Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lunacon 2008 Trip Report

I got back from Lunacon on Sunday, and I want to tell you all about it, but first things first...

The Contests Are Coming!!!

In the year and a half that I've been keeping this blog, I've yet to host a contest. But that's all about to change. Over the next few weeks, you will have not one, but two (and maybe even three) opportunities to win free books! And, honestly, what could be better than free books!?!

Contest #1 -- The Narnia Contest -- will start this Monday March 24th. What's in it for you? Two copies of the new BenBella anthology, Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, in which I have an essay. What's in it for me? I'm gonna make you be funny to earn your prize.

Contest #2 -- The Out of the Wild ARC Contest -- will start on Thursday April 3rd. What's in it for you? An ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of Out of the Wild, the sequel to Into the Wild. What's in it for me? I'm gonna make you be creative to earn your prize.

Rules, deadlines, and all details will be revealed on those start dates. Stay tuned...

And now back to my Lunacon recap.

Lunacon Trip Report

You can count on two things if you attend Lunacon (a fantasy and science fiction convention in Rye, NY):

(1) You will meet lots of super-friendly people.
(2) You will get lost in the hotel at least twice.

The Rye Hilton (aka the Escher Hilton) is famous for what is fondly known as the "transdimensional corridor." You start out on the fourth floor, walk down a seemingly level hallway, and discover that you're suddenly on the seventh floor without ever climbing any stairs. And if you lose focus, time shifts as well as space, and you can find yourself momentarily transported to Victorian times, where people will mock your lack of a corset but admire your fine dental hygiene.

I had a marvelous time. I spoke on five panels, plus did a reading and a signing. I also got lost three times instead of the standard two, but then I've always been an overachiever.

A few moments from Lunacon really stick in my mind. One is Josepha Sherman singing Memory in the original feline ("Meow, meow! Meow-meow-meow meow meow..."). Another is my panel "The Novel That Changed My Life." For this panel, we talked about the one novel that played that pivotal role in shaping who we are today. My choice was Alanna by Tamora Pierce.

I first read Alanna when I was ten years old. My friend Gillian had taken it out of the Northboro Public Library, read it, and then handed it to me saying, "You'll love this book. This is your kind of book." Since the book was out on her library card, I was absolutely petrified the entire time I had the book that I would return it late to the library and my friend would be blackballed from ever taking out another library book again and she'd never forgive me and no one would want to be my friend because word would spread and... I was a somewhat anxious child.

Anyway, I read it, loved it, and returned it on time and disaster was averted. But that's not why this book is important to me (though I am glad that I did not cause my friend to be declared a library pariah). This book is important to me because this was the book that made me say, "I want to do this. I want to write books like this. This is what I want to do with my life. This is why I'm here."

And it's also the book that first told me that I could become a writer, if only I tried hard enough. Alanna is about a girl who, by sheer force of will, triumphs over near-impossible odds and achieves her dream. I like that message. A lot. And I believe in it with all my heart. The key component to achieving any impossible dream is not talent or brains or even luck, though they all help. It's sheer pig-headed stubbornness.

So that was my answer. How about you? Is there a book that played a pivotal role in shaping who you are today? What novel changed your life?

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9 Comments:

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Anidori-Isilee said...

Well...if I were to be funny, I'd say The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale since it started an obsession and an addiction to a fan forum that is taking over my life. I've met a lot of awesome people (including Shannon and Libba Bray, and on the same night too!) and I also have a lot of fun being entirely random and crazy with my friends on the forum. For once, I really fit in with a group of people because we all love to read and write and crush on fictional characters. And it's all thanks to The Goose Girl and Erin.

And even after considering some more serious choices (Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce launched my love of the fantasy genre and Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer launched my addiction to Tudor England) I'd still have to say that The Goose Girl has had the most impact on my life. So that's definitely my answer.

Can't wait for the contests!

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger Q said...

I am well. How are you?

I would pick a novel, but there are truly too many to choose from! To pick one that shaped me more than the others would be like trying to pick a tulip out of a Dutch field (I miss flowers). My life tends to be full of gradual change, and nothing truly drastic ever seems to affect me...

(*knocks on wood*)

 
At 9:22 PM, Blogger Erin said...

*smiles at Anilee* :)

I don't know...maybe The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis? It was the first fantasy book I ever read, and it rocked my world.

 
At 2:03 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Anidori-Isilee: Wow. That's the best answer I've every heard. I love Goose Girl, and it's absolutely wonderful that you found such great friends through the fan forum.

Q: I definitely know what you mean. So many great books, so little time...

Erin: Woo-hoo! Go Narnia! I'm totally with you re Lion Witch.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger gnomesque said...

Wow, that's a tough question. Nothing comes to mind off the top of my head, but maybe I'll come up with something soon.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger Enna Isilee said...

w00t! Contests! Q, we seriously have to team up . ;)

I'd have to agree with anilee. My favorite book by Shannon Hale is Enna Burning but the one that changed my life would be TGG.

Ya see, I met Shannon first and thought she was so cool I just had to read her books. Then I read her blog. Then I joined LRRH. Then I met some of my now best friends (waves at Q). I started a blog. And I've started to get authors to ask me to review their books!

Craziness!

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger Q said...

Oh, Enna Isilee, we are going to win them contests! ;)

(waves back)

 
At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Felcity said...

I just saw this post! The book that changed my life was John Adams by David McCullough. I read it in eighth grade, and it changed the way I look at everything. It inspired me to write a novel from young Abigail's point of view, but more importantly instilled a love of history in me. Before it, I despised history. I felt like I learned the same exact course every year! With the book John Adams and a fabulous freshman history teacher, I am now seriously considering making my career incorporate history. John and Abigail Adams continue to be a major interest of mine- I've read almost every book about them. He was one of the only founders who treated us women with any decency. He wasn't the best president, but I am enthralled by this new look on his life. He shouldn't be shadowed by George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Gnomesque: I agree. There are so many books that have had meaning for me that it's tough to pick just one.

Enna Isilee and Q: The announcement for the Narnia contest is now up!

Felicity: I haven't read the McCullough book, but I am a fan of John Adams, mainly because of what he did at the end of his presidency. He went home, peacefully, after losing an election. He was the first president to do so, and thereby set an extremely important precedent for the future.

 

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