What I don’t want to see…

So, I’m going to follow what Misty did yesterday and discuss Congregate. (I promise, a discussion of adjectives is coming!!)

I was on an “Ask the Editor!” panel with a few other people, and the first thing that was asked was “what really makes you say no, or what do you not want to see?”

That’s easy. The most obvious is a story that starts without any action: a description of the weather; a description of the setting/ landscape; a description (including backstory) of the main character. The submissions that do this have a very difficult time being published. Readers want to be engaged, and tension /conflict /action do that. To quote Nirvana: “here we are now, entertain us.”

But the thing that disappoints me even more than that is the following. When I open a sub and read a great opening line, and then it is followed by […]

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What the Actual?

I love going to cons. Very often it’s my only chance to see people I adore, since we don’t all live close enough to have coffee dates. But not only that – it’s just fun. I got home from Congregate a few hours ago. While there I moderated a panel on diversity in SF/F and its fandom (which was incredible! I wish you all could have been there!) served on panels about the Weird Wild West, settings in fiction, and Kickstarters, read my work out loud to an appreciative audience, and appeared as the middle bottom square in a truly hysterical version of The Hollywood Squares (John Hartness sat next to me, and I just can’t describe how crazy the whole game was!) Friday night I shut down the bar with a bunch of people, and Saturday night my husband and I flitted from room party to room party until […]

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Hey guys, since we don’t have a post today, I am taking a poll:

How many will come to ConCarolinas?And how many want to do our annual MW lunch on Saturday?

Show of hands??? Cause I need to make a reservation if you guys want to do lunch!

Ethics in Speculative Fiction

I spent this weekend at Mysticon, in Roanoke VA, where I learned a few things, taught a few other things, observed wacky behaviors and brilliant ones, too, and generally had a great time surrounded by my people. I rode up with Gail Martin and John Hartness. We drove through nearly impenetrable fog and snow-covered hills, chatting and laughing all the way. On Saturday morning, I joined John to read our work to an appreciative audience, and premiered Miniature Pirate Theater as accompaniment to the reading. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve watched tiny plastic pirates work a tiny plastic stripper pole while John reads from Bubba the Monster Hunter. Gail’s launch party for her latest, Ice Forged, was a raucous affair, full of happy people eating cake and buying books. I met a couple of writers who’ll probably be making guest appearances here later on this year, and got […]

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What Do You Want?

Okay, guys, I’m going to cheat a little today. But it’s all in the name of making you happy! I’ve been asked to appear at some upcoming cons (one of the really fun aspects of a writer’s life!) and of course, I have to help by making suggestions for panels. Normally I can come up with a half-dozen or so reasonably good ideas, but I suddenly found myself worrying that we’re repeating the same old panels over and over. I know we can always talk about “Strong Female Characters” or “How To Approach An Agent” and hopefully reach a few people who haven’t seen that panel a hundred times, but maybe there are other subjects we’ve neglected.

Normally the blog is about bringing information to you, the readers, but today I’m asking for your help. Are there any panel ideas you’ve always wished would turn up at a con? […]

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Moderating in Moderation

So you’ve sold your first book. You’ve arranged a signing or two at local bookstores. You’ve been asked to give podcast interviews and participate in blog tours. Today you checked your email and you see you’ve been invited to be a guest panelist at a con. How exciting! You’ll be sitting at the table with three or four other authors, possibly even some you’ve admired for years. You’ll be sharing your thoughts with the eager fans gathered to hear what you have to say. When the time draws near, you receive your panel schedule for the con and notice you’ve been assigned moderator status for The Future of Publication After The Coming Zombiepocalypse. Moderator? Wait a minute…a second ago you were just going to say brilliant things to adoring fans, and suddenly they want you to be a writer wrangler. What does it even mean to moderate?

I got home […]

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Behaving in Public

Dragon*Con’s been over for a while now, and many of you are probably tired of hearing about it. And frankly, I’m not planning on talking about the con itself today, so you can let that breath out now. I did notice, though, that in the last two weeks of posts about the con, a good many folks have commented on how scary it would be to talk to a writer/editor/agent/publisher even if you did get the chance to go to a big con. You’ve probably heard the horror stories – there’s one for nearly every situation. There’s the writer who follows an agent into the bathroom to pitch her novel. The writer who pays the chambermaid to let her into the editor’s room to leave chocolates and the first three chapters of her novel on the editor’s pillow. The writer who convinces the conference staff to give him the agent’s […]

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