BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adventures at Arisia, part 2 Kelley Armstrong, Laura Anne Gilman & Seanan McGuire

     So when last we met, I had stopped just as Kelley, avangyline and I made plans for dinner. Now, as excited as I was about seeing Kelley and possibly spending time with her, and as awesome as the con panels sounded, Saturday was as much about spending time with avangyline and Just X as it was the other stuff. Hanging with them was first priority. avangyline was all excited and nervous about meeting Kelley. What all that means was, we were perfectly willing to blow off any and all workshops and panels for the chance to hang with one of our favorite authors, Kelley Armstrong.

     I had contacted Kelley previously on the board to ask about the possibility of getting together, thinking maybe a few minutes over a cup of coffee. At book signings and other conventions Kelley has often gotten together after hours with any attending board members and I was hopeful that would hold true for Arisia. She suggested that I catch up to her after one of her panels and we'd work something out. So when avangyline and I approached her and she asked if we had dinner plans, we were both like "Nope! We're free!" :D As I said, we were both willing to blow off any panel in favor of some Kelley time. Hmmm, that sounds a little...needy. :P I had met Kelley before and knew she was a lot of fun; avangyline had not met her. Anyway, we arranged to meet later that afternoon.

     By this time we were hungry but didn't want to pay hotel prices so Just X used his cell phone to find a Dunkin Donuts within walking distance. Once we got there we realized that South Station, which had a food court, was 2 blocks over, so we went there. While we were eating Just X had to head home to tend to the dog but he was back in time for dinner. :)

     After our meal, avangyline and I split up for different panels but agreed to meet and hunt up Kelley for dinner afterwards. (LOL, that makes us sound cannibalistic) We hooked up with Kelley and decided, for simplicity's sake, to eat in the hotel as there were three restaurants on the premises and it was frigging cold outside. (Winter in New England, blargh) The first one we tried was closed for a private party, the next had a wait and the last could take us right away. We ate there but honestly, I don't remember much about the food. Dinner was fun and relaxing; speaking just for myself it was low key, relaxed and comfortable. We chatted, discussed books (not just Kelley's) and of course, discussed writing. avangyline and Just X both write (neither is currently published) and they are part of the writers group on Kelley's board. I enjoyed sitting there, listening to them discuss problems they were having and suggestions for working out those problems, writing processes, etc.Afterwards, we took some pics then avangyline, Just X and I headed for the metro to go home.

     The next day, Sunday, the three of us got a later start to the day. I got there first (taking the easy metro route this time) and attended a very lively panel on sexuality in SF/F which quickly turned into a discussion of erotica and sex in SF/F. Although it wandered off track ocasionally, there was some good discussion. The next workshop was on retelling fairy tales and was a wonderful look at the use of fairy tales in fantasy and sci fi. avangyline arrived towards the end of it and we went to a workshop on writing reviews. The attendance was small but those of us who attended had lots to say and it was fascinating to hear the panelists talk. They were a nice mix of people who review books, movies and tv, all of whom work for a major publisher in their field. They all had different approaches, partly due to professional constraints and partly due to their own personal styles. It was fascinating and gave me lots to think about. You may see some gradual changes in how I do my reviews as I decide what to incorporate and then see what works.
     avangyline and I split up after this, she went for coffee and I took my pile of books off to where Kelley was signing books. I was surprised, but pleased,to see that the line was short. Kelley gave a little laugh when she saw me in line and I joked that I just couldn't stay away. As always she was pleasant and we chatted for a few minutes before I moved on so the next person could go. I wandered around the dealer area for a bit and madly texted avangyline to come rescue me before I spent all of my money. Fortunately I was able to hold onto my money until I met up with her again. Just X had arrived by now and we made plans. He went off to watch some trailers for upcoming movies and tv shows and we went to hear Laura Anne Gilman read from her newest book, released just this week.

     As we walked into the signing, we were talking about possibly going to a book release party which was scheduled to start during the reading. We joked about sitting near the door and one of the authors scheduled to read gently ragged on us for planning to duck out. It was a small group in attendance in a small room so there was no sneaking out. :P Gilman also teased about us about planning to escape so we chose seats far away from the door :D Despite having a cold, Gilman did a very nice job of reading and I appreciated the sneak peak at the book. All of the authors did a nice job of reading and we ended up staying for the whole thing.

     By now it was almost eight in the evening and we were starting to drag. However, next on our agenda was the comedy team of Seanan McGuire and Cat Valente. Ok, ok, technically they are authors not a comedy team. However, they are very good friends and when together have a schtick they do; it's a free for all question and answer period, fopr adults only. Here's the description from the program: "
Seanan McGuire Talks With Catherynne Valente — 1hr 15min — Burroughs (3E)
Seanan McGuire and Catherynne M. Valente bring their popular Q & A show to Arisia! It's like "An Evening With Kevin Smith", with twice the fantasy authors and ten times the random literary references. You bring the questions and these authors of fantasy and horror will bring their wit and banter for this off-the-cuff, take-no-prisoners monster of spec fic punk rock snarkapalooza. Warning: will contain adult language, adult concepts, concepts, language, and very odd people. Seanan McGuire, Catherynne M. Valente"
The description did not do it justice. They are two incredibly funny, snarky, smart-mouthed ladies who seemed willing to tackle anything. When avangyline and I walked in, I almost crashed into avangyline as she stopped suddenly upon seeing Kelley Armstrong in the audience. When I saw her, I got all embarrassed and silly. I had joked earlier about "stalking " Kelley at the con but seeing her there made me feel as if we really were! As we stood at the back, trying to hide behind each other, Kelley saw us and gestured for us to some sit with her. Despite our embarrassment, we did. Towards the end of the show, someone asked Seanan and Cat to list their 5 favorite authors. Seanan named Kelley as one. :) I looked at Kelley but her face was unreadable. After Cat and Seanan were done, we said goodbyes again and avangyline, Just X, and I headed out to go home.

    Overall, I really enjoyed Arisia. It had so much to offer, there really was something for everyone. Just X, avangyline and I have tentative plans to go again next year but rent a room together at the hotel so we can fully partake of the offerings. Kelley won't be there but I think we'd have fun anyway.


  1. Kelley and Seanan, you lucky duck! And in Boston? *sigh* Jealous, but happy for you. :)

  2. Why the heck do you think I WENT???? LOL I was lucky and I am so glad I went.

  3. Hehe.. yay, how fun! I've often felt like I'm (inadvertently, I swear!) stalking Kelley since I go to a lot of the local cons, and hit all the writing workshops/panels - and she lives relatively close by as well. At least now we've met so it's not some random stranger that's always hanging around! Lol.


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