Last weekend some people went to Norwescon, some to Minicon, some to Eastercon. We went to Sacramento for my uncle Ben’s memorial gathering. Ben had a big family — six kids, most with spouses and kids of their own — and many friends, so that there were nearly a hundred people in attendance. It was an occasion with more laughter than tears, and I got in some good conversations with my parents and cousins (special shout-out to my cousin Adam Levine of GamerAndy.com). Not to mention some very good food. Our hotel had a noisy disco, but on the second night they moved us to a different room with a view of the lake, which offered a pair of geese with fuzzy little goslings and, as a special bonus, flittering bats. (Bats = good.)
Since then I’ve mostly been revising. I got a reply back from Gordon Van Gelder about my rewrite of “Titanium Mike,” and he liked the new fifth scene I’d written in which I put Mike on stage. So I revised the story one last time, to integrate the new scene and punch up the ending, and sent it in. I think this is the final version.
I also finished revising the Jupiter story — now titled “The True Story of Merganther’s Run” because “Merganther’s Drive” suggested a stardrive to some readers — and put it in the mail to Analog. (Okay, technically it’s still sitting on the sofa. But it’s in the envelope and will go in the mail first thing tomorrow morning.) It took me almost two full weeks to revise it, because I spent only half an hour or so per evening on it. I think I needed a break after completing my novella.
Speaking of the novella, I got it critiqued yesterday. The crit stung quite a bit, because I was pretty emotionally involved with the story and the comments, harsh though some of them were, were generally on target. But one critter pointed out that it wouldn’t have gotten such intense crits if it hadn’t touched a nerve in the readers. This story has considerable potential if I can just smooth out the rough bits. Also, it does seem to be the right length for the material, and I’ve identified four pro and five semi-pro markets that will take stories of this length. I’m going to take a little time away from it before attempting to revise it.
Also this weekend I had coffee with Jay Lake, visited the Portland Farmers’ Market (where we acquired lovely tomatoes and basil for a tomato-bread salad, plus a small container of ladybugs for the garden), and attended a bit of Wordstock, Portland’s annual “festival of the book.” We only went to one reading and barely bought anything at the book fair, but it was still nice to be in a space with thousands of people all of whom cared about words.
What next? First, I’m going to revise at least one of my older stories and either get it critiqued or put it right in the mail. Then I’m going to start in on a new story. It will be a fantasy, it will be set in the present or the past, and it will be short.