Remember when I said I was going to get better at blogging?
Itâ€™s been an incredible few months, and a summer of change, of ideas, and of opportunities. Iâ€™m working now on two simultaneous projects. The priority project is the next novel in the Verity Fitzroy and the Ministry Seven novel, Secret of the Monkey God. Once again, Verity is uncovering the mystery of her parentsâ€™ untimely deaths and the enigmatic mastermind behind them. The second is an idea Iâ€™ve been kicking around for a few years. Villainy LLC is a comedy set in a world of superheroes that maybe should not have quit their previous careers. Itâ€™s partially inspired by The Boys and Watchmen with a bit of inspiration from my new day job, so I will see where the story will take me. Iâ€™m also casually working on another Destiny-inspired short story/novella from my favorite video game, Destiny. Shadowkeep is just around the corner and I feel like exercising some creative juices in that world from Bungie.
And throughout all this, Iâ€™m hitting the road once again.
Youâ€™ve heard me say here that the spotlight is nothing new to me, and our shenanigans have become something folks look forward to at conventions. (If you really like our con shenanigans, remember, we do have a podcast that is now streaming!) This convention, unlike Balticon or Ravencon which are favorite of ours, is all new territory for us. It is also territory that people have asked us about in the past, and this is an event that is welcoming us with open arms and a lot to do. Itâ€™s time we took on GenCon in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Founded in 1968 by the legendary game designer Gary Gygax, Gen Con is the longest-running convention for tabletop gaming in North America. This incredible four-day may be best known for gaming and game development, the emphasis being on tabletop, board, and collectable card gaming, but it turns out GenCon has a healthy track for writers. I would have never thought I would say â€œI have a lot to do at GenConâ€¦â€ but I have a LOT to do this coming weekend at GenCon! Pip is not necessarily coasting through the weekend either. After being asked again and again if we will be appearing at GenCon, we are thrilled to be finally answering with â€œYes, we will be presenting this year.â€ Weâ€™re looking forward to meeting a lot of new faces (I mean, 80K people in attendance? Sweet crap on a cracker, thatâ€™s a lot of people!), and youâ€™ll have plenty of opportunities to do so to meet either me or Pip.
If you are looking for me, hereâ€™s where I will be around Indianapolis:
Thursday, 2:00 PM
THE BIG SCORE: A Celebration of SciFi Soundtrack
Maybe you have seen me give this talk before. Maybe youâ€™ve heard me mention it. This is my own musical journey through soundtracks of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. With a few new entries since AwesomeCon, this is an evolution of music from the Silver Screen. And while you think you know the story the soundtrack tells, you may not know the story behind the soundtrack itself. Come with me on this wild ride through cinematic history.
Thursday, 5:00 PM
This shouldnâ€™t come as a surprise to anyone Iâ€™ll be talking up podcasting, but I never grow tired of giving people a look into what Iâ€™ve been doing for over fifteen years. As one of the authors behind Podcasting for Dummies, Iâ€™m going to be there alongside Cat Rambo and Anton Strout, and Steve Drew, talking about how we do what we do.
Friday, 1:00 PM
Q&A with Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
I know, I know â€” This sounds fancy and all but yeah, Pip and I have a hosted Q&A with GenCon. This should be fun as weâ€™ll be taking questions about how we write together as a couple, when we decide to run solo, or how we manage to make books together and not kill one another. Iâ€™m not thinking youâ€™ll hear any spoilers about our Verity Fitzroy series, but you might get a taste of what we are working on. Think of it as an interactive Shared Desk because that is what itâ€™s going to be like.
Friday, 3:00 PM
You got a book of ours? Weâ€™ll sign it! Got a book from someone else? Yeah, weâ€™ll sign that, too!
Saturday, 11:00 AM
Passing Time without Losing the Reader
Itâ€™s not all about content creation and shenanigans a-plenty. I am going to be talking about some hardcore writing topics like this one. Itâ€™s a tricky thing to depict â€œtime passingâ€ in a chapter, and if you have a good pace, what do you do to push the action forward but also advance your story chronologically? Well, Melissa Olson, Matt Forbeck, Elizabeth Vaughan, and I have a few tricks up our sleeve on how to do that.
Saturday, 1:00 PM
Making Twitch Work for You
Considering my last book was Twitch for Dummies and I am actively working on building a community on the platform, I might have an idea or two about this. Once again, Iâ€™m being given a platform to share the process from soup to nuts on how to stream, joined by Gregory A. Wilson, Kirk Dougal, and Toiya Finley. We will also address how the two content creation platforms â€” podcasting and streaming â€” are both similar and dramatically different.
Saturday, 4:00 PM
Writing Action without Sounding Like an Instruction Manual
Aaron Rosenberg, Linda Robertson, Bryan Young, and I have something in common with one another: we love a good action sequence. We have a ball ramping up the tension, ratcheting the adrenaline, and elevating heart rates with a bit of action. How do we do this though without turning our stories into a â€œhow-toâ€ manual for martial arts, swordfighting, or pistol shooting? Pip thinking writing action sequences is hard, but thereâ€™s a method to the madness.
You might be wondering â€œIs Pip only there for the Q&A and the signing?â€ Oh no-no-no-no-no â€” Pipâ€™s got her own thing happening at GenCon. Take a butcherâ€™s at what sheâ€™s getting up to:
Friday, 10:00 AM
Being Your Own Boss: Trials and Tribulations of Being a Self-Publisher
You know Pip and I do our fair share of self-publishing, but it is not easy. Not by any stretch. Pip takes on the Lionâ€™s Share of the work, truth be told, and she never stops blowing my mind at what she does. (Yeah, Iâ€™m just trying to keep up with the kiwi.) On this panel, alongside Bryan Young, Richard Byers, and Elizabeth Vaughan, you get a look behind the curtain on how self-publishing, while easy, is incredibly hard.
Friday, 12:00 PM
Keeping Secondary Characters in Their Place
As writers, we manage a LOT of voices in our heads, and sometimes you come across those secondary characters that are not necessarily happy playing supportive characters. They push for any time in the limelight and even try to convince you that a spinoff novel (featuring them front and center) should be your next project. Pip deals with this. So does Scott Lynch, Anton Strout, Chris Bell, and Anna Smith Spark. How do they keep these rascals in line? Find out here.
Friday, 1:00 PM
Q&A with Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
Friday, 3:00 PM
So if you want the double act, hereâ€™s where you find us!
Saturday, 10:00 AM
Beyond the Speculative: How Reading Other Genres Can Help Your Writing
Variety is one of the many spices of life. If all you read, watch, and consume media-wise is Science Fiction and Fantasy, you tend to find yourself looking at the world with blinders on. What about a good old-fashioned cozy mystery? Ever read romance? How about a police procedural or a true crime novel? How does stepping out of your comfort zone make you a better writer? Pip and Crystal Connor offer up some insight on challenging yourself as a consumer.
These are just our schedules at one of the biggest gaming events of the summer, and there is still a LOT to do at GenCon. Cosplay. Play-testing. Game pitches. Shopping. If you are into tabletop RPG, CCGs, storytelling, content creation, or just overall geeky stuff, this is your weekend. If you do happen to make it to one of my panels, please make sure to stop me and say â€œHi!â€ Iâ€™d love to meet you.
Okay, time to pack and hit the road. See you soon!