Back from Chicago; good news in the mail

Just back from a week in Chicago at the gay square dance convention. The convention, held in the luxurious and historic Chicago Hilton, was fantastic, well run, with plenty of great dancing (and, well, a few Squares From Hell, but into each life a little golfball-sized hail must fall, eh?). We also squeezed in a Frank Lloyd Wright bus tour and a downtown architecture river cruise, as well as a visit to the Art Institute.

The Art Institute visit was particularly interesting to me because my story “A Passion For Art,” which I wrote after visiting the Art Institute during the ChiCon 2000 worldcon, was just published in Interzone last month. It took ten years to be published because I waited a long while after getting it critiqued before editing and submitting it, and then it spent a few years kicking around various markets before being accepted. Touring the Art Institute I was surprised by a number of details that I had either mis-remembered or completely fabricated (and forgot I’d done so) in the story. For example, the statue of Pocohontas that plays a prominent role in the story, which I had remembered as being life-sized (and this is important to the plot), is actually only about four feet tall. Another piece that appears in the story, a pencil sketch of a ballerina by artist Edward Moy, is nowhere to be found at the museum or anywhere online; I guess I must have made that one (even the artist) up out of whole cloth. And Tuesdays are no longer free, though they were when I wrote the story.

When we returned I found a whole bunch of good stuff in the mail/email:

  • My contributor’s copies of the September Analog, with my name not only on the cover, but listed first on the cover and spine! That’s a first for me.
  • The June Locus, which not only included my photo (in the group shot from the Nebulas) and my name in the news section (for having won second prize in the Baen/NSS contest), but also three photos I took at Wiscon, along with a check for same! Another first!
  • A note from Realms of Fantasy assistant editor Douglas Cohen that my RoF story “Joy is the Serious Business of Heaven” was selected as an Honorable Mention by Gardner Dozois in his Year’s Best SF.
  • An invitation from the Mars Society to give my Mars talk at their annual convention (August 5-8 in Dayton, Ohio). I’ll be presenting to the whole convention right after Robert Zubrin opens the event!
  • Page proofs for my story in Esther Friesner’s “werewolves in suburbia” anthology Fangs for the Mammaries (don’t blame me, or Esther, for the title; it was the winner of a contest).
  • A short story rejection, just to keep me humble.

We’re only at home for two days. On Friday we head to Seattle for the Clarion West party and another session with the Washington Aerospace Scholars. Two weeks after that I’m off to the Washington Coast to be “writer guru,” along with Jay Lake, at the annual Writers’ Weekend. Two weeks after that is the Mars Society convention, and three weeks after that we leave for Australia! Whee!

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