Tag Archives: conventions

October Events – Archon and Left Bank Books

During WorldCon in San Jose, I got to catch up with many of the friends I left behind in California. Between 3-4 local conventions per year and Borderlands Books serving as hubs of activity, the community there is as strong as ever. In Saint Louis, that community orbits around Archon and Left Bank Books. If you’re interested in getting to know some of the other pros, fans, and creative types at all levels, come hang out this October!

SF/STL! Wednesday, October 24, 7pm

Left Bank Books and Archon are proud to present SF/STL! A reading series for SFF authors and readers alike. I met Marina J. Lostetter at WorldCon, and I’m happy to say she’ll be joining us to celebrate her book, Noumenon Infinity!

Archon 42! October 12 – 14, 2018

Friday

  • Science and Fantasy: Where the Magic Lies
    17:00 – 18:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
    Why do science fiction and fantasy get so often placed in opposition? Are there fundamental differences between scientific and magical worldviews, in fiction and beyond? Or are these just different sources of wonder?
    Joey Froehlich (M), Christine Amsden, Setsu Uzume, Kasey Mackenzie, Charlie Jane Anders

Saturday

  • What is Your Process?
    10:00 – 11:00, St. Clair A & B (DoubleTree – Collinsville)
    Pen and paper, room completely silent, 20 year old notes? What is the best way for you to create your stories? Do you ever change it up?
    Donna J. W. Munro (M), Eddie Wilson, Setsu Uzume, Kathleen Collins, Dr. Mike Phoenix
  • I Have a Great Idea!: How to Submit and Run a Panel at Archon
    13:00 – 14:00, Illini A (Gateway Center)
    Interested in running a panel, but unsure how to get started or what to do? Panel veterans to the rescue!
    Setsu Uzume (M), Mr. Vito Pandolfo, Erin McFadden, Donald Price
  • Religion and its Place in Science Fiction and Fantasy
    15:00 – 16:00, Madison C & D (DoubleTree – Collinsville)
    Plenty of our favorite worlds have their own religion, or have a mix of real world religions. How do they stem from what we know in the real world?
    Setsu Uzume (M), David Benem, Benjamin C. Kinney, Ms Judi Cook

Sunday

  • The Hero Quest
    10:00 – 11:00, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
    The original story. How to use it within your writing and make it yours.
    Mr Brian Trent (M), Setsu Uzume, Jimmy D. Gillentine, Mrs. E Susan Baugh, Donna J.W. Munro
Advertisements

Archon 41: Come Say Hello!

The flying castle will be dropping me off in your realm this fall to attend Archon 41! Women and nonbinary authors, please be sure to submit your original (no reprint) stories for Artemis Rising before you head out, as our submission window will close on Sept 30.

Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017
archonstl.org
Gateway Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel
Collinsville, IL

This convention promises the usual from me — religion, fighting, and the inescapable lure of human darkness — capped off on Sunday with a reading chock-full of all three. Come say hello!

Friday

The Cinematic Wonder Woman’s Badass Predecessors
20:00 – 20:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

A discussion celebrating Ripley, Xena, Buffy, and more.  Why do we love women who kick butt?
What a question.
With Claire Ashgrove, Tom Stockman, and Ethan Nahté

Saturday

Alternate Religions
11:00 – 11:50, Salon 4 (Gateway Center)
An open and respectful look at real-life alternate or non-mainstream religions.
I’ll be moderating, with Christine Amsden, Ms Joy Ward, and Walt Boyes

Writing Modern-Day Monsters
12:00 – 12:50, Marquette A (Gateway Center)
Discuss what a “modern-day monster” is (or can be), and how to write an effective one.
With Mr Michales Joy, and Guy Anthony De Marco

Recurring Themes in Speculative Science Fiction
16:00 – 16:50, Marquette B (Gateway Center)

Speculative fiction has become more and more popular in recent years.  Come participate in a discussion on themes in spec lit and what’s on the horizon.
I’m moderating (the fantasist snuck in! Shh!), with Celine Chatillon, Dr Pamela Gay, and Tom Carpenter

Comparative Mythology
19:00 – 19:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

How do myths from different cultures compare?  What are some recurring themes?  What myths seem to be culturally unique?
I’m moderating, with Michael Benjamin, Lloyd Kropp, Walt Boyes, and Kasey Mackenzie

 

Sunday

Short-Story Podcasting for Writers, Readers, and Voice Actors
10:00 – 10:50, Salon 6 (Gateway Center)

Escape Artists represent — woop woop!  Podcasts are a huge opportunity to publish and listen to short fiction, and engage with the fan community. They can also provide an avenue into audio book narration and voice acting. Join us to discuss the podcasts we love, how to build a recording setup, and the path to publication.
With the ever-brilliant Benjamin C. Kinney of Escape Pod

Making Friends in Fandom
13:00 – 13:50, Illini A (Gateway Center)

It’s hard to make new friends, but it’s easier when you have common interests. Get tips on how to make friends as adults.
With Mrs. Susan Baugh, Cindi Gille-Rowley, Tom Meserole, Steve Lopata

Author Readings with David Benem and Setsu Uzume
14:00 – 14:50, Cahokian (Gateway Center)
Tag-teaming with David Benem

 

Worldcon 2015/Sasquan Schedule!

Yeeeeaaaahhhh going up to Washington to be opinionated in public!

Here’s where I’ll be and when. Come say hi, won’t you?

If you won’t be there, but have questions for my fellow panelists, leave a comment and I’ll ask them in your stead.

On Beyond Ripley: Woman and Warriorship*

Thursday 20:00 – 20:45, Conference Theater 110 (CC)
The “Strong Female Lead” trope and surrounding controversy (we need more of them! vs. Sophia McDougal’s call for a wider variety). Dissection of gender, and our perception of warriors. Analysis of historical and SF/F figures that meet our expectations, those who break them, and the impact this archetype has on our culture.
Setsu Uzume (M)  with Kamila Miller, Edward Willett, and Carol Berg.

Live Reading

Friday 12:30 – 13:00, 301 (CC)

Chinese Myths and Traditions in Contemporary Literature of the Fantastic

Friday 17:00 – 17:45, Bays 111B (CC)
China has a rich mythic tradition going back thousands of years, and these elements show up in contemporary fantasy both in China and the West (e.g., Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings and Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven). How do Chinese authors use these elements different from Western authors? Do these mystic elements occupy a different role in the narratives of the Chinese authors than analogous Western mythic elements in the narratives of Western authors?
Tang Fei (M), Ken Liu, Setsu Uzume, Kanyu Wang, Hua Li

Demigods, Chosen Ones & Rightful Heirs: Can Progress, Merit & Citizens Ever Matter in Fantasy?

Saturday 15:00 – 15:45, 300C (CC)
Science fiction often centers around meritocracies (or at least “knowledgetocracies”) but fantasy? Not so much. Or, as Dennis famously said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “…Strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.” Has fantasy ever overcome this classic trope? Can it?
Darlene Marshall (M), Anaea Lay, Mary Soon Lee, Setsu Uzume, Katherine Addison

*my baby’s going to the big time!

Convolution 2014 SCHEDULE!!1!!one! (How to find a Setsu)

Convolution 2014 is this weekend – BE THERE WITH BELLS ON!
(kazoos also acceptable)

Where To Find Me:
Friday 4-6   Twenty books to launch in to space
Friday 8-10 Reading [aloud]
Saturday 2-4 Women and Warriorship
Saturday 4-6 Excuse Me, Princess! The Greatest Love Stories of Sci-Fi
Sunday 3-4 Autographs

Come say hi! Hang out!  Have some mead! Make new friends!

I will have copies of my book for you to read, smell, touch, purchase and/or throw at someone you don’t like.

If you want to actually sit and talk with me, Sunday is your best bet. I’ll be glued to a chair for an hour.

See you there!

snapshot

This is what a Setsu looks like.

How to Prepare for a Convention

Hi everyone!

I’m still drafting my report on BayCon, but realized that post was getting rather lengthy. Here I’m going to a breakdown of how I prepared for that convention, and what I would have done differently.

First, let me make a distinction between a convention and a conference. To my mind, a convention is a fan event, where you’re going to interact with people in and out of the industry for the purpose of fun, enjoyment and sharing. A conference is primarily a business and networking event, designed to help you move to the next stage of your career through information sessions, networking, and formal pitching events (or similar.)

That may not be a textbook definition, and there is certainly some overlap. I’ve made most of my professional connections at conventions. But that’s not our quibble today!

Here’s how to prepare for a convention — a fun, fan event — as a pro.

1. If you’re speaking on panels or giving a presentation
Make friends with the organizers. See what they’re expecting of you. Reach out to others who are speaking on the same panel as you, and get to know them. Read their work. It helps to know how the discussion will go, so that you can prepare relevant information.

2. Prepare relevant information
If you’re going to an instructional workshop, have your notes with you. Simplify and break them down into small chunks the audience can follow without getting lost — but don’t go overboard. Generally, you’re not lecturing. Find a balance between being informative and entertaining.

3. If you’re moderating a panel for others
Read their work. Check out their web sites. You should be able to give a brief introduction of each person — or better yet — be able to use their accomplishments as a starting point to introduce the topics of discussion. Prepare more questions than you need. One method of question-prep is to list out every question that comes to mind on the topic, and then erasing all the boring ones. Remember, you’re there to facilitate them; not hog the spotlight yourself.

4. Clothing and Costuming
This is something I’m still figuring out**, so I invite your comments and suggestions.
Generally speaking, if you’re going to be at a convention as a pro, you should dress the part. I’m a little put off by the idea of setting a glass wall between me and other people — fans, pros, or otherwise — but Kevin Andrew Murphy once said, “it’s not so much a glass wall as costuming as your authorial persona. Don’t wear anything on a panel that you wouldn’t want for your dust jacket photo. Dressy casual is good.”
Of course, dressy casual is relative.

I’ve had mixed responses as far as, say, a fairy costume. Some fans thought it was great, and made me more approachable — whereas other pros were less impressed, and saw it as a reason not to take me seriously. Consider who you’re dressing for. That said, the convention you go to might have costumed events such as a masquerade ball, or regency dance party. Dressing up at night for parties is generally acceptable.

5. Supplies
FOOD: Hotel food is expensive. I usually pack my own, as though I were going camping.
RECORDING EQUIPMENT: I also pack extra notebooks to take notes on panels (even the ones I speak on, you never know what you’ll learn from the folks you’re sitting next to.) It’s also a good idea to take a camera or minirecorder if you want to recap your performance to see how you can improve. Always ask for permission to record, of course.
MISC: Band-aids, painkillers, allergy medicine, needle & thread, bathing suit, extra socks — prepare for it all.
CASH: Again, sort of a no-brainer. Between the dealer’s room, the parties, and meals, having cash in your pocket, rather than your whole bank account on a card, is a quick way to budget your weekend.

It’s always better to over-prepare and not need it, than to under-prepare and get caught with your pants down. Remember, whether you’re there to make friends or to sell your books, conventions should be FUN. All the prep you do should be to self-facilitate, and make the live experience as smooth as possible.

 

How do you do it? Did I miss anything important?

dance

Carrie Sessarego of Geek Girl in Love. http://geekgirlinlove.com/

** With regard to costuming… this probably merits a post all its own. Wearing costumes is easily one of my favorite things about conventions, and the prospect of them being off-limits deeply saddens me. I dressed up as a yellow fairy for two reasons: I have a story coming out from Fey Publishing this June, and wanted to promote that. Also, I have a friend named Fritz, and I had to make a joke referencing Bakshi’s animated film, “Wizards.”

fritz

“They’ve killed Fritz! Those lousy stinking yellow fairies! Those horrible atrocity-filled vermin! Those despicable animal warmongers! They’ve killed Fritz!” – Wizards (1977)

Here’s a quote to contradict Murphy’s, regarding my costumes specifically:

I thought you did an excellent job with the two panels I attended. Your personal excitement and passion for the subjects made them much more accessible than they otherwise might have been. The entire panel on building your writing community was easily the best at the con. The chemistry of the panelists and the sensitivity that each of you all brought to the subject was model perfect. Frankly the “glass wall” can (in some cases) hinder the process. Of course we attend panels primarily to listen and learn, but we also go to engage and respond. The audience’s “yes” and “Ah’s” as well as the questions are what bring such panels to life.”  – Andrew Roberts

wings

I wasn’t the only one with wings.

Setsu goes to San Diego! ConDor 21

freya

Laura N. Stephenson as Freya, spearing me. http://deskoflaurastephenson.blogspot.com/

I’ve just returned from ConDor 21, a science-fiction and fantasy convention in San Diego. It was a small event, maybe a few hundred people. Despite its size, the range of events and attendees was expansive.  In a span of twenty feet, I saw steampunk costumers, whovians, ghostbuster-gunslingers, hard sci-fi authors who have been writing since the 80s, fencers and inventors. I saw mummers perform, and learned line dances from the time of the American Revolution. I learned about anti-heroes, how to sustain tension in romance, the development of airship technology in the real world, and how fantasy elements like magic affect large-scale war tactics (I.e., being able to ward off dysentery or preserve food is FAR more useful than being able to chuck fireballs).

That’s some incredible variety.

(Except for the photos, I’m always getting killed in those)

What struck me about the pro/fan interaction was that no one had the same frame of reference. No matter what the subject, when someone mentioned their favorite example, no one had read that book. I think that’s why genre writers and fans have latched on to older material from the 30s (Conan) 50s (Lord of the Rings) 60s (Doctor Who) and 70s (Star Wars). I can’t say for sure if there was less competition; but mass-distribution of science fiction and fantasy was rarer. It’s interesting to note that something like Lord of the Rings would never be published in today’s market — the standards are much more specific. As a result, we’re re-booting the popular items all the time. We are the generation inspired by those big, sweeping stories to either ‘do it justice,’ or write our own.

It makes me wonder what it would take to stand out in the age of self-publishing. It makes me wonder what the difference is between writing fanfiction and being hired to write a novel set in the Dark Crystal universe. There’s really only one answer — you have to keep going, and you have to love it. Worry about fame and recognition later. If I learned anything this weekend, it’s that there’s enough room on the bookshelf for all of us.   I tried to find a quote, but I found this poem instead. Please enjoy, and I’ll see you around.

“Style is the answer to everything.
Fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous day.
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without style.
To do a dangerous thing with style, is what I call art.
Bullfighting can be an art.
Boxing can be an art.
Loving can be an art.
Opening a can of sardines can be an art.
Not many have style.
Not many can keep style.
I have seen dogs with more style than men.
Although not many dogs have style.
Cats have it with abundance.

When Hemingway put his brains to the wall with a shotgun, that was style.
For sometimes people give you style.
Joan of Arc had style.
John the Baptist.
Jesus.
Socrates.
Caesar.
García Lorca.
I have met men in jail with style.
I have met more men in jail with style than men out of jail.
Style is a difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.
Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water, or you, walking
out of the bathroom without seeing me.”
Charles Bukowski

gun

Jerry Abuan Photography – Steamgirl does NOT want free hugs from my Redcap self.

 

 

Planning for the Writer’s Conference – Pick your panels! #sfwc

I just received the schedule of panels for the conference; and I found it a bit overwhelming. It was like being a rock in a stream — drowning in the frigid rush of snowmelt. For years we writers have been bombarded with information about how to write, how to be creative, and how to market ourselves. The water — the information — is constantly changing. As soon as you think you know who to follow, the water changes. It seems impossible to know where to begin.

Well, little rock, take note of your position in the stream.

The good part about having so many options is that you can design your own weekend. Think about what you already know, how far you’ve gotten, and what you need in order to get to the next level. Since I write fiction, I’ve identified four stages (categories) which might be applicable for folks on my track. (Sorry, poetry and non-fiction folks!)

  • I want to be a writer! – Look for panels and mixers designed for the very beginning: how to write, how to silence your inner editor, how to build good habits, and the basics plotting and character creation.
  • I just finished my MS! – This is when you’d start looking for more advanced panels like editing your own work, how to refine your manuscript, how to incorporate the setting into the story and how to make your words stronger and more alive.
  • I’ve edited a bunch and am ready to submit! – You’ve written, you’ve edited, you’ve polished. Now’s the time to learn about getting published. Learn how to get an agent’s attention, build a platform, find out what it takes to self-publish and do all the prep work toward your debut.
  • I’m already a pro! – There are a number panels that discuss writing across different genres, how to give readings, how to self-publish and even how to make the most of your tax return.

In addition to this, there are specific panels dedicated to genre like sci-fi/fantasy or memoir. Whether you’re a master revisiting fundamentals, or a new writer trying to figure out the next steps there’s a ton of beneficial info here.

The best way to get the most out of an experience like this is to pause, take a look at where you are in the process, and decide what you need right now. No two conferences or conventions will be alike. There’s always more to know, and more people to meet.

 

I’ll be sure to report back other details as they arise.

No man ever steps in the same river twice.
— Heraclitus

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.”
— Paulo Coelho