My Lunacon 2017 Schedule

Another convention, a week after the last. It’s been a busy month — and now it’s time for Lunacon, featuring Guests of Honor Ben Bova and Bob Eggleton.logo_lunacon

Here’s my schedule:

What Makes it Go, Besides Steam? (Friday 8:30): How do you effectively develop the historical setting for a steam-billowing plot? Research? Reading? Imagination? Exploration? Steampunk writers discuss their methods for determining the time, the place, and the brass to make it all work. With Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Russell J. Handelman.

Writing Social Change in SF (Saturday 2:00): This panel explores how speculative fiction can present the social, environmental and political challenges of our society. What is the best way to discuss these challenges without alienating readers? Is it our responsibility as artists to incorporate these issues in our work, whether overtly or covertly? How can we avoid prejudices and stereotypes in our work? With Marcy Arlin, Richard Herr, and Matthew Kressel.

Sherlock Holmes, From Page to Stage to Screen (Saturday 5:00): A discussion of Sherlock Holmes in all the myriad forms that have come from the works of one man. From stage to screen to games to LARPs and beyond. With Ef Deal, Russell J. Handelman, Debra Lieven, and Terence Taylor.

Masquerade (Saturday 8:00): The annual costume competition, in which I will be hosting (again)! Judges will be Bob Eggleton, Marianne Plumridge, Roberta Rogow, and Carol Salemi. Here’s a video of last year’s Masquerade:

Reading (Sunday 12:30): I’ll be reading from either Bloodsuckers or the short story “Remembering the Future” from Tales of Fortannis: A Bard Act to Follow (audience choice).

Edit Me (Sunday 1:00): Editors chat about today’s and tomorrows challenges in editing genre works. With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Neil Clarke, Elektra Hammond, Gordon Linzner, and Ian Randal Strock.

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My Lunacon 2016 schedule

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Robert Sawyer is the one on the right

I will be at Lunacon this weekend, one of the oldest science fiction conventions in the country. The Guest of Honor is Robert Sawyer, and I’m anxious to meet him in person having interviewed him here on the blog and talked to him on Facebook many times.

My schedule is very full (like I like it) and I’m honored that they have asked me to be the host of the Masquerade competition. Should be fun!

Promoting Your Book (Friday 6 pm): What works when promoting a book? Do book-signings really help a new author? Are bookmarks and/or postcards effective at garnering attention? What internet presence works or is a time-waster/PITA. 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? Can you do it all yourself?  With Frederick Doot, C.E. Lawrence, and Paul Levinson.

The Eye of Argon (Friday 11 pm): The worst fantasy story gets a reading and the audience is invited to join in and see how far they can get before they crack up laughing. With Daniel Kimmel and Ian Randal Strock

Promoting Yourself in a Positive Way (Saturday 1 pm): Self-Promotion is an important part of building a career. Done poorly, it can do more harm than good. We will discuss items of self promotion to include book signings, postcards, bookmarks, a blog, website etc.. Do they help or hurt?  With Daniel Kimmel and David Walton

Censorship v. Free Speech (Saturday 2 pm): The arguments, the petitions, the points of view. With Marilyn Brahen, Gordon Van Gelder, and Kate Paulk  

The Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make (Saturday 5 pm): From poor openings to uninteresting characters to cliched plots, this panel will discuss the most common storytelling mistakes seen from new authors. This will also discuss promotional and business mistakes. With Gary Frank, Gordon Van Gelder, Larry Hodges, Robert J. Sawyer, and Hildy Silverman 

The Masquerade (Saturday 7 pm): Come and cheer on the best of the costumes as they march across the stage for your entertainment. (I’m the host!)

My 2014 Lunacon Schedule

Lunacon is one of the oldest literary science fiction conventions in the United States. The 2014 convention is the weekend of March 14th, and I will once again be one of the guest panelists! The Guest of Honor this year is Ryk E. Spoor who just read my upcoming novel BLOODSUCKERS and gave me a wonderful blurb for the cover! logo_lunacon

Here’s my schedule:

The Biggest Mistakes New Authors Make (Friday 5:30 pm): From poor openings to uninteresting characters to cliched plots, this panel will discuss the most common storytelling mistakes seen from new authors. With Ken Altabef, April Grey, Mercurio Rivera, Ryk Spoor, and Ian Randal Strock.

Meet the Pros (Friday 8:00 pm): A time when you can hang out with all the guests and have a drink or two.

Rules? Rules? There are no Rules! (Friday 10:00 pm): When writing fiction, if it works, it works. Our panel debates whether authors need to know “rules” that they can then break if they are good enough, or if this only constrains creativity. With Keith R. A. DeCandido, Michael F. Flynn, William Freedom, and Kate Paulk.

Introduction to LARP (Saturday 10:00 am): What exactly is a LARP? What kinds are there? How can I find one? These questions and more will be answered in this panel introducing the wide world of Live Action Role Play. With Devon Oratz.

New Writer Workshop (Saturday 11:00 am): If you have never been to a writers workshop, if you have never (or rarely) participated in a writer’s group, if you’ve never been published, this is a good workshop to start your Lunacon experience. With Sarah Avery.

The Future of Privacy (Saturday 1:00 pm): Our concepts of privacy are changing daily and mostly due to technology. What will the future hold? With Ellen Asher, Seth Breidbart, and Matthew Kressel.

If I Am Ever The … (Saturday 5:00 pm): If I Am Ever the (Evil Overlord, the Hero, the Sidekick, the Love Interest, The Galactic Emperor…) Pick a “character type.” The moderator will state a scenario, and you answer in the character, of what you would do… With Susan de Guardiola, Esther Friesner, Chuck Rothman, and Ryk Spoor.

The Eye of Argon (Saturday 11:00 pm): Our brave 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 Keith R.A. DeCandido, Daniel Kimmel, and Ryk Spoor.

Reading (Sunday 10 am): I’ll be reading from my latest work for anyone who shows up. Plus there will be cookies.

My Lunacon 2013 Schedule

I’m about to head out for the 2013 Lunacon convention, which I have attended for many years (most of them as a programming guest). logo_lunacon Here are the panels I am currently scheduled to be on:

Dig in. Hold on. (Saturday 12:00 PM): Great stories raise the stakes, often creating drama by pitting the hero against overwhelming odds. What is it about the hopeless battle that so strongly appeals to readers of SF/F? What are some or our favorite struggles in the genre? With Myke Cole, Neal Levin, Gail Z. Martin, and Ian Randal Strock.

Less Shitty Second Drafts. (Saturday 1:00 PM): Giving yourself permission to let your first draft suck as long as you get it out rests on the assumption that you can make it better later. But how? Beyond “kill your darlings” and critique groups, how do authors figure out what’s not working in their manuscript and what might be likely to fix it? With Russ Colchamiro, Laura Anne Gilman, C.E. Lawrence, and Lawrence M. Schoen.

When the Magic Comes Back. (Sat 2:00 PM): From Queen City Jazz to Bordertown to Tinker to The City, Not Long After, magic coming back to our mundane world is one of the few ways we see fantasy set in the future. Why is it so often associated with apocalyspe? Do authors just not want to have to write about science and technology trying to come to grips with magic and vice versa, or is something more fundamental going on? With Myke Cole, Laura Anne Gilman, Carole Ann Moleti, and Kate Nepveu.

Michael A. Ventrella Reading. (Saturday 5:00 PM): I will be reading from some of my work and talking to people about my stories.

Who Got This Belief System in my Fiction? (Saturday 6:00 PM): From the Bible to the Singularity, how to base fiction on religious and/or political convictions without alienating those who don’t agree, or those who believe it’s non-fiction. What authors and titles have handled this well? What are the pros and pitfalls of using your own beliefs, others’, or an invented belief system? With Lawrence Kramer, Jane T. Sibley and David Walton.

Larping vs. SCA. (Saturday 7:00 PM) A fight to the death! Just kidding. Seriously, differences and similarities between medieval-themed live action role playing and the Society for Creative Anachronisms. Are either or both for you? With Zorikh Lequidre, Devon Oratz, and James Prego.

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! With Keith R.A. DeCandido and Hildy Silverman.

Write What You Don’t Know. (Sunday 12:00 PM) 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. With Ken Altabef, Paul Calhoun, D.L. Carter, and Laura Anne Gilman.

My Lunacon 2012 Schedule

I will be participating as a guest at the 2012 Lunacon science fiction convention on the weekend of March 16th. There are some great guests this year, including many who have been interviewed on this blog: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Neil Clarke, Myke Cole, Keith DeCandido, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Esther Friesner, C. J. Henderson, Marvin Kaye, Michele Lang, Gail Martin, Mike McPhail, Joshua Palmatier, Tamora Pierce, KT Pinto, John Ringo, Lawrence M. Schoen, Ian Randal Strock, and Howard Tayler (among many others)…

Below is my schedule. It’s not as crowded as last years’, but I should still have a great time. I’ll even be doing a reading from my upcoming novel BLOODSUCKERS. And then there’s “Blindfolded Sculpting” where a group of guest artists (including my wife!) will compete to make clay sculptures in a few minutes from ideas from the audience — while blindfolded. (I’m the MC for that one!)

And of course, the old favorite “The Eye of Argon” which has this description: “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 of laughing uncontrollably. Audience members are also encouraged to rake a chance. Can you keep a straight face, especially when the panel begins acting out the story?”

Fantasy Without Gods (Friday 7:00 pm)

LARPing 101 (Saturday noon)

Michael A. Ventrella Reading (Saturday 1:30 pm)

Blindfolded Sculpting (Saturday 3:00 pm)

Marketing and Promotion for Authors and Artists (Saturday 7:00 pm)

The Eye of Argon (Sunday 10:00 am)

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