09 June 2011

Thursday Thirteen: A Month in Thirteen Pictures

I'm a bad blogger. I missed my Saturday blog. But if a picture's really worth a thousand words, here's thirteen pictures I hope will make up for my delay.


Buzzy Multimedia recently asked me to shift from print to video interviews. Not being entirely sure of myself I decided to start with a friend, fantasy and mystery writer Carole Nelson Douglas, who happened to be this year's guest of honor at our local mystery convention, Malice Domestic. The video is posted on the Buzzy blog.



I'd barely finished editing Carole's interview when I learned the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) were holding the 2011 Nebula Awards Weekend a few Metro stops away on May 20-22. So I hauled my trusty camera to Dupont Circle and taped five interviews: Chris Claremont (of Marvel Comics fame), Mary Robinette Kowal, Joe Haldeman, John Scalzi and this year's Nebula Award winner for best novel, Connie Willis (above). I may be mistaken, but I think this year's win makes Connie the all-time Nebula champion, which tickles me no end, since I totally love her fiction. Who says women can't write REAL science fiction?



One of the more interesting aspects of the filming was discovering things I never knew about the interview subjects. For example, I knew Joe Haldeman was an accomplished poet. In fact, he published his first poem (in The Washington Post, no less) before he was ten. But I didn't know he was an amazing artist. The photo above gives you just one example of his work. There will be more in the video. I promise.



One thing I missed was Mary Robinette Kowal's presentation at the Awards Banquet...in a Regency dress she stitched entirely by hand. (I couldn't make it because I was helping out with a Civil War celebration in Alexandria.) But she was kind enough to show me the dress and accessories when I interviewed her the following day.



But I didn't have much time work on all those lovely videos. The very next Friday, May 27, I was off to Balticon 45. As always, the Memorial Day weekend con was a whirl of panels, friends and parties. The Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading was all three. This year's readers were (from left to right) Gail Z. Martin, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Roberta Rogow, yours truly, Phoebe Wray and fellow Samhain writer D. Renee Bagby. The party came courtesy of Vonnie, who brought the most amazing cupcakes from her book launch The Greener Forest, which took place the hour before the RFR. You can see them (but alas, not taste them) in the bottom of the shot.



Balticon also offered great interview opportunities, including romantic fantasy and young adult writer Maria V. Snyder (left). As befits a party con, Maria and I caught up with each other in the bar, where she was relaxing with her friend and fellow writer Judi Fleming (right). My other Balticon interviews included Michael Swanwick and Paolo Bacigalupi.



This year's Balticon boasted an amazing number of book launches including the launch of one of my most anticipated books of 2011, The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences: Phoenix Rising by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris (shown here at right). As befits a book described as a Steampunk Avengers (as in the old TV show), the launch was a Victorian tea, complete with ginger biscuits and a raffle with prizes drawn by a fetching member of the audience in full 19th century dress.



Steampunk was everywhere at Balticon 45, and it really upped the ante on Masquerade costumes, as evidenced by this year's League of Extraordinary Family. Check out the young Captain Nemo's pet Kraken.



But the prize for Best in Show went to writer J.F. Bibeau's The Cat from Red Dwarf. Speaking of steam, I missed seeing his iron. No, not that kind of iron! The kind of steam presser Cat used to for wardrobe emergencies. Really!



A week later I was reveling in a special tour of what I consider the most beautiful building in all of Washington, D.C.--the Library of Congress. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a writer and I love books. Take a look at the Grand Hall. All that white marble, the bronze statues and the paintings peeking through the columns are just a taste of its splendor.



The Library is the nation's great temple of learning, so it's only fitting it has a resident goddess: the Minerva of Peace, a mosaic by Elihu Vedder. Like this depiction of Minerva, the Library celebrates all the arts. In addition to books, it boasts one of the world's great collections of musical instruments, maps and movies.



The library also celebrates all kinds of literature. Although Sappho is the only woman writer celebrated by name in its murals (sorry Jane Austen, Marie de France and George Sand), the branches of literature are all depicted as classical muses, including Romance and (ta da!) Erotica.



But I think my favorite part of the Library is its whimsy. Where else would you find a mosaic of late 19th century football?

That about covers it, for now. But if these photos have only whetted your appetite, please, check out the relevant galleries:

Nebula Awards Weekend 2011

Balticon 45

Library of Congress

'Til next month!

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