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December 2022 Dispatch
Last month I told you how frantic the end of October was, what with COVID and getting a book off to the publisher and all. November was—predictably—a bit more calm. COVID kept us indoors for the first couple weeks of the month, but we recovered in time to spend Thanksgiving with some friends. After returning to that, I flew off to MFF and am writing the first part of this on the plane back home.
So, brief con report! MFF was great, bigger than it’s ever been (13,000+ people!), and it was fantastic to see my MFF friends again. Return From Divalia appeared at the table and we sold out of it, kind of (we found more copies as we were packing up, d’oh). What’s more, it seemed to get people interested in the Argaea books, or else just having them out at the table led people to be interested in them. I think I signed more Argaea books than OOP books, which hasn’t happened since OOP came out! Anyway, I do hope folks enjoy the new book and the old ones. I have trouble recommending Volle specifically because it’s my first book and ugh it feels so old, but there are still people who love it, and the books get better after that, so…
Outside of the table, I got to hang out with friends and see some dealer buddies, and met some of the regulars from my Tuesday writing streams. It’s interesting watching the changes in the dealer room; not too long ago, the dealer room was mostly artists, and people would flood in at opening to get commissions before everyone filled up. But now there are a fursuit craft booths offering everything from parts to head bases to full suits, there are lots and lots of other merch booths offering clothing and pins and dakis and whatever else, and even the artists who are there often are just selling merch and not doing commissions. There might’ve been a lot more commissions on offer at Artist’s Alley; I didn’t make it down there this show (I barely got to walk around the dealer’s den and even then I missed some booths).
The con definitely felt a little more crowded everywhere. I had more “annoyed with people who don’t know how to walk in walkways” moments than I’ve had at a furry con before (usually that’s a Comic-Con thing) as people in the narrow skybridge would stop and hug or whatever. There was one point where a couple people were trying to stop us on the skybridge to sign something or other and I didn’t even stop to find out what it was. But in general I didn’t mind the crowds! I’m glad the con has returned to healthy levels.
So what’s coming up in December? We’re not going anywhere for the holidays. We do have some more appointments for our old doggo, whose carcinoma in the nasal cavity continues to be an issue, and that’ll take some of our logistical and emotional energy this month. But we hope to have quiet holidays at home. The first week of January, I have a writing retreat with some of my Clarion/CSSF workshop friends, and then I fly home and jump right into FC. We’ll have the new Argaea book at FC and I’ll be at the table signing as much as I can, so if you’re there, I hope to see you!
Writing-wise, between COVID and dog care, I’ve been giving myself a bit of a break after finishing two novels. In December, I’m going to work on the outline for the sequel to Unfinished Business, because we’ll be discussing it at the workshop in January, and I’ll keep working on my Patreon stories. I’ve taken this break as an opportunity to get further ahead in the Ty Game sequel, because this month and next I’ll be busy at the beginning of the month and won’t necessarily have time to write a whole chapter before the 10th.
Books: Nothing new on the audiobook front. Return From Divalia launched at MFF! It’s also available from the FurPlanet (print) and BadDogBooks (e-book) sites!
Other upcoming releases:
The Price of Thorns: Scheduled for spring 2023 (TFF or AC). In a fantasy world where stories are woven into the fabric of magic and life, Nivvy the thief is hired by a mysterious woman, and this job will change his life in ways he could never have anticipated.
Squeak Thief: Complete but not scheduled yet, maybe late 2023. A rich mouse hires a fox thief to steal from his own family, but the job quickly spirals out of control.
In progress: Robin Hood fanfic and Ty Game sequel (on Patreon), Unfinished Business sequel, untitled fantasy world project.
Streaming, special in-flight edition. On the flights to and back from MFF, I watched a few things:
“Confess, Fletch.” (movie) I’m a fan of the first “Fletch” movie with Chevy Chase from back in the eighties. I thought he mostly hit the balance of snarky and serious that the character in the books has. If anything, Chevy is sometimes a little too silly for the role. Jon Hamm has great comic chops, so I was excited to see what he’d bring to the role, and he’s…fine. He’s not quite snarky enough with a lot of the dialogue he delivers, as if he’s expecting the words to do the bulk of the work. Fletch has a little bit of arrogance about him in the books, and Hamm tries for that, but he comes off more as an earnest nice guy. I can’t imagine him delivering the line “It was something your wife said while we were in bed together” with the same kind of casual delivery Chevy gave it, tossing it off as a “fuck you” while getting to his other point. All that said, Hamm is solid in the role and my preconceptions may just be mine. The film is a good heist/mystery that’s worth spending some time with if you like that kind of film. Overall I’d recommend.
“I Love That For You.” (Showtime, series) Vanessa Bayer is a very funny person, from SNL to a couple appearances on “I Think You Should Leave.” Here she plays Joanna, who grew up obsessed with a home shopping network and its star Jackie (Molly Shannon), and finally lands a job there. But things don’t go well until she pretends to have cancer, and then her on-screen popularity soars even as behind the scenes, she gets more and more uncomfortable with the lie. I watched the first three episodes and I definitely like the show and the cast so far. The others at the network have their own issues and stories going on, and there are some funny parts. But the first three episodes didn’t exactly leave me desperate to watch the next one. I could certainly imagine them finding another gear to hit; it wouldn’t be the first show to be merely good for a few episodes and then tick up once it finds its footing. So: watch the first episode, and if you like it and want more of exactly that, keep going.
“Vivo” (Netflix, movie). I vaguely remember this coming out: Lin Manuel-Miranda voices a kinkajou. But I’d forgotten about it until it came up on the listing on the plane. It is a fun, kinetic movie with some interesting visual stuff (the animation goes 2-D for some dream/memory sequences) and, as you would expect, some great music. The tunes remind me of the songs he wrote for “Moana,” but with a Cuban flair because Vivo, the titular kinkajou, lives in Havana at the start of the movie, playing music with Andres, an old Cuban man who rescued Vivo as a baby who got brought to Cuba accidentally on a cargo ship. Andres’s niece and her daughter Gabi come visit, and Gabi, a rebellious young girl, takes to Vivo immediately and wants to bring him back to Florida. She and Vivo end up on an adventure together as the movie becomes kind of a “Lilo and Stitch meets Coco with the music from Moana” thing. There’s a lot of the usual animated fare about coping with change and learning to appreciate people, but it’s executed well and has some good feels by the end of it. Also there’s a big snake voiced by Michael Rooker and an extended sequence of him trying to eat Vivo, if you’re into that sort of thing (no hypno though). After watching “Killing It,” I wanted the snake to end up with a nail through the head via Craig Robinson’s nail gun, but alas, that was probably too violent for a Sony cartoon.
While not on airplanes, I watched:
Fire Island (Netflix, I think?, movie). I like Bowen Yang a lot from SNL and he’s pretty great in this gay rom-com—really two gay rom-coms smushed together. Gay culture is well represented here in many different facets, and though the villains of the movie are kind of under-developed and cardboard, there wasn’t really room to have two romances AND two well-developed villains. The movie seems at times aware that it’s a rom-com and leans into the conventions of the genre, but that’s fine. It was fun overall!
I’m in the middle of a couple series, Andor (Disney+) and Peripheral (Amazon Prime), so I’ll yap about those next Dispatch when they will presumably be finished. I’m enjoying both of them a lot.
Anyone here go to MFF? What’s the next con on your list?
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