Tag 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. 😀

My Capclave schedule

small_dodo_transparentHere’s what I’ll be doing at this year’s Capclave. I mean, I’ll be doing a LOT, but here’s what I’m officially doing. Pretty excited.

  • Oct. 11 (Saturday) – 10:00 am – The Charms of Dystopia
    Panelists: Paolo Bacigalupi, Tom Doyle, Sunny Moraine, James Morrow, Norm Sherman (M)
    Why is it that anyone would want to read a dystopia? Why are books like The Windup Girl popular and what does the writer and reader get out of them?
  • Oct. 11 (Saturday) – 2:30 pm – Reading
  • Oct. 11 (Saturday) – 5:00 pm – I Hate His/Her Politics But I Love His/Her Books
    Panelists: Day Al-Mohamed, Paolo Bacigalupi, David G. Hartwell, Larry Hodges, Natalie Luhrs, Sunny Moraine (M)
    Should a personal evaluation of an author be separated from how you view his/her politics? Many people refused to see the movie Ender’s Game because of Orson Scott Card’s statements on homosexuality and other writers charge that political views influence award nominations and who is picked for con programming. Is this true and if so, is it a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Oct. 11 (Saturday) – 6:00 pm – The Suck Fairy and Feet of Clay
    Panelists: Barbara Krasnoff (M), Natalie Luhrs, James Maxey, Sunny Moraine
    What do you do when you reread your beloved childhood classics and find they have been visited by the suck fairy and are now sexist, racist, etc? What do you do when you find out that that author that got you through junior high turns out to have giant size 30 clod-hopping feet of clay or was actually kind of evil? How do we deal with problematic works and authors?
  • Oct. 11 (Saturday) – 7:30 pm – Mass Signing
    Participants: 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, Lawrence Watt-Evans
    The Saturday evening mass autographing session.
  • Oct. 12 (Sunday) – 11:00 am – Romance and SF/F
    Panelists: Catherine Asaro, Victoria Janssen (M), Pamela K. Kinney, Natalie Luhrs, Sunny Moraine
    A significant number of science fiction and fantasy books are reviewed in publications such as Romance Times and nominated for awards in the romance genre. Were the genre line distinctions always artificial? What are romance readers’ expectations with respect to the plot and its resolution? HEA vs. the tragic romance. Is romance handled better or worse in YA SF/F? Are certain types of romance plots (such as first love) more likely to show up in YA?
  • Oct. 12 (Sunday) – 3:00 pm – When Did Fangirl Become a Dirty Word?
    Panelists: Emmie Mears, Sunny Moraine, Sherin Nicole, Janine Spendlove, A.C. Wise
    It used to connote enthusiasm, now it implies contempt. Why is this? What can be done to combat this attitude?
  • Oct. 12 (Sunday) – 4:00 pm – Why Does My Protagonist Look Like Julie Bell?
    Panelists: Ron Garner, Will McIntosh (M), Sunny Moraine, Lawrence Watt-Evans
    How do books get their covers? What are the best and worst cover illustrations you’ve ever had? Issues such as whitewashing of protagonists of color.

On #Wiscon’s decision regarding Jim Frenkel

Wiscon was my first con, my first real con, back when I was a tender young writer just dipping my toes into being with other writers and people who read the kinds of things I write. It was also my first con on panels, and while I’d lectured as a TA in my graduate program and wasn’t especially terrified of that in particular, the entire prospect was very anxiety-making in a lot of ways. New people, new space with strange customs and rituals, new history, new discussions. For someone like me, intensely afraid of change and new things, it was a lot to face down.

And it was wonderful. For me, it was one of those experiences where you feel like you’ve come home to a place you simply forgot. People were so warm, so welcoming, panels were so awesome. I made friends, I met amazing writers, I laughed, I danced, and at the end of a very hard year in a very rough PhD program, I felt revived.

Since then – for the last three years, with one exception where I had to miss it – Wiscon has been My Con. It’s been the con I look forward to, the con that keeps me going through the slog that is the end of a spring college semester (I teach, or I did, and it’s a slog for us too). This past May, it was a con where I reached some important decisions and where I discovered some difficult things about myself. It was hard, but it was emotionally fulfilling in ways your regular con probably would not be.

So I can’t tell you how much it saddens me to say that unless there’s a massive, massive about-face on the part of the con, I will not be back next year.

There isn’t much I can say about the Jim Frenkel situation that hasn’t already been said by others, and much better than I could. I’m also not one of the people he’s hurt directly, and who have been correspondingly so poignantly hurt by the con’s decision in this matter. But I’ve been watching things unfold, and I’ve been watching people I care about in pain, and I cannot, in good conscience, support Wiscon with my money and my presence after this. Nor do I think I could enjoy myself if I went. As far as I’m concerned, this is a con that sets a toxic, dangerous narrative of redemption above the safety of its attendees, that provides a serial harasser with more recourse in terms of a process of appeal than it provides the people he has harassed.

I am not here for that. I’m here for Elise Matthesen and Lauren Jankowski. That’s why, come next May, I won’t be there.

I haven’t set this decision in stone. If the about-face I mentioned above happens, I’m willing to reconsider. I want to be able to reconsider. But here’s the thing: Even if Wiscon pulls a Readercon (why the hell should it have to, when Readercon trod this ground ahead of them? were they paying any attention at all?) the damage is still done. An enormous amount of goodwill has been lost. A lot of people appear to no longer feel that Wiscon is trustworthy where their safety is concerned. Something that people loved has been ruined in a profound way, and a quick revision of a policy decision is not going to fix that.

(Seriously, what the fuck were you guys thinking?)

As Saira Ali said on Twitter, “Harassment, the gift that keeps on giving”.

So yeah. Unless something major changes, I will most likely be at Balticon that weekend. It’s a relatively local con that a lot of local writer friends attend, and I’ve been wanting to go for a while.

I just didn’t want to go because of something like this.

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.