clairemckenna (clairemckenna) wrote,

I Have Been To Brisbane

So, GenreCon. Flew up to Brisbane last week, although this was more a conference than a convention so there were less *room parties and social events* and more ships passing in the night. The venue was the Queensland Library, which I swear was a brutalist multi-storeys campus straight out of an old DOOM .wad, (The classic first person shooter was known for its severely blocky right-angles) or maybe the train station in Total Recall.

The city is of course, gorgeous. I spent 6 weeks there 10 years ago, but never got to see the outside of Griffith University. I hired those city-bike things (SO HEAVY) but if I’d had time and a real bike it would have been awesome. Maybe next time. I cycled around on those glorious bicentennial paths (So hilly! Much One Way traffic!) and perhaps next time will hire an ebike. I’m going back in January with Mum and kid in tow. I’m assuming it will be super-hot.

So, in terms of talks I spent the whole of the Saturday looking for the “Magic Sennhiesers” which apparently can pick up the hearing loop. Several library staff were involved in this search, with much “wait here for Ben”, so I can’t fault everyone’s commitment to accessibility, but we kept coming back to the fact that the hearing-aid T-Loop was essentially an 80s invention, like the keyboard tie and the cassette tape Walkman. The audio guy on Sunday (who may have been the mysterious Ben) didn’t have Bluetooth transmission capabilities, it all got very complicated, so I finally just plonked myself in the front row, and the talk was – after all that hassle – SO boring. But the seat was reserved and everything, so I was stuck there. I couldn’t walk out. There is a picture on Twitter with me on the front row on my phone, in a state of fossilization, watching the clock.

Fortunately Alex Adsett’s (Brisbane Literary Agent, really nice person, we’ve met before) talk about Contracts and Copyright was fantastic. She knew her stuff. It was interesting hearing from newbies asking questions, and Dumb Things People Do (huurrr, post the manuscript to Amazon).

I was still in conference mode when I flew back home for a work training session (which was hideously on the other side of town so I had to stay in the same hotel Continuum was in earlier this year,) for a morning start, and for once it was something interesting (i.e.: not the training session held by the guy who looks like a cross between Barak Obama and NBC TV-era Hannibal Lecter and might have been one of me team once but I cannae remember). This one was “Human Behaviours When Recognising Terrorists, Drug Mules And Other Baddies.” I have had a running, nearly 15-year-old joke at work about spaghetti westerns, and sweaty bad guys pausing at doorways while their eyes look about shiftily and jangly faux-Mexican guitar music plays… perhaps with a maraca.

I WAS NOT FAR WRONG *maraca shakes ominously* There really are tells that can’t be stopped.

On writing news. Well *Tenebrae Is Pretty Much Accomplished* Struggled to write a climax and then skipped it for an ending this week, and although the actual details of my MC sailing off into the sunset are in first draft literary note form, it’s a goddamn wrap.

So now I take a breather and do an edit. Or several.

Got one rejection for something so specific I cannot sell the goddamn story on anywhere. Put in a submission to something that is important but won’t pay me much, only that Leife (the editor) asked in person. She’s got a book coming out, “The Beast’s Heart” which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the Beasts perspective. We had a long chat about YA controversies in general – things like the Continent and The Black Witch and other things that got a dragging for being blindly clunky—

--and it reminds me as I write this of my Human Behaviours training, when most terrorists get caught out because they are so focused on NOT doing the wrong thing that they did stuff like walking face first into security poles and or walking in a conga-line through crowds when they were supposed to “spread out”, or doing the unconscious *brush* of the concealed weapon as they walk past security. All the YA books lately that have gotten into trouble and were written by people desperately pushing an anti-racism message upon the surface (Again, Carve The Mark, The Continent, Black Witch, American Heart? There were others) and ended up doing the literary equivalent of concealed weapon brushing and blank smart-phone screen twirling and reading the newspaper upside down.

--so that was interesting. Oh, I’ve missed going to conventions hand having those convos.

Had two “requests to submit” to something, one of which was not even One Of My Mates, so it was like a genuine request – but I’m so busy on Tenebrae I can’t really concentrate on a short story right now. I just feel that I need to get querying this novel soon and I won’t feel so relentlessly wounded from my last novel’s Failure To Launch And Subsequent Curbstomping. The one before that, and the one before that, and ad infinitum.

So that’s it at the moment. Oh, bought some roller skates, they were red, then I decided I wanted blue. Da da dee, da da dah…
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