These are some of the things C. Flynt has been up to, some of our personal lives, some reviews of things we've read, some stuff we've learned.

The blogs are organized by date.

Comments will appear when we've had time to check them. Apology for the inconvenience, but it's a way to keep phishers and spammers off the page.

Conclave was so heavily programmed that Carol and Clif split up to attend various panels.

Some of our highpoints were:

Finding the Right Publisher with Adrian and Cynthianna Matthews.

I was a little late following the concert, and missed any advice on the actual search for a publisher. The discussion when I entered centered around the publisher-author relationship and the characteristics of a good one. Both speakers agreed the relationship was similar to a marriage. When each side respects the other, each wants the best for the relationship and there is an even give-and-take between the partners, the relationship flourishes. The main advice was for authors to present themselves and behave as professionally as possible, and expect the same from the publisher. If the mutual respect is not there, the author-publisher match is not a good one.

Death by Teacup with Aegis Consulting

The folks at Aegis Consulting always offer a fun, information-filled experience. The focus of this panel was how to improvise weapons that could kill or seriously maim an opponent.

The hero in a future project will need to get herself out of trouble frequently. I was looking for creative ways she might do that, and I got lots of info.

The best places to strike on the human body are temple, throat, instep, shoulder between shoulder blade and clavicle, and the under arms.

If blood from a head wound, however minor, leaks into an eye, the eye will immediately congeal, blinding its owner. I'll probably use that bit of information.

The instructors demonstrated how to use keys, belts, shoes, scarves, a hipscarf full of coins and, yes, even a teacup as a weapon.

A scarf can be used as a sling (with a cell phone for the stone), garottes and saps (using those keys, for instance.) Keys become spikes, as do high heels. Hard rubber heels become bludgeons. Belts can capture, garrotte or whip. Just the belt buckle at the end of a belt put a divot into a plywood sheild. A bunch of keys appended to the buckle did even more damage. All in all, great fun and highly inspiring for a writer!

Fighting for Writers with Aegis Consulting was another educational session. The Aegis folks lectured about how various weapons work (bludgeon, cut, impact/shock), tactics for using them, and then played various scenarios that the members of the audience had in their works-in-progress.

I was pleased that my fight scene between Sigurd and two attackers was approved, and doubly pleased when the guy playing Sigurd in the demonstration melee used the butt of his ax against one opponent, as I had Sigurd do in another battle.

Sal Sanfratello explained how you can classify the classic hand weapons by the number of attacks they posses. For example a longsword or ax has two attacks -- the blade and the hilt, while a dagger or shield only has one attack per action.

This is a war-gamer type technique you can use to balance your forces in a small fight scene and keep it slightly realistic.

At the other end of the technology spectrum, the Aegis folks play-acted a modern mercenary team attacking a bad-guy holed up in a basement.

After following the scenario the author had described, they discussed how they'd really want to do the action.

Their preferred solution is to ride the cable above the elevator, wait for the bad guys to waste ammunition on an empty elevator, then trigger an explosive in the elevator as the door opens to disable the bad guys and finally have the good guys swarm through the debris wearing night goggles.

We both attended The Monomythic Arc, the Bardic Narrative Tradition, and Writing panel with Kelly McCullough and M. Keaton. This was our last panel before we headed home on Sunday.

As usual, the discussion ranged from how to adapt the classic Heroic Journey story into something new to the research techniques you need to make that Journey realistic.

The takeaways from this panel were to look at Archeology instead of History when trying to learn what a culture is like and to ask the experts questions. As a rule, experts are thrilled that a fiction author is trying to get something right. They'll usually provide you with all the info you need, and a bit more.