week, I was working very hard on getting the Interaction schedule ready for the Web. Unfortunately, various things have conspired to hold it up, but I hope do have one up in the next few days.

I am merely Interaction staff, so it's not up to me when the schedule is posted. When I am in charge of something, I always want to publicize as much information about it as soon as I can. I've found that people would like to see a draft of a schedule earlier, rather than "the final" schedule later. And while you always get a few people who can't comprehend the difference between a "draft" version and "the final," it's always a good idea to get the draft up early anyway.

I've also been working on the Pocket Program and Restaurant Guide for Confluence. They'll be printed tonight.

I've been tinkering with the novel a little. Lately, I've been editing and changing a major character's last name about four times. After doing that, I went back to his original last name, even though it was "phony." Somehow, it sounded better than any "real" last name I could give him. I was "trapped" in Chapter 17 for a while, and am now quite happy by how it turned out. I am sort of trapped by Chapter 19 currently, but think I may have just figured a way through it. I'm no longer sure I'll have it done by Worldcon (yuck), but I still have almost two weeks, so who knows...

Monday, July 11, 2005

We're Not Afraid!

I saw a neat Web site today:

We're Not Afraid

It encourages people to thumb their noses at fear. A splendid idea:

We're Not Afraid!

We're still traveling this summer, and, if I was working, I'd still take the subway.

I don't believe in letting the idiot terrorists and fearmongers win this one. I never have.

I haven't been doing too much work on my novel, as I've been doing fanac (for Interaction and Confluence). I did do some editing over the weekend, and the novel is now back to 86,000 words.

Was anyone else out there as unsurprised as I was that Karl Rove has a direct connection to the whole Plame outing? This is news?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Yes! Even I Can Canoe Ten Miles and Live to Tell the Tale!

No, I'm not quite one with my laptop and recliner. Having heard how great the weather was going to be, Jim and I decided to drive up to Cook State Forest and canoe yesterday. There's a very gentle river in the forest (the Cook River, one imagines) and lots of places to rent canoes. We did the four mile canoe trip two years ago, survived it, and decided to try the ten mile trip yesterday.

Cook State Forest is a little over two hours northeast of Pittsburgh (79N-80E-66N-36S). We got up there a little before 10am, and were suprised to see no line for canoes. This was a little confusing to us, given the phenomenal weather and the holiday weekend. The last time we'd gone on a Saturday, there was about a half hour wait in line just to rent the canoe.

After enough canoers arrived, they loaded us in a van and drove a few miles up the river. Then we got in the canoes, and, with a little help, took off down the river. The first mile or so, the four canoes stayed pretty close together - there was almost no one else in that part of the river. It was a brilliant blue day and I wish my digital camera had been working!!

After a bit, however, the river got very shallow, so we kept having to get out of the canoe and carry it through the shallower water. As Jim and I had never done that before, it really slowed down our trip. So that could exaplain why there were relatively few canoers on that part of the river - they knew canoing in shallow water wasn't much fun.

Eventually, we got back into deeper water, and wound up making fairly decent time. It took us under 3 1/2 hours to paddle 10 miles downstream.

Jim got a wretched sunburn on his knees, but I managed to apply the sunscreen as needed and emerged reasonably unburned.

We didn't see any interesting animals - no deer or bears or anything bigger than vacationers' dogs. We saw lots of birds, particularly woodpeckers, and the occassional butterfly.

I had plans to go to one of Jim's cousins picnics today, but woke up with a bad sinus headache. While I didn't feel like going out to be sociable, I actually made very good progress on the novel today. Last night, I'd finally finished the infamous Chapter 17, a chapter that's been taking me ages to write and has changed more dramatically than any other part of the book. I also updated my Word story submission template, based on the Writers Market suggested format, and integrated all the novel chapters into one long Word master document. So the novel is currently 94,800 words or 442 double-spaced pages (I think that corresponds to about a 220-page book). I think it'll top out at about 110,000 words.