Thursday, September 25, 2008

Private Library

This cool article from Wired Magazine brought to my attention by Randy Reichardt:

My number 1 question on seeing this library is, "Do they have a writers-in- residence program?

Friday, September 19, 2008

plot synopsis

Following up on last week’s Query Project comes this week’s Plot Synopsis Project. Joshua Palmetier has again enlisted several published writers to post online the synopses they used to sell books. (And it is also a great way to see if any of these writers is doing something you might be interested in -- although not yet household names, several of these are very very good novelists indeed -- Jay Lake is one of my all time favorites, for example. Careful though,since the synopsis will contain spoilers, since they obviously must include the endings -- even if the actual books have changed since first proposed.)

The writers taking part:

Alma Alexander (Will post on the 20th instead.)
Sam Butler
Diana Pharaoh Francis
Daryl Gregory
Simon Haynes
Jay Lake’s comments and his synopses
Kelly McCullough
Jeri Smith-Ready
Jennifer Stevenson
Edward Willett

(Again, thanks to Edward Willet for bringing this exercise to my attention!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

How I spent my summer vacation (2008)

I intend to blog about our time in Edmonton (nearly six weeks), our road trip to Vancouver and back, and most especially our cruise to Alaska. However, having been absent from Lethbridge so long, I have had to throw myself back into my work and household responsibilities and suspect it is unlikely I will be able to blog the trip(s) in a timely fashion. (I couldn't blog as we went because I was busy living it, but also because we don't have Internet access where we were staying in Edmonton because our usual on-the-road option of using Telus dial-up service did not seem to be working – their Help Desk told us the recent switch to 10 digit local numbers had crashed the software, though that seems a bit hard to credit. Access during the Alaskan cruise was theoretically possible, but prohibitively expensive.)

Consequently, rather than have the trip entries sprawl across the next few months, I thought it best to back date them to August where they would all be in correct chronological placement, even through written after the fact. I recognize that this somewhat goes against blogging etiquette/tradition, but seems appropriate in this one instance. Therefore, this is just kind of a place holder to direct you to check out "August" from time to time, to see if there have been additional trip posts.

The Query Project

Another clever idea by Joshua Palmatier, the Query Project had a baker dozen authors post query letters they used to sell books or solicit an agent . I heard about this first by reading Canadian SF author and radio columnist Edward Willett's blog. For anyone interested in writing, this glimpse behind the scenes is extremely enlightening. There are a few "how to" books around that talk about guiding principles, but it's a bit different seeing the real thing and seeing a dozen different takes on what's important etc. My hat off to all the participants. - Paul Crilley -ChrisDolley -Diana Pharaoh Francis -Gregory Frost -Simon Haynes Jackie Kessler -Glenda Larke -John Levitt -Joshua Palmatier -Janni Lee Simner -Jennifer Stevenson -Edward Willett -David J. Williams

(Of course, payment for exposing the private side of their business this way is to bring people to their blogs who might not otherwise have encountered them. I know that I found a few names below I hadn't known about before, but seeing their book covers and/or other blog entries certainly peaked my interest in pursuing looking up their books.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Theo Tams, Tigana, and Canadian Idol

My 10 year old daughter follows Canadian Idol closely, hoping to go for it herself when she is old enough; so when UofL student Theo Tam made the final two, Mary sent me to line up for tickets for the hometown viewing of the final show. The university lent its new gym for the purpose, and we showed up early enough to be among the first through the door. Tigana ran ahead to get good seats for Mary, Kasia and I even though it was 90 minutes before the show and the gym was not yet crowded. I was pleased with Tigana’s choice of the front seats in the second section, a good spot to see and be seen, and about the best we could have gotten without being the very first in line. But after about 20 minutes the producer came over to us and asked if we would move to the section signed as reserved for Tam friends and family. We were pleasantly, though not very, surprised: yet again, the ‘cuteness factor’ had worked in our favor, as the producers selected Kasia and Tigana to be front and center for the broadcast. Kasia, is well, Kasia, and Tigana had made the sign seen here. So, who could resist?

In the end, Tigana could be seen briefly waving her sign; and both local papers took shots of both kids:

This CTV video (click on photo above) shows clear shots of Tigana and Kasia with their signs at about 36 seconds in (Mary and I are also visible on the far right). Tigana also appeared near the end of the actual Idol show during one of the cuts to Lethbridge.

Tigana in Calgary Herald (and click on "next" for another shot of Tigana)
Front page of the Lethbridge Herald Kasia can be glimpsed in the upper right of photo.

For myself, I was fascinated to watch how the cameramen, stage manager, and local talent handled the production -- they seemed relaxed (in spite of the show being live), professional, and pleasant -- and particularly how they organized the crowd to appear larger than it was, to scream on cue, and so on. Quite interesting.