Category Archives: Cons

My Capclave schedule!

It is thus:

Friday | 5 PM-5:50 PM | Where Are The Happy Futures?
Friday | 6 PM-6:50 PM | Writing in Multiple Genres
Saturday | 10 AM-10:50 AM | Survival of the Short Form
Sunday | 12 PM-12:50 PM | What To Do After The Rejection Letter
Sunday | 1:30 PM-1:55 PM | Reading

For my reading I’ll probably be doing my story in Queers Destroy Horror! plus something else if time permits. I also plan to have cookies or cupcakes, I have not decided which. 😀

Balticon schedule!

Because I’ll be there this weekend. Come say hi if you’ll be in the area.

Saturday 23rd

11:00 AM Writing Diverse Characters: Archetypes vs. Stereotypes Derby
Jennifer R Povey (M), Day Al-Mohamed, Stephanie Burke, Sunny Moraine, Don Sakers, Melissa Scott (50 minutes)
A panel on handling diversity in fiction for less experienced writers, dealing with things like avoiding tokenism, learning confidence in presenting ‘different’ characters.
5:00 PM Treading Lightly: Writing Troublesome Things Derby
Maria V Snyder (M), Paul E. Cooley, Tom Doyle, Kelly A Harmon, Sunny Moraine (50 minutes)
While a bad thing may not be happening to your character at the time, the world isn’t a happy place. Join a discussion on how writers approach the big topics that are potential minefields (crime, war, tragic events, medical issues, politics, religion, etc.)
10:00 PM Diversity in Popular Culture: Fad or New Normal? Salon B
Jean Marie Ward (M), Day Al-Mohamed, Stephanie Burke, William Galaini, Sunny Moraine (50 minutes)
Diversity and representation has been a hot topic in SF/F literature, gaming, and other parts of fandom and popular culture over the past few years. Is this a phase or a watershed moment in the broader pop culture landscape? What role can individual readers, writers, and fans play in this discussion?

Sunday 24th

8:00 PM Point of View and Narrator Swapping Chase
Maria V Snyder (M), Meriah Crawford, Christie Meierz, Sunny Moraine (50 minutes)
What effect does who’s telling the story have? Can you switch it around and still have the reader follow?
11:00 PM Confess Your Writer’s Sins Derby
Sunny Moraine (M), Sue Baiman, James Daniel Ross, Jay Smith, Alex White (50 minutes)
What have you done in your writing that truly shames you? What do you look back at and cringe? What lessons have you learned from screwing up as badly as you have? Tell all and cleanse your writerly soul.

Especially looking forward to the writer’s sins one, I proposed it because I believe in healing.

Also embarrassment.

Readercon recap sorta kinda not really

Because I’m too tired. Seriously. I got in this afternoon, ate a late lunch/early dinner, unpacked, and lay down for a few minutes. That was three hours ago (I was having the most delightfully surreal lucid dream when stupid husband woke me up). I’ve regained consciousness for a short time in order to do some things but bedtime is looming. And I’m probably going to be too busy to do any kind of recap the rest of this week, because every day three hour lectures omg

So instead let me just say that my first Readercon was awesome. My roommate (Natalie Luhrs) was awesome. My readings were awesome; I read with awesome people and awesome people attended and listened. I went to other awesome readings where awesome people read awesome things. The panels I went to were awesome. I met new awesome friends and had awesome food and awesome drinks with them. We had an awesome makeup and nail polish room party/SparklePonyCupcakeCon (there will be more). We crashed a wedding dance party in the bar and made it significantly more awesome. I danced in these boots and did not fall down, which was awesome:

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I stayed up until around four in the morning talking and drinking with more awesome people, and the talk and the drinks were correspondingly awesome. And then my friend Sam Miller took the Shirley Jackson award in the short story category for “57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides”, which is so goddamn awesome.

And I managed to pick up my copy of this.

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omg

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Ultimately, what was awesome about this weekend was how much I needed it. For the last month or so I’ve been feeling increasingly incompetent and incapable of dealing with things, and being with people and talking to people made me feel worthwhile again. It made me feel like I could do things and not be terrible at them. So to everyone who was welcoming to me, who was kind, who came up and said hi, who let me latch onto them for dinner or drinks or breakfast, who partied with and talked with me, thank you so much, because what you did was perhaps more meaningful than you realized at the time.

Then again, maybe you knew.

See you all next year. Some of you hopefully much sooner than that.

Thoughts on cons and things I have learned about how to do them

This weekend I went to MystiCon in Roanoke, Virginia to be on some panels and do a reading and hang out with Michael M. Jones, an editor/writer friend of mine from way back whom I have actually never met before. I wasn’t sure what to expect, my con experience being pretty limited, but I had a fantastic time. I was on some awesome panels, I made new friends, I did some promo that didn’t make me feel incredibly dirty… All in all, it was about the most I could ever hope a con would be.

I also realized something about myself – not exactly a revelation, because it’s more like a hypothesis that I’m testing and confirming every time I do a con: While I tend to be incredibly introverted and subject to sensory overload, I am also capable of performing – and enjoying – intense periods of extroversion.

(This is one reason why I get very impatient with the construction of introversion/extroversion as binary personality types with no overlap. While everyone has different capabilities, comfort zones, and skillsets, people are just not that simple and modes of social interaction are highly situational.)

It wasn’t always this way for me. My first con, about three years ago, was Wiscon, and while it was a great experience, I also spent a lot of it feeling lost and awkward. I was not confident and I was not in my element. Capclave the following fall was the same. That’s usually no longer true: in cons in general I tend to feel confident, and I adore being on panels. I think this is attributable in large part to two things – my teaching experience, which has helped me develop the ability to get up in front of a large group of people and talk for an hour about anything I’m interested in, and the trajectory of my writing career – but there’s also something else going on, and I think a lot of it is just that I’m working out how to do cons. So here, in case these tips will work for anyone else feeling uncertain, is what I think has worked for me.

Note: These will clearly not apply to everyone, especially people who experience greater difficulty in social situations or who feel unsafe in those same situations for any number of reasons. Again, this is just what’s worked for me. Use or ignore in whatever way works best for who you are as a person and what context you find yourself in.

  • Where possible, practical, and safe, make YES your default answer. Someone asks you to volunteer? Do it. Someone asks you to go to dinner with their group and you have no other plans? Do it. Someone asks you to be involved with the con in some other way? If you can, do it. Getting directly involved with things is such a great way to meet interesting people and feel more comfortable in the actual space of the con. Doing things makes one feel more confident in themselves.
  • Be willing to talk to anyone, provided they are not making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. At any con, there are people who, for whatever reason, you might not interact with in the normal course of your everyday life. Maybe you feel like you don’t have much in common with them. Maybe you’re not sure what you would talk about. Nevertheless: if someone seems interested in talking to you and they aren’t in any way a creeper, diving into a conversation with an open mind can open so many social doors. You might make a friend you never would have otherwise. You might make a cool professional connection. You might just learn something new. Yes, a lot of the time this might end up being at least a little awkward, but:
  • Be okay with awkward. I think the majority of people at cons are sort of awkward. Cons themselves are often weird, awkward spaces. I think a lot of us are socialized into a terror of awkward, but awkward is okay. Awkward can even be a cool thing to bond over. When we’re all aware that we’re awkward, we all take ourselves a little less seriously, and that can be a great way to bust past social barriers. Don’t sweat it. Be awkward. And be forgiving of others who also are.
  • Have a Con Buddy. I can’t stress this enough. If you know someone at the con pretty well or you’re going with someone, or your roommate seems cool, establish a thing where, when in doubt, you can latch onto each other for various kinds of support. It can help so much. I think this is actually a safety thing as well as a comfort thing; you ideally want to have someone who can help watch your back and be with you if something gets difficult.
  • Assume that you’re an interesting person and people want to talk to you. I know – believe me, I know – that this can be so hard. I struggle with massive amounts of self-doubt and inferiority and I always have. My impression is that many of us do. I often go into a situation stricken with the certainty that no one in their right mind would want to interact with me. But it’s not true. You’re cool. You’re interesting. Your presence might just be a gift to someone. Don’t be a jerk, don’t be creepy, and gracefully go away if someone is giving you Go Away Signals, but don’t sell yourself short before anything even happens. Don’t listen to the abusive voices in your head. Part of loving yourself is resisting the idea that no one will like you. We should all try to be kinder to ourselves in general, and this is part of that.

So those are my Con Lessons. I’m still learning them, but as I familiarize myself with them more and more, I’m having a better and better time at cons. If you see me at one, come say hi. You might just be doing me a favor.

Mysticon schedule!

So the Mysticon programming has been finalized (only mostly, I hope, for reasons that will shortly become clear) and here’s what I’ll be doing (boy, I do seem to like bullet pointsMystiCon lately, huh) (also parentheses):

  • Fri 5:00 PM – Ballroom D | Losing Humanity to Artificial Intelligence: Society is so wound up in automation and electronic processing that mankind may just be pressing buttons to do everything to function in daily life. Is it becoming too much of a convenience that we will eventually evolve into permanent couch potatoes? | Keith R.A. DeCandido, Tom Kratman, Sunny Moraine, Peter Prellwitz (M), Randy Richards (I’m the only lady-type person on this panel as far as I can tell. Interesting).
  • Fri  7:00 PM – Rm 533 | Koffee Klatch: Reading with Michael M. Jones and Sunny Moraine (I’m not showing up in the description for some reason but trust me, I will be there inflicting fiction on people).
  • Fri 11:00 PM – Boardroom 1 | Erotic Fiction or Cheap Trashy Porn?: With the popularity of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey and Sylvia Day’s Bared To You, more erotic fiction seems to be flying off the shelves. Why has erotica become so viral in every day households? Panelists will discuss the recent trend of writing versus examples of traditional, well received, quality erotic literature. | Alexandra Christian (M), Michael M. Jones, Nicole Kurtz, Sunny Moraine (lol viral).
  • I’m marked as being on a propulsion systems panel on Saturday at 6, but – much like cake – it is a lie.
  • Sat 10:00 PM – Boardroom 1 | 2013 in Video Gaming: 2013 was an amazing year for gaming entertainment, releasing two titles that especially caught non‐gamer attention in the media (The Last of Us and The Walking Dead). Both titles are being called real endeavors into interactive storytelling. The Last of Us is even based on a Pulitzer‐winning book. Our panelists will discuss their favorite new games of the year. | Mark Dennis, jonny Lupsha (M), Sunny Moraine, Dom Murphy.
  • Sun 11:00 AM – Sun 11:00 AM – Main Programming | Challenges of Diversity in Speculative Fiction: How can we bring more diversity in speculative fiction? Afrofuturism is leading the charge in science fiction and fantasy literature. What else needs to be done? | John Jennings, Bill Campbell, Nicole Kurtz (M), Sunny Moraine, Travis Surber.

So that all looks awesome. If you’ll be in Roanoke February 21-23, come say hi.

News – Wiscon recovery, Shimmer 17 ToC, general flailing

Shimmer #17 ToC, out this summer:

“The Mostly True Story of Assman & Foxy” – Katherine Sparrow
“How Bunny Came to Be” – A.C. Wise
“The Moon Bears” – Sarah Brooks
“Sincerely, Your Psychic” – Helena Bell
“Out They Come” – Alex Dally MacFarlane
“Love in the Time of Vivisection” – Sunny Moraine
“Fishing” – Lavie Tidhar
“98 Ianthe” – Robert N. Lee
“Stealing My Sister’s Boyfriend” – Jordan Taylor
“The Metaphor of the Lakes” – Yarrow Paisley
“Romeo and Meatbox” – Alex Wilson
“Like Feather, Like Bone” – Kristi DeMeester
“Girl, With Coin” – Damien Walters Grintalis
“River, Dreaming” – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“The Fairy Godmother” – Kim Neville
“We Were Never Alone in Space” – Carmen Maria Machado
“The Herdsman of the Dead” – Ada Hoffman

Jesus, what a fantastic lineup.

Me? I’m still recovering from Wiscon, which was really pretty fucking fantastic – I made a bunch of new friends and got to catch up with some old ones, my reading went really well, and I had a blast at my panels to the point where I think I’ll have to do a part 2 of my cyborg panel next year since there seems to be popular demand and we didn’t get to so much stuff, and of course I got my genderfloomp on – but it was also exhausting, and I think I’m feeling it now.

Case in point: I meant to do so much stuff today and all I did was novel edits and watching The Hunger Games and thinking about thinking about my dissertation. Friday I’m due to write a blog post for Cyborgology on the monetization of fandom, so I need to get my shit together by then.

aaaaaaah the summer is already running away and it’s not even June

I have cover art for Crowflight but I can’t share it publicly yet. You don’t even know how difficult that is.

Capclave 2012 Recap

As I’m sure you guessed from the post title, this is my Capclave 2012 recap. It was my first Capclave, and it’s left me pretty goddamn wiped, so instead of writing something narratively coherent and richly descriptive I’m going to just vomit up a bunch of bullet points. If that’s okay.

  • The panels were great. I went to a bunch on e-publishing and reading in the context of a lot of changing technology (Neil Clarke was on most of these and I wonder if he thinks I was stalking him or something). Also a panel on the autobiography of Cthulhu, which was both interesting and really funny, as well as confirming for me that I haven’t spent all these years entirely mispronouncing the dread name of the great tentacled horror from beyond the stars. Also a fun talk by John Ashmead on quantum mechanics that featured all the requisite bad Schrodinger’s Cat jokes. Also I’d seriously watch a TV show that was just a series of conversations between Nick Mamatas and John Scalzi.
  • The people were great. I finally got to meet Neil Clarke (see above) and he was intensely nice, and I was also relieved to see that he’s looking quite well, health-wise. He confirmed that Clarkesworld is going to be picking back up with its print issues, and also its annual anthologies, which is very happy-making. I also got to meet John Scalzi briefly, and he was incredibly gracious while I was awkward and blushing fiercely, and he signed a copy of Old Man’s War as a Christmas present for my dad (who introduced me to Robert Heinlein, so it seems like an appropriate gift). Also I ended up explaining Twitter backchannels to programming director Bill Lawhorn, which was also sort of awkward but quite fun.
  • Something I would like to do next time: Get on the program. I wasn’t in time to do that this go-round, but given how fun the panels were to attend, I’d like to try to be on some. I remember that went a long way toward helping me feel more at home when I went to Wiscon. Also, I need to work on being more social in general. I’m violently introverted (there was actually a panel on dealing with this, incidentally) and it’s really hard for me to approach people I don’t know. But given that I still don’t know most people at these things, I better suck it up and start doing some approaching.
  • Something I would like to see more of next time: A more vibrant Twitter backchannel. This is something I think Wiscon does really well, I think it’s  a really useful tool for introverts like myself in making connections with people that can translate over into physical space, and it also just generates good discussion. I feel like it’s mostly a cultural thing for it to be less present, and I’m not sure how to help foster it in this case. But I’d love to see it.

Thanks so much to everyone involved for making it such a good time.

It’s looking 99.99% likely that I’ll be at Philcon in a few weeks. RavenCon and MystiCon are also now on the table. The updated list of probables is here. It’s a bit odd to go from doing maybe one con a year to attempting to do six, but I’m looking forward to it.