Month: July 2016

Westercon 69

It’s been too long since I went to a con.

I’m not talking about tech conferences. I’ve been to those but fan conventions are something special and I have not been to one since 1990 when I wore my Zenith costume on the stage at the UK Comic Arts Convention.

I have many friends who go to cons. One in particular has been suggesting I go to Orycon but it’s usually in November which collides with NaNoWriMo. But I decided at the end of 2015 that I should try to go to at least one con this year.

So Westercon 69 is the first fan con I have attended in more than 25 years. And it’s been great.

I mostly focussed on the writing track. There’s been some fascinating panels on publication, revision, writing groups, dialogue and more. It is terrific to hear established writers talking about their process and their experience, as well as to make contact with other writers at similar stages to myself.

There are also a great many opportunities to hear authors expounding on related topics. Mr Scalzi is always entertaining, although I mostly followed Charles Stross in his panels and he’s been fascinating to hear on topics ranging from hells and netherworlds to anthropogenic extinction.

Looking around, I saw so many excellent cosplayers and wildly creative costumes. Westercon 69 has been co-located with Gearcon 2016 so the steampunk undercurrents were deep. I was also struck by how safe a space this is: there are a lot of kids around, and a lot of folks with mobility assistance. I’m very impressed by how mellow this place is. Not all of the panels I’ve attended have been kid-safe, but that’s also pretty clear from the topic.

I’ve been told that many of the folks here are also part of the scene at Orycon, so I think I have to go to that now. With any luck I can bring my family.

I hope to see you in November!

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Livia’s Nearly Here

Livia and the Corpuscles is nearly ready.

Well, more precisely, large parts of it are actually ready with last steps being about finalising the interior text and some marketing material (including a longer blurb for Amazon).

Let me take a step back, here. I might do a full timeline when the thing actually goes out the door, but for now I want to write an update on how things went after my last post.

The Work That Was Remaining

I ended up with a hierarchical punch list of things to be completed. The primary goal of this publication is to put copies in the hands of my co-workers, but this is also a story I care about so if I am to put it out into the world it needs to be at least of plausible quality.

So, having got the story more or less sorted out, my list included the following things to do:

  • cover content – back cover blurb, blurb box layout, cover sizing. The size of the cover layout is dictated by the number of pages in the book since that’s how you define spine width.
  • internal content – acknowledgements, dedication, credits, author info, title page. And the novel text, of course.
  • internal layout – page styles, header and footer choices, font choices.
  • publication setup – setup book project in CreateSpace, test uploads of cover and interior files.
  • web site refresh – Orangeness has not had much attention lately, and I wanted to make it more authorial.

There are a lot of things in this list that rely on having the book text ready. It’s not, but I have a good second draft which I have laid out using my page styles and which at least gives me a likely number for page count. Any changes will be of the order of thousandths of an inch.

What’s Left

The manuscript is going through copy edits now. I will be applying those shortly, and then ordering a proof copy from Create Space.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know how long that will take but assuming the proof is acceptable I should be releasing the book in August.

I am not planning on getting a proper editor involved on this book, or at least this version of the book – I will be returning to this setting because it’s enormous fun, but this is not the book I will submit for agent consideration.

The Cover

giant robot gladiators!

the front cover

With that long note to say “not yet”, here is the front cover of Livie and the Corpuscles.

I look forward to sharing the completed book with you all!

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