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

RavenCon 2014: A Homecoming in April (Hail, Hydra…)

This week has been one temptation after another to rant a bit on topics ranging between Game of Thrones to pretentious nitwits in steampunk, but I have chosen a different direction for my weeks blogpost:

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That’s right — RavenCon! Finally, after years of trying to make my hometown event happen, I am finally coming back to the weekend in April that I helped kick off seven years ago alongside Con Chair Michael Pederson. I, for one, am looking forward to the weekend!

It’s been a little frustrating not being able to make it, mainly on account of things like the lack of a day job; but after balancing the books and making sure the numbers weren’t misleading me, I can finally come back to my hometown (the second time within the month!) and enjoy some good old-fashioned geekery alongside such terrific people like Bill Blume, Gail Z. Martin, Michael A. Ventrella, the Geek Radio Daily crew, and Guest of Honor (and all around great lady!) Elizabeth Bear!

Want to know where I will be this weekend? Continue reading

My Writing Process: A Blog Meme for 2014

iStock_000021621315XLargeAs you all know, I’m always game for something new online, and last week I got an invite for something new—a blog meme. The concept is I go on and share with you all what’s happening in my writing life. I then introduce two people where, next week, they post their own answers to these questions. Hence the blog meme—from my answers, you jump to two new authors who will take you along on their journey.

While our intern-of-awesome K.T. Byski had a hand in making this happen, the invitation come from author Emily Swartz, a recent graduate from USM’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing. She has a work-in-progress called The Midnight Thief, a drama set in Appalachian Kentucky, but a freelance writer’s life is peppered with experience and it is that experience she brings to her work.

Thanks, Emily, for this invitation. This should be fun.  Continue reading

Hybrid Authors: The Best of Both Worlds

Depending on who you talk to, stepping into the publishing industry today is something akin to tap dancing in a mine field. There are the seasoned veterans who are struggling along with some publishers against changing technologies and market demands. Meanwhile, the independently published continue to rattle their sabers and proclaim without question “Our way is the only way!” in an militant fashion frighteningly similar to the traditionally published authors of less than a decade ago.

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As for myself, I have seen this “Us Vs. Them” nonsense back when “Social Media” was referred to as “New Media” and the ambitious creators behind this bold, cutting edge content were aiming to topple Old Media. I remember these days well as Apple had just opened the door to podcasters and it looked like these mavericks of media were going to fulfill their self-proclaimed prophecy as the featured podcasts were all people I knew, all shows either on my iPod or in my listening cue.

Within a year, the Featured Podcasts on iTunes were HBO, Discovery Channel, ESPN, and Oprah Winfrey. Oh, and those mavericks were either working for Old Media or contracting with them.

I look at what is happening now in publishing and think “Good Lord, here we go again.” Continue reading

Paying Attention: A Secret Behind Inspiration

iStock_000006201684XLarge “How do you get all those ideas?”

I rank this question up along with “How do you learn all those lines?” when I was the actor. It was a question actors dreaded, but I rarely think we were asked it when we had a “Meet & Greet” with the audience. It’s a fair enough question, though; and since I never got it when I was an actor, I’ll answer it here. “Rehearsal and repetition.” That’s the key in learning your lines, be it for a play, a presentation, or for a very important one-on-one you have on your books.

Now, as a writer, the ideas question tends to be the one that earns an eye-roll, but I don’t think it’s fair. People are genuinely curious how authors come up with what they put down on paper. Maybe it’s because they wonder how someone can think up Victorian secret agents investigating the unknown, or a dwarf-detective solving crimes in the Prohibition Era; and it’s a sincere question. I know that when I’ve read books I love, or enjoyed an episode of Almost Human or True Detective, I marvel at the air tight dialogue or incredible situations these talented writers come up with and wonder what drives them. It’s good to know where ideas come from and what makes them happen because inspiration keep you busy as a writer.

If there was a magic bullet in finding great ideas, it actually ties back to a trick I had with acting: Pay attention. The world around you is teeming with ideas, and inspiration can happen at any time. With technology, jotting ideas down has been made insanely easy, so now instead of carrying around the writer’s notebook, journal—or ledger as The Taxman does—you can whip out the smartphone and take notes. What’s key though in finding inspiration is paying attention to what’s around you. Many times, that’s all you need to get an idea going. 

Case in point, today the third season of Tales from the Archives launched; and I’m particularly proud of this story that Pip and I put together as it came from the unlikeliest of places: church. Now church is probably not the place where I should be in “Writer’s Mode” but Trinity Episcopal of Manassas prides itself on being a different kind of church. This particular day, Dennis Reid, was giving a sermon on Judas Iscariot; but not the kind of sermon you would think. He said something that struck me hard: Continue reading

Capclave: A Celebration of Short Stories, Anthologies, and the Business of Books

photo by P.J. Schnyder

Are you in the Washington D.C. are this weekend? Because if you are, Pip and I are going to be out and about at Capclave, on Friday and Saturday at the Hilton of 620 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877.

Capclave, if you have never attended, is not a bustling event like Balticon or RavenCon; but a more intimate affair that focuses more on the art of short fiction.

And yes, short fiction is an art.  You might not think it with my releases this year, but short stories have always been a challenge for me. It’s only been recently I’ve felt comfortable writing short stories, and Capclave is a rare event indeed as short stories take center stage. Discussions range between  the challenges of the market to the big question “Is there still a market for short stories?”

Oh yeah, and did I mention George R R Martin is the Guest of Honor this year?

Now for anyone who thinks I’m going to corner him, take him down with a Hapkido throw, jam my boot in his throat, and demand that he gets me an audience with Peter Dinklage, I’m just going to say for the record that I’m not going to corner him.

So, yeah, that.

But if you are looking to corner me at Capclave, you’ll get your chance here… Continue reading

Parsec Awards Finalist

There may be a good possibility you are new to this blog this week. If you are — I hope you had fun in New Orleans! I hope to see you again in Savannah!

(If you are curious as to what I mean by that, stay tuned. I have another blogpost in the works about that.)

Being new to the blog, I’d like to bring you up to speed on some good news from the podcasting front, made official on receiving this badge:

If you are not enjoying podcasts because this is the first time you have heard of them, a podcast is some sort of online media (usually audio or video, but really any kind of file) automatically delivered using iTunesJuiceBloglines or some kind of app that can subscribe to its feed. It sounds complicated, but trust me — it isn’t.

The 2012 Parsec Awards, now in their seventh year, honors podcasts featuring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, celebrating the best in speculative fiction. I’ve not been up for a Parsec since 2008 when Billibub Baddings and The Case of the Singing Sword won that year for Best Audio Drama (Long Form).

This year, however, I’m apparently making up for lost time…

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

What makes this year’s Parsecs so special for me is that this year marks the first time Pip and I are appearing as producers, not just podcasters. Tales from the Archives also appears twice in the Best Short Story (Large Cast) category, and I don’t know who is more excited — Starla, Paul, or Pip and myself. We are so proud of the talented authors appearing in the Tales from the Archives (all of them — even the ones that weren’t nominated), but the Ministry’s presence at this year’s Parsecs only validates what we already knew. Thank you, everyone!

And to everyone in the Final Round, congratulations. To make the finals in the Parsecs is practically standing in the Winners’ Circle as far as I am concerned, and it’s a nice place to be. I wish you all the best of luck!

Onward to Dragon*Con…

The Janus Affair: A Sneak Peek and a Balticon Bash!


Hey, everyone!

Well, here we are — the week it all happens! Balticon!

Before I forget, I do want to give you all a little something to enjoy, audio-wise…

James Langton, you might recall, gave his voice to us for Harper Audio’s kicking production of Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel. He’s back for The Janus Affair, and we could not be happier about it. Harper Audio gave us this preview for our podcast (you DO know about the steampunk podcast anthology Pip and I do, right?), and after hearing it, Pip and I can’t wait to hear what James comes up with next! We are so stoked to have him bringing Wellington and Eliza to life, and hopefully we will hear him again when Book Three is green-lit for production.

Now, onward to Balticon… Continue reading

Set your pocket watches! New Steampunk Fiction coming soon…

Contrary to popular belief that steampunk is dead, and thinking that maybe you missed the recent announcement on The Shared Desk or the Ministry website, I wanted to bring the news and the official launch date for the next project from Imagine That! Studios

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Continue reading

So Long, and Thanks for All the Tweets: My Final Friday at Intersections

Staying on track.You might have noticed a few enigmatic tweets from me on Friday. I got a few responses of concern but I was okay. Still am.

No, really, I’m good. January 6, 2012 was a date for the books so I’ll just go ahead and kick off this blogpost with what happened.

Somewhere around 10:15 a.m. last Friday, I was told my services at Intersections, Inc. was no longer needed.

If you’re expecting a complete and utter meltdown against my former day job, you’re not going to get it. Never will. I will only say this: Continue reading