My Arisia 2013 Schedule

One of my favorite science fiction literary conventions is Arisia in Boston, which this year will be on the weekend of January 18th. I’ve attended almost every one since the first (which was when I still lived in Boston back in the 80s). The Guests of Honor this year are Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes (who I have interviewed for this Blog — it will be great to meet him in person!)

Anyway, this year Arisia is keeping me busy as usual! You can read my bio and schedule on their web page, but here’s the run down.

The Movie Year in Review (Saturday 11:00 am): Our annual look back at the year in SF, horror, and fantasy film. Our panel of experts will cover every theatrical release of 2012. Find out which ones are worth catching up with. Note: time for audience participation is reserved for the end of our panel’s high speed review. With Dr. Chris, John Bowker, Garen Daly, and Daniel M. Kimmel.

Promoting Your Book (Saturday 5:30 pm): What works in promoting a book? Do book-signings really help a small author? Are bookmarks and/or postcards effective at garnering attention? Does a blog help or hurt an author? Does an author have to have a website? How do you find good reviewers? What tactics do NOT work? What methods might work for an established author that wouldn’t work for a beginner? With Kelly Hashway, Elaine Isaak, Gail Z. Martin, and Susan Soares.

So You Want to Run a LARP? (Saturday 7:00 pm): Maybe you’ve played in a LARP or three, or maybe you’ve only just learned about it. Now you want to run your own LARP. Where do you start? How do you recruit players and assistants? Where do you find a space? How much writing do you really have to do? With Anna R. Bradley, Nat Budin, James T. Henderson Jr, and Rachel Morris.

Running Great Games (Saturday 10:00 pm): How do you keep players engaged in a game? How do you manage different kinds of role-players and types of play? What about interruptions like roommates and smartphones? Share your secret techniques and best practices for running role-playing games (and other moderated games) that keep players coming back for more. With Steven Hammond, Andrew Kirschbaum, Brian Liberge, and David Nurenberg.

Death in Gaming (Saturday 11:30 pm): The consequences of death vary greatly from game to game. Almost every gamer ends up getting killed and having to deal with the death of their character. How do various systems treat death—are there differences between formats (video, tabletop, LARP, etc.)? Are there common depictions of Death as a character? With Andrew Kirschbaum, Adam Lipkin, Rachel Morris, and Scott Wilhelm.

Character Building (Sunday 10 am): Making memorable characters that resonate with the reader and fit perfectly for the story is an art. How do you find the core of a character—their traits, habits, and attitudes—and show them effectively to your audience? Our panelists discuss various methods of getting to know your character in the course of your writing. With Elaine Cunningham, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Joy Marchand, and Suzanne Palmer.

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice (Sunday 5:30 pm): Just how much can real-world forensic science and criminal justice tackle fields such as ballistics, DNA evidence, drugs, entomology, finding relationships and patterns in crime scenes and evidence? And, while forensic scientists work to improve accuracy and sensitivity, just how much are criminals able to use the same technological understanding to hide their crimes? Come discuss how and why courts (and the media) get it wrong, and how that misunderstanding differs from what is really possible. With William Hebard, Reese Jordan, Sarah Smith, and Lisa J. Steele.

All Together Now: Yellow Submarine at 45 (Monday 10 am): This year marks the 45th anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ animated movie Yellow Submarine. It is a classic musical fantasy film for children of all ages, complete with bizarre creatures, fantastical adventures, and an overarching moral theme. Nominated for a Hugo, Yellow Submarine remains transcendent beyond its litany of classic songs by the Beatles. It influenced the look and feel of animated film for many years after. With Mark L. Amidon, Adam Fromm, Victoria Janssen, Daniel Miller, and Jeff Warner.

Here’s my bio from their web page:

Michael A. Ventrella’s second fantasy novel The Axes of Evil (a sequel to Arch Enemies) was released in 2010. He is editor of the Tales from Fortannis anthologies, and his pirate short stories have appeared in the anthologies Rum and Runestones and Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skulduggery. He’s currently working on a novel about a vampire who runs for President. Michael is one of the founders of the biggest fantasy medieval live action roleplaying group in North America and currently runs the Alliance LARP. His Rule Books and Players Guides are available in all formats. He is also the founder of Animato which was the first major magazine dedicated to animated films. He has been quoted as an animation expert in Entertainment Weekly and in various books. His blog ( interviews other authors, editors, agents, and publishers to get advice for the starting author. In his spare time, he is a lawyer.

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