ICON Wrap-up

Finally home after almost a week of traveling, reading, writing, critiquing and palling around with fellow writers at ICON and Paradise Icon. Met new people, reunited with old ones, ate too much, drove all over the corn belt, dodged some tornadoes. Now I have time to sit back and reflect on the experience.

SPOILER ALERT: It was damned groovy.

Hats off to the inimitable Cath Schaff-Stump, who organized one heck of a workshop. She managed to attract a posse of neo-pro writers from coast to coast and the submissions and feedback were top notch. Critique sessions were a highlight of the trip, as was the group Rapid Fire Reading on Saturday evening. Our work and styles were diverse but complementary.   A speaker snub dented our progress not one bit, as we sat around and discussed our upcoming projects instead. I look forward to seeing more of every one of my ‘shopmates, and that’s no lie.

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ICON is a small but quite spirited convention. Cedar Rapids has an impressive SF/F community, moreso than some more populous regions. The book signing event was well attended, and we survived the late night filking next door. Even the weather proved cooperative. Normally I bring the snow with me,  but not this time! I’m definitely looking at a return trip next year.

On the return flight I read Michel Faber’s Under the Skin, as recommended by guest speaker Greg Frost. A quick and entertaining, albeit freaky, read and not for the squeamish. A thinly veiled– but clever– vegan manifesto, but I dug it. No hamburgers for me for a day or two.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Reading a friend’s draft. Finishing my own second draft. Mush.

ICON Approaches

So here we are in the thick of November. How did we get here? 2013 continues its headlong rush to the finish line, ready or not. And now I have to get my act together for a trip to Iowa this coming Wednesday. Cedar Rapids or bust!  I’ll be attending ICON 38, “Iowa’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention,” from November 15-17. Even better, I’ll also be participating in the Paradise Icon workshop at the same site. But that’s not all! I’m also part of the Rapid Fire Reading (Cue the “wrap it up” music after 1k words!) at 4:30 on Saturday. So, you know, if you’re around come say hi!  Promises to be a great time, with several of my old pals from Viable Paradise. And the rest of the con ain’t so shabby either. Ellen Datlow!  Nancy Kress!  Jim Hines!  Joe Haldeman! What more incentive does one need?

I’m also hard at work revising my latest manuscript in the hopes of getting feedback next month. ‘Tis really tightening up and I’m looking forward to getting this one in the can. Sure would be nice to devote the holidays to something new.