Blue Heaven 2003

The Blue Heaven Gang
Roger Eichorn
Lori Ann White
Missing and Missed:
Mary Rickert
and our host - Marvin

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Ready Set Go!

I am packed and ready for the drive to Ohio. First stop: my clarion classmate Matt's house. Dinner with Maureen and then Rasputina goodness.

Then on Saturday, Kelley's Island and all kinds of Blue Heaven goodness. I will try to keep up with the blogging if i can.

Sunday, April 25, 2004
Getting There

So of course I was not completely packed or even anything close to it when I got up to drive out to Ohio. I woke up at five to finish those last little bits (like the very last sink full of dishes) before I was on my way.

It was raining a bit when I left but not a lot, and it rained off and on throughout Massachusetts, so the trip ended up taking 11 hours total (well that and I got stopped in New York for half an hour because they were doing blasting.

I think I like the New York drive a whole lot better than PA - no scary cliffs and far fewer of the double tractor trailers (and no triples). It's also a lot flatter so that was easier on my car, I think.

Got to the big gay hulk's house with no problem, though the AAA directions let me down just a wee bit because they told me to turn right at the end, and they really meant left.

Sooo good to see Matt, and I got to see his couple of cats (Castor and Pollux) who were both really good looking cats. We chatted for a while and then I changed and we were off to meet Maureen, her husband, and the Rasputina contingent (Roger, Amber and Chris.)

We were soooo not late, no matter what the objective evidence might suggest - they are just prejudiced. Well we might have been 40 minutes early if it were Central Time.

We went off to get Mexican food (at a place that was just like the one that gave me food poisoning at Clarion), though they meanly suggested that we have Indian food (Chris is such a bitch). Dinner was ok, nothing special, and then because it was really really noisy, we headed over to a bookstore, where I am sure we scandalized the other patrons. (And who knew there were no massive members in Canada?)

It was great to see Maureen - she's so a mom, and also keeper of the home for wayward writers. She invited Matt and Chris to her house right before Wiscon to have dinner with Ellen Datlow (Sooooo jealous.)

And Maureen finally saw the light why I said Matt reminded me of Chris when they both started hysterically laughing at the thought of 10 Russian boys in a room.

We hung around and chatted until around 10.30, when we started to leave to the concert. (The leavetaking took quite a while.) But Maureen did say she was going to try to take a trip up here Wednesday, so I hope that happens. (If she does, Matt is going to call in sick and come too.)

So we headed off to the concert - and did I mention Amber looked like a princess? - which was great. The music was just awesome. Two goth girls on cellos - who would have figured, though as Ambers said, the lead singer was a bit cranky. When they first got out they made everyone sit on the floor, so people could see (who knew, no sticky floor.) Alas, I was wearing a skirt that was really not conducive to sitting crosslegged, and on the path where everyone wanted to walk back and forth, so I ended up standing after a few minutes of sitting.

Did I mention the music was awesome - they did a cover of Barracuda that was just boffo, never mind the thirty seconds of Baby Got Back. I did wish that had played Dwarf Star, but still awesome.

Alas, when I got home at one thirty, I smelled like a big cigarette butt. (Funny how I had forgotten how everyone smokes in bars.)

It was around 1.30 when we got back to Matt's, and we promptly tumbled into bed. And slept until 9.30 the next morning - woof was I tired but I still beat Matt up. (so ends the bit I wrote at 3 am while I had insomnia)

When I went to check my email, I discovered my F1 key had come off when I was putting in the airport card. So there was much fiddling with the scissor mechanism until I was able to pop it back into place. After going to Max and Irma's for a burger I was back on the road to Kelley's Island.

I got a little bit lost right away when I stayed on route 90 rather than getting on to route 2. And that little bit of delay was probably just about the time it took for me to miss the two o'clock ferry. But was all good because I met up with Karin, Nancy, Lisa, Paul and Toby on the ferry.

We all hung about catching up at Marvin's for a while (Amber, Chris and Ben had caught the 2.00 ferry) and waited for Charlie and Lori to get there. To keep us from starving Chris broke out the rap snacks, and it was decided we were all going to get rap names this year.

I immediately got dubbed L'il Puppet (short name LP) while I was telling them about how Chris was talking me down from the ledge right before she bought my story - for some reason I said he was calling me little puppet (which he wasn't) but I am all kinds of insane like that. Shortly after Paul was dubbed the Quipmaster P.

And we waited, and waited, and Paul started to get worried, but some of us just said Charlie was on Charlie time, so this was about right. He and Lori showed up (finally) at 6.30ish. We all trooped up to show Lori and for some reason Toby the Himmelblau dolls of doom, and then we were off to Robin's for the reception.

We sat around eating and talking stories and good stuff like that until I don't know when, maybe 11? Ben got names Talky Talk and Roger got named Notorious Holly H., for his scary resemblance to Holly Hobby when he was wearing Amber's cool hat.

Finally we were off to bed and I made notes for about a story and a half before I was tired enough to go to bed.

Unfortunately, I woke up at 3 am and was up until around 5, before I fell back to sleep for a bit. Now I must finish notes right before breakfast, and clean out the front seat of my car so someone can ride with me.

Mmmmm we just had french toast frambois. (I know you are sooo jealous and you should be.)

Monday, April 26, 2004

Well, after the french toast Lisa and I left to go to Marvin's - it had been a full 24-hours without a bit of internet access and all. So we get there to get mail, and a few minutes later the rest of the crowd comes along.
Lisa and I are in the kitchen, bitching about the slow internet connection when Nancy comes in there and asks, "Did Lori come with you?"


It was hazing, yeah we meant to do that. So Charlie gives a bit of a dad look and runs off get her. We stand around laughing in that way people do when they have mad a mistake. A few minutes later Lori comes walking up (she had gotten a ride from Robyn's husband) but now we are down a Charlie. But finally he comes back and we are able to get back started on the critiques.

First up in the barrel was Chris. (Taunt! Taunt!) and even though we are running pretty late, we still manage to get him done by noon. We take a vote and decide that we'll do Lori before breaking for lunch.

Alas, for Lori, she gets sucked into the vortex of Ben, so I am afraid she will wither away and never get any food (Sir Talks-a-Lot - that's his P Diddy name - clearly lives on air) but she finally emerges and gets fed.

Whew! Oh that wacky hazing. (Today must be Lisa's turn.)

We did manage to squeeze out a few more rap names - Toby is Creamy T and Amber is Omniscient P. We also got to see Lisa's magnificent condom hat. Alas for not taking a picture to show you. She put on one of the wool hats she has been knitting and she looked about 14.

Back from the lunchiness, it was Amber's turn up, and I love my couriers, and apparently everyone else does too, because it was the fastest crit session ever. Ever. Ben AND Charlie both talked until they had run out of things to say - unprecedented in the history of man.

After that it was quiet time in the afternoon - Charlie took a nap and some other folk went for a bit of a drive. I read some more of Chris' book (taunt! Taunt!) and Ben and Lori talked. - um ben talked and lori listened, mostly *g*

Oh how the mighty fell! Dinner was at the pump - which was not terrible, just not good by anyone's definition of food. But the Pump effect is really a cumulative one - by Friday we will be begging never to go there again.

After dinner Paul, Chris, Ben and I played scrabble - Chris kicked our asses. (All hail the queen of scrabble) and then they played once upon a story. We'd played that at clarion, but of course when we played we were all big big cheaters. This time they had Ben to keep them on the straight and narrow. Lori did a masterful job of bringing the bears are giants story to a close. (I wasn't playing and was trying to do some reading instead.) The next story featured a whole lotta evil, and the third one a naked mudwrestling princess. Ah, good stuff.

10.30 and time to head back and do a bit of homework. *cough* I only got a little bit lost on the way home. I conked out great and slept right through until 6.30 - yeah! Actual sleep.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

We had some sort of banana sugar sour cream thing that all the girls lorded over the boys for breakfast here in girl's town. (Actually I didn't like it but I lorded anyway.)

We got a bit of a late start this morning, we got to Marvin's late, but on the other hand the crits are running very much faster than last year which is a good thing (who knew *Mary* was the one who slowed us down? *waves to Mary* we miss you bunches and when do I get to read your book?)

First up was Nancy with the insane evil queen, or so sayeth the story game cards that Ben played. Chris and I revealed ourselves as teenage fantasy whores. And for some reason people kept moving away from me during crits today - really just because I said I liked the insane evil queen and said I thought she was neither insane nor evil, and we should have way more of her is no reason to edge away from me.

Then we moved on to toby's book "now, with less steve" - there appears to be a curse on people named steve in books brought to blue heaven. So apparently saying that you would screw over the AI who tried to kill you also makes people edge away from you. (Come on people, like that would really save you from me)

Lunch was really really good (mmmm marvin food - spaghetti and garlic toast) And then we were off to crit Lisa. (Taunts Lisa and Chris!)

After that the place turned into sleepytown - Chris and Ben snuck upstairs for sleeping and Charlie, Toby and Lisa all nappified on the couch. Charlie snores so cute.

I didn't nap and worked on reading Chris's book (Creepy Dead People Sex House!), though once Ben got up it was pretty hard to work (not that ben talks a lot or anything)

Dinner at the pump - not that good and extremely slow service. Really the guy just pisses me off, because he complains about us wanting separate checks (which is so not that hard) like we have asked for the moon, and then calls me honey and sweetie which makes me want to smack him.

Anyway, we trooped back to Marvin's and then it was time to talk about agents, and the long story short is finding the agent right for you is hard.

And for breakfast today we had apple french toast frambois - frambois now means yummy of course.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

My story is up - Go look! Go look!
I Never

Did I mention apple french toast frambois?

Yesterday was a short day - just Ben Ben and Paul, so we started a bit later than usual - especially since we had all been weary from editor talk the night before.

Crits went well, and faster than last year, although people have been sassing the clock (i.e., Amber) a bit more as the week goes on. *cough* and I really think if someone steals the watch, it really ought to be respected and the person ought not be timed by some other person. *cough* *glares at Amber and Lisa*

Lunch was yummy shrimp creole and rice - I think I forgot to mention that Marvin's rap name was DJ Vanilla Bean. (The day we had the French toast frambois, Robin was telling us how if Marvin had been making it, he would have gone out at midnight to pick the raspberries.

Some folks went for a walk, and some folks went to the library, I wisely curled up on the comfy white couch and had a little name and read the rest of Charlie's book. (It's weird to know I'm done with all my assigned reading - I feel like I should be scrambling around to read it some more. So I will probably try to work in reading Ben and Paul, too - though I think Ben is at the same time as Chris, so maybe not. I need to do a second read for both of them, anyway. (More Chris than Lisa since his book is a lot more polished.)

We also coined a new term - the benniverse. (That's when you get sucked into ben's vortex of talking.)

We hung around for a few hours before tummies started grumbling, and then there was a bit of a revolution to not go to the pump again - in the end we ordered pizza from there, but got it to go. (Alas, they were out of pepperoni - bastards.) It was like eating pizza from the college dining hall pretty much. (It is the quintessential Blue Heaven experience to eat food from the pump, unfortunately. The food is mediocre and the smoke is really really awful.)

After dinner, we talked about Paul's book some more - it sounds very cool, and it features his novelette that is in the YB - "Singletons in Love."

Karin and Roger decided it was music time so I wandered off into the Benniverse, and somehow we ended up playing "I never ..." Alas, I cannot tell you the stories, but the best ones all started with "The isn't a very good story ..."

Finally back home to Robin's around 1.15 and lights out. Of course I woke up at 7 am this morning anyway, so I think another nap may be in my future later.

I snuck out and looked at my story up at SCI FICTION. Eee! Eee!

Thursday, April 29, 2004
The 80's Sing-a-Long

Today was my turn in the barrel and my crits were mostly notably punctuated by Roger doing Lunel as a British lad and Amber's Critique, which was so darn funny that my notes largely consist of "Selene should --" "In the chapter --"

Alas, her comments are lost in the ether.

Next up were Charlie and Roger - we did all three crits before lunch (which tends to occur around 3 pm most days), so we again had the bulk of the afternoon off.

Chris, Lisa and I decided to run over to Robin's to check email (we've been having problems at Marvin's because whenever there is a message on his phone, no one with an iBook can get online - and that is the bulk of the people who have been connecting to the internet.

We spent some time over there, and came back just as Charlie, Lori and Ben were heading off for a walk. Today the weather was really nice and warm. So warm the three of them decided to go almost skinny dipping at the quarry.

Back at Marvin's, it was nappy nap time and I dozed on his couch for a while. Then when I woke up, Chris took my place. At some point during the day we also dubbed Charlie Dr. Tar-D. Now if we could only find one for Karin about pushing the rent boy porn. *g*

Around 8 we headed back over to Robin's for a cookout. We had had food sent over from the mainland - chicken, steak, and hotdogs, along with a bunch of veggies and s'mores fixings. So very cheap - we should have been doing that sooner - only $4 apiece and very good. Quipmaster P (Paul) has an alter ego of Grillmaster P - and he did a lovely job. We didn't finish dinner until almost 10ish, and then Paul went down and started the bonfire.

Because our particular Blue Heaven tribal ritual involves 80's singalongs. Which are particularly funny for our off key singing and our inability to remember the words.

Never going to get tired of singing "Careless Whisper" or "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." Or watching Chris do the three point stance while dancing or Toby dancing in general.

Oh, and I got an email from someone who liked my story - totally made my day. shiny!

Sunday, May 02, 2004
All the Laughing in the World

Bad Blogger, no cookie.

So I was a bit too weary to blog for the last couple of days, but here is the wrapup:


This was the day of all the laughing. Also the first day of full book critiques. Nancy and I critted Lisa in the morning, which went really well. (Only made her cry twice.) We snagged the porch so it was extra nice. I love so much stuff she is doing in her book.

After the crit sessions, we went over to Robin's for lunch - they were going to be grilling there. Well, Grillmaster P did all the grilling there, anyway. So really yummy burgers and such for lunch - it was quite good. And then I went to napville. I wanted to sit in on Omni P's crit session but I was just way too tired.

And it was just about the best day ever out. Warm and sunny and just perfect. After naptime we loitered on the porch until around five, when it was time for dinner.

Robin and Marvin had a arranged for the deli to open up and cook for us special - it was yummy, and the waiter was too. (don't think I didn't notice you scoping him out Missy D and 50/50)

After dinner, we went back to Marvin's to talk about synopses, but first there needed to be wrestling. (if you understand that, then you are far wiser than me.) In the Sir Talks-a-Lot/Seefoo'd grudge match, rugby came out on top every time. Creamy T vs. Dr. Tar-D was a draw. We also got to hear Amber and Lisa commentating yoga - soon to be a hit on ESPN I am sure.

Well, we talked about synopses for about 5 more minutes, and then got on to more important business, like rap names.

So the final list is:
Me - L'il Puppet
Amber - Omniscient P (Omni P)
Karin - (a skull and crossbones symbol) the artist formerly known as K-Lo
Nancy - Hell's Belle
Lori - Seefoo'D
Lisa - L'il Plum
Charlie - Dr. Tar-D
Chris - 50/50
Paul - Quipmaster P (Grillmaster P)
Roger - Notorious Holly H
Toby - Creamy T
Ben - Sir Talks-a-Lot (formerly Talky Talk)
Marvin - DJ Vanilla Bean

The best single of the night was Marvin's Budda Call (featuring Omni P - Omni P likes to feature) off his album "My mother told me that was a sin"

My single is Talk to the Puppet.

Then we played the surrealist oracle which revealed many things including the answer to world peace (never say never), but far more interestingly, that Amber and Roger were married and they each had a little something on the side (Marvin for Amber and Chris for Roger)

And we had all the laughing in the world until out tummies hurt so hard, and at one point we thought Toby was going to expire. (We found out the next morning that Marvin and Robin sat in her car for three hours listening to us.)


My day for a crit session. Though I spent the morning trying to get some more of Chris's book reread. Then Chris and I went for a bit of a drive around the island. Tried to go to the library but it was closed.

After lunch Chris and Lisa and I talked about my book. And somehow I ended up with a prologue, though I had planned on rejecting Lisa's wacky plan. (It really fixes up what I think is one of the major problems with the story - drat that lisa for being right) And I got a whole bunch of other good stuff for fixing up the book, so I was most satisfied.

Then we sat around and talked about books we like, and how to write a short story (Lisa doesn't write many short stories) and generally gabbed. 'twas fun.

We decided to run over to Robins for a quick internet fix and then grabbed some beer on the way back, then we went to the Wanking Lizard for dinner. Which was pretty good, and far cheaper than the pump. Generally a much nicer place.

After dinner (and the Particle Man singalong in Paul's car where Charlie tried to convince us of the deep philosophical meaning of it - I rebutted by reminding him they have an accordion - I think we all know who won that argument) we came back and talked about viral marketing. Karin told us about her street team and then toby talked about some of the marketing stuff he pitched to tor when he was selling his books - like giving away cd's with your stories on them and giving away stuff at readings, and giving people the option to signup for your mailing list at the same time (apparently most everyone does). Lots of good stuff to think about.

(And at a timely point, since I got an insane amount traffic on my website, and it is so rudimentary - I should update it, though I think it looks pretty ok - still strangers looking at my site - eee! - luckily there are lots of naked women pictures and underwear reports)

stop looking for the naked women and finish reading this entry!

So we went off to bed soon after and then we were on to the last day. :(


Busy morning - charlie's turn in the barell mwahaha! (I forgot to mention that when someone starts their crit with "I love you" - watch out! No that this has anything to do with anything *g*)

Then we fixed chris up all shiny - ok, he was shiny already, but we like to buff. This took about an hour, sir talks-a-lot on the other hand took all all afternoon - something like 5 hours.

We played balderdash and drank beer some. (I won one round, I forget who one the others.)

Last dinner was salmon and veggies and blueberry lemon curd chocolatey goodness, all cooked by the divine marvin. Mmmm marvin goodness.

We talked about books we might workshop after dinner and took some group photos. Blue Heaven ended with the traditional porn reading from Ben - this time from The Career Novelist by Donald Maass.

Hugs and kisses goodbye and I missed everyone already.

We did have a slight exciting incident on the drive back to Robin's where Amber saw a deer next to the road. And she said "deer, deer," and I am thinking she is still talking about Justine and saucy hotel quotes. Then I see the deer just as it run/jumps back into the woods, so I slam on the breaks and swerve a bit. Eee! Exciting.

Alas, I was not there in the morning for the last breakfast - I woke up and thought it was like 7.20 - so I hurry hurry to get dressed, and finish packing, drag my stuff out the door into the kitchen and I see it is really 6.40. Doh!

So I spent today driving back - all 11 hours of it. Rainy and gloomy and then suddenly warm. Mostly uneventful, but the roads in ohio are just awful (I think of ohio as the new new jersey that way) and I thought I had a blow out, but luckily I didn't.

Home home home and weary. I got a rejection from Asimov's today, so I must package stuff up tomorrow and get some stuff out in circulation.


Now we return to our regularly scheduled blogging.


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