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The man, the myth, the legend.

Category Archives: Conventions

2018 Dragoncon AAR (and long awaited update)


So my very first Dragoncon is in the books and I gotta say, with a few exceptions I had the best time of my life.

So without much ado, rewind to 9 days ago…

I was going to leave Wednesday originally but work requirements prevented this from happening. So instead I left the house at something like 0600 with plans on arriving in Atlanta around 1400 that afternoon. However, my roommates were arriving early, so I managed to finagle the Hilton app and get an early checkin time for no extra cost. Score!

The drive was relatively uneventful, for a change. Usually I almost die a few times on the drive to a con, but for some reason I hit almost no traffic until I was just about in downtown Atlanta. However, before then I could see my hotel from about 6 miles out.

I’m not kidding.

The Westin at Peachtree Plaza has something like 70 floors in it, and this was where the four of us were crashing. It was the so-called “quiet” hotel of Dragoncon, which I was thankful for. The Hyatt and Marriott were freaking insane with their parties and whatnot, and I need… space? Quiet? So I checked in and promptly posted a picture to my Instagram account showing the view. And whoa, what a freaking view! I could see everything from there: the stadium where the Atlanta Hawks played, a giant ferris wheel that looked impressive from the ground but puny from my room (40th floor), and lots of buildings everywhere. It’d been years since I’d been in a large metropolis… I forgot just how many people there are in big cities.

So I rolled in and met up with my roommates… sorta. We were mostly ships passing in the night the entire weekend, and while I’m glad we all had our own personal space it would have been nice to hang out with them a little more. Still though, I had fun.

So Thursday evening I was starving and looking for food. Ran into the Internation Lord of Hate, Larry Correia, who hatefully guided me to food where I could divulge in hateful mchatey hate-filled sustenance. Unfortunately, I suck with directions and got lost. I wandered around and discovered the underground food court eventually. The problem was that in order to get to it from my hotel side you had to go down a CVS and then navigate into it. The CVS staff was awesome and were immensely helpful while handling 80,000+ congoers all weekend. Found a terrific Cubano food place and ate like a fiend. Prices were a bit high (a common theme the entire weekend) but the food was delicious (another recurring bit). Finally fed, I found my way up to Speaker’s Speakeasy.

This used to be Barfly Central but this year, since Tedd “Speaker To Lab Animals” Roberts was hosting it in his suite, it was renamed. There I got to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones. For some reason I’m blanking on who was in the room besides Speaker, but it was nice to catch up with them all. From there I headed back to the Westin, where I ran into David Weber and his awesome wife, Sharon. David was recovering from a fall and was kind of doped up on pain meds, courtesy of a broken nose and some stitches. From there I briefly met up with my publisher and friend, Chris Kennedy, who was in the bar holding court. Surrounding him were some of his authors, including Mark Wandrey, Kevin Ikenberry and (I think) Jon Osborne. All of them had their spouses in tow.

Question: when I meet my fellow male authors, their spouses always seem to be more attractive and “out of their league”. It seems to be a rule of thumb. Just an odd observation that I’ll probably have people screaming at me in the comments over.

Pooped, I finally crashed around 2300. Friday promised to be a long day and I knew I would need to rest.

I woke up around 0700 Friday morning. Stupid, considering how little I was going to sleep for the rest of the weekend, but still… I tried to be quiet for my roommates (one of them stumbled in at around 0400 or so) and made my way down to the Starbucks in the hotel. Ran into my publisher again and we briefly talked about the sales of Deathlords, Book 3 of the Kin Wars Saga. The book had gone on sale Thursday and reception has been amazing so far. A lot of people have yelled at me for the opening scene of the book, when they received a gut punch that they were not expecting.

We talked briefly about Book 4 and he mentioned that I should be writing in the Four Horsemen Universe, which had been co-created by him and Mark Wandrey. When I reminded him that I’d written in two anthologies, he countered with “novels”. That sort of caught me off guard, since I was already writing a 4HU novel with my old writing buddy Chris Smith.

I then went over to the dealer’s room and found Nerd Mecca. Three floors of vendors, with wares ranging from handmade personalized nerd wall clocks to massive dragon and fairy wings for those searching for that elaborate costume piece. I found kilts as well (didn’t buy one, instead snagged one of a friend’s old ones) and some other really cool gifts, including something for my housesitter. I realized that it was getting close to time for my first panel so I hustled over to the Marriott, where I sat in on The Pen & Sword.

It was a pretty crowded panel and quite a few people were there to listen as myself, Kevin Dockery, Marc Allen Edelheit, and Mark Wandrey spoke about how we armed our protagonists and the pitfalls of dealing with modern and classical weapons. The best example was the classic “safety on a Glock” incident.

From there I headed back up to Speaker’s. Along the way I had to pass through the throngs of partygoers on the main levels of the Hyatt and Marriott. It was plain to see that Dragoncon was officially underway as thousands of cosplayers were out showing off their costumes. There was everything from inflatible dinosaurs to a woman in a walker cargo lift from Aliens. It was amazing.

I went back down to the Fantasy Gathering panel, which was more of a room for all of us on the fantasy lit track to sell our books and meet the fans than anything else. There I got to meet Todd McCaffrey again, Quincey Allen, and JoHanna Moresco, one of the violinists from The Cruxshadows. I’m pretty sure I was only at stage 9 of 10 on the blushing level. I sold quite a few books and had a blast. I packed up quickly and headed out at the end, done for the night. I needed sleep, and bad.

Was up at the butt crack of dawn because one of my roommates was in the Dragoncon parade, and I promised to get pictures. I had a special invite up to one of the rooms overlooking the route, so I got to see the parade with no obstructions. While watching the parade I spotted Larry Correia and his wife, Bridget, on a similar balcony practically next door. Lots of waving and facial expressions made (as well as a dance off at one point) made for a fun viewing experience of the parade.

From there I had to hustle because my next panel, Amazons & Assassins, was about to begin. It was a pretty interesting panel, and my first one with both S.M. Stirling and Eric Flint. I didn’t talk much on this one, preferring to listen as two masters of the craft talked about their own writing experiences. After that it was over to the Baen Books Traveling Road Show, where the winner of the Best Military SF Story was announced. My friend Kacey Ezell won for her short story in the Forged in Blood anthology. That was awesome, and then Toni Weisskopf (editor of Baen Books) showed off some of the new books coming out, including the cover for Deathlords, which was pretty damn cool.

Next panel was Stealing from the Past, which was… I don’t know. I actually don’t remember anything about it. Weird. Yeah, Saturday night was a bit of a blur actually. I don’t remember much after the Road Show, though I do know I bought a really cool art piece from the Art Show.

Sunday was fun. I got to do my first of two book signings at the Baen Books booth, which was myself, Mike Massa, and John Ringo. Mike and John cut out a little early due to panels, and Larry Correia showed up a bit early, so I got to hang out with three of my favorite Baen authors. Got to talk up the Black Tide Rising anthology and hand out beads for Baen. Nobody really wanted my signature, which was okay, because I stealth signed the sh*t out of those Baen bead necklaces. 😀 Take that, oppressors!

I’d also made a mistake in not bringing any of my own books with me to sell. I didn’t think I was allowed to do this. My bad.

Then was my Four Horsemen roundtable panel, which featured just about every single 4HU author attended who was there. It was here where I finally came up with a solo 4HU novel (titled Fangmasterand then also Ortu Lunathe collab with Chris Smith). It was a lot of fun. After that I prepared for the I:scintilla/Cruxshadows concert. That was probably the most fun I had all con, as I got to meet the band afterwards and catch up, since it’d been over 10 years since I last saw them. Got to hear a lot of their newer stuff as well as older songs I was more familiar with. What a great concert.

Monday the con began to wind down. I was on a final panel with some authors and it went okay. Got to meet Cat Rambo at the last panel, which was interesting. From there I went to went back to sign more books at the Baen Books booth. Then it was off to the Dead Dog Party at some restaurant. I forgot the name of the place. It wasn’t horrible but for the prices I was expecting a little more.

Before the Dead Dog Party, however, I was taking the escalator when a con staff volunteer was attempting to go up. He had a large travel bag, a sleeping bag, and looked, well, exhausted. His bag got caught up in the escalator and he tried to dislodge it. In the process of doing so, he lost his balance and fell backwards. It looked like he was stuck on the escalator and it looked like it could get ugly in a hurry, so I tried to help him back up to his feet and off the escalator. He was confused and he fought me a little, trying to continue going up. However, because he was fighting me, he wasn’t getting to his feet, and that was when I decided I needed to move his ass off the escalator, willing or no. I reached under his arms and hauled him off the escalator. He was shorter but bigger than me, so he had a better center of gravity. Unfortunately he had no balance, and fell backwards on top of me as I was getting him off the escalator. He also, incidentally, landed on my wrist and dislocated it.

That hurt like hell. Fortunately we were able to get it back into place and hotel security and staff helped him to his feet. They made him drink water and then started asking him questions. That was when we found out he couldn’t remember when he last ate, slept, or drank water. That is a fail.

Con staff — make certain you get sleep every night, eat twice a day, and shower once. That should keep your wits about you so incidents like this don’t occur. I’m okay but I’m going to have to go to the doctor’s this week to see about damaged ligaments in the wrist because I’m still in a lot of pain. This could have all been avoided if the guy had just gotten some rest.

Tuesday morning I shoved off for home. Along the way I stopped to have lunch with David Weber and Sharon, and catch up on how David was doing (sore). Eventually I got home and passed out.

For my first Dragoncon, it was pretty smooth. The Fantasy Lit track (where I spent most of my time) was run very well and, outside of a few tech issues with the mics, there weren’t any problems. I was asked if I was coming back next year. I said yes, of course, though I failed in procuring a room so far.

Getting a room for Dragoncon is akin to the Hunger Games — may the odds be ever in your favor.

 

Origins


 

First they came for John Ringo,

but I said nothing,

for I was not John Ringo.

Next they came for Larry Correia,

but this time I spoke up,

for Larry is a brother to me,

and I will bleed for my brother,

and I will show no fear in the face of our enemy.

A few weeks back, I read that a convention in North Carolina (ConCarolinas) uninvited author John Ringo on grounds that they feared for his safety due to what was deemed to be “valid threats”. John graciously accepted their explanation and let it lie, though his fans were, well, pissed is the politest term one can use to describe their displeasure. Then someone decided to slander John on another website, and the feces really hit the rotary impeller. Pretty sure there’s going to be some legal issues for the individual who accused John of vile things in the near future.

However, outside of giving John and his editor a head’s up about what was brewing, I stayed out of it. I know quite a few people at the convention and felt that they, for the most part, handled it well. There were a few hiccups and horrible explanations along the way (sometimes at a convention the right hand isn’t aware of what the left is doing, and vice versa) but overall John was satisfied with their response.

Fast forward to today, when the Origins Convention in Ohio rescinded their GoH invitation to Larry Correia after some individuals (I typed out quite a few different descriptions before settling on the one that would remain PG) raised a huge ruckus and demanded that Larry be removed from programming. No doubt these “concern trolls” exhibited mannerisms which can only be described as “whining two year olds” in order to get their way.

The convention, instead of sticking to their guns and maintaining that they were a convention for all, decided to screw over my buddy. So I crafted the following letter to their Executive Director and fired it off.

Dear Sir,

It recently came to my attention that NYT bestselling author Larry Correia had been uninvited from your convention following an outcry from a few malcontents.

I can attest from personal experience of attending cons with Mr. Correia that, not only is he a gracious guest who loves interacting with all types of fans, is a huge gaming nerd who fits in with the stated mission and goals of Origins according to the website. This attack on his character is nothing more than a witch hunt, very similar to the one which was used on Mr. Correia’s coauthor, John Ringo, a few weeks prior at another convention.

Mr. Correia had always shown grace, been polite, and worked with the concom of every convention he has attended. Those who seek to discredit and destroy him are abusing the rules of your convention in a manner which they were not meant for and raising enough of an outcry that your convention, undoubtedly, feels compelled to respond to. Unfortunately, instead of speaking with Mr. Correia, it appears that you have reacted in a manner which can only be described as “knee-jerk”. You have allowed concern trolls to dictate your guest list while alienating you from a fan base which both pays to see their favorite author and supports other commercial endeavors at conventions as well.

Conventions such as Origins are supposed to be for all fans. However, with outward appearance of appeasement to the vocal minority who seek to undermine all of Mr. Correia’s hard work as well as alienate his fan base from any future conventions you might host, it behooves me to suggest that you are hurting nobody but yourselves with this move.

While I am not as big of a “name” as Mr. Correia, I still have developed quite a following as well, and I have already let my readers know that Origins is not a convention that I will consider in the future. Which is a shame, because literary and gaming are two of my biggest draws.

I do hope that you consider the ramifications of appeasement in your future endeavors. I understand that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried your tactic as well, and history showed just how poorly it worked out.

Sincerely,

Jason Cordova

Now, I’m probably nothing more than a drop in the bucket, but money talks in the convention industry, and if nobody is at your convention spending money, no authors/vendors/artists are going to come.Now, I don’t like calling for boycotts of any convention, because it’s a tough industry. So I’m going to let the convention continue to be abused by those who would rather see a convention fold than simply dealing with someone they don’t like by, oh I don’t know, NOT ATTENDING HIS PANELS?! C’mon people, it’s not hard. You look at the schedule. You see he’s going to be at so-and-so panel. You DON’T GO. Easy peasey.

If you’re fragile enough that someone’s name who you’ve never met or interacted with before can cause you some sort of traumatic injury, you might want to avoid the crushing crowds of a con. I wouldn’t want anyone’s feelings to get hurt if there was an inadvertent apology tossed in there.

In honor of Larry, go out and preorder his latest book. The best way to give someone the middle finger is to support the one they want to shaft.

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Finished and Other News


Two things…

First off, Darkling is finished! It’s now off and in the hands of the Super Mega Awesome Beta Force Crew for dissemination and assassination. Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga had a ton of heartache, loyalty, and betrayal. Let the song of victory play!

 

Secondly, my article about the current kerfuffle within the Worldcon has gone live over at the Mad Genius Club. Go take a gander and see just why they would seek to remove one of the more prominent Hispanic science fiction writers out there from their attending guests, and see just what I think of this (hint: I’m not a fan of their decision).

Libertycon 27 AAR


So Libertycon 27 came to a close and all in all, it went tremendously well. I met new people, made new friends, ran into old friends, made a fool of myself (this is typical) and am now dealing with a very screwed up sleep schedule.

So I rolled into Libertycon about three in the afternoon after caravaning most of the way with the Docfather, Speaker to Lab Animals, Cubby’s Handler and Speaker’s kids. In case you didn’t know, most of my friends have way cooler nicknames than I. Check in went smoothly, and got to my room before my brain started to rot. Checked out the hotel and got my name badge early because I’m special (a recurring theme for the weekend). Ran into a few people whose names escape me at the moment and went out to eat with Doug Dandridge, Larry Southard and a few others at a pretty good pizza joint nearby called Lupi’s. It was fun, but I was exhausted and called it a night fairly early.

Naturally my body hates me, and I was up and ready to go at 6 am. I managed to laze about until 8 or so before my stomach reminded me who was in charge. I had some snacky food from the road trip left over and ate that, since ConSuite wasn’t ready yet. This surprisingly lasted me until lunch. Ran into a few Barfly’s, and then suddenly a wave of people arrived. 1 pm rolled around and Libertycon 27 was officially underway.

My first panel wasn’t a panel at all, actually. It was an autograph session in which I shared table space with Dr. Travis S. Taylor, book artist Kurt Miller and Peter Grant. Had to tell quite a few people “No, I don’t have any of my books with me at the moment. I’ll have them tomorrow, though” a few times but, overall, a fun little session. I did get to talk more with Kurt Miller later the next day, and he’s a really cool guy. We had more in common than I would have guessed.

I managed to sneak into ConSuite a grab a bit to eat at this point without making anybody annoyed (I think they were closed while prepping dinner) and then started to explore the Dealer’s Room. Lots of cool stuff from Michael Z Williamson, Mystik Waboose and The Missing Volume, as usual. The downside of being a poor, starving artist is that I have to budget myself and not go crazy. Next year, I always say. I did pick up a limited edition hardcover of Williamson’s “Freehold”, but that was on Sunday. Oh, it was also the last one. Muwahahaha!

After that it was opening ceremonies, where we got to meet everyone. Jim Minz did an excellent job of MC’ing, and the usual “John’s at the pool” call came out when John Ringo was introduced. Lots of fun for the crew when I was announced as they proceeded to boo me. All in good fun, of course, but it still caused a few frowns from people who don’t understand my friends.

I was free for a bit at this point, and I don’t remember what I did until my 9pm panel, “What’s New in Military Science Fiction”. No booze was involved, I swear. I just don’t recall what I did up to that point. But this panel led to my only complaint, as I was sitting next to K. S. Daniels. On the other side of her was… John Ringo. *sigh* John likes pretty women, loves pretty colleagues, and while absolutely 100% faithful to his wife, the man is a born flirt. So I’m listening with one ear on the panel and the other on John talk to Ms. Daniels… and talk… and talk… and pretty much talk some more to her. It would have been wildly amusing had I not been trying to listen to the panel and him at the same time (John’s a funny guy, and he has some great con and war stories). Walt Boyes moderated and kept everybody more or less on task (more or less) and we wrapped it up. Oh, and I also made a complete ass of myself during this panel. You see, we were talking about what sort of change we would like to see in MilSF and so on, and I proceeded to utter the absolutely brilliant phrase of “hope and change” in the midst of, up to that point, a pretty good speech. I realized what I had done the second it had happened, and everyone got a good laugh.

Afterwards I found myself in ConSuite with a bunch of Baen authors, notably Rick Boatright, Charles E. Gannon, and Walt Boyes. We talked a bit about me writing in the 1632 universe and came up with a story idea for me to run with. Now, to sit down and actually write it…

Finally went to be around 1:30 in the morning, since my sleep schedule was already screwed up. I had a lot going on the next day, and wanted to be awake for it and well rested. So of course I was up at 6 again…

Fortunately, Christine Dorsett had breakfast going when I woke up. Biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs, which was really good for the starving man. I had an 11 AM panel that I barely made it to (I almost forgot this one) and got to chat with Gail Z. Martin and a few others about what’s good in urban fantasy. I may have pissed off the steampunk fans in the crowd when I suggested that urban fantasy is all about how one interprets it and a compelling case could be made to call steampunk such. Oh well, not the first time I’ve pissed off a bunch of steampunkers, and it won’t be the last.

I had a reading at 4 PM, which I read the first two chapters of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, but since I was competing with the Baen Road Show, I think I had two people there. But afterwards came the cool part I didn’t talk about before. For the first time, I was invited to the Baen Books dinner. I got some face time with more of the authors, talked to Bill Fawcett some, finally figured out who Regina Kirby is (I’ve known her online for years, but never actually met her in person), and hung out with Kurt Miller. It was great and I had a lot of fun, and hope that I’ll be invited again in the future.

After that, I made it back to my 9 PM panel about Iron Clad Press, which was sparsely attended. We talked about our stories, the book I owe the publisher (I’m working on it!!!) and what we wanted to write in the future. Then it was over to the release party for Sha’Daa: Pawns, which went well. Helped get them set up and proceeded to talk story idea with editor John Manning and fellow author Chris Smith. Hung out for a bit, then went to bed. I was beyond tired.

Oh! I forgot to talk about meeting my coauthor in person for the very first time! Poor Eric… the guy was wiped out from his drive, and I was extremely hyper from lack of sleep, and I may have steamrolled him when we first met. On the plus side, he got to meet David Drake in person and a bunch of others as well.

Sunday I had another author session, which I was able to sign my books and sell them (I sold out, yay!). Brought new people into the Kaiju Awareness Foundation and picked up new fans. A quick bite to eat, then it was over to my Kaiju panel.

The Kaiju panel was… well, awesome. Eric had mentioned beforehand that he wasn’t sure he would offer much, and between the very engaged crowd and myself, we managed to get him to talk about a ton of books, Kaiju, MilSF and other stuff. We had a fairly crowded room for just the two of us, and the Libertycon fans made Eric feel right at home. We also got the crowd involved in future Kaiju novels when we decided to open the floor up for random cities to be destroyed by Kaiju. My favorite was Seattle, since the image of a Kaiju using the Space Needle as a javelin caused much laughter.

Overall, Libertycon 27 was a blast. I can’t wait until next year.

Guest Blogging Elsewhere and Libertycon Schedule


I guest blogged over at Sarah Hoyt’s site today. More on the Marion Zimmer Bradley issue, how it relates, and me asking why the SFWA hasn’t kicked out their 2013 Grand Master and open pederast Samuel Delaney. I, uh, kinda lost my cool a bit.

I’m going radio silent for the weekend. I won’t be around until Tuesday of next week. This weekend is Libertycon!

  • Friday, 3:00PM — Autograph signing — kicking off the weekend with some autographing, I might sign a few books. I’ll mostly be sitting back and plotting books while watching the more important authors be bombarded by their fans. I’m signing with Peter Grant, Kurt Miller and Travis S. Taylor. I dream of the day when I can have Kurt Miller do one of my book covers.
  • Friday, 5:00PM — Opening Ceremonies — Yada yada yada.
  • Friday, 9:00PM — What’s New in Military SF — This one should be fun, since I’ve written a ton of MilSF and Kaiju novels recently (6 in the past 10 months alone). I’ll be with Walt Boyes, K. S. Daniels, Bill Fawcett, Mark Wandrey, Charles Gannon (woot!) and John Ringo (woot woot!). That’s quite a large panel, which means someone (not me) has the unenviable task of trying to rein in John.
  • Saturday, 11:00AM — Urban Fantasies — This one… uh… okay, I can do this one, but I feel this is not my usual dog and pony show. Scott Baker, Louise Herring-Jones, D. Alan Lewis and Gail Z. Martin will be with me on this one.
  • Saturday, 4:00PM — Reading — Huh. Wonder what I’ll read to the people.
  • Saturday, 9:00PM –What’s New from Iron Clad Press — One of my publishers is rolling out a bunch of books this year, and I owe him a Tobias Fox novel. This one will be fun, but I’ll probably be late getting there due to prior commitments elsewhere.
  • Saturday, 10:00PM — Book Launch Party — Iron Clad Press, Moondream Press and Perseid Press are all having books come out this weekend, and are having a massive launch party. I’ll be there (since I have books from each publisher) and probably about ready to drop at that point (I get tired easily).
  • Sunday, 11:00AM — Autograph signing — another one, though most people are probably still recovering from the previous night’s drinking. I’ll be there, sleeping (or signing, whatever).
  • Sunday, 1:00PM — Kaiju – Why Do We Love the Big Monsters Who Stomp us to Pieces? — Eric S. Brown, and I are gonng talk Kaiju, lots of Kaiju, and nothing but Kaiju. This one should be fun.
  • Sunday, 2:00PM — What’s New from Moondream Press — Another one of my publishers and we’ll be talking Sha’Daa more than likely.

Uncle Timmy and the Thought Police


I’m going to tell you a little story about a good man who has been slandered and libeled by one individual who is hiding behind the anonymity of the Internets. That good man? Tim “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo.

You see, a pathetic troll whose name I’m not going to bother typing (because it’s a nickname that the individual hides behind because they’re afraid of owning up to their actions) has, after taking random snippets of conversations and tacky jokes that Uncle Timmy publishes on something called “The Revenge”, managed to get Uncle Timmy uninvited from Archon this year. Archon, apparently, is “listening to the fans” (the one who has slandered and committed libel, but we won’t get into that at the moment) and decided that it was in their best interest to not have Uncle Timmy as their Fan Guest of Honor this year.

Let’s ignore, for the moment, the forty years that Uncle Timmy has dedicated to fandom in the South and Midwest. Let’s forget that he started and ran Libertycon for 25 years, which is one of the more popular “small cons” around. Let’s ignore the fact that the man is extremely smart and is an engineer who has a sterling reputation (except when he’s playing spades. He’s a jerk when he plays spades). Heck, let’s even ignore the fact that Uncle Timmy is an old, fat white dude who started a scholarship for a fan and friend (a black man) after he died tragically while trying to help someone.

Oh, wait. No. Not only no, but hell no. All these facts are pertinent to the lie being spread that Uncle Timmy is one big old Southern racist redneck who hates science.

The thing is, Uncle Timmy refuses to be PC. And that, apparently, is a huge thought crime. His jokes in The Revenge hold no punches, and the jokes he relays (a lot of them are mailed in or suggested) are not always tactful. But the thing is, in The Revenge, nobody is safe. Uptight white businessman? White teen with purple hair? Blonde businesswoman? Doesn’t matter, all are fair game. As it should be, quite frankly. Because the jokes wouldn’t be so funny if he focused on one particular subject (trust me, the old fat white redneck jokes get old after the 80th one).

So… yeah. Is Uncle Timmy a racist who hates science? God, I hope not. Otherwise, he’s a brilliant actor who should’ve been winning Oscars for years.

The reason I am coming to his defense so vociferously (ah hell, biracial man with a vocabulary is rolling up his sleeves) is that back when I was first starting out on the convention scene, not a single con wanted this no-name biracial guy who wrote a book as a guest. Not a one. Cons who pride themselves for their “diversity” told me to kindly “piss off”. Cons that I lived less than five minutes to wanted nothing to do with a local author. Cons who are always claiming to want to showcase new and upcoming authors wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.

Then I got this email from Uncle Timmy and his daughter, Brandi Spraker, completely out of the blue. They’d heard about me through Travis S. “Doc” Taylor and wondered if I would be up to being a guest at Libertycon. I was thrilled. I was also confused, because after asking around, I’d heard that only “Baen authors” wanted anything to do with Libertycon. Which didn’t bother me much, because I enjoy almost all of the authors in Baen’s stable. Eric Flint, Charles Gannon, David Weber… all of them I’ve read, and all of them I enjoy. So I accepted and flew across the country to be a guest. And you know what?

I’ve never felt so welcomed at a convention as I was at that Libertycon. That’s even taking into account that the fans got me so trashed that I don’t really remember any of the panels (except the one that I yelled at John Ringo because of… something about aliens, humanity and sex? I forget). I promised I would return the following year, and I did (which resulted in a trip to the ER that is rather embarrassing). Of all the cons I’ve been to, Libertycon has, quite possibly, the best memories associated with it. And it made other cons easier for me, since the fans who go to Libertycon oftentimes attend other regional cons as well. They, in turn, have gotten me into other cons. And all this was possible thanks to Uncle Timmy.

What the Archon convention committee decides is, in the end, up to them. But before they listen to one lying individual who seems to have a vendetta, perhaps they should ask around and see just who Uncle Timmy really is. They may be surprised to find that Uncle Timmy is a well-respected and well-liked person who has helped thousands, if not tens of thousands, of authors and fans over the years.

But fortunately for me, due to their decision, they’ve helped me cull the list of potential conventions I will be attending in the future.

Stupid Busy


I’ve been stupidly busy the past few weeks (to steal a line from my friend Gerry). This is going to be a long update, so you may want to grab something to drink, or let the dog out.

First off, let me say that Mysticon 2014 was an absolute blast. It went off without a hitch, and I actually got sleep this time around. The con hotel booked me in a room with two beds, and the beds weren’t big enough to for two people (well, big enough for two people to sleep in… other things were probably possible), and I was right below the big room party of 503 (that party will go down as one of the all-time greats at a con…. legends will be shared, stories told, events exaggerated upon), but other than that, it was fine. Once again I missed the opportunity to LARP, but this year it was for a good reason: I was running a fan table, attending panels, and trying to squeeze in enough time to sleep and eat.

I was actually running behind when I got to Mysticon. I had about an hour before my first panel, so I got checked in and situated without too much hassle. Quite a few people were more than interested in my booze supply, which I donated to the party Doc was hosting that night in his room. It’s hard to traverse a con hotel without someone taking notice that you have a massive box of booze. That first panel, Cats On A Keyboard, was fun and I got to share my horror stories of trying to write a book while dealing with two cats and a new dog, all while under a deadline from Hell. The other panels were pretty good as well, except I missed my Boot Camp — Past, Present and Future panel due to someone needing emergency assistance (ER-type stuff) and I was running around trying to find the right people. Then I forgot, started talking to an old friend, and promptly remembered my panel… with ten minutes left. Tom Kratman kind of looked at me funny when I walked in, because I had seen him earlier that day and I mentioned I was looking forward to our panel.

We also had a great recruiting drive for the Official Honor Harrington Fan Association. My ship, the HMS Wolverine, recruited 33 more people to join. That’s the fan table I was babysitting for most of the weekend (with the help of the crew). Jasmine, Melanie, Jonny, Doc, and Gerry (even Tina managed to drop by and help recruit, while running a convention) were all a tremendous help and watched the table long enough for me to actually experience the con and do some shopping (I picked up an awesome Doctor Who shirt from Mystik Waboose). Next year, though, I’m not sure I want to run a fan table again. It was a lot of work, and while the payoff was great, did I mention that it was a lot of work?

It also coincided with my second guest post over at the Mad Genius Club on equality and diversity in SF/F. Needless to say, I’m quite opinionated on the subject, and went off on a tangent about how Equality ≠ Diversity. It all started when I read something about “Con Or Bust” which, at first glance, seemed like it was a good idea. Then I read more, and then I got pissed, then read the rest, and became enraged. You can read the actual article over at MGC here. Once more, I get the urge (even three weeks later) to scream at people “quit getting butthurt about stupid sh*t!”

On the writing front, I haven’t heard anything from the agent regarding my collaborative work with Eric Brown (titled Hand of God). Granted, I don’t expect to hear anything this soon, but still… I’m impatient, and in an industry where the core belief is that patience is rewarded. *eye roll* In the meantime, Wraithkin is also sitting on someone’s desk (computer, tablet, whatever). Bonus, though: when I was literally walking out the door to Mysticon, I got a message from Eric.

Eric: Hey, want to write another MilSF story?

Me: Uh, duh?

*we talk ideas for about five minutes*

Eric: Cool! I’ll send you what I was thinking in a few days!

So he sent me something that…. wasn’t MilSF. Apparently he decided to write a zombie novel instead and wanted me to co-author it with him. Zombies are fun, but not really my thing, so I declined and started writing the bare bones idea that we had shot around (I was half-joking when I suggested a few things, then realized I really liked the ideas the longer I was able to think about them) and sent it to him. Now we’re writing a book called Murder World, which I unwittingly named after some comic book character or something (I’m still a little confused about the premise). It’s funny as hell, and it’s going to be an action packed, blood soaked, carnage filled exhibition of testosterone and nerd rage…. or something. I’m not sure yet. I’m trying to offend as many people as I can here, so cut me some slack.

And then, three days ago, he approaches me with another book collab. Kaiju Apocalypse is already being worked on, and looks like it’ll be done by the end of the month. It’s pretty sweet so far, though it needs some cleaning. I think it’s going to be a novella, though, and not a full-sized novel. Still, lots of fun and carnage, and Kaiju!

So, yeah, stupid busy.

Mysticon Schedule


I’m going to be a little busy at Mysticon next weekend, but fear not! I’ll be manning the fan table for the Official Honor Harrington Fan Association: The Royal Manticoran Navy quite a bit, so I’ll be very easy to find.

  • 5:00PM Friday — Cats On A Keyboard: Basically we’ll be talking about our pets and how they completely influence and ruin our writing time, as well as interject themselves into our books. This one should be fun, since I’m doubly cursed with two cats and a dog.
  • 1:00PM Saturday — Busting the Wall: Pretty much listening to writers tell you how they broke their writer’s block. Since I’m of the school of “You’re just looking for an excuse to be lazy and not write so you’re blaming writer’s block,” it’ll be… different.
  • 4:00PM Saturday — Reading: I’ll be reading my short story, Hill 142which recently came out in Hero’s Best Friend.
  • 8:00PM Saturday — Boot Camp – Past, Present and Future: Military trainign through the ages. My first panel with Tom Kratman, and moderated by Charles Matheny. I already know who’s going to be dominating this panel (hint: not me).
  • 10:00AM Sunday — Answering the Casting Call: basically the do’s and don’ts of showing up to a casting call. I actually have multiple film credits to my name as an extra, so this one is pretty much me saying “don’t be a tard” for an hour.
  • 12:00PM Sunday — Book Signing: I don’t need to explain this. I don’t have copies of my book to sell, so… it’s more of a “meet and greet”.
  • 2:00PM Sunday — Opposition In All Things: conflict in stories. My theory? If there’s no conflict, then your hero is probably boring.

There’s also a Royal Manticoran Navy room party on Friday night at 9pm, but I have no idea where. I’ll give you a hint: if you find the guys in Manticoran Navy uniforms, that’s probably our party.

The Accidental Lecture


I sent off Homeworld: Rockfall to my coauthor Eric Brown yesterday afternoon. The first draft is done (yeah, I was slacking) and though it “only” took about 5 weeks to write, that was a rough five weeks.

While the book itself isn’t the longest thing I’ve ever written (I’m looking at you, Corruptor) it is, by far, the grimmest. I don’t think I’ve ever dug that deep into the MilSF genre before when writing. Not even Wraithkin went that dark, and considering what Wraithkin is all about, that’s saying something. To match Eric’s style, you need to channel your inner David Drake (if you have one of those) and try to keep up. Eric’s a very talented guy who is more known for horror than MilSF (at least, for me in any case) but when he wants to, he sure can imitate Drake nicely.

That’s not a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong. There are thousands of writers out there who wish they could sounds like David Drake. Eric’s one of the few who can pull it off.

My poison ivy is finally clearing up. My right side of the face is cleared at last, though the skin is extra dry (and flaky… ewwww), I can see my eye now without having to search for it. It still “feels” a little weird, like I still have some swelling around the zygomatic area, but all in all I call myself “healed”.

Still haven’t gotten my deer yet. I’m… perturbed by this. Of course, last time I didn’t get my deer until the last day of hunting season, so if the pattern continues… man. I’m going to be out there freezing my butt off again. The good side to that, though, is that if I get my deer at dusk, then I’ll be able to just hang it up in the shed and finish skinning  it the next day. The downside? Skinning it the next day, when the deer is nice and cold and stiff.

The things I do so I can make my chili…

Okay, so I need to rehash my brain and get out of the MilSF set that it’s is. While I should buckle down and finish WraithkinRockfall is still stuck in my mind and I really am worried that the two will seem too similar if I try finishing Wraithkin now. So I’ll need to get something “fun” written, like a Tobias Fox story (which I owe 6 of right now) or my little short, I, Godslayer. This should allow me enough time to “reset” and get the right frame of mine back for wrapping up Wraithkin and shooting it over to the agent to see if he likes it. I originally thought that I would have Unholy Vengeance done before October 31 but since I’ve barely cracked 10,000 words… I think it’s going to be closer to February by the time that one gets done. But still, at least I have some sort of time frame now as to when I hope to get things done.

“Hope” being the key word here.

Next week over at Shiny Book Review, my interview with author Kal Spriggs will be going live. Kal was a good sport about being interviewed, and barring some technical difficulties, his interview should be up on Monday. Barb is interviewing the polymath/rocket scientist/author Stephanie Osborne soon as well, and then there’s going to be one other interview going up a few weeks after that. Yes, we’re still doing book reviews, but right now interviews are easier on us (mostly). I still have three books I need to review (Mike Resnick’s The Doctor and the Dinosaur; Seanan McGuire’s Discount Armaggedon, and Misty Massey’s Mad Kestrel (which I’d been meaning to review for monthsnow). Barb’s got a full plate on her hands as well, so bear with us.

Other than that, my con schedule for 2014 is starting to fill up. I have a secret desire to attend Worldcon next year but unless I come into a lot of money, I doubt I’ll be making the flight to London, no matter how much I’d love to go. I’ve never been to London (or England) and it’s on my bucket list. Yeah, it’s weird that I’ve been throughout the Middle East and Eastern Europe, but haven’t gone to London. NASFic is a possibility, since it’s in Detroit and is close enough-ish to drive. But for right now, I’m only attending MysticonRavencon and Libertycon. I had to turn down an invite from MidSouthCon since they are too close to Ravencon, and I usually give con preference to whoever asks me first. I’m still toying with the possibility of Congragate but since they’re very close to Libertycon, that might present some problems.

I’ve already seen people gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which is always confusing for me. I mean, while you’re “prepping” for NaNo, you could be, oh I don’t know, writing? I understand that a lot of people enjoy the support of other writers during NaNo, and I guess that makes a lot of sense, since everyone wants to be told that their writing is awesome and that they can do it. But I think that’s also a potential downside to NaNo as well. Everybody is so busy cheering one another on that, somewhere in the mist, the entire goal of “writing” gets lost. Skewer me all you want (I know you will, Mandi) but if you’re too busy applauding and cheering everyone else, then when do you have time to write for yourself?

Writing is a job. That’s the mindset that anyone wishing to be a writer full-time has to accept. There’s a set time you write, and you stick to that. For me, it’s from 9am-1 or 2 pm, depending on what my deadline is. I do this every day, Monday through Saturday, unless I’m out of town on Saturday. It sucks writing in the mornings, because my brain is fragged and I haven’t really woken up yet. But it’s beneficial as well, because I’ve now established a pattern of consistency and, as you may have read up top, my coauthor and I wrote a novel in 5 weeks. That’s… insane. Really.

Set your writing goals, then stick to them. It gets easier.

Wow. This got long in a hurry. And I got to lecturing. My apologies. Here is a picture of my cat.

Casper

Respect the Sphere


CIVIL WAR

No, I’m not talking about the one in everyone keeps thinking will happen here in the United States. I doubt a civil war could happen (primarily because we have no infrastructure anymore capable of one side or the other ever achieving “victory”, as it were) and, if it did, it’d probably be Texas versus everyone else. And Tom Kratman already wrote that book.

No, what I’m focused on more is the rapid escalation of hostilities in fandom. As you may have surmised, I had a cursory interest in fandom that has recently become… more (I joined the Official Honor Harrington Fan Association because I like Honor Harrington and I enjoy talking to David Weber (who I refuse to play spades against again)). So I’m going to do the costuming (the RMMC “uniform”, actually) and participating like any good little nerd does (and yes, I am a nerd. what of it?). I’m going to enjoy myself, meet new friends and impress the hell out of everyone.

But on the topic of costuming and fandom… well, lately it seems that a lot of people have gotten their panties in a twist because they see gurls dressed up in Star Trek outfits, or X-Men costumes, and don’t think that they’re “geeky” enough. This is a big problem apparently (one that I’ve never heard of, but people say it’s a problem so it must be a problem) and a lot of people are coming out against what they’re terming as “gatekeepers of geekdom”. Okay, they didn’t quite term it that way, I did. But it’s close enough to their point.

But I’m still confused, because I’ve never seen anything but support for anyone who does costume (well, except for those who put glitter all over their bodies and claim to be a vampire… there’s a special hell for those cosplayers). But there must be a problem, because even John Scalzi (outgoing SFWA president) says there is.

Maybe my problem here is that I just refuse to attend conventions that foster this sort of behavior? Instead of trying to get them to change, I just tell them “no thanks” and go about my way. Dragon*con (one where cosplaying is rampant) I won’t attend (too big and crowded) and San Diego Comic Con (another one too big) are probably the locales where the problems could be the most obvious (I see it more of a problem at SDCC than D*C, mainly because D*C doesn’t seem to tolerate that sort of crap).

But I still can’t recall instances of where someone told a girl that she wasn’t a true fan of such and such because she’s just dressed up. A part of me knows that it has happened before, because all legends have a birthplace in fact somewhere. But is it as big of a problem as the (surprisingly underreported) sexual harassment women deal with at cons? I know that one has basis in fact. I’ve seen it. I’ve warned men about doing such things again (with the promise of broken bones). This is the type of behavior we need to stop, not declaring jihad against “gatekeepers of geekdom”. Granted, there’s always going to be someone who claims superiority over someone else in terms of geekdom… that’s going to happen. Most of geekdom sucks at sports, and humans are a competitive animal, so they need to be the best at something. Even if it’s as obscure as knowing every line from a particular show or episode (Whovians are the worst… you should see the ritualistic dick-beating that occurs when you have two die-hard fans of different Doctors locked in a room together), it just means that they want to be the best. And if that offends some people, well…

Look, I sympathize with you. I used to get some strange looks in high school when the other jocks found out I played D&D (and Talisman, Vampire, etc). But instead of crying about it, I went out and did what I wanted. F*ck what other people think. This is your hobby, not theirs, and if they can’t respect it, then they don’t need to be in your sphere.

There seems to be a war brewing within fandom right now, though, over this. This is a stupid reason to go to war, in my opinion, but people seem to be determined to go there. Instead of focusing on issues that are very important (harassment, predatory agents, f*cked up publishers, DC comics screwing up Batman…) the focus is on whether or not a woman is truly nerdy enough to claim to be a geek.

Seriously. I can’t believe people even think like that anymore. C’mon, people. Really? Worked up over a minuscule percentage of fandom who don’t like girls who totally rock Power Girl’s costume and are jealous because they know they’ll never pull it off? Ridicule, I’ve found, is the best weapon against that sort of attitude. Ridicule and ignore them.

The sexual harassment, however, needs to stop. There’s no excuse for that.

Libertycon 26 Schedule


I meant to do this last week but real life interfered. Okay, so here is my schedule (according to the LC26 website):

FRIDAY

  • 5:00 PM — Opening Ceremonies: Pretty self explanatory, though I may just be hanging out near the back of the room. That’s where I usually am during huge crowd gatherings, since I don’t do well in large crowds.
  • 6:00 PM — Dreams of Steam: Gadgets and GizmosThis one will be fun, since people from both anthologies (Gadgets and Gizmos) will be present. Cindy MacLeod is moderating, and I have full faith in her ability to keep me in check.
  • 10:00 PM — Messiest Ways To Kill A ZombieI begged to get put on this one, because the writers on this one with me (Larry Correia, John Ringo, Michael Z. Williamson, Scott W. Baker, Dr. Tedd Roberts, Philip Wohlrab) are freaking insane (except for Wohlrab, possibly, not sure yet) and disturbingly creative. It should also be my best attended panel of the weekend, primarily because of Ringo, Correia and Williamson.

SATURDAY

  • 10:00 AM — Dreamers in Hell Roundtable: It’s primarily a round table discussion about Dreamers in Hell, one of the anthologies I’m in that’s come out this year. Since there are a lot of people on this one, I’ll more than likely take a back seat and let the others do the grunt work, possibly chiming in with humorous side comments every ten minutes just to remind people I’m there. Plus, it’s early, and I’ll be less than functional before noon. Which sucks, because…
  • 11:00 AM — Autograph Session: Seriously, I’m not sure who thought it would be a good idea to have me on panels before the sun is in the western half of the sky. I’ll be polite, possibly quiet, and probably not very coherent. On the plus side, I’ll sign just about anything*.
  • 4:00 PM —  Sha’Daa: Pawns and Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse Re-releaseI get to talk some about Kasyarna, my ancient sea dragon and the ass whoopin’ he lays down upon SEAL Team Two**. Planning on a fun time, especially if someone asks me about why the dragon decided to puke when he did.
  • 5:00 PM — The World of Steampunk RoundtableOne of the only panels that I’m on that I’m not sure what’s going on. My steampunk story, “The Finder’s Keeper”, is more of a mystical steampunk/alternate history story than pure steampunk. Nonetheless, I’ll have a brave front and do my best.
  • 9:00 PM — What Scares the Boogeyman?This will be fun, though probably not much contributed from me. The other stories in this anthology were longer and more fleshed out. I just wrote about a little boy and the evil in the house. I do recommend picking up a copy of this one beforehand, however, since a lot of the authors of the book are going to be available throughout the weekend to sign it.
  • 10:00 PM — Dreamers in Hell and Tomb of Kulchun Launch Parties; Irredeemable Order of Hellions and The Fictioneers HostingI probably won’t be there for the entire party, but I’ll definitely be there. I think that there might be an announcement about other things as well (unsure of this yet) and lots of food, drink, and really interesting people. Plus, it’s in the ConSuite, which means FREE FOOD!!!

Sunday

  • 10:00 AM — What’s New in Horror?Another one of those ‘Holy Gawd it’s early!’ panels, which will have all of us talking about what we’ve sold in horror lately (for me, more than anything else, which is disturbing because I consider myself a SF writer) and what we’re looking forward to seeing. My only other panel with Larry Correia, which is a shame because he’s a really cool guy.
  • 12:00 PM — Autograph Session: I’ll be a little more awake this time, I swear. Just remember to bring me the blood for the Blood God to sacrifice*** and we’re cool… what, all out? Seriously? AGAIN?
  • 1:00 PM — ReadingMy dulcet tones will be on full display as I attempt to stammer out one of my upcoming stories. Not sure which one it’ll be, yet, though I’m leaning towards “Wake”, since it’ll be coming out right after Libertycon. If not “Wake”, then possibly “Hill 142”, which I loved writing.

So that’s my schedule. Now you know how to avoid me. If you can’t find me at all, there’s a 50/50 bet I’m either sleeping or in BarFly Central (which, coincidentally, is not in the bar).

See you in a few days!

* — “Just about” anything is a broad disclaimer. Please do not ask for babies to be signed, that just makes things awkward. Also, please keep clothing on. PLEASE.

** —  No SEALs were harmed in the writing of this… oh, who am I kidding? Those poor bastards got hosed.

*** — Do not substitute with Clamato. What do I look like, some emo sparkly vampire bitch poser? BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

Mysticon 2013 AAR


So it’s late Sunday afternoon at Soldier’s Retreat and I’m coming down off of the high that was the awesomeness of Mysticon 2013. Finally got to meet Col. Tom Kratman in person, which was a hoot, because that man can tell a story. Had to keep it relatively PG-13, however, due to the underage midgets in the room.

Okay, so on to the convention after action review.

Left Lexington on Thursday since I wanted to be relatively fresh at the con for the following day, so I made a beeline for Casa Boyd. Got there, I think I had a salad and promptly crashed. Hey, cut me some slack. I’d just driven 6 hours and I’m not used to seeing that much daylight.

Trooping through the cold wastelands of Vur-gin-ya, our intrepid hero marches on.

Trooping through the cold wastelands of Vur-gin-ya, our intrepid hero marches on.

He carefully traveresed the Eye-rahn Gait Ice Falls...

He carefully traveresed the Eye-rahn Gait Ice Falls…

Friday I rolled in to Mysticon around 3 or so. I didn’t have a room (I stayed with friends in town) but that wasn’t going to stop me from doing what I do best — party crash. Unfortunately, I found out later why I couldn’t seem to find any sort of room party whatsoever.

The line for attendees started here. These volunteers worked their tailfeathers off the entire weekend and really deserved a prize.

The line for attendees started here. These volunteers worked their tailfeathers off the entire weekend and really deserved a prize.

Anyways, the con has tripled in size since the first year of existence, and with the concom working their tails off to keep up with the  sudden influx of attendees. With the Author Guest of Honor being Orson Scott Card and the Media GOH Peter Davison, you could say that there were a lot of people.

So there I was, trying to figure out what I was going to do next, when suddenly someone told me that the dealer’s room was open. Since the con hadn’t really started yet, I was a bit surprised. But I sauntered in anyway and saw that, despite a lot of vending booths, there wasn’t a lot of things I could see myself wanting. However, I did score a comic book from Travis Surber (author/artist of Hainted Holler), as well as a Dr. WHOrse. Seriously. It’s freaking awesome.

The really freaking awesome Doctor WHOrse, by Travis Surber, and it's all MINE!!! Muwahahaha!

The really freaking awesome Doctor WHOrse, by Travis Surber, and it’s all MINE!!! Muwahahaha!

I did run into Mark Morgan, who is a villain in CorruptorHe gave me permission to use his name, and so I made him an awesome villain. He’s a nice guy though, even if I portrayed him as a money hungry, greedy little cyber terrorist.

My first panel came up and I had almost as many attendees as panelists. I was prepared for this, however, since I’ve noticed that my panel attendance grows throughout the weekend as more and more people discover that I’m actually a little funny at time. But I discovered quickly on this panel (Genre Mashups) that a select few people were more eager to sell their book than talk about the topic at hand. Again, I’m used to this, so I quickly decided to make the audience laugh at me (note: not with me, but at me. I sacrificed myself for the greater good), and this killed the self-promo bid and got the panel back on track.

After the panel ended (thankfully, nobody was killed during the making of the panel) we headed up to the con suite. There we saw the ultimate in cake design: The TARDIS, in cake form, complete with a working light and sound effects.

The TARDIS, edible form.

The TARDIS, edible form.

Sufficiently impressed, I headed back down to my next panel, Law Breakers or Makers, where we would proceed to talk about how all of us follow our own universe’s rules and a pox upon the household that breaks their own rules. Oddly enough, Stephen King came up once or thrice. No idea why **coughNeedfulThingscoughcough**.

Afterwards I went back to my friend Peggey’s house and crashed there. Was exhausted, but a fun and successful Day One.

Day Two began with me oversleeping. Yeah, still not entirely used to be awake in the daylight, but needs must and all that. I soldiered on and, after a quick bite to eat, headed back to Mysticon. I was hoping to find some room parties to go to that night, and hang out with some very cool people after my last panel (the infamous Iron Author) was completed. I found Tom Kratman, Andrew Fox (author of Fat White Vampire Blues) and Clay White (with his son, what’shisface) just by hanging out at the con suite. I figured my odds were good at meeting Orson Scott Card there (didn’t even see him all weekend… our panels never coincided), but alas the odds were not in my favor.

Note to self: do not live in District 12. I’d be screwed.

Went to the Baen Traveling Road Show and scored a free book (John Ringo’s Tiger by the Tail) and finally met Laura Haywood-Cory in person. Ran into Leon and KatieKat while I was in there, and dinner plans went astray when I went to the hotel restaraunt and they went elsewhere. That was okay, except for the fact that my dinner came five minutes after left and I had to get it delivered to my next panel, which I was almost late for.

My next panel, Kill ’em!, was a lot of fun and I got to share how I killed one character not once, but twice in the same book series. This was met with some skepticism until I explained the way to properly nuke a grave from orbit. After that, everyone was on board (as well as feeling sorry for me, since previously mentioned character is based on someone) and the audience was really into it. Tony Ruggiero (author of the Immortal Servitude series) did a great job at balancing my relative insanity, and we all agreed: no character is sacred.

George R. R. Martin would have loved that panel.

Afterwards I scarfed down my dinner and met Peggey, David and Ellie as they were preparing for the Masquerade. Ellie was a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who, and a very good one at that. She won a prize (along with the mini-Dr Who and the mini TARDIS — all kids who were under 10 and dressed up like Doctor Who) and I took a few pictures of them.

Mini TARDIS with mini Doctor Who and mini Weeping Angel.

Mini TARDIS with mini Doctor Who and mini Weeping Angel.

Afterwards it was time for… IRON AUTHOR!

This is something I had never done before and was eager to try it. However, as soon as the words “Disney Stunt Cock” were thrown out there, I knew I was doomed.

The sick and twisted authors of IRON AUTHOR. Not featured (aka hiding) KT Pinto and myself.

The sick and twisted authors of IRON AUTHOR. Not featured (aka hiding) KT Pinto and myself.

…so skipping over specific details…

Thought about going to the Bella Morte concert after the last panel but by then I was exhausted. So I staggered back to Peg’s and fell into bed, remembering to set my alarm since I had a book signing at 10 the next morning.

Made it to the book signing on Sunday with about 3 minutes to spare. This was my singular complaint about the weekend — why in the world do you schedule the younger authors to do signings at oMG in the morning after a Saturday night? Sold my last copy of Lawyers in Hell and talked to the amazing Amanda Carruba about potential book covers later on down the road. Ran into Brandy and Derek Spraker (they who run Libertycon) and had breakfast with them, which was nice because they are absolutely awesome people. Ran into a few more familiar faces (sorry if I can never remember your names. Really!) and then called it a day after making one last journey through the Dealer’s Room.

I have to say, even with the massive amount of people in the con, it was a fun time to be had. I was able to duck away from the larger groups with some ease and find some quiet time to myself, which is important if I want to keep my sanity. I also was able to meet some new people, sign a book that someone had purchased at a con in Texas and came all the way to Mysticon just for me, and reconnect.

Definite good time. Hope everyone enjoyed themselves!

Steampunk Dalek. Inebriate! Inebriate!

Steampunk Dalek. Inebriate! Inebriate!

The Doctor Who Apology Tour


It’s not often I’m wrong (only four times a day), so when I am I come out and admit it.

I was wrong about Dr. Who.

I made the mistake of watching some of the older episodes long ago (late 80’s?) and my initial reaction was “Campy”. I didn’t watch any more episodes after, and when the series was rebooted I stayed well clear. I couldn’t imagine how much worse it could get, since the mid-2000’s were not the best for TV shows. I was afraid of how bad the writing could be, the effects, pretty much everything.

However, when I saw that they were having Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor) at Mysticon as the Media Guest of Honor this year, my resistance started to buckle. Then he had to back out due to a filming conflict and they announced that Peter Davison was replacing him (the 5th Doctor). Then my friends started badgering me about rewatching the show, and I finally cracked. This past week I started watching the rebooted Dr. Who, and I’ve found a new TV show I’ll watch religiously.

To be fair, it started off a little bumpy. I really like Christopher Eccleston as the 9th Doctor, and when he was replaced by David Tennant in the second season, I almost stopped watching it. Tennant and Billie Piper (companion Rose Tyler) seemed to have little to no chemistry, and it grew painful to watch. I almost gave up, but (again) friends told me to tough it out, because it gets a lot better.

Three episodes into season 3, and I finally see just how good Tennant is.

I think part of the allure of watching Dr. Who is seeing how he interacts with his companion(s). Tennant, for example, had great chemistry with Elisabeth Sladen (companion Sarah Jane, who also traveled with the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker), while Freema Agyeman (Martha), and Catherine Tate (Donna) are amazing. I’m still working my way through the series, though, so I don’t know how the current Doctor (Matt Smith) is.

Also… there nothing like watching a throw-down between Daleks and Cybermen (“This is not war. This is pest control!”). Who knew that Daleks could talk so much trash?

Anyway, I apologize for not giving the writers their due. I was going on old memories of the show and I let that color my judgment. Of course, I still prefer Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant, but both of them are fantastic Doctors, and it’s a personal preference.

Also: I really think they need the Doctor to be a ginger. He’s asking for it.

Overcommitted Is A Word


Yesterday was weird. I got home, and the next thing I knew it was time to go back to work. I did literally nothing yesterday. No writing. No creating. No editing. No painting. No  eating.

I don’t think I’m sick. But I did miss my word count goal as a result, which has set me back about two days. I can make it up this weekend, but it’s problematic, since I’m going to miss about a week’s worth of writing when I go to Mysticon. Yes, I’m grumbling. Grr.

Picked up some small book display easels today over at Hobby Lobby. They were inexpensive and exactly what I was looking for. I’ll be using these for conventions and book signings, which is a good thing. It means I actually look somewhat “professional”.

Okay, need to get some more writing done. Have to wrap up The Tree of Death and Life before I can start my next short story (for an anthology my buddy Stephen Zimmer is editing), Yet We Remain. I still need to finish up The Gods Anointed as well. Guh.

I think I may have overcommitted myself.

Don’t forget, you need to order your copy of my books soon if you expect to get them before Mysticon. Otherwise, what will I sign? Okay, I’d sign a napkin. Sheesh. I’m so easy.

Mysticon 2013 Schedule


So I received my print copy of What Scares the Boogeyman? in the mail just now. It looks nice, if a bit on the thin side. But since it’s only 200+ pages or so, that is to be expected. You can order it now at Amazon and–

–holy crap my computer just scared me! It started my Pandora station without me telling it to. It’s like it knew I should be writing…

Okay, anyways, you can order the book up at Amazon. If you’re going to be at Mysticon and want me to sign anything, you really might want to order things now and be prepared, because I have no extra copies of any books at this time. I, uh, ran out.

Corruptor

Lawyers in Hell

Sha’Daa: Pawns

What Scares the Boogeyman?

Okay, I also received my schedule for Mysticon 2013. Looks like it’s going to be fun, and I get to be on a panel with the indomitable KT Pinto.

  • Friday, 5 pm — Ballroom D — Genre Mashups
  • Friday, 7 pm — Ballroom D — Law Breaker or Law Maker?
  • Saturday, 6 pm — Ballroom E — Kill ’em!
  • Saturday, 9pm — Rm 438 — Iron Writer
  • Sunday, 10 am — Book Signing Table — Bring your own copy or buy a copy from a vendor, because I have none.

Okay, I think we’re all caught up. Now to make my computer feel better about itself by getting some writing done.