Monthly Archives: September 2014

Con-Volution 2014—A “Horrible” Convention

Dr. Horrible.20140926_201153_resizedWho invited Dr. Horrible to ruin Con-Volution?  Oh, wait!  Who is that courageous masked man sneaking up on Dr. Horrible to save the convention?  Oh, dear…it looks like the Uni(tard Photo) Bomber!  Whatever will happen next? I think I’d best run for cover!


(Thanks to a Horrible tip and a little follow up from a knit Klingon, I’ve identified the photo bomber as Bill Howard.  Still need a tip on what the costume is.)

Author A.E. Marling makes an awesome Dr. Horrible in the pictures, but in truth, he’s not very horrible in person. Allen is a charming man, with very good taste in jewelry (obviously, since he liked my necklace),  who has taken time to talk with me at a couple of cons (the first time of which, I burbled over with words like a soda poured too fast in a glass.  Can’t believe he didn’t back away slowly that time and run the next time he saw me).

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I was looking for someone else and wound up having a nice conversation with him at his table.  He wound up interesting me in his book, Gravity’s Revenge.  Good work, that!  I’m not a pushover for a sale at cons.  I read slowly and don’t want hard copies of books in my house anymore (I hate to admit that, but it’s part of my 9-step/room program for recovering pack rats.  I’m on step three…er, I mean room three).  I also, being an editor for many years who has worked with some of the big publishers, am working on my big-publisher bias.  I tend to be leery of the indie stuff. Yes, I know—I’m working on it!  So when I tell you that Allen interested me enough to buy his book (in e-copy, must stick with The Program), it was no small feat.  I’m looking forward to reading it.  I’m very much hoping it will be a therapy to my bias.  Can you cure me, Dr. Horrible?

AE Marling

Dr. Horrible’s prescription for what ails me.


Weeding Your Garden

My second grade class started a little vegetable garden in the schoolyard. Our teacher helped us plant tomato seeds which are fairly easy to grow. Every day, we enjoyed watering the dirt and shooing away the beetles and pillbugs. Before long, the tomatoes started to sprout. How wonderful!

One day, a teacher from another classroom came strolling by. She gasped in horror, “Oh, look at all those weeds! They’re going to choke your tomatoes.” She instructed us to pull the weeds—but to be careful not to mess up the tomato sprouts, which she also pointed out to us. Thus informed by an adult Voice of Authority, we little children obediently went to work. We carefully picked out the “weeds” and left the “tomatoes” to grow in peace.

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So proud of our accomplishment, we ran into our classroom to tell our teacher. We carried clumps of dirt and the straggling remains of the offensive weed sprouts to show her.

Now it was our teacher’s turn to gasp in horror. “Oh no, you picked all the tomatoes and left the weeds!”

I like retelling this story because it’s an important lesson I learned at an early age. Sometimes adults are wrong.

This applies to writers critique groups and workshops, because there may be a time when your manuscript is being reviewed by a published author or a renowned instructor. A novice writer can easily feel low self-esteem in a situation like that and tend to internalize every off-hand remark that a professional Voice of Authority may make. Although you shouldn’t develop an ego too early in the game and totally disregard the advice of professionals, at the same time, remember they are only human. They may prefer a particular subgenre that is different from yours. A world-famous author of hard science fiction may not have an insightful critique for an epic fantasy, and vice versa. Trust your gut. When the expert or famous professional tells you to weed the tomatoes, step back and see if it feels right to you. After all, it’s your story.