May Madness: From RT to Balticon

Memorial Day weekend. You know what that means?


Grill time.

It also means showing respect for those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have cookouts in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. Sometimes, you can forget why we enjoy the extended weekend. This particular one comes with a pretty powerful price tag, regardless of what the sales at Macy’s and Bed, Bath, & Beyond advertise.

But I digress…

AWARDThis May, as you saw in my previous post, has been pretty eventful. Pip made it home safely Monday morning, and when I got home Monday from the day job I was presented with the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Steampunk of 2014. Wellington, Eliza, Dr. Sound, Professor Axelrod & Dr. Blackwell, Tesla & Edison, and new friends Wild Bill Wheatley and Felicity Lovelace brought home the gold (or in this case, the crystal) with Dawn’s Early Light. It doesn’t feel quite real, you know? Two of the finalists have written for me and Pip, and another was a New York Times Bestseller; but we were presented with honors. It’s a little humbling and immensely rewarding.

The best part? No puppies of any demeanor were involved with this distinction. We earned this award. I’m more than good with that.

Now with the 2015 RT Convention in the rear view, Pip and I look ahead to Balticon. We weren’t expecting to be there this year, but circumstances made the unexpected happen. This is going to be one of the busiest of Balticons as my panel schedule is jam-packed across three (yes, three) different tracks.

This Balticon will also be bittersweet as was RavenCon. This weekend, I remember my old friend, award-winning writer, award-nominated podcaster, and all-around good guy, P.G. Holyfield.

Here’s my schedule:


5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The Ministry Initiative: An Informal “Flash Fiction” RPG
Hunt Valley Inn Lobby
As you know, The Ministry Initiative is our FATE RPG from Galileo Games, and we have managed in the last minutes of Balticon Programming to squeak in a demo. We managed to do this as we announced an informal Thursday night pre-con game session. This one. Nobilis, Pip, and I are hosting in the lobby a casual, informal “lighting round” test run of that demo, so we have four slots. First come, first serve. If you can’t make the official demo and you’re at Balticon early, come on out and join us for this!


6:00 p.m. – whenever
The P.G. Holyfield Memorial Meat & Greet
Residence Inn Open Courtyard
What started as an impromptu barbecue at our hotel has now become the event to kick off the weekend. What you provide is something for the grill for yourself and for others. The idea is to make friends and meet people attending Balticon, so hopefully you will meet people over meat. Bring what you like. We’re keeping it classy so please — best behavior. This is a social gathering and we’re remembering PG Holyfield. Any questions? Ask here on this Facebook page.


11:00 a.m. – Noon
Book Signing
Autograph Table
If I’ve written it, I’ll sign it. And I’ll be there with my wife of infinite awesome, and the always-lovely Starla Huchton. We will also have available for purchase Ministry Protocol, Ministry Initiative (the RPG), and Tales of a Tesla Ranger for sale.

Noon – 1:00 p.m.
The Big Score: The Soundtrack of Science Fiction
I am hosting a look at the evolution of the movie and television score. Come on by.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Crowns and Swords: The Intertwined Worlds of Fantasy and Monarchy
The success of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series could reignite the interest in epic fantasy, but are writers ready to contend with the complexities of monarchies? This is where panelists attempt to untie the double-knotted the histories and bloodlines of royalty.

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Dynamic Voice Acting – Some Mature Themes
Salon B
I have been told this is going to be a lot of fun. With Alex White at the helm, I have no doubt in my mind that it will be.

10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Dirty Mad Libs
Wherein we bring our favorite (or least favorite) pieces of erotica, cut out essential vocabulary, and solicit replacements from the audience. There is no way this could end badly…


2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
How To Do A Blog Tour
Some sound advice on blogging, touring, and how to make it work for your next release. This is a great crossover panel for New Media and Literary.

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Shared Desk Livecast
Our chance to bring The Shared Desk to Balticon. So bring your questions, and we will bring our favorite audio drop-in’s.

ministry_initiative7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
The Ministry Initiative: An Introduction to a New FATE Core Game
Parlor 1041
Hosted by the creators of the award-winning Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, and under the guidance of critically-acclaimed erotica author, podcaster, and FATE-Core gamer Nobilis Reed, we bring The Ministry Initiative to play. Two games, four players each, in a quick two-hour demo of what is possible in this new offering from Galileo Games. While play space is limited, we will include a quick panel discussion about the process of how a novel becomes a game, and how a game becomes part of an expanded universe.



Monday is apparently my off-day, but you never know — last-minute changes can happen at a con so watch this space for any schedule changes, keep your con schedule close; and I look forward to seeing you at Balticon this year.

Let’s go get our geek on in Hunt Valley, Maryland!


  1. I hope I can get one of those slots for the Ministry Initiative. Hmmm. Maybe I should read my rule book…



    1. We’re designing a “demo” adventure so instead of you bringing characters to the demo, we provide them and we will keep the pace quick. Let’s see what happens!


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