Already ConQuesT seems far away, though it happened only last weekend. We had a wonderful time with GoH Patrick Rothfuss and unofficial GoH George RR Martin. Hadley Rille Books took the town with numerous editors, authors, and artists in attendance, including Eric T. Reynolds, Mark Nelson (launching his new book King's Gambit), Terri-Lynne DeFino, Christopher McKitterick, M.C. Chambers, Lawrence M. Schoen, Christopher Gerrib, and Tom Vandenberg. For a great break down on all the fun, I invite you to visit this week's post by Mark Nelson on Heroines of Fantasy.
The day after ConQuesT, we jumped in a car and headed south for the first trip of our summer vacation. This year we returned to the Arkansas Ozarks, which as some of you may remember, I also wrote about last summer in my post Music in the Forest.
I loved the Ozarks then; I continue to love it now. The dense expanse of forest covering this ancient mountain range is simply magnificent, and late May is one of the best times of year to see it. We stayed at Buffalo River Mountain Cabins, managed by the artistic and wonderfully friendly Merlyn Lazarow. Our cabin was well off the road, nestled inside its own patch of forest. I can still hear the wind roaring through the trees every evening, every night. Utter peace and tranquility.
On Wednesday we rented canoes and floated down a stretch of the Buffalo River. The weather was perfect: sunlight over sparkling waters, occasional clouds and a constant breeze that kept the day warm without letting it get too hot.
I would have liked to have seen a bear or an elk, but you can't have everything, can you? I would have also have liked to have stayed longer, but I am very grateful for the wonderful breather we had.
One of the best parts of travelling is, of course, coming home. While I was as happy for this homecoming as I have always been, it was also bittersweet because it marked the end of a truly great month. The last of our ConQuesT guests departed yesterday, and now I have to wait another year before May offers its blessings again.
That's not to say there's not more to look forward this summer. First up in June: the Campbell Conference. A small but friendly gathering of authors, scholars, editors, and fans, this is, hands down, my favorite SFF conference of all. It has been offered by the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas every year since 1979.
I also have Phyl Manning scheduled as a guest author later this week (complete with a contest and giveaway!), and toward the end of the month I will attend the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation meetings in San Jose, Costa Rica.
And of course, work continues on bringing High Maga to press. The manuscript will go out for copy editing in the coming days, and Tom Vandenberg is poised to start his work on the cover art.
Writing-wise, I'll spend the better part of the summer reworking the first 40,000 words (or so) of Daughter of Aithne, the third companion novel for Eolyn.
So stay tuned, as our summer adventure has only just begun. I'm looking forward to enjoying it with all of you!
Photos courtesy of Rafael Aguilar Chaves