This weekend, I’ll be returning to
Hogwarts Seton Hill University for the annual writers retreat hosted by the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program alumni, of which I am one. Mostly, we just wanted an excuse to come back to our favorite place in the world and meet up with our tribe. But because everyone should get to experience that awesomeness, the In Your Write Mind program is open to all writers!
As usual, I’ll be arriving on campus early Thursday afternoon and heading home late Sunday afternoon. I’m staying in the dorms, which isn’t glamorous, but is always a party.
Here is the full schedule. I can’t wait to attend some of these awesome presentations, but below is what I’ll be up to and where you can specifically find me. Will I see you there?
- Costume Ball at 9 PM: The theme this year is “Storybook Land.” I’m being a total slacker with my costume, but I promise it’s still prize-worthy.
- Behind the Scenes of Military Life at 8 AM: I’m moderating a panel of current and former service members and others attached to the military life (I’m both a brat and a spouse). This is a chance to get an inside look at what being in (and attached) to the military is really like, by those who’ve been there…and are still there.
- Mass Book Signing from 5:30 to 9:30 PM: I’ll have copies of all books currently available in the Steel Empires series…and maybe a surprise extra!
There was no reason for me to buy this year’s special Star Wars Day LEGO set, but that didn’t stop me! While the awesome Y-Wing Starfighter set is waiting patiently in my “to be built” pile (dwarfed only by my “to be read” pile), I couldn’t resist putting together this cute freebie I got with it.
BB-8 (40288) — 48 pieces
Obviously, this was a short and sweet set that I was able to throw together in about 5 minutes. But it does answer the question of what BB-8 wears under his metal exterior!
The answer is apparently LEGOs.
Once finished, BB-8 survived a careful car ride to take his place of pride with his buddy R2-D2 in my office! They have teamed up with a Dalek to protect the TARDIS from the Weeping Angels.
An unexpected alliance
TARDIS and Weeping Angels miniatures hand-painted by Tower of the Archmage
Here’s my schedule for Balticon 52, taking place over Memorial Day weekend at Baltimore’s Renaissance Harborplace hotel!
- The Blurring of Genre Borders (panel) at 4 pm
- Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading at 1 pm
- Slash of Our Ancestors: A History of Fanfic (panel) at 2 pm
- Autograph session with J.L. Gribble & Jay Smith at 5 pm
- Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (presentation) at 12 pm
- Fandom Trolls and How to Vanquish Them (panel) at 4 pm
- Readings with J.L. Gribble & Paul E. Cooley at 7 pm
- Taking Off the Training Wheels: Fanfic to Original Fic (panel) at 8 pm
- Writing Compelling Villains (panel) at 10 am
- How to Keep Writing After the Workshop (panel) at 11 am
It looks like you can find me wandering on Friday night, between my events on Saturday and Sunday, and probably a bit later into Saturday night. Please drop me a line if you’d like to meet up for a drink or a meal!
This weekend, I will be attending Cleveland ConCoction for the third year! This is one of my favorite conventions in terms of how authors are treated and the variety of events. I made some great friends last year that I can’t wait to reunite with.
The convention is a new hotel this year, farther from the airport. Slightly inconvenient for me, but I’ll get to have a new experience: renting a car! Here’s my schedule for the weekend, hopefully to be filled with other awesome new experiences.
- 2 PM: Stories of Coming up with Characters
- 3 PM: Mistakes Beginning Authors Make 1.0
- 4 PM: Author Perspectives on Fan Fiction
- 9 PM: Vampires, Werewolves & Gods: Rewriting Legends 1.0
- 5 PM: Author Showcase: Reading from Steel Blood
- 10 PM: NSFW Authors Panel 2.0
- 11 AM: What’s in a Genre?
I’ll have all three of the current books in the Steel Empires for sale in Authors Alley, and when in doubt, you can probably find me in the hotel bar with Brent Seth and Sara Dobie Bauer. I’m also looking forward to the awesome party that Barfleet throws!
Will I see you in Cleveland?
This weekend, I’ll be attending ChessieCon 2017 at the Radisson North Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, MD! This is a local convention to me, so I’ll be commuting from home rather than staying at the hotel. I’ll still be around most of the weekend if you want to grab a snack or drink with me!
Where you can definitely find me over the course of the weekend:
- Friday, 8 PM: Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading
- Friday, 9:15 PM: What’s good on TV?
- Saturday, 12:30 PM: PowerPoint Improv
- Saturday, 8 PM: Author Meet & Greet
- Sunday, 12:30 PM: Reading from Steel Blood
Did you know that I did improv comedy in college for almost four years? Well, now you do. So I’m really looking forward to exercising my ridiculous, much-neglected talent on Saturday afternoon. Before that, on Friday night, be amazed by how much I DVR and catch on Netflix as I tell you about the best stuff on TV to catch these days.
Please let me know if I’ll see you there!
I recently took a trip to Orlando, Florida, to attend a series of workshops for the day job. This was not exactly a hardship, because the conference was located at one of the Disney World Resorts. This meant that the first night I was in town, I hopped on the shuttle to Disney Springs to make a pilgrimage to the local (and enormous) LEGO store.
I had no idea what I was going to buy there, just that I was going to acquire something. I was limited by what I could carry home in my suitcase, of course, so when I saw a stack of the newly released Women of NASA set, my decision was basically made for me! Even more special was that the sales person who rang up my purchase mentioned that this was her retirement gig, and that she’d worked for NASA at Cape Canaveral for almost 30 years.
After getting home late Saturday night, I put together this adorable set on Sunday afternoon while watching some Netflix. Yes, I should have been writing instead.
Women of NASA (21312): 231 pieces
My favorite part is definitely the adorable miniature space shuttle, complete with external tank and solid rocket boosters.
I also love the cosmos picture behind Dr. Roman, which was part of the piece and not a sticker (same with the chalkboard and satellite solar panels). Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the quality of each LEGO Ideas set I’ve built so far.
I freaked out to my husband the other day that a LEGO set I wanted might disappear soon, according to the ominous wording in the latest catalog. (Yes, I get the LEGO catalog and pour through it religiously.) Because he is the best husband, his response was, “So order it already.”
That particular LEGO set goes into the build pile as a future writing/editing reward, but what I did get to build tonight is the cute freebie that came with it!
Iconic VIP Set (40178): 205 pieces
Not terribly complicated, but definitely adorable. There’s supposed to be a red post on the empty floor pegs up front, but it photographed better without it.