Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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This weekend — Archon!

I’ve been looking forward to this for some time! A fun weekend without the stress of showing. Instead, there will be the stress of participating on panels and stuff! But that is in fact not very stressful. Usually. Mostly.

Archon is a small convention that’s always well-run and pleasant. At least to me it seems that way; maybe there’s constant behind-the-scenes chaos, but if so, I never see it. It’s a very writer-friendly, smooth convention.

This year I told them I wouldn’t be able to make it on Sunday, but any time would work for me for Friday and Saturday. Alas, I apparently forgot to say: I don’t do readings and I hate autograph sessions. Thus I have one of each. So, well, we’ll see. I never read aloud, but I’ll try not to embarrass myself.

Quick poll question: is it kosher to read from a book that hasn’t been picked up by a publisher? At the moment, I plan to do a reading from BLACK DOG. It *WILL* be out sometime, one way or another, but maybe not for a while. (You should see the rejection letters my agent has been getting for it. They’re pretty flattering. Like this one from Scholastic: “I admired the writing … you work with such wonderful prose stylists!—and this was a fascinating take on the werewolf legend, with equally fascinating and well-delineated characters…”)

But werewolves are a really tough sell right now. REALLY TOUGH. If you’re planning to write a werewolf book? Just wait ten years, that’s my advice. Any number of imprints aren’t even reading werewolf books at all right now. : (

But is it okay to use this book for a reading as long as I plan to bring it out independently if necessary? What’s your opinion? Is it better to use a book that’s out already, like HOUSE OF SHADOWS? Because if people have already read it, that would surely be deeply boring.

Too bad I don’t have a bunch of shorter work sitting around that I could pick from, but I just don’t. Probably the story about my dog that appeared in A DOG’S LIFE: CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE PET LOVER’S SOUL would not be appropriate at a SFF convention. (There’re a lot of great stories in that Chicken Soup book, btw, not least mine.)

Anyway, I like the panels I’m on! One is on dogs. “How is man’s best friend used in SFF today?” Obviously I’m all over this topic. I instantly ran downstairs and noted down all the books I have that feature a dog as an important character. Then I divided them into categories: dogs that are real dogs, dogs that are almost real dogs, dogs that are humanized. It’ll be a fun panel.

Then I’m on a panel on alien manners. “Which tentacle do you use when sipping tea?” That made me laugh. I’m going to hold up the Foreigner series as the VERY BEST look at alien manners ANYWHERE.

Then there’s a panel on writing for YA readers. I always like this kind of panel, though really I feel that I’m still learning what works for YA readers. We’ll see if anybody else is bold enough to declare that he or she has an answer to the question: “What keeps YA readers reading?”

And finally, there’s the workshop, where I will have a chance to talk to people about the mss. fragments they submitted months ago. I’m really looking forward to this; I hope I can be helpful.

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4 Comments This weekend — Archon!

  1. Mary Beth

    Oh wow, I REALLY want to go to those panels (the dogs in SFF and alien manners one specifically). Any chance you’d be interested in summarizing your thoughts from them in future blog posts?

    I think it’d be fine to go ahead and read from BLACK DOG–worst case, people will be disappointed they can’t immediately purchase the book, but will buy all your other books to hold them over. ;)

    Hope you have a good time at the con! And I am still keeping my fingers crossed for BLACK DOG’s sale!

  2. John

    I’m hoping to make it to the panel on Alien Manners.

    Unfortunately it looks like your reading is scheduled on Friday before I expect to show up, but I definitely feel reading from Black Dog is kosher.

  3. Rachel

    Thank you both! BLACK DOG it is. I timed reading pages last night and I think I will have time to read about half the first chapter. To my surprise, I find myself wishing I had half an hour instead of fifteen minutes, so I could finish the chapter. There is a stopping point, but it is a cliffhanger. I think on Monday I will post the whole first chapter here, for anybody who wants to see how the exciting bit works out.

    And yes, I will definitely take notes and post about the panels.

  4. Elaine T

    I guess you don’t need my vote anymore, but I agree, BLACK DOG.

    I look forward to seeing what you have to say about dogs in SF. I’ve noticed mostly their lack; lack of most pets (except cats, which I think are way overused).

    If there’s an art show, see if Lockwood has any exhibits, Marie Brennan was just glorying in his dragons. From what I saw in her links I like his better than Whelan’s.

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