In need of a pick-me-up this Tuesday…

Been groggy all morning, and on my first cup I was reminded of this delightful mantra…

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This parody of “The Mentat Mantra” (first heard in the 1984 film version of Dune) called “The Programmer’s Mantra” apparently was originated by Mark Stein at Sunday morning at Boston’s Arisia in 1993.

Words to live by, I’m telling you.

May Madness: From RT to Balticon

Memorial Day weekend. You know what that means?

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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. Continue reading

Balticon 48: The Return to Hunt Valley and Revenge of #GymCon

Last year, Pip and I were not in attendance at Balticon, the premier weekend of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. We had been given Featured Guest status at Up in the Æther (now called Steamtopia) so we figured after years (a decade for me!) of attending Balticon, it was time for a change of pace. Detroit was a fantastic town with awesome people, and it was a good weekend all around…

…but yes, it was weird not being in Hunt Valley, Maryland, on Memorial Day Weekend.

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This year, Pip and I are excited to be returning. Unlike other literary events, Balticon offers a track specific to New Media (blogging, podcasting, Facebook, etc.), originally started up by Paul Fischer back in 2005. From that single panel on what a podcast is, the New Media track (which covers production, fan discussions, and live recordings) grew, even earning the nickname “The Other Balticon” which I think is a bit unfair as some of the most talented people — not just the writers, but the creative artists that also speak on the track — I’ve met are all on this track. Over the years, though, Balticon’s amazing staff have integrated the New Media track with other tracks; and this year’s 48th incarnation of the event promises to be a fantastic time!

Here’s where you can find me this weekend… Continue reading

Endless Possibilities Blog Tour: Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie on the Pros and Cons of Being a Book Critic

This week the Endless Possibilities Blog Tour features a unique perspective: the point-of-view form the book reviewer’s chair. Welcome Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie to TeeMorris.com. She is not only a writer herself, but she also picks up the pen and reviews books. You might wonder “Isn’t that a little risky to review books with people you work alongside?” and that is what Kristy shines a little light on today.

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There’s good and bad in reviewing books while being a writer, and here’s her own thoughts on it.

And if you like what she has to say, why not give her work a read and a review? She’d appreciate it.

“Keep calm and review on.” Words I live by. While I know it’s out-of the ordinary to review books when I myself am a writer, I have found a lot of good reasons to continue with sharing my thoughts on my recent read. As with anything, though, there are pros and cons. Writing book reviews is no different, and here’s a few things to keep in mind when you decide that you still want to review books as well as earn bylines. Continue reading

A Tribute to Wombat

“It was at Astronomicon I met a character that not only made a heck of an impression on both me and Nat, but also became a good friend for cons to come.  His real name is jan howard finder (yes, spelled in the lower case)…but everyone calls him “Wombat.”  Wombat is a little more than the professional fan.  He’s a published author.  He’s an activist for the preservation of endangered species.  He’s a world traveler.  He’s a Jack of All Trades, known for his mink glove and massage techniques.  Most of all, he is a good guy.  A really solid individual with a good heart and soul to match.”

005_2_0001I wrote those words a decade ago about a guy that I met in my first year (come to think of it — at the time I had met him, MOREVI wasn’t even six months off-the-press…) as a professional author. I was still new to the genre, still new to the Science Fiction convention circuit. I met Wombat entirely at random, stuck up a conversation, and gradually found out that I was in the company of a legend in the circles of fandom. He could be called a true ambassador of the convention scene, but I never really liked to think of jan howard finder — Wombat — as a luminary of fandom. He was far bigger than that, in my eyes. Continue reading

The Ministry MAY-hem Wrap-up at Balticon 45!

So, I’m all rested up and recovered from an amazing weekend at the Steampunk World’s Fair (review in the works). What’s next?

Why, another con appearance, of course…

Concluding The Ministry MAY-hem Tour (at least, this part of it) is an old favorite of mine — BALTICON. It was nearly ten years ago when I first arrived at this event with Morevi.  I looked something like this back then…

This was before the time of facial hair, before the days of podcasting, before the days of Facebook, Twitter, and Social Media. Right now, I’d love to go up to that guy and say “You have no idea what’s in store for you, bro.”

What a long strange trip it has been. And with the premiere of Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, it may just get a wee-bit stranger at Balticon 45 as tea parties, time traveling dances, rock-and-roll courtesy of Ditched by Kate, and panels-panels-panels are all in store! Here’s my schedule for the next few days… Continue reading

The Price of Publicity: Part II — The Call between WorldCon and Dragon*Con

In another posting on being business savvy when it comes to a writing career, I wanted to talk a bit about a con-related chat that came up between Jean Orrico and myself. Jean, as you might know, is my agent for a writing workshop I teach with Lani Tupu. Lani, as many of you should know, is the uber-talented, multi-faceted actor and artist, best known for his work as Crais and the voice of pilot in (my favorite Science Fiction television series) Farscape. Usually I bump into Jean (always a pleasure) and we either talk smack to one another (much to the delight of Lani), talk shop, or she berates me for “taking too damn long on a Morevi sequel.”

Hopefully, she will still be talking to me after my blogpost concerning that.

Jean asked me recently if I was coming to Dragon*Con this year. Now, if you’ve missed the hundreds—no, wait, the thousands—no, wait, tens of thousands—of write-up’s, video, pictures, tweets, and podcasts about this particular event, let me bring you up to speed on Dragon*Con. If there were a Mardi Gras for geeks, this would be it. Held in Atlanta every Labor Day weekend, Dragon*Con is a fan-run (as in volunteer, and God bless every one of those volunteers who step up to make this happen!) convention that must be experienced at least once. It is an epic four-day weekend with media stars, podcasters, writers, artists, and costumes, costumes, costumes. Along with Jean, a few other friends and fans have asked me if I and Pip will be in attendance this year. When we say “no” people look a little disappointed, but trust us — we have very good reasons for passing on Dragon*Con. Continue reading

The Price of Publicity

I promised myself to work on my blogging skills. It’s a bit like getting back into shape, you know? I’m struggling to get back into a routine, and everyone around me is telling to cut myself a break considering the year I have been facing. The reality is, just like staying in shape, I have to do this. Next year, as many of you know, I will be returning to novel-length fiction with my first mass market paperback novel, Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel. Me. The Kiwi. Steampunk. The cover is just beautiful, I’m telling you. Stay patient and, as soon as we get approval, we will go live with it.

2011 is a big step for me as a writer; and I’m trying to take everything I have learned since 2002 when Morevi first rolled off the presses, and apply it to the now. One of the hardest lessons I learned over this near-decade of writing professionally is just how easy it is to find yourself in the red. Not the red ink of an editor’s pen, mind you, but the financial red of your bank account telling you in so many words that you — the professional author — are flat broke. Continue reading

Returning to Philcon

It’s been a while, but as I step back into the arena of promotion (alongside Philippa Ballantine), I am planning to get back into the habit of letting people know where I’ll be. This weekend it is Philcon, Philadelphia’s premier Science Fiction convention…held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Blame the Martians. Continue reading