Con Report: World Fantasy 2018

World Fantasy 2018 banner

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!

THURSDAY

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

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World Fantasy 2018 Schedule

World Fantasy 2018 bannerI’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.

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

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

Con Report: FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018

FanX 2018 author imageWow. What an absolutely amazing trip.

[If you’re here to find the copy of my alternate history presentation, you’re in the right place! It’s included below!]

I’m not even going to recap last year, because this year blew it out of the water. I was honored to be invited back, and I hope to return again next year. Many thanks to Jay Whittaker and Blake Casselman for their continued support — I genuinely feel like I leveled up as an author last weekend, and it could not have happened without the support from both of you.

THURSDAY

My husband Bach and I traveled to the airport early in the morning, where we met two friends we were traveling with. Our trip was smooth, including the connection in Chicago and catching the new Utah train service from the airport in Salt Lake City to our hotel downtown. We checked into our hotel 30 minutes ahead of my mental schedule, and then it was off to the races!  Continue reading

FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018 Schedule

FanX 2018 author imageThis weekend I will be attending my second FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention (formerly Salt Lake Comic Con)! My husband joins me at this con, and we use it as our annual anniversary celebration because it falls near the date of our wedding. We have a great time people-watching, spending too much money on nerdy things, and catching up with friends. My husband refers to himself as my sherpa-slash-arm candy while I promote my writing, and this year, I’m excited to have our friends Lauren and Chad fly out with us.

I will be presenting on the alternate history genre and participating in a few panels. You’ll also definitely be able to find us at anything related to the Geek Show Podcast to support our buddies there. Schedule and additional details below.

I acknowledge that there has been some controversy surrounding this convention due to harassment issues between guests and fans that were not resolved satisfactorily during or after the 2017 event. While I am not 100% satisfied with the way things turned out after the issues last year (from what I know through the press and the Internet grapevine, at least), I do see that changes have been put in place that will hopefully make the 2018 event a success for all involved. For example, I personally know two of the people on the new community council and trust in them to help the convention through these issues. Though this is a larger convention (by many magnitudes) than the others I attend, my usual policy still stands: If you feel unsafe in any way, even if it’s just mildly uncomfortable, you can find me and I will be your new best friend (and help you out with whatever steps you need to feel safe). Fandom is a community, and communities look out for each other.

To anyone who might be at this convention, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a drink, or even just to chat, especially since this is the one event a year that I’m not on the Easy Coast! I’d love to meet you. This applies to pretty much anytime I’m not busy. Facebook and Twitter DMs will be the best way to reach me before or during the event.

Thursday, September 6

  • 4 PM: Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (Room 150G)
    • Join author and editor J.L. Gribble as she leads an interactive presentation on alternate history as a genre, subgenre, and storytelling technique, using examples from all forms of pop culture media. Appropriate for authors and readers. Hosting and color commentary provided by comedian Jay Whittaker.
  • 5 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)

Friday, September 7

  • 5 PM: Avengers, Re-Assemble! Infinity War and Beyond (Room 151D)
    • With the fate of the universe (well technically, half of it) hanging it the balance will the Avengers be able to put their differences aside and become The Universe’s Mightiest Heroes? In this panel we will discuss what we think/hope we can expect from the next Avengers movie as well as the movies leading up to and following ‘Avengers TBA’!
    • With Robert J. Defendi  (moderator), Jacob Dietz, Christian Lambert, McCord Larsen, Cameron McVey, and Travis Tate
  • 7 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)
  • 8 PM: Get Your Geek Off: Two Teams Debate Random Topics Suggested by the Audience (18+) (Room 251A)
    • With Shannon Barnson, Scott Drakeford, Kerry Jackson (moderator), Jimmy Martin, Kyle J. Steenblik, Jay Whittaker

Saturday, September 8

  • Wandering around and having fun!

Con Report: Confluence 2018

Confluence 2018I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since my first visit to Confluence as a professional writer. In 2013, I was promoting a speculative fiction anthology I had edited and announcing my contract with Dog Star Books to publish my first novel the next year. Now, my fourth novel comes out next month, and Confluence has become one of my favorite conventions. A weekend where I can relax, have fun with friends, and meet awesome new authors.

FRIDAY

Got a later start than usual because I had to get some day-job work done in the morning, but I hit the road by 11 AM. Considering I drive to western Pennsylvania a few times a year now, I have my routine down to a science. I arrived at the convention hotel in mid-afternoon, immediately got to hug some friends, and had plenty of time to check into my room before my first programming event.  Continue reading