Balticon 53 Schedule!

balticon logoOnce 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:

Saturday

  • 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

Sunday

  • 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
    • With Jennifer R. Povey

Monday

  • 12 PM: Readings
    • With Gail Z. Martin and T. Eric Bakutis

Con Report: StokerCon 2019

StokerCon 2019 imageIf you’re here to find a copy of my alternate history presentation, you’re in the right place! Scroll, read, and enjoy.

I might not be a horror fan, but you won’t find a nicer group of creative people. I was immediately welcomed into the fold at StokerCon 2019, held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I had a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday

Since my publishers, Jennifer Barnes and John Edward Lawson of Raw Dog Screaming Press, live fairly close to me, we traveled to the convention together. After an uneventful afternoon flight, we checked into the hotel and enjoyed dinner at a nearby brew pub. Then it was early to bed since we had some nonstop days ahead of us.

Thursday

A giant hotel room bed to myself and no hungry cats to feed in the morning? I slept in until 11 AM and it was glorious. In the afternoon, I helped set up the RDSP table in the dealer room and began my main purpose for attending the convention: chatting with people and hopefully selling them a book or two.

I slipped out later in the evening to moderate a panel on making your work stand out from the slush pile. The conversation meandered a bit, but I think I managed to wrangle the panelists into contributing some useful knowledge to the audience. The main take-away point? Read the submission guidelines. Follow the submission guidelines.

Afterward, I had a lovely dinner with some friends from the Seton Hill University In Your Write Mind program, then a quiet evening in the hotel room doing some reading.

StokerCon 2019 dealer room

With Jennifer Barnes at the RDSP table.

Friday

Coffee, then back in the dealer room! A quick break in the afternoon to attend my reading, where I shared a scene from Steel Blood. I already don’t particularly care for pistachios, but I’ll never look at them the same way again, thanks to author Jeff Strand, who read a hilarious short story.

Later that evening was the mass author book signing, then the RDSP room party! I met some people in person that I’d otherwise only interacted with online, which is always fun. I stayed up way too late, drank way too much wine, and regret nothing.

StokerCon 2019 alt historySaturday

Dealer room time again. I sold a lot of books at this convention, you guys. Seriously, it was awesome. This time, my mid-day break came in the form of my alternate history presentation. The audience was small, but intimate, and everyone joined in on creating some fun worlds. Our nexus point event centered around the Cuban Missile Crisis, and our true alternate history assumed that the Hollow Earth theory was real. Click the link below to download the PDF version of my presentation.

Creating Stories by Changing the Past StokerCon 2019

That evening, I attended the Bran Stoker Awards and got to cheer on Raw Dog Screaming Press as John and Jennifer accepted the Specialty Press Award. I’m so proud to be part of this amazing publishing company.

Sunday

Sold a few more books in the dealers room, then it was time to say goodbye and head to the airport again. By this time, I was completely wiped out and I needed some introvert time. Luckily, my husband had dinner ready at home after he picked me up and I got some cat snuggles during Game of Thrones.

Would I ever return to StokerCon? Absolutely. No guarantees on attending next year in the UK, but this is definitely a convention I’ll be keeping on my radar.


The final haul:

StokerCon 2019 haul

Purchases:

From the StokerCon 2019 swag bag:

StokerCon 2019 Schedule!

StokerCon 2019 imageI’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:

Thursday

  • 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

Friday

  • 12 PM: Reading
    • With Jeff Strand and Peggy Christie
  • 5 PM: Mass Autograph Session & Ice Cream Social

Saturday

  • 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?

Con Report: Cleveland Concoction 2019

Cleveland ConCoction logo 2019

March means a return to one of my favorite events of the year: Cleveland ConCoction! This year, I took the Tesla on her first official road trip, which involved stopping at multiple supercharger stations. We had a blast, and I am officially never taking a long trip without navigate on autopilot ever again.

supercharger selfie

My car has a moon roof. It is covered in snow.

FRIDAY

I left very early on a snowy Friday morning to accommodate the slightly longer time the trip would take for charging stops and any weather-related road issues. However, I was able to end the drive with a leisurely lunch at the requisite Steak n’ Shake visit while the car pulled a final charge to last through the weekend. After checking in to the hotel and setting up my books in Author’s Alley, I was just in time for my first panel of the weekend.

At this point I can probably do the panel on genres and genre-blending while half-asleep (and I’m pretty sure that I actually have), but it’s always fun to see what new insights my fellow panelists have and answer the often unique questions from the audience.

Afterward, I enjoyed a quiet dinner catching up with friends and excellent fellow authors Shannon Eichorn and K.M. Herkes. Once I delivered them to their evening panels, I also spent some quality time at the hotel bar with another fabulous author, Sara Dobie Bauer. The day finally caught up with me, and I crashed early.

SATURDAY

Despite my con report’s promise of getting three Dog Star Books authors together at one event, it was all a lie. Unfortunately, K.W. Taylor and Matt Betts both experienced health issues that prevented their attendance, which meant I was a poor replacement. In this case, it meant I moderated a panel on the mistakes beginning authors make on Saturday morning for Matt. We discussed issues authors face in both writing and the publishing industry, including sharing some of our own mistakes. My major take-away for that panel is always to tell the audience one thing: “Don’t be a jerk.”

I spent late morning and early afternoon hanging out in Author’s Alley, chatting with readers and writers alike. After a late lunch, it was time for my weekend reading! The audience enjoyed the first scene from Steel Time, and then it was back to Author’s Alley to sign books.

After a hasty dinner of cake in the con suite, it was time for the first highlight of my evening. Along with some of the other authors in attendance, I was invited to participate in a special episode of Prompt Joust, a web show that pushes storytelling to the limits. I dug deep for my improv comedy experience from college, and while I knew I wouldn’t make it to the final round based on the “king of the hill” competition style, I knew I had the opportunity to take out show host Marcus V. Calvert in the first round — so I did. /evil laugh

I closed out the night by moderating a panel on time travel in fiction and on screen, which was way too science-filled for my sleepy brain to handle, but I think we muddled through. Luckily, I caught my second wind in time for the late-night “author soiree,” in which I enjoyed homemade mead (compliments of the Very Vocal Viking) and lots of laughter with friends.

SUNDAY

I did not have anything official on the schedule for the last day of the convention, but due to a scheduling mix-up, I landed on a panel on urban fantasy! We had a lovely discussion about how romance, mystery, and horror can all be elements to the genre, and what reader expectations are (and how to break them).

Afterward, we wrangled a certain demographic of attending authors to take a photo. Gee, what did we all have in common?

blue hair authors

In what’s become a ConCoction tradition, I enjoyed a late lunch with a group of friends, and then I sent everyone on their way! Due to the long drive, I wasn’t heading home until Monday. Good thing, too, because the snow had started.

I closed out the evening enjoying a good book and watching the snow fall from my hotel room. It was a little creepy to realize that I was now one of very few guests in a giant conference hotel, but I passed out anyway loved my quiet time.

MONDAY

The snow was over by the morning, so I had a safe but COLD drive home to Maryland.

I can’t wait to do it all again next year!


ConCoction 2019 haul.JPG

Cleveland Concoction 2019 Schedule

Cleveland ConCoction logo 2019

I’m excited to return to one of my favorite annual events this weekend! I’ll be in Cleveland, Ohio, for Concoction 2019. The spouse is jealous because I’m taking the Tesla for it’s first-ever road trip, as in, I will have to stop at least once each way to recharge at a supercharger stop. But once I get there, I’ll be geeking out over my own pursuits. Check out my full schedule below. Continue reading

Con Report: Farpoint 2019

Farpoint2

Growing up as a military brat, I always had this sense that once I left a place, I would never be back. While looking for a house in the Baltimore area before sixth grade, my family briefly stayed at a hotel, the Hunt Valley Inn. Therefor, it’s always a bit bizarre to be back there as an adult in a completely different context, such as for a convention.

That background aside, I had an amazing weekend at my second Farpoint. Continue reading

Farpoint 2019 Schedule

Farpoint2

I’m thrilled to return to Farpoint 26 next weekend for my second year! I had a blast last year and made some excellent friends. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with them and other local fans. Here’s where you can find me on the official schedule:

Friday

  • 10 PM: Farpoint Book Fair

Saturday

  • 10 AM: Alternate History: Creating Stories By Changing the Past (presentation)
    • Come learn about the alternate history genre and then create a few alternate histories of your own in this interactive presentation!
  • 12 PM: Autograph Session
    • With Brian Koscienski
  • 3 PM: Reading
    • With Steven H. Wilson and Michael Critzer

Sunday

  • 12 PM: Reading
    • With T. Eric Bakutis
  • 1 PM: Autograph Session
    • With Peter David (!!!!)
  • 3 PM: I Have Written a Book: Now What (panel)
    • With Keith R.A. DeCandido, Don Sakers, and Gregory A. Wilson

As usual, I’m more than happy to hang out with people anytime I’m not officially scheduled, whether for food, a drink, or just a chat. The best way to reach me during the convention is a direct message via Facebook or Twitter.

Until then, I’ll be over here freaking out that I’m sharing an autograph session with my favorite Star Trek writer…