My 2018 Balticon Schedule

I’ll be a guest at Balticon next weekend (May 25-28), a fun convention with guests including Catherine Asaro, Larry Niven, Charles Gannon, Keith DeCandido, and many more!B52_web_banner_4

On Saturday, I may be preoccupied because my wife, award-winning artist Heidi Hooper, will be doing an appearance at the local Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum where her dryer lint art is displayed!

But otherwise, here are the panels where you can find me:

Ordinary Heroes (Friday 4 pm): Some of the most powerful stories are about ordinary people who find themselves doing extraordinary things. What makes these tales and characters appealing and how do they differ from those featuring larger-than-life heroes and villains? With Valerie J. Mikles (moderator)Gail Z. MartinMelissa ScottJohn AppelMichael A. Ventrella

Autographing (Saturday 2 pm): I’ll be signing books for anyone who wants one!

Character Building in Fantasy (Saturday 4 pm): Worldbuilding is fun, but someone’s got to live in that world. Authors discuss how to how to make fictional characters that live in invented worlds feel like they didn’t fall our of ours. With Griffin Barber (moderator)Larry NivenScott H. AndrewsMichael A. VentrellaMichelle Sonnier

Readings (Saturday 6 pm): Authors read from their latest work. With Day Al-MohamedElektra HammondMichael A. Ventrella

What Makes an Idea Worth Exploring? (Sunday 1 pm): Bring the concepts you’re considering and we’ll discuss whether they’re worth your, or your reader’s, time. With Michael A. Ventrella (moderator)Gail Z. MartinDave RobisonJeff Young

A Judicial Framework for Superpowers (Sunday 5 pm): Is testimony obtained with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth admissible? Does Spidey-Sense require a wiretapping permit? Come talk to our nerdy lawyers and find out. With James R. Stratton (moderator)Iver P CooperGriffin BarberJohn L. FrenchMichael A. Ventrella

My 2017 Balticon Schedule

I’ll be at Balticon soon (Memorial Day weekend) along with some great authors including Eric Flint,  Catherine Asaro, Charles Gannon, Mark Van Name —  not to mention three authors who are in the Baker Streets Irregulars book: Keith R.A. DeCandido,  Gail Z. Martin, and Hildy Silverman! (The full list is here).

Here’s a picture of me being hit over the head by George R.R. Martin at last year’s Balticon.  (If you want to know why, click here).


Anyway, here’s my schedule (always subject to change):

Opening Ceremonies (Friday 8:00): Meet the Guests of Honor and hang out with the pros!

Freelancing in the Publishing Industry (Saturday 11:00): what kinds of opportunities are available for authors looking to publish? With Mike VanHelder

Harry Potter and the World of Fan Communities (Saturday 12:00): The universe of Harry Potter has one of the largest and most robust online fan communities ever – writing fiction, engaging in online roleplaying, blogging and sharing quizzes and media.  Was it just in the right place at the right time, or are there traits it has that inspire fans (and can be appropriated by other authors & worldbuilders)? With Oni Hartstein, Holli Mintzer, and L.G. Ransom. 

Autograph Session (Saturday 3:00): I’ll sign anything! Anything, I tell you!

Social Media Promotion Without Being Obnoxious (Sunday 12:00): Promoting yourself these days is a requirement for any writer. How can you do so without alienating everyone? With Melissa Hayden, Nathan Lowell, Hildy Silverman, and Jean Marie Ward.

Reading (Sunday 1:00): Come hear me read stuff.

Pacing the Novel (Sunday 6:00): How to make sure the pacing of your novel works. With Paul E. Cooley, Gail Z. Martin, Ken Schrader, and Fran Wilde.

Fiction Writing for Gamemasters (Monday 12:00): How to turn your ideas into books, games, and both. With Phil Kahn, Chris Lester, Mike McPhail, and Robert Waters 





My Balticon 2013 schedule

I’m very excited to be going to Balticon this year, because not only am I on some great panels, but we’re doing a major book release party for A BARD IN THE HAND (along with a few other books from my publisher Double Dragon).

Balticon will be held on the weekend of May 24 – 27. Below is my schedule (although, as usual, there may be some additions and changes by the convention):


Project Tracking for Editors (6:00 pm) with Lesley Conner, Elektra Hammond, Brian Koscienski, Neal Levin and Trish J. Wooldridge: How to make sure all the ducks line up in a row when working on a project. Editors share war stories and recommendations on how to get organized, stay organized, and how to deal with the unexpected.

Opening Ceremonies (8:00 pm): Where the Guests of Honor and other participants rub elbows with Balticon attendees (usually with wine and cheese).

World or Plot (10:00 pm) with Charles E. Gannon, Paula S. Jordan, Richard Allen Leider, and T. C. McCarthy: Do you start with a world and build the rest around it? Or do you start with a plot outline and allow the worldbuilding to grow out of that? What do you do when you start with a plot in mind and the world that develops seems to send the plot in another direction?


Editor’s Pet Peeves (9:00 am) with Danielle Ackerly-McPhail, Walt Boyes, Alex Shvartsman, and Leona Wisoker. A head’s up for writers on what editors don’t like to see or deal with from their authors. Headaches they’ve encountered in publishing.

Worldbuilding in Role-playing Games (3:00 pm) with L. Jagi Lamplighter, Neal Levin, Mike McPhail, and Robert Waters. How do you build a believable world for your game?

Reading (6:00 pm) with Mur Lafferty and KT Pinto: Authors read from their latest works


Double Dragon Book Release Party (10:00 am) with Gail Z. Martin, Bernie Mozjes and Peter Prellwitz: Come celebrate the latest Double Dragon releases (including my own A BARD IN THE HAND and TWISTED TAILS IV which features one of my stories). Coffee, donuts, hard-boiled eggs, and books! Donwload flyer

You Have Gaming in my Fiction (2:30 pm) with L. Jagi Lamplighter, Neal Levin, Mike McPhail, and Alex Shvartsman: All about how to write media tie-in fiction for games.

Editor’s Q&A (4:00 pm) with Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Scott H. Andrews, Richard Allen Leider, Patrick Thomas, and Trisha J. Wooldridge: Audience asks the panel of editors questions about submissions, acceptances, and the publishing process.

Promoting Your Book (10:00 pm) with Jean Marie Ward: 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?


Plotters verse Pantsers (10:00 am) with Jack Campbell, Doc Coleman, Kat Otis, Jennifer Povey, Alex Shvartsman, and Leona Wisoker: Do you plan your story or write by the seat of your pants? Panelists share the quirks and foibles of their working method with readers. A Round Table discussion.

Making Better NPCs (Noon) with Victor Hutcherson, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Neal Levin, and Mike McPhail. How to create believable and real characters for your gaming players to interact with.

My Balticon 2012 Schedule

I’ll be a guest at the science fiction convention Balticon next weekend (May 25-28, 2012) in Baltimore. I’ll be talking about writing and editing and, of course, making a fool of myself at the “Eye of Argon” panel. The Guest of Honor is Jodi Lynn Nye, who (as you might know) wrote a great blurb for my TALES OF FORTANNIS book!

The nice people at Balticon scheduled me for a plethora of panels!

Friday 9:00 pm: Meet the Pros: Mix and mingle with the Guests of Honor and Balticon 46 Program Participants.

Friday 10:00 pm: The Role of Anthologies: As both a source of fiction and a means of promotion, what do anthologies have to offer? Fan and author panelists discuss. With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Joshua Bilmes, C. J. Henderson, Bernie Mojzes, Pete Prellwitz, Jean Marie Ward, and Trisha J. Wooldridge

Friday 11:00 p.m.: Readings: Authors read from their works. With James Maxey and Jeff Young

Saturday 10:00 am: Editor’s Roundtable: Editors discuss the way they work with authors and how that differs when working on a single author project, a collaborative project, or an anthology project. With Carl Cipra, Joshua Bilmes, Barbara Friend Ish, Bill Fawcett, Joshua Palmatier, Ian Randal Strock, and Steven H. Wilson

Saturday Noon: Magical Systems in Fantasy Literature — A Round Table Discussion: Panelists look at what are some of the things we expect to see in magical systems and give examples of works that are missing those factors, but work just fine for the reader anyway. With Gail Z. Martin, Hildy Silverman, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Myke Cole, Jody Lynn Nye (Guest of Honor), David Wood, Barbara Friend Ish, Elektra Hammond, Bill Fawcett, and Jean Marie Ward

Sunday 10:00 am: Editors Looking For Submissions: Meet editors who are actively looking for writing and/or artwork for their publications. Get tips on what they like and dislike. Find out what kind of work they need right now. With Vonnie Winslow Crist, Bernie Mojzes, Brian Koscienski, Kate Kaynak, and Michael D. Pederson

Sunday 11:00 am: Liberty and Other Inalienable Rights: Will Basic Rights Change in the Future? In what ways? With Danny Birt, D. H. Aire, and Steven H. Wilson

Sunday 8:00 pm: Young Adult Fiction: Is YA Science Fiction Failing to Educate While It Entertains? Should it be aspiring to do so? With Peter Prellwitz, Jagi Lamplighter, Maria V. Snyder, and Janine K. Spendlove

Sunday Midnight: Eye of Argon — The Play “One of the genre’s most beloved pieces of appalling prose” read by some of the best narrators, presented in all its theatrical glory and critiqued by those who can’t keep a straight face. The history of this tome is discussed, and experts weigh in on why this book is so horrible. Sadly, due to hotel fire laws, we cannot burn anything. Not for people who have weak stomachs or suicidal tendencies. With Susan de Guardiola, Walter H. Hunt, Grig Larson, and Hildy Silverman

Monday Noon: The Role of Alcoholic Beverages in Fantasy: How are intoxicants treated in fantasy? Beers, hard liquor, absinthe, etc – where do the culture of obliteration and that of escapism intersect? What about that cliche about writers and drinking? Does it apply to writers of speculative fiction in the same way, and how does it effect the works they produce? With Jagi Lamplighter, Ruth Lampi, Maria V. Snyder, and Janine K. Spendlove

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