Once again, I look forward to returning to my local convention this year, Balticon 53 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor over Memorial Day weekend. And by local, I mean that I literally worked 2 blocks away from the host hotel for over 10 years.
It will be super easy to find me this year, since for the majority of the convention I will be hanging out in the dealer room! I will be selling my books, along with other titles from my publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press.
I am on programming as well, so here are the other places you’ll be able to find me:
- 4 PM: After Avengers: Endgame (panel)
- Did Avengers: Endgame deliver on the buildup promised by earlier films? How do you feel about the prior films after all this has happened?
- With Kim the ComicBookGoddess (moderator), Dame Dahlia, Liz Dukes, and D’Manda Martini
- 6 PM: The Blurring of Genre Borders (panel)
- Can you easily tell whether a work is science fiction, fantasy, horror, or literary? If you can’t, is it a good or a bad thing?
- With Scott Roche, Sarah Pinsker, L.H. Moore, L. Marie Wood, and Roberta Rogow (I’m moderating!)
- 8 PM: How to Self-Edit That Lousy First Draft (panel)
- Panelists discuss techniques for editing when you don’t have an outside reader to help.
- With Joshua Bilmes (moderator), Jay Smith, Karen Osbourne, Scott Edelman, and Ian Randal Strock
- 10 AM: From Fanfic to Pro (panel)
- You’re confident at creating coherent sentences, and have become good at building upon the worlds of others. You have the discipline of writing pretty much in your grasp. How do you start creating characters that don’t feel like you’re borrowing them? How do you movie into worldbuilding when it wasn’t necessary before? Come talk to authors who have written both.
- With T. Eric Bakutis, K.M. Szpara, Vivian Shaw, and Steven Howell Wilson (I’m moderating!)
- 12 PM: Autograph session
- 12 PM: Readings
- With Gail Z. Martin and T. Eric Bakutis
I’m excited to attend my first StokerCon this week, in Grand Rapids, Michigan! This is not a convention I plan to attend normally, but the stars aligned to make attending this year too awesome to pass up, such as my publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press winning this year’s Specialty Press Award.
For most of the event, you’ll be able to find me at the RDSP table in the dealer’s room, where my books will be available despite the lack of blatant horror. I do have some spots on the schedule though:
- 7 PM: Be a Diamond in the Slush Pile Rough (panel)
- Tired of getting lost in the stack of unread submissions? Do you want your work to stand out as the diamond in the rough? Learn the top editing tips that can help you rise above the slush pile and get published.
- With Michael Cieslak, Norman Prentiss, J.D. Barker, and April Grey
- 12 PM: Reading
- With Jeff Strand and Peggy Christie
- 5 PM: Mass Autograph Session & Ice Cream Social
- 1 PM: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (presentation)
- Join author and editor J.L. Gribble for an overview of the alternate history genre, followed by world-building activities with audience interaction to create various alternate histories of our own. Appropriate for both readers and creators.
I’m getting to the hotel on Wednesday evening and leaving Sunday morning, so there’s plenty of time to hang out if you’d like to meet for a meal, drink, coffee, or just a chat! I’m attending the awards ceremony on Saturday night, but not the banquet, so I’ll definitely be looking for dinner buddies for that time.
Will I see you there?
This month, it feels like I wrote all the words, read all the books, and went to all the conventions. Okay, it’s actually about 32k words, 15 novels, 8 short stories, 3 graphic novels, and 2 conventions. Still a hell of a month.
Obviously, that 32k words means that I did NOT “win” NaNoWriMo. As you can see from the chart, I missed the first few days for World Fantasy, wrote for a bit, stalled out for a week, then went hardcore for a few days until Thanksgiving and ChessieCon. In theory, I could have done another 18k words in the time left. But I’ll refer you to what I said in my con report for ChessieCon:
“During some time spent chatting with friends after the panel, mentally moaning to myself that I should have been working on NaNoWriMo, I had a bit of an epiphany. I didn’t sign up for NaNoWriMo this year to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. That would have been nice, but it wasn’t the main point. The main point was to kick myself in the pants and actually get some words written on my the next book. I started the month with 8 thousand words. I now have 40 thousand. I’m going to call that a win in my book and keep writing at a pace that is comfortable for me.”
In addition, I also found out this month that I’m perfectly capable of writing up to 3,500 words in a day, where before I’d felt like 2,000 was my maximum. So, I didn’t win NaNoWriMo…but I totally accomplished what I needed NaNoWriMo to do for me, which is more of the point.
- See above for NaNoWriMo details.
- I had a fantastic time at both World Fantasy and ChessieCon! The links for each name go to my con reports.
- I still have about 200 pages to go in the last Wrinkle in Time series book, An Acceptable Time. This one is not grabbing me as much as the others, alas.
November Book Reviews
November Speculative Chic Contributions
- Now that I’ve started, I have no excuse not to write another 15k to 20k of Steel Justice!
- Finish An Acceptable Time and review it for Speculative Chic.
- Contribute to four group blog posts for Speculative Chic: my wrap-up of my 2018 resolution, a description of my 2019 resolution (more reading!), my biggest disappointment of 2018, and my most anticipated thing of 2019!
- As is my new tradition since I became obsessed with LEGO, I’ll build one set between Christmas and my birthday (Dec 31).
- And most importantly: VACATION! The husband and I will be on a giant boat in the Caribbean for 7 days. No internet. No writing. Just lots of sun and warm and reading. And maybe a caipirinha or three.
I reorganized my To Be Read shelves after all the free books I got from World Fantasy, and then Nicki-cat told me to get back to writing.
This weekend, I will be recovering from Thanksgiving by hanging out at the Red Lion Hotel Baltimore North for ChessieCon 2018! My schedule is below.
I’m not staying at the convention hotel for this one, so give me a shout if you want to meet up for coffee or a meal. As usual, the best way to reach me during a convention is through a Facebook message or Twitter DM.
- 9:15 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
- With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Margaret Carter, Roberta Rogow, Michelle D. Sonnier, and Elektra Hammond
- 10:30 PM: Alternate Endings for your Favorite Canceled TV Shows (panel)
- The show was brilliant, but that’s how they ended it?! Firefly, Enterprise, Jericho, Terminator, to name a few, all ended before their time. This panel is a group discussion/impromptu exercise to make our own endings.
- With Elektra Hammond, Jeff Gritman, Timothy Liebe, and Harrison Demchick
- 10 AM: Time Management for the Overachieving Creator (panel)
- Wearing too many hats? Going it indie as an author or publisher can really fragment your time. Panelists discuss ways you can streamline your process to be productive while still getting necessary things done.
- With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Intisar Khanani, Valerie Mikles, and Linda Adams
- 4:15 PM: Young Adult Fiction: Why Then? Why Now? (panel)
- In 1967, highschooler S.E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders, and the YA genre was quickly off and running. Now, over thirty years later, YA is rapidly expanding again. Both adults and teenagers are reading it, and YA books pop up on every bestseller list. What happened then, and what’s happening now that causes YA to grow so wildly?
- With Mary Fan, Tamora Pierce, and Intisar Khanami
- 6:45 PM: Mass Author Signing
When a professional convention in your field is literally in your back yard (or at least 2 blocks away from where you used to work for 12 years), there’s really no excuse not to go. And I’m so glad that I attended World Fantasy 2018 in Baltimore, MD!
I worked from home on Thursday morning, and then my mother-in-law was nice enough to drive me up to the convention hotel, where I stayed for the weekend. I could have commuted, but sharing a room was literally the same cost as I would have paid in parking fees over the course of 4 days.
After checking in, a friend dragged me to a small workshop on using Tarot cards to help prompt story ideas. While I don’t disbelieve in using Tarot for more personal means, I adore the concept as a storytelling exercise.
Following that, my afternoon workshop on Working with Editors went well. Scott H. Andrews, of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, was a great presenter and very knowledgeable about the subject. I was pretty much there to speak from the novel perspective, and help wrangle one of the small Q&A groups we held with other editors — and I am totally okay with that!
I joined the three lovely ladies I shared a hotel room with for dinner at the Irish pub across the street. All of us are former students from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, but the best part of that is how many of those former students are now my friends and colleagues. Continue reading
I’m very excited to attend World Fantasy this year! It’s in Baltimore, so I really have no excuse not to be there. I think it’ll be a great opportunity for me to start meeting agents BEFORE I have a novel to pitch to them (the UFO book, which gets written in 2020!), so it will be a more relaxed atmosphere for everyone involved.
As an added bonus, I’ll get to see so many writer friends from my grad school tribe and beyond, and I’m even on programming!
- Thursday, 2 PM: Working with Editors
- Workshop with limited space available
- A broad discussion about editor interactions regarding short fiction and novels, including hiring developmental editors, finding sensitivity readers, submitting short fiction to magazines, sending queries for a novel to agents or publishers, and handling rewrites and line-edits. Plus a Q&A session with leading editors in the speculative fiction field today.
- With Scott H. Andrews, Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine
- Friday, 11 AM: Writing as Sanctuary
- Panel: How does the art and/or exercise of writing provide sanctuary from the world. Can writing take you away from the external or is that always carried through to your work? #SanctuaryWriting
- With Jacob Baugher, J.D. Blackrose, J.L. Gribble, Anna La Voie (M), and K. Ceres Wright
- Friday, 8 PM: Mass Author Signing
- Saturday, 10 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
- Sunday, 11:30 AM: Individual Author Reading
I’m staying at the hotel in Baltimore, so I’ll be around all weekend if you want to hang out and chat or grab a meal/coffee/adult beverage. As usual, the best way to reach me during a convention is through a Facebook message or Twitter DM.
I’m always thrilled to support fellow graduates of the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program, even if I’ve never had the opportunity to meet them in person! Today, I’m happy to host dark fantasy author Allan Cornelius and ask him some questions about his debut novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When you’ve done the unthinkable, what wouldn’t you do to make it right? Lie? Steal? Kill?
For thirteen years, Steven’s mother is all he’s known. Then he plays an unintended part in the resurrection of Ssanek, a long-dead god. Now Steven must decide between abandoning the world to its fate, and risking those he cares for in a hopeless bid to banish the dark god
Meanwhile, half-elven Christabel searches for a way to bring her mother back from the dead while fighting those at the palace who see her human heritage as poison. Her only hope is Ssanek. Will Christabel be willing to give what he asks in return? After all, every wish has a price. And Ssanek’s price is blood.
Separated by thousands of miles, these two strangers must fight an evil that twists the very hearts and flesh of anyone who follows it. But only together will they find the strength to defeat what neither could overcome alone.
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Tell us a bit about what sets Whispers at the Alter apart from other dark fantasy tales!
I would have to say it is the emphasis on the characters themselves. I’ve always been attracted to stories that were about more than just something bad happening to the protagonist and her friends, them struggling, and then just more bad happening to them. The darkness in Whispers at the Altar comes as much from within the protagonists themselves as it does from without. At its heart, it is a story about two vary similar people, who experience similar loss, and their internal struggles to overcome and move past that loss. The internal journey of all of the characters, protagonist and antagonist alike is what has always attracted me to writing. Continue reading