Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm Going to Graceland...

Graceland / In Memphis, Tennessee...
Actually, I'll only be at Graceland in spirit. I will be in Memphis, however, attending MidSouthCon next weekend, March 21-22. Joining me at the convention will be two of Tachyon Publications's finest: author Andrew Fox and publicist Matt Staggs (of Deep Eight LLC). We'll be in Memphis to launch Andrew's new novel, The Good Humor Man, Or, Calorie 3501. Where else, but Memphis, would we have a book launch in which one of the "characters" in the novel is Elvis (well, not actually Elvis, per se, but a part of him!), and one of the major secondary characters throughout the story (beginning with Chapter 8) is Daniel Swaggart, Associate Director for Acquisitions and Exhibits for Graceland? [Note: I previously blogged about this book on Thursday, February 19; scroll down to read this earlier post.]

The official book launch is on Saturday (March 21) at 9:00 PM in the Chestnut Room. If you're attending MidSouthCon, please do join us for this program event at which Andrew, Matt, and I will converse most eloquently, and at length, on how The Good Humor Man came to be. There are definitely some tales to be told here. (And I believe Glen Cook, in the dealers room, will have copies of the book available for sale during the convention.)

Before I go any further, I would like to thank some of the staff of MidSouthCon -- Dan Gamber, Eric Groff, and Carlin Stuart -- for their most gracious assistance in helping us schedule this event, as well as their help with all of my programming and programming requirements. I'm looking forward to a great weekend, a rewarding weekend, and most likely an exhausting weekend, too.

As for my own programming schedule, in addition to the book launch event at 9:00 PM, I'm on the hook for five other events, all on Saturday!

09:00 Roundtable with Publishers and Editors
12:00 Are Agents Necessary?
14:00 Professionals Row
17:00 Learn Copyeditting four Fun and Proft

And if I'm still lucid and functional, I plan to participate in a final panel on Saturday at 11:00 PM entitled "I Finished My Manuscript, Now What?" I was originally signed up officially for this panel, but realizing that I would be up before 8:00 AM that morning, in order to be ready for my 9:00 panel, and then going all day until the book launch ended (at least 10:00 PM, if not later), with three other events in between, I asked the programming staff to give me a pass on that last panel. However, since it's in the same room as the book launch, if I'm still able to open and close my mouth to speak, and nod my head on occasion, I just may attend. Besides, it sounds like a good panel, one that can be beneficial to new writers -- and since I acquire the work of new writers. . . .

As for my 5:00 event -- and yes, the typos are intentional -- the programming staff asked me to do a one-and-a-half-hour workshop and this is the one I came up with. Here's the workshop description (assuming, of course, that they use the text that I provided):

You've just received the marked-up galleys of your novel from the publisher. You have less than a week to review these pages and provide feedback to the publisher. There's so much red ink on the galleys that it looks like the copyeditor was hideously attacked during the editing process! Just what do all those red lines and characters mean?

So right after I complete this blog post, I need to put together a set of exercises to showcase various aspects of copyediting, finding just the right examples from the many manuscripts I've edited over the past ten years (authors names, of course, to remain anonymous). I will also use some examples from the series of articles I wrote, entitled "The Perfect Sentence," which were published in The Valley Scribe, the newsletter of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the California Writers Club. And if all else fails, there's always the "Thog's Masterclass" examples in David Langford's Ansible!

Anyhow, that's just my Saturday at MidSouthCon 27. On Sunday, well, that's a day of rest, as they say; or maybe a day of collapse! But on the other hand, maybe I'll just take some time off from the con and make that "Going to Graceland" a reality! My sister, Sandra, passed away three years ago this coming March 29. She was a colossal -- did I say COLOSSAL? -- Elvis fan. Growing up together, I remember the huge Elvis poster on the wall at the head of her bed that she would kiss each night before going to bed (keep in mind that she was probably twelve or thirteen at the time!). She had Elvis stuffed animals, Elvis jewelry, a huge Elvis scrapbook, and every Elvis record -- yes, in those days we had records, 7-inch black plastic disks with grooves that played on -- dare I say it? -- a record player, at 45rpm; we called these singles, or 45s. On Saturdays, Sandy would get stuck schlepping me along to the movies with her and her best friend. And, occasionally, it would be an Elvis Presley movie; and unlike theaters now, back in the day, you'd pay 50-cents for an admission, and you could sit through the movie two, three times. Do you know what's it's like being a kid of, say, seven years old, sitting in a theater with your older sister and her girlfriend -- and surrounded by yet more girls! -- watching the movie Loving You for like three times during an entire Saturday morning and afternoon? I forget now which movie it was, but the one in which Elvis dies at the end: every girl in the theater was blubbering and crying like crazy when that happened, and Sandy kept having to elbow me to keep quiet because I was laughing so hard.

Anyhow, if I do make it to Graceland, it will be in memory of Sandy.

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