Archive for the 'cons' Category

Jul 09 2013

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At ReaderCon This Weekend

I will be at ReaderCon– one of my favorite cons!– in north Boston, again this year.

Saturday at 11:30 AM, I have a solo Reading from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, where I will read from some stories from the magazine. Audience’s choice! Older stories, current ones, and even forthcoming ones from later this summer or our Fifth Anniversary Double-Issue this Oct.

Saturday at 2 PM, I am on the panel The Relationship of Reality and Fantasy. It’s about fantasy secondary worlds borrowing elements from real history, in particular the social consciousness facet of societies, and readers’ interpretations of them; for example the irony of fans who accept magic and dragons but balk at the idea of female pirates or a black Lancelot because they’re “unrealistic.” It asks, whose reality does fantasy need to reflect in order to be believable?

I deal with fantasy secondary worlds all the time with BCS, so I have plenty of thoughts on this. Whose reality do I think that fantasy needs to reflect in order to be believable? Come to the panel and find out. :)

I will have shiny BCS flyers and postcards. I hope to also have the shiny tiny rocket-ship badge pin that I get for BCS being a Hugo Award finalist this year. :)

Feel free to drop by the Saturday reading or panel or to stop me in the halls and say hello!

If you’re looking for me in the bar, note that this year, the bar is closed for renovations! The horror! But the fancy restaurant’s bar apparently will be open late, so you might find me in there. :)

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Oct 26 2012

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Ahoy, World Fantasy!

I will be at World Fantasy in Toronto next weekend!

I’ll have a stack of shiny new BCS flyers and anthology-cover postcards. There’s no BCS reading or panels this year, but I will be doing a reading of my own fiction Saturday at 12:30.

It’s a story forthcoming in Space & Time: a second Clark Ashton Smith pastiche, a companion piece to “The Very Strange Weird of Endart Sscowth,” which they published in S&T 114.

Feel free to say hello, if you see me in the halls, or in the bar, or on the party floor at 3:45 Sunday morning.

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Oct 15 2012

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Cheers, Capclave

I had a great time at Capclave, as usual.

I met many neat folks, including Carol Frank of WSFA, Katie Hartlove of Cold Moon Press, writer Alan Smale, GOH Nick Mamatas, Alexander Harris and his fellow Baltimore SF buddy whose name escapes me, fellow VP alums L. Blankenship, Peter Sursi, and also Stephanie Sursi.

And I renewed acquaintances with many others, including editors Neil Clarke and Sean Wallace, BCS authors Dave Millstien and Ann Chatham, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Larry, and Jen, Melissa, Renee, and Day, and the always brilliant and engrossing James Morrow.

I really enjoyed reading from my satirical fantasy “The Sadly Only Mildly Dramatic Tale of Sijo Uthwen,” which is forthcoming from Space and Time. That was great practice for when I read it at World Fantasy next month.

I enjoyed all my panels, especially the one on rejection, where we got to talking about personalized rejections like I write for BCS and how to approach comments on your work, and the one on online publishing, talking about magazines and publishing formats and models and who in the field influenced us and impresses us.

Well met, all!  I hope to return next year. I’m a little concerned about crowd control re: next year’s GOH. (Hint–he’s gone from huge within the genre to huge within the mainstream, thanks to his TV show on HBO.) But he is a brilliant and engrossing guy, with a neat history at DC-area cons, so I’ll brave the sea of fans to hear what he has to say.

Cheers, Capclave.

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Oct 11 2012

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Help with “Missy” Response?

Filed under cons,hm,SF/F,writing

In the post-ReaderCon sexual harassment revelations and groundswell, something that incensed me equally didn’t get much discussion. With autumn con season upon us, it’s on my mind again, and I welcome input.

Genevieve Valentine’s account of her harassment at ReaderCon also included mention that she, while on a panel, was referred to by a fellow panelist as “missy.” I find such belittlement, of anyone for any reason, colossally offensive.

Having at the time just moderated a ReaderCon panel myself, I immediately wondered, what’s the best response to something like that, when it’s happening?

I’ve thought about it, but I’m not the most socially adroit, so I would appreciate hearing others’ thoughts.

I think the response would be different depending on what role I was in: audience, fellow panelist, or panel moderator. Here are the responses I came up with. All comments welcome.

As an audience member: when the panel opens for questions, ask the disparaging panelist a two-part question. ‘Did you actually call that other panelist _____, and if so, why in the world would you disrespect a fellow panelist like that?’

As a fellow panelist: when the disparaging panelist finished, or maybe even interrupting them, ‘Did you actually call this other panelist _____? If so, then I’m not interested in a single other thing you’ve got to say.’ And leave the panelist table and walk out of the room.

As the moderator: when the disparaging panelist finished, ‘Did you actually call this other panelist _____? We don’t belittle people like that, at least on any panel I’m moderating. If you do it again, you can answer to the con-com.’

(My vindictive side would like to include in that last one ‘or I will call security and have you removed’ or the Conan-esque ‘or you and I can step outside and discuss it.’ But those don’t seem wise. :) )

Any thoughts? I do think it’s something that deserves pointing out in the moment. But if the disparager chose to get belligerent, things might get tense.

I hope to never need this. But if I ever see this sort of thing happen, I would like to have an idea of what might be a good thing to do.

Thanks very much for any comments.

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Oct 09 2012

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At Capclave This Weekend

Capclave

Capclave

I will be at Capclave, my local DC-area SF/F con, this weekend, where reading, unlike the beanie-capped fellow at right, is not extinct!  With a stack of shiny new BCS flyers and anthology postcards.

I’m on several panels and will have a reading. Here’s my schedule:

Friday 6:00 pm: Reading
I will be reading from “The Sadly Only Mildly Dramatic Tale of Sijo Uthewn,” my Clark Ashton Smith pastiche that was recently accepted by Space and Time magazine.

Friday 7:00 pm: Small Press an Ebook Perspective
Small press editors discuss ebooks. How are ebooks affecting the small press industry? How do you compete with the big boys?  (This one includes editor Neil Clarke.)

Saturday 11:00 am: Rejection
Thank you for submitting your story, unfortunately… Nobody sells everything. How do authors cope with rejection? What do editors do to help?  (This one includes editor Sean Wallace.)

Sunday 2:00 pm: Online publishing, from blogs to e-magazines
What are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing online? Who are some of the best online publishers and what do they do? What can be learned from some pioneers? And how can new would-be publishers get started? (This one includes both Neil and Sean!)

Feel free to drop by these if you’d like to hear my insight on any of the above. Also drop by my reading if you like Clark Ashton Smith and/or dry wit.

And if you see me after panels or in the halls or the bar, feel free to say hello.

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Jul 30 2012

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Gutless

Filed under cons,hm,SF/F,writing

By now, most ReaderCon fans and attendees have heard about the sexual harassment that occurred this year.

ReaderCon’s stated policy on harassment is zero-tolerance: violators are banned for life. As one of the more progressive-seeming cons in the field, I was pleased to learn of this and delighted that the perpetrator of this egregious behavior (multiple incidents) would never again be present to so reprehensibly ruin ReaderCon for anyone.

On Friday, the ReaderCon Board of Directors banned this violator not for life but for two years. As justification, they cited his remorse and that the policy felt too severe for cases without intent.

What a gutless move.

If you have a policy, you need to follow it. If you don’t, you are signalling loud and clear that people in the future cannot expect you to keep your word on anything. You are rendering your entire rulebook, all your policies, meaningless.

If you no longer believe that your policy is right, that’s fine, but that’s a separate issue. Reform the policy later, to cover future cases. But for existing cases, you must follow it.

I know this because I’ve been in a similar situation.  In a freshman Chem course I taught, my penalty for cheating was an F for the whole semester. Somebody cheated. And I didn’t have the guts to stick to my policy either. I wished in hindsight I’d made the penalty for first offenders an F on that assignment, then an F for the semester only for a second offense. Just as ReaderCon seems to wish they hadn’t made their policy zero-tolerance either.

I was saved from the temptation to make the same mistake ReaderCon has made because the student, before I could meet with them, cheated a second time. That made my stated penalty fit my new opinion of what offense deserved it. I handed it down with no qualms. And the next semester, I changed my policy.

ReaderCon should have stuck to their policy and banned this perpetrator for life, then started changing what they don’t like about the policy. They could allow banned-for-life people to apply for reinstatement after a certain number of years, and at that time consider any remorse. Ironically, such changes would have accomplished the same ends as their gutless current solution did, but without obliterating all trust in the con.

Let alone that this type of behavior seems to happen often in the con circuit; is reprehensible and even criminal; that remorse or intent have no place in any case involving multiple incidents; and that it’s profoundly sad that some peoples’ behavior makes a progressive con and indeed a progressive field need to have such policies at all.

I can only hope the groundswell of discussion will help the ReaderCon board realize they’ve made a huge mistake.

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Jul 16 2012

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ReaderCon, Well-Met!

Filed under BCS,cons,hm,writing

I had a great time at ReaderCon this past weekend!

I saw a bunch of BCS authors, including Matt Kressel, Mike Allen, Marko Kloos, Raj Khanna, Maggie Ronald, and Mike DeLuca. I also met several BCS authors for the first time, including Ann Chatham and Seth Dickinson. And I saw many con acquaintances, like George Morgan and Amanda Downum, and drinking buddies, like Devin Poore, Claire Humphries, Chris Cevasco, and probably tons more that my delayed-flight-addled brain can’t remember.

I chatted with a bunch of other editors, including Matt Kressel (who also built the new BCS website), Mike Allen, Leah Bobet, and Sean Wallace, which I always enjoy. One of my favorite editors to chat with, Neil Clarke, had a heart attack at the con, which was a big shock, but he was recovering well at a hospital right down the street; excellent news. I started a get-well card for him, which tons of people signed, and a bunch of other people manned his dealers room table all weekend.

I met a bunch of new people, like fellow Viable Paradise grads Fran Wilde and A.C. Wise, Clarkesworld slushie and homebrewer Rebecca Wright, Patrick Swenson the editor of Talebones (a sole-proprietor editor and zine, which I always admire), agent Eddie Schneider of JABberwocky (I’ve met and been on panels with his boss Joshua Bilmes), Appalachian F/SF writer Andy Duncan (whose reading, from an upcoming cover story in F&SF, was awesome), novelist Daniel Abraham (who knew of BCS from my publishing our mutual pal Saladin Ahmed), his co-author Ty Franck (who I knew from fellow Odyssey grad Carrie Vaughn, and who had helped me get my GRRM science-fantasy anthologies signed by Mr. Martin for the BCS science-fantasy month giveaway), and many many more.

The Saturday panel I moderated on Genre Zines in the 21st Century had some great discussion about interesting aspects of current magazines, which made the panel fresh and different from the usual panels on that subject.  Among the cool nuggets that the audience seemed to enjoy was this one that I dropped in passing. My solo reading on Sunday had excerpts from four BCS stories, like “Ratcatcher” by Garth Upshaw that will be in Issue #100 next week and the new Lord Yamada story by Richard Parks that will be in the Fourth Anniversary Double-Issue in October, and was solidly attended by BCS writers and readers alike.

I had a great time; I bought way too many books; I had crates of awesome local beer and shared it with all who would have me. :)  All my criteria for a great con.  I’ll be back again next year!

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Jul 10 2012

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At ReaderCon This Weekend

Filed under BCS,cons,hm,SF/F,writing

I will be at ReaderCon, in north Boston, again this year, for discussion and fellowship and beer.

Saturday at 11 AM, I’m moderating the panel Genre Magazines in the 21st Century. It includes a bunch of longtime editors, like Neil Clarke, Shawna McCarthy, and Gordon Van Gelder, a group which nicely spans both older paper magazines and newer online ones. “What goes into keeping genre magazines fresh and afloat in current times?” the program book muses, also mentioning “success and cautionary stories.” I’ll have some good discussion questions laid in.

I will be at the Group Reading for the Odyssey Writing Workshop Grads, Saturday at 2 PM. I don’t know if I’ll be reading yet, but I’ll bring along a Homeless Moon chapbook just in case….

And Sunday at 11 AM, I have a solo Reading, where I will read a story from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Audience’s choice! Including older stories, current ones, and even forthcoming ones from Issue #100 or our Fourth Anniversary Double-Issue this Oct.; stories from the new Ceaseless Steam theme anthology and even from the not-yet-announced Best of BCS Year Three.

I’ll have flyers featuring the new Issue #100 artwork by Raphael Lacoste and postcards for Best of BCS Year Two and Ceaseless Steam.  Feel free to drop by the Sat. panel, the Sun. reading, or to stop me in the halls (or in the bar!  :-) ).

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Nov 01 2011

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Capclave Postlude

Filed under BCS,cons,hm,SF/F,writing

I had a great time at Capclave, a couple weekends ago.  (Except for the con-crud that delayed my postlude…)

Highlights included moderating a small press panel with Neil Clarke, Sean Wallace, and Mike Walsh of Old Earth Books. Meeting BCS authors Adam Corbin Fusco and David Milstein; hanging out with Jen and Melissa. Chatting again with BCS author and novelist Genevieve Valentine. Seeing co-GOH Cat Valente again (I met her last year at World Fantasy, when the BCS party woke her up at 2 AM :) ).

Speaking with James Morrow, who lectured my year at Odyssey. His novel about Darwin’s lady assistant flying a steampunk airship over the Amazon, which he read from at ReaderCon 2010, is in rewrites and hasn’t yet found a publisher. Which is sad because the excerpt was great. He really liked the cool BCS flyers I had.

Chatting in the bar for hours with co-GOH Carrie Vaughn, a fellow Odyssey grad and bestseller who I had never met in person.  She is mostly known for her urban fantasy, but she’s read tons of epic fantasy and published several dozen short stories, and knows a ton about the field.

The Terry Pratchett surprise visit. I’m not familiar with his work, but I know he’s a very clever and engaging guy. The excerpts that his assistant read from his new book were quite droll (although the assistant read for way too long and interjected his own opinions too often).

They only made enough time to take one question, and it wasn’t about his books but about a BBC documentary he had helped make on assisted suicide for terminally ill. He talked for twenty minutes about that, made even more profound because of his own health situation, and it was utterly fascinating. (I will be blogging about that specifically later.)  Someone in the crowd put it on youtube, and Capclave posted an mp3 of the audio.

The GOH interview. I didn’t know how they would do it with two GOHs. It turned out that Carrie and Cat know each other, so they interviewed each other and took pre-written audience questions.  It was the best GOH interview I’ve ever seen. They were engaging, witty, and profound. Topics included the sociological underpinnings of the mythoses of vampires and werewolves; writing for shared-world anthologies; writing goals and achieving them; where they live and the sense of place in their writing.

I was only at the con for a day and a half, but I had a great time seeing these cool people and having great conversations. That seems to be what I mostly get out of cons–talking to clever people about interesting things.  I’ll definitely be back next year.

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Oct 12 2011

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At Capclave this Weekend

This weekend I will be at Capclave, the local D.C.-area SF/F con.

The co-Guest of Honor this year is bestselling writer Carrie Vaughn, a fellow Odyssey grad.  I’ve heard her writing lectures in podcasts (they’re very insightful), but I’ve never met her in person.

The con again this year has lots of cool literary SF/F programming.  I will be on several panels, again this year:

Friday 8:00 pm:
Short Fiction: Where is the new good short fiction found now?

Saturday 11:00 am:
Small Press Publishing: Running a publishing company, publishing a magazine or semi-prozine.

Saturday 1:00 pm:
When Characters Threaten to Take Over

Alas, no reading this year, for some reason–I did ask for one.

I will probably swing by the hotel bar Friday after my panel, at 9PM.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be around Saturday, and I probably won’t be there Sunday.  If you see me, feel free to grab a snazzy BCS flyer and say hello.

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