I'm going to be at World Fantasy this weekend, in Columbus, Ohio. If you're going to be there, come say hi!
My panel is:
Saturday Noon: Panel B16: Sword & Sorcery. Scott Andrews, Martha Wells, Howard Jones, Patricia Bray. Sword & Sorcery. Clearly this "literary fossil," as Alexei Panshin once called it, is not yet extinct. But has it evolved? A discussion of the continuing appeal and the nature of the form.
I'll also be at the mass autographing Friday night.
There was talk of a Black Gate Magazine Group Reading on Friday, but it's actually on Saturday:
2nd Floor, Madison room* (or immediately next door), Hyatt Regency Hotel
Saturday, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
A number of Black Gate authors will be doing ten minute readings of their stories, including me, so come on by. It's not on the official schedule, so probably won't be listed on the program.
While we were in Galveston, we got a chance to do the Ashton Villa Haunted Tour, which is actually the Ashton Villa Post-Hurricane Ike Restoration Tour, with bonus ghost stories. The house, built in 1859, got three feet of water in it during hurricane Ike. (This sounds like a lot, but it got nine feet of water during the 1900 storm that killed between 6000 and 12,000 people. It flooded, but didn't wash away or implode and kill everybody inside, so go house.) The Ike flooding ruined the downstairs floor and damaged the entire collection of ground floor furniture. The furniture has been restored now and is stored upstairs in the bedrooms. (For a mansion, it's not actually that large a house, especially compared to the Moody Mansion or the Bishop's Palace, which is built like a combination castle/bomb shelter.) The floor is still being replaced and the walls are being worked on.
(One of the people on the tour with us wanted to argue about all their decisions, particularly why the older women who were working in the house during Ike didn't save the collection (chairs, tables, couches, the piano) by carrying all of it up the 30-40 foot grand staircase designed by the human mountain goats common in 1859. If I never hear the words "why didn't you just--" again, I will be a happy, happy woman.)
One of the cool things we heard was about the buried basement. After the 1900 storm, the seawall was built and the grade of the island was raised by several feet. A lot of people at the time had their houses jacked up to the new level, but the Ashton Villa didn't bother, and the family just had the basement filled in with dirt. (Which is why the house sits flat on the ground now, unlike the other mansions on Broadway. The short ornamental iron fence in front also extends several feet below the ground -- the only thing they moved up was the gate.) After Ike when they had the floor torn up, they started excavating the basement to find out what was down there.
They found a crypt under the basement.
They have no idea who, if anybody, is in it. But it certainly casts the family's decision to fill in the basement on top of it in a new light.