My 2017 Capclave Schedule

Capclave is a fine little literary SF convention held near Washington DC, which this year will be on the October 6th weekend. small_dodo_transparentCome and join us and meet some of your (and my) favorite authors and editors, including but not limited to Neil Clarke, Ken Liu, James Morrow, Alex Shvartsman, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Allen Wold, and many more (including me!)

Capclave is where I spoke to George R.R. Martin a few years ago and then became an internet sensation for a week or so because of the “Hodor” comment.

Here are some pictures I took from from the convention in 201320142015, and 2016.

And here’s my current schedule (subject to change):

Friday 6:00 pm: How Not To Get Published (Ends at: 6:55 pm) Salon A
Panelists:Neil ClarkeMike McPhailHildy SilvermanIan Randal StrockMichael A. Ventrella (M)
Editors will discuss all the things authors shouldn’t do if they want to be published. For instance, submission guidelines exist for a reason. And no matter how brilliant your story is, threatening the editor will reduce the probability that it will be published to zero.
Friday 7:00 pm: Write What You Don’t Know (Ends at: 7:55 pm) Rockville/ Potomac
Panelists: Scott H. AndrewsJoshua PalmatierMichael A. Ventrella (M), Jean Marie Ward
Fantasy authors rarely get irate email from dragons saying they got it wrong. How to write characters from places and times that you don’t know but members of your audience do, and why it’s important to get outside your comfort zone.
Friday 10:00 pm: Michael Ventrella Reading (Ends at: 10:25 pm) Bethesda
Author: Michael A. Ventrella
Saturday 2:00 pm: Writing Workshop (Ends at: 3:55 pm) Boardroom
Coordinators: Andrew FoxMichael A. VentrellaAllen L. Wold (M), Darcy Wold
Allen Wold will lead a panel of authors in a hands on workshop. Learn many skills as you work on a short story. All you need is a pen and paper. Limited to 15 people.
Saturday 11:00 pm: Eye of Argon (Ends at: 11:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Hildy SilvermanIan Randal StrockMichael A. Ventrella (M)
Our panelists read the worst fantasy story ever written, mistakes and all, and if they laugh or read it incorrectly, they are forced to act out the story. Just try not to fall over laughing! At some point, volunteers from the audience can participate and discover firsthand the author’s contentious relationship with spelling, capitalization and punctuation.
Sunday 10:00 am: Abusing Authors (Ends at: 10:55 am) Rockville/ Potomac
Panelists: Sarah AveryScott EdelmanWill McIntosh (M), Lawrence M. SchoenIan Randal StrockMichael A. Ventrella
Panelists answer whatever questions the audience has on writing, editing, character development, agents, and others. Includes many non-writer-parts-of-being-a-writer, such as being your own boss, setting schedules, and so on.
Sunday 11:00 am: Writing Workshop (Follow-up) (Ends at: 11:55 am) Suite 1209
Coordinators: Michael A. VentrellaAllen L. Wold (M), Darcy Wold
A one hour follow-up session.
Sunday 12:00 pm: Political Dynamite (Ends at: 12:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Sunny MoraineJames MorrowMalka Older (M), Michael A. Ventrella
Writers and editors talk about how they address current events in their work and in social media–and what they don’t.

My Capclave 2016 Schedule

Capclave is a fine little literary SF convention held near Washington DC, which this year will be on the October 7th weekend. small_dodo_transparentCome and join us and meet some of your (and my) favorite authors, including but not limited to Tim Powers, Sarah Beth Durst, James Morrow, Alex Shvartsman, Catherine Asaro, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Allen Wold, Walter Hunt, and many more (including me!)

I’m anxious to meet Tim Powers again, who is one of my favorite authors. Unfortunately, I’m not on any panels with him. Capclave is where I spoke to George R.R. Martin a few years ago and then became an internet sensation for a week or so because of the “Hodor” comment.

Here are some pictures I took from from the convention in 20132014, and 2015.

And here’s my current schedule (subject to change):

Alternate History: How to Make it Work (Friday 6 pm) Many novels these days change history slightly — and fail. What does it take to make a good alternate history plot? With panelists Martin Berman-Gorvine, Emmie Mears (Moderator), Alan Smale, Michael A. Ventrella

Who’s the Bad Guy in a World Without Absolutes? (Friday 8 pm) Heroes, villains, and moral relativism. Does speculative literature have any concept of Good or Evil anymore? With panelists Anthony Dobranski, Christie Meierz, Hugh Taylor, Michael A. Ventrella (Moderator)

Reading (Friday 11 pm) Michael A. Ventrella will be reading from one of his books. With panelist Michael A. Ventrella

Writing Workshop (Saturday 10 am) Allen Wold will lead a panel of authors in a hands on workshop. Learn many skills as you work on a short story. All you need is a pen and paper. Limited to 15 people. With panelists Andrew Fox, Michael A. Ventrella, Allen L. Wold (Moderator), Darcy Wold

Social Media Promotion Without Being Obnoxious (Saturday 1 pm) Promoting yourself these days is a requirement for any writer. How can you do so without alienating everyone? With panelists Kate Baker, Inge Heyer, Natalie Luhrs, Michael A. Ventrella (Moderator)

Author’s Table (Saturday 2 pm) Meet the author! With panelists Andrew Fox, Michael A. Ventrella

Mass Autographing Session (Saturday 7:30 pm) Wherein all the authors gather in one room so you can get all your books signed

The Eye of Argon (Saturday 10 pm) The worst science fiction story ever written gets a reading by our brave panel as they compete to go the longest without tripping over a misspelled word or laughing uncontrollably. Audience members are also encouraged to take a chance. Can you keep a straight face, especially when the panel begins acting out the story? With panelists Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella, Walter H. Hunt

It’s a Conspiracy! (Sunday noon) Why are we so willing to believe that everyone is out to get us? How does this appeal to us in books and movies, even if we don’t believe them? With panelists T. Eric Bakutis, Warren Buff, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Michael A. Ventrella, Joan Wendland (Moderator)

My Capclave 2015 schedule

Capclave is a fine little literary SF convention held near Washington DC, which this year will be on the October 9th weekend. small_dodo_transparentCome and join us and meet some of your (and my) favorite authors, including but not limited to Gordon Van Gelder, Alistair Reynolds, James Morrow, Alex Shvartsman, Lawrence Schoen, Catherine Asaro, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Allen Wold, Walter Hunt, and many more (including me!)

Here are some pictures I took from from the convention in 2013 and 2014.

Here’s my current schedule (subject to change):

Friday 10:00 pm: Improv Story-Telling (Ends at: 10:55 pm) Salon A
Panelists: Charles E. Gannon, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Hildy Silverman, Michael A. Ventrella
The audience names three things for the writer to include in an improv story and a cliffhanger to turn it over to the next author (who in turn gets three more things named to include.)
Friday 11:00 pm: Why Do Good People Do Bad Things? (Ends at: 11:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Alan Loewen, C.S. MacCath, James Morrow, Michael A. Ventrella
What are the motivations for having otherwise-heroic people do villainous things in fiction? How can an author strike a balance between making an evildoer’s actions believable and somewhat sympathetic without turning them into an antihero?
Saturday 2:00 pm: The Epic Blockbuster (Ends at: 2:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Sarah Avery, Alma Katsu, Dina Leacock, Michael A. Ventrella
In the 1950s and 60s, 200 page novels were common (and told a complete story). Today my bookshelf is groaning under Weeks (800 pages) and Sanderson (1000), and these doorstoppers are only part of a series. What changed? Do readers prefer long books and longer series? Are authors using these longer page counts to tell a deeper story with multiple points of view and better characterization? Or is much of this padding and a lack of editing? What books are worth the extra page count?
Saturday 6:00 pm: Building Your Audience (Ends at: 6:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Kate Baker, Scott Edelman, Will McIntosh, Michael A. Ventrella
Now that you finished your book and found a publisher, how do you get people to read it? What promotional devices work and what turns potential readers off? And, after you’ve published three or four books, what can you do to expand your readership and get readers of your newest book to look at your older ones?
Saturday 11:00 pm: The Eye of Argon (Ends at: 11:55 pm) Bethesda
Panelists: Charles E. Gannon, Michael A. Ventrella
A dramatic reading, with audience participation, of one of the most notorious fantasy works ever.
Sunday 2:00 pm: Climate Change in SF (Ends at: 2:55 pm) Frederick
Panelists: James Morrow, Gordon Van Gelder, Michael A. Ventrella
What is the best approach to discussing climate change in SF? What does the modern attitude towards whether this is really science say about SF writing that features human action changing the natural environment?

My Capclave 2014 Schedule

Capclave is a fine little literary SF convention held near Washington DC, which this year will be on the October 10th weekend. The Guest of Honor is Hugo- and Nebula-award winning author Paolo Bacigalupi! I’m anxious to meet him (as I really liked his novel THE WINDUP GIRL). Also in attendance will be Holly Black, Genevieve Valentine, Catherine Asaro, James Morrow, and many more (including me!)small_dodo_transparent

Here are some pictures from last year’s convention.

Here’s my current schedule (subject to change):

So You Want to be a Writer (Friday 4 pm): We did it before and we’ll do it again! Authors discuss how they became a writer, and why you should(n’t) Writers share their experiences and offer advice to those interested in becoming a professional writer. Pay it forward. With panelists Brenda W. Clough, Dina Leacock, Will McIntosh, Michael A. Ventrella, and Allen Wold

The Greatest Animated Films (Friday 6 pm): A debate over a list of the greatest animated films. Can we agree on a top ten list for the best or will the panel erupt into fisticuffs? With panelists Jim Freund, Larry Hodges, James Maxey, Sherin Nicole, and Michael A. Ventrella

War on Science? (Friday 7 pm): Some of America’s leaders don’t believe in global warming, want creationism taught in schools, and others want to ban human cloning or restrict genetic modified foods. Why this distrust of science? Is it growing? Are political leaders trying to appeal to the ignorant or do they really believe this? And what is the danger to the planet? With panelists Inge Heyer, Walter H. Hunt, Michael A. Ventrella, and Christopher Weuve

Meet the YA authors (Friday 9 pm): Last year’s meet and greet YA authors in a casual setting was such an awesome party that we decided to do it again this year! With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Annette Klause, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Diana Peterfreund, Jon Skovron, Janine Spendlove, and Michael A. Ventrella

Mass Signing (Saturday 7:30 pm): The Saturday evening mass autographing session! With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Sarah Avery, Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Marilyn “Mattie” Brahen, Neil Clarke, Tom Doyle, Andy Duncan, Scott Edelman, Jim Freund, Charles E. Gannon, Max Gladstone, David G. Hartwell, Alma Katsu, Pamela K. Kinney, Barbara Krasnoff, Dina Leacock, James Maxey, Will McIntosh, Mike McPhail, Sunny Moraine, James Morrow, Sarah Pinsker, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Lawrence M. Schoen, Darrell Schweitzer, Alex Shvartsman, Jon Skovron, Alan Smale, Bud Sparhawk, Janine Spendlove, Genevieve Valentine, Michael A. Ventrella, and Lawrence Watt-Evans

Awards Reception and Presentation (Saturday 8:30 pm): The WSFA Small Press Award winner will be announced. The Guest of Honor Gifts will also be presented.

The Eye of Argon (Saturday 11:00 pm): Our panelists read the worst fantasy story ever written, mistakes and all, and if they laugh or read it incorrectly, they are forced to act out the story. Just try not to fall over laughing! At some point, volunteers from the audience can participate and discover firsthand the author’s contentious relationship with spelling, capitalization and punctuation. With panelists Walter H. Hunt, Sarah Pinsker, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella, and Jean Marie Ward

Reading (Ventrella) (Sunday 1:00 pm): I’ll be reading an excerpt from BLOODSUCKERS and maybe a few other things.

My Capclave 2013 schedule

This year, I will be attending the Washington DC convention Capclave for the first time, and it looks to be great fun. small_dodo_transparent The Guest of Honor is George R. R. Martin, and other guests include many people who you may have met through my interviews here: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Philippa Ballantine, Gardner Dozois, Val Griswold-Ford, Mike McPhail, Tee Morris, James Morrow, Lawrence M. Schoen, Hildy Silverman, Bud Sparhawk, Lawrence Watt-Evans, and Allen Wold, among many others. Links to each of these interviews are to the left.)

Capclave is held over the Columbus Day weekend (October 11th)

They’re keeping me busy, as I like, and I’m moderating a few of these panels.

Here’s my schedule:

So You Want To Be A Writer?: We did it before and we’ll do it again! Authors discuss how they became a writer, and why you should(n’t) Writers share their experiences and offer advice to those interested in becoming a professional writer. Pay it forward. With Matt Betts, Michael Dirda, Laura Anne Gilman, Alma Katsu, Dina Leacock, and Bud Sparhawk. (Friday 4 pm)

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Once we could only watch cartoons on Saturday morning, now they get entire channels. What are the best sf/fantasy cartoons ever? What did you learn from them? How have cartoons influenced other media and even reality? With Matt Betts, E.C. Myers, Sherin Nicole, and Steve Stiles. (Friday 5 pm)

Buy My Book: Self promotion and you. Nervous about talking about your books and stories? There are some things you should do and avoid when talking about your writing. With Philippa Ballantine, Jennifer Barnes, and John Edward Lawson (Friday 6 pm)

Reading: This is where I will read from my work, and probably my humorous short story “The Jesus Secret.” (Saturday 9:30 am)

Moving Beyond the Small Press: A look at how small presses in the age of the eReaders – where anyone can be a publisher – have their limits, and what to do when you’ve hit them. There is also the additional pressure of performing on a higher level. Listen to panelists describe what to do when you have plateaued with your own independent publisher, and what lies ahead if or when you step up to corporate publishers. With Philippa Ballantine, Ron Garner, and Lawrence M. Schoen (Saturday 10 am)

Mass Signing: The Saturday evening mass autographing session. With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Catherine Asaro, Eric Bakutis, Philippa Ballantine, Matt Betts, Matt Bishop, Neil Clarke, Tom Doyle, Andrew Fox, Charles E. Gannon, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Laura Anne Gilman, Bob Greenberger, John G. Hemry, Alma Katsu, Annette Klause, John Edward Lawson, Dina Leacock, Edward M. Lerner, Marianne Mancusi, George R.R. Martin, James Maxey, Heidi Ruby Miller, Jason Jack Miller, James Morrow, Diana Peterfreund, Patrick Scaffido, Lawrence M. Schoen, Jon Skovron, Alan Smale, Michelle D. Sonnier, Bud Sparhawk, Janine Spendlove, Michael Swanwick, Jean Marie Ward, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Steven H. Wilson, Leona Wisoker, and K. Ceres Wright (Saturday 7:30 pm)

The Eye of Argon: Our panelists read the worst fantasy story ever written, mistakes and all, and if they laugh or read it incorrectly, they are forced to act out the story. Just try not to fall over laughing! With Tee Morris, Hildy Silverman, and Ian Randal Strock (Saturday midnight)

Not Another Lawyer Joke: So we all know lawyers just make the stuff up as they go along. Or is that just the ones in fiction? How does fiction and popular media portray the law and lawyers? What do they do right and wrong? What about all those Law and Order shows? With Day Al-Mohamed and Jim Stratton (Sunday 9 am)

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