Con Report: Capclave 2018

Capclave dodoThis weekend was amazing, and I’m absolutely exhausted. (I apologize in advance that this con report will not be as in-depth as usual.) I’m very glad that spent the weekend at the hotel, despite Capclave being a “local” convention to where I live (Rockville, Maryland, is a 40-minute drive from my house without traffic). But it meant plenty of social time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, which is really the best part of conventions anyway!  Continue reading

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Review: American War by Omar El Akkad

American WarI snagged this book on a whim to support an independent bookstore during a vacation and absolutely devoured it on the flight home. I’d been a bit burned out on post-apocalyptic fiction lately, but this book was not your typical environmental or man-made apocalypse. Instead, it was an apocalypse created by people being dumb; or perhaps more charitably, by people being human.  Continue reading

Capclave 2018 Schedule

Capclave dodoThis weekend I’ll be attending Capclave, sponsored by the Washington Science Fiction Association, for the first time! Even though it’s a fairly local convention to me, I’ll be staying at the hotel for the full experience, and I’m excited to spend time with everyone who will be there. Below is my schedule for the weekend, but as usual, feel free to PM me on Facebook or Twitter if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a coffee, or just a chat!

I will have copies of all of my books available all weekend, including the newly released Steel Time!

FRIDAY

  • 4 PM: Secret Origins of Writers (panel)
    • To MFA or not to MFA. Pros and cons of workshops like Odyssey, Clarion, Taos Toolbox, and MFA programs such as Stonecoast and Iowa Writers Workshop.
    • With Scott Edelman, Suzanne Palmer, Jack Stillingstead, and James R. Stratton
  • 6 PM: Reading
  • 7 PM: Taxonomy of Fantasy (panel)
    • Urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dark fantasy, high fantasy, epic fantasy, mythic fantasy, etc. How many types of fantasy are there? Reader’s tastes evolve over time. Which types of fantasy are currently the most powerful, which are becoming less popular, where is fantasy headed, and why?
    • With Craig L. Gidney and Lawrence Watt-Evans
  • 9 PM: How to Self-Edit that Lousy First Draft
    • Sometimes a first draft of a story is just not in a state your want to send to an editor or publisher, and yet too promising to simply set aside. What’s a good mindset to identify the pieces that can best be salvaged in revision? How can a first draft go from lousy to respectable with the least amount of exertion that could perhaps be spent on other works?
    • With Doc Coleman, Michelle D. Sonnier, and James R. Stratton
  • 10 PM: Author Table

SATURDAY

  • 10 AM: Throw Out the Genre Definitions (panel)
    • Intersections of YA, horror, romance, erotica, literary fiction, and SFF and their current successes. Who is doing it well?
    • With Jeanne Adams, Kelly Dwyer, and Joan Wendland
  • 1 PM: What Makes Alternate History So Compelling? (panel)
    • Alternate histories continue to proliferate, though in accordance with Sturgeon’s Law, most fail the plausibility test, the storytelling test, or both. Why do the what-ifs continue to fascinate us, and what makes a power story in this subgenre?
    • With Tom Doyle, Bjorn Hasseler, Alan Smale, and Jean Marie Ward
  • 5 PM: Writers as Fans: How Fandom Influences Our Writing (panel)
    • A panel of writers discusses their favorite fandoms and how their passions have inspired and influenced their writing.
    • With Andrew Fox, Victoria Janssen, and Hildy Silverman
  • 7:30 PM: Mass Autographing Session

SUNDAY

  • 10 AM: Ask Me Anything–Author Edition (panel)
    • Ask our panel of authors absolutely anything about what they do–writing, getting published, elevator pitches, getting an agent, dealing with writers block, writers workshops, etc. Includes many non-writer-parts-of-being-a-writer, such as being your own boss, setting schedules, and so on
    • With Alyssa Wong, Jonathan Brazee, Suzanne Palmer, and Lawrence M. Schoen
  • 12 PM: Don’t Go There–Unless You Really Want To (panel)
    • Taboo subjects in fantasy and science fiction. Are there any? What lines won’t you cross? What lines should you cross?
    • With Sarah Avery, Shahid Mahmud, and Lawrence Watt-Evans

Review: “The Steam Pump Jump” (Chronicles of St. Mary’s short) by Jodi Taylor

Steam Pump JumpThis short story very much needs the context of pretty much all of the novels in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series so far to understand the detail of what’s going on. But otherwise, it’s a “typical” St. Mary’s lark, full of the usual shenanigans and mayhem (#disastermagnets). And as an added bonus, it’s from Markham’s point of view! Any perspective from security department versus the historians is fun, but Markham just adds that much extra flavor.

I felt that the beginning of the tale was a bit drawn out until we got to the interesting bits, but even that section had it’s laugh out loud moments of humor. This tale is not to be missed by St. Mary’s fan(atic)s.  Continue reading

Build Report: Hans Christian Andersen

HCAThe first step to admitting you have a problem is to buy more LEGOs. That’s how it works, right? Regardless, I’m officially buying LEGO sets faster than I can build them, but the LEGO sets I buy are expensive enough that they keep coming with awesome freebies to tide me over until my next major goal is met. The current major goal is finishing revisions to book 5 and sending the first draft to my editor. In the meantime, I just completed a major freelance editing job, and this is the result.

Hans Christian Andersen (40291) — 307 pieces

As a writer and reader, this was the perfect set for me!  Continue reading

In Your Write Mind 2018 Schedule

IYWM 2018

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?

FRIDAY

  • 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.

SATURDAY

  • 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!