Though I’m not completely an introvert, I am very much an “indoor cat.” In many instances, this spring’s quarantine hasn’t changed my life that drastically. But it turns out that one thing I absolutely depend on for my continued psychological well-being is the convention scene. A weekend where I can surround myself with friends and people with common interests, talk late into the night, and then hide in my home office for about a week afterward.

Most of my conventions for 2020 will probably be cancelled, and I completely support that decision. Luckily, we have this thing called “the internet.” So, I’ll be able to get a taste of the convention life. And now, so will you!

This Memorial Day weekend, Balticon 54 has gone virtual! I’ll be participating in multiple panels via Zoom from the comfort of my home office. Because this event and all panels are 100 percent free to the public, I hope you’ll consider joining me! Visit the Balticon link to find the full schedule and information on how to sign up for panels.


  • 5 PM EST: Boldly Going Forward (panel)
    • Star Trek: Picard was an unexpected return to the future of Star Trek’s ‘Prime’ timeline after years of prequels and reboots. Is its success anomalous, or an indicator that revisits to Star Trek’s past are starting to get played out? Are there other stories that are on the table in the future of the ‘Prime’ timeline?
    • With Brick Barrientos and Karen Osborne
  • 7 PM EST: I Read For The Worldbuilding (panel)
    • Some authors are known for their well-paced or twisty plots, some for their deep and nuanced characters, and some are known for their evocative worlds. What stories or series are recommended to readers interested in worldbuilding? What methods did the authors use to make their worlds intriguing and entertaining, rather than tiresome or self-indulgent?
    • With Don Sakers (moderator), Elaine Isaak, and Ada Palmer


  • 2 PM EST: The Cost of Magic (panel)
    • In fiction, the use of magic often requires an exchange or cost, whether it be the loss of prized possessions or the physical and mental tolls taken on spellcasters. What stories feature a balance between power and price? What impact does the need for these choices have on worldbuilding, narrative structure, and character?
    • With John French (moderator), Nick Martell, L. Penelope, and Beth Tanner


  • 2 PM EST: Outlining vs. Pantsing (panel)
    • Some storytellers require a detailed outline to start fleshing out their story, but others prefer to write by the seat of the pants. What are some techniques to help you get better at one when you prefer the other?
    • With A.L. Kaplan (moderator), Charlie Brown, Vivian Shaw, and Ryan Van Loan

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