What happens at GenCon…

…doesn’t have to stay at GenCon! This isn’t Vegas, people. So here’s a rundown of amazing things that happened to me at GenCon this year, recorded for posterity because I have a notoriously crummy memory.

  • I got to hang out with lots of awesome people I don’t see very often, which was fantastic. I even got to play some games! Indianapolis is a beautiful city full of great people; If I were ever offered a job there, I’d be fine with moving.
  • I was lucky enough to be on one panel for the Writer’s Symposium, which also entitled me to a reading and a signing. I actually sold a copy of Sidekicks! at the signing! That’s one more copy than I expected to sell. Of course I also managed to injure myself on an errant staple, but that’s pretty much par for the course when you’re me.
  • I attended a panel on novel outlining that completely blew my mind. All the authors on the panel outlined in different ways, but it was Brandon Sanderson‘s method that spoke to me the most. He calls himself a “discovery writer,” and writes to learn about his characters and explore their perspectives. He doesn’t do exercises to establish the personalities of his characters or outline beyond the events that must occur to make sure the book actually goes somewhere (instead of just meandering, which is one of the dangers of being a discovery writer). This is exactly how I write. I usually have a vague idea of what’s going to happen, but I always instantly know everything about my characters, and I drop them into a situation and see where they’ll go. If I do a ton of exercises to learn about my characters and setting, I lose interest in the book or story entirely. It was incredibly heartening to hear that a professional writes the same way I do! I’m not alone in the woods!!
  • My reading was scheduled alongside the delightful Elizabeth Vaughan, who read a great piece from the anthology Chicks Kick Butt. I read my story “Invincible” from the anthology Heroes! (Heroes! was only available at Origins Game Fair, but I have a few copies if you want to get your mitts on one). I’m really proud of that particular story, and Beth was incredibly complimentary about my reading, which meant a lot to me. I enjoy reading my stories to an audience as much as I enjoy writing them, and it’s a thrill when other people (especially accomplished, talented novelists, ahem) also enjoy it.
  • Marc Tassin, the fantastic author who also runs the Writer’s Symposium, said some very kind, generous things to me on Saturday at the Writer’s Hangout. Things I’ll never forget, and which will motivate me for years to come.  I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations, Marc!
  • Author, professor, and musician Gregory Wilson very kindly recommended me to someone who edits and coordinates fiction for a particular gaming company. Assuming that I don’t screw it up, hopefully that means the opportunity to work on some fiction for said gaming company. Cross your fingers for me! Hopefully I’ll owe you one, Greg!
  • I got to hang out with lots of great authors, including the aforementioned folks as well as Lucy Snyder, Lucien Soulban, Brad Beaulieu, Maurice Broaddus, Jennifer Brozek, Gary Kloster, Kelly Swails, Bill Bodden, and Doug Warrick, who I was especially glad to spend time with, because he’s moving to Korea. To write children’s books for ESL students! I’m pretty much totally jealous of everything he does. There was also a little meetup of the Ladies of the Crimson Pact, which is a real thing now, because I say so.
  • For the culmination of an incredible weekend, I met the illustrious Larry Dixon, who had me sign one of my Steampunk World postcards for him, and who said he hoped we will get to work together someday. Squee! He also introduced me to his wife, the singular Mercedes Lackey. And then John Scalzi compared the color of his ukulele to my hair! And I had a little writer-gasm and died. The end.

Next year, I hope I’ll be able to do more panels, because I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and teaching is kind of my Other Calling, so I want to do it at every opportunity. In the end, however, not having many panels to do was pretty great, because I got to see gobs of my friends and I wasn’t constantly stressed out and exhausted. So even if I’m still doing only one panel (or none), GenCon will still be worth it next year. I would really like to check out that True Dungeon thing though. Lots of people were doing it this year so I guess it must be pretty great. So that will be my goal for next year: dungeon crawl!

And now, I need to go do some writing, because Marc Tassin believes in me, and Brandon Sanderson says I’m doing it right, and being around so many successful creative people is, as always, so inspiring that I came away bursting with ideas and motivation. Let’s do this thing!

GenCon Schedule

Ack! GenCon is like, soon! I gotta get packing!

Here’s where I’m scheduled to make appearances at the GenCon Writer’s Symposium (WS) next weekend:

Thursday 1:00 pm: Signing Table in the Dealer’s Hall – If you want to buy books from me, or have something signed, or just stop in and say hi, this is the best time to do so!

Friday 6:00 pm: Reading in WS Room 3 – If you’re interested in seeing/hearing me read my work aloud, this is where to do it!

Saturday Noon: Steampunk Panel in WS Room 1 – If you want to learn about Steampunk, this is the panel for you!

I’ll be hanging around the Writer’s Symposium and associated events, but I’ll also be available for pickup games, networking, chatting, lunch etc. See you there!

Origins Game Fair Schedule

I’m super duper excited to be a participating in the Origins Game Fair Author Library June 12-16, 2013. This will be my third year in a row, and I can’t wait to see my existing writer friends and make new ones! I’ll have a table in the Dealer Hall, so please drop by and say hello. If I’m not at my table, you can find me here:


Noon – “Writing the Other” with Greg Wilson, Jennifer Brozek, Addie J. King


11am – “Women Writing Horror” with Jennifer Brozek, Kelly Swails, Jaym Gates

Noon – “How to Read Your Work Aloud” with Brad Beaulieu, Steven Saus, Donald J. Bingle

6:00pm – Group Reading with Maxwell Alexander Drake, Donald J. Bingle, Michael Stackpole


10am – “Blending Genres” with Bryan Young, Janine Spendlove, Tracy Chowdery, Aaron Allston

Here’s the cover of this year’s souvenir anthology that will be available ONLY at the convention:

Only 400 copies will be printed!

Only 400 copies will be printed!

Hope to see you there!

Steampunk Empire Symposium Schedule

Sadly I won’t get to ramble on about being a writer much at SES this year, or lolita fashion, or how the Victorians got high, as the Great and Wise Panel Faeries didn’t choose any of my favorite panels. Instead I’ll be enlightening the masses regarding Steampunk fashion, literature, culture, etc. as the Second Lieutenant of the Airship Archon. We takes what we can gets. Looks like I’ll be in Salon A for much of the weekend, so I hope I’ll see you there!

I’ll be on the following panels:

Steampunk 320: Steampunk For Fun and Profit – Friday 5pm (Salon A)

Steampunk 101: Steampunk For Beginners – Saturday 2pm (Salon A)

Steampunk 220: Intermediate Steampunk – Sunday 10am (Salon A)

Other Airship Archon panels:

Make and Take – Friday 5pm (Salon C and D)

Charm, Swagger and Bravado: a Guide to Convention Confidence – Friday 7pm (Salon B)

From Disaster to Dashing: Dressing for Men – Saturday 12pm (Salon A)

Prominent Posteriors: The Art of the Bustle – Saturday 1pm (Salon A) My prominent posterior might make a showing at this one, wink wink!

Victorian Inebriation – Saturday 7pm (Salon A)

Prop and Costume Alchemy – Saturday 7pm (Salon C and D)

I’m really looking forward  to seeing Les Odalisques and my friends both new and old!

Millennicon Schedule

Millennicon is next weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio! Here’s where I’ll be:


Steampunk: The Genre, 8pm, in Harrison

Writing by Committee, 10pm, in Taft


Autographs, 3pm in the Hotel Lobby

Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, 5pm, in Taft

Reading (with Steve Saus), 7pm, in MR1216



Oh The Horror! 11am in Harrison

Steampunk 101, noon, in McKinley

See you there!

2013 Convention Schedule

Ohayocon – January 18-20, Columbus, Ohio

Millennicon – March 15-17, Cincinnati, Ohio

Steampunk Empire Symposium – April 26- 28, Cincinnati, Ohio

Origins Game Fair, June 12-18, Columbus, Ohio

GenCon – August 15-18, Indianapolis, IN

Dragon*Con – August 30–Sept 2, Atlanta, GA

ConText 26 – September 27-29, Columbus, Ohio

TeslaCon 4 – Oct. 31 – Nov. 3, Madison, WI

There are two conventions I’d really like to attend, but won’t be able to unless I can find people to share rooms/rides with:

WisCon 37 – May 24-27, Madison, WI

CONvergence – July 4-7, Minneapolis, MN

So if you’re interested in riding/rooming with me for either of those please speak up!

My time is becoming very precious as I become involved in bigger and bigger writing and editing projects (YAY for projects but also boo for lack of free time). I’m also struggling to pay my ever-increasing health insurance premiums, and I need to do a better job of saving money this year in preparation for my impending joblessness. So there are very few conventions on this list that I can attend without a comped badge (mainly, writing conventions–or scifi conventions with writing tracks–that will be worth attending regardless of cost because of the networking and exposure they entail, even if I can only get on one or two panels). This means that, if I’m not offered a comped badge for some of the others, I won’t be able to attend. It’s not personal, it’s just math. The math of money and time and opportunity. :/

Ohayocon Schedule

Ohayocon is the Midwest’s premiere anime convention. It’s a young convention, and by that I mean, the attendees are young. And they bring with them all the exuberance and enthusiasm of youth, so the convention is pretty fun. Also: an amazing dealer hall full of stuff from Japan or inspired by Japanese culture. I’ll be helping to present the following panels at Ohayocon this weekend:

Asian Ball-Joint Dolls – Friday 6:30 pm (Harrison)200

Zombies in Steampunk – Saturday 1:00 pm (Fairfeild A-B)300

Steampunk in Gaming  – Saturday 5:00 pm (Harrison)200

Steamlolita: Where Steampunk Meets Lolita – Sunday 11:30 am (Union A-B)280

I’m also planning to attend the Lolita Crush on Saturday morning, even though it’s going to be early! I’ve never been to a crush before so I’m super excite!

Other members of the Airship Archon will also be presenting the following panels on Steampunk:

Steampunk and Men’s Fashion – Friday 1:30 am  (Fairfeild A-B)300 [I’m not sure anyone will actually be awake for this one…yikes!]

How to Mod a Squirt Gun – Saturday 10:30 pm (Delaware D)150

A New Introduction to Steampunk – Saturday at Midnight (Delaware C)150

Steampunk on a Budget – Sunday 4:30 pm (Harrison)200

I hope I’ll see you there!

TeslaCon 3 in Review

Please click through to read my official review over at Dr. Fantastique’s!

I really don’t have much to add. Thanks to everyone who came to my panel on Victorian drug use, especially those who laughed at my terrible jokes and came up to the front to talk to me afterward. It’s always nice to know your research and pre-panel anxiety have been appreciated. Makes it all worth it, really.

Here’s my flickr gallery if you’re looking for more photos. There’s also a TeslaCon flickr group.

I’m already looking forward to (and scheming for) next year!

Teslacon 3 Schedule

Teslacon 3: A Trip to the Moon is this weekend! If you want to hang out in meatspace I’m guaranteed to be at the following panels:

SteamLolita: Where Steampunk Meets Lolita

Saturday    5:00 PM    Selanite Salon

Panelists:  Ashlyn Dempsey, Sally Ike, Sarah Hans

Description:  The ladies of the Airship Archon review the essentials of the Japanese fashion called Lolita and how it can be incorporated into your Steampunk look, complete with advice on where to shop.

High Times in the Victorian Era

Saturday    6:00 PM    Vernian Hall

Panelist:  Sarah Hans

Description:  The Victorians were not the prudish upright citizens the history books would have us believe! Explore the forbidden world of Victorian drug use, from opium to cocaine to cannabis. Alas, samples and instructions will NOT be provided. 18+ age restriction

Advanced Steampunk for Fun and Profit

Sunday    11:00 AM    Selanite Salon

Panelists:  Tony Ballard-Smoot, Sally Ike, Ashlyn Dempsey, Sarah Hans

Description:  This panel is for those who have been part of the Steampunk community for some time who are looking to turn their contacts and experience into cold, hard cash. Members of the Airship Archon and friends offer advice on how to turn your specific talents into fame and fortune.

This is my first time presenting “High Times in the Victorian Era,” and I’m really excited about it! The Airship Archon will also be presenting the following panels, which I will not be presenting, but which I guarantee will be delightful:

Victorian Inebriation

Friday    9:30 PM    Vernian Hall

Panelists: Ashlyn Dempsey, Steve Lickman

Description:  What types of alcoholic beverages were popular during the Victorian Era? Which ones are still popular today? Members of the Airship Archon will discuss the history and how-to of brewing your own beer, wine, mead, ale, and more! 18+ age restriction

From Distinguished to Disaster: Dressing men for all facets of the Steampunk lifestyle

Saturday    3:30 PM    Selanite Salon

Panelists:  Tony Ballard-Smoot, Aaron Ijams, Steve Lickman

Description:  The well-dressed gentlemen of the Airship Archon will discuss clothing and accessory options for the overlooked male gender, as well as discovering your personal style and places to look for inspiration and pieces.

Prop & Costume Alchemy: making one thing look like another

Sunday    9:00 AM    Vernian Hall

Panelists:  Tony Ballard-Smoot, Betty Lickman, Sally Ike, Ashlyn Dempsey

Description:  How to transform the look of plastic/wood/glass/fabric using spray paint. How to distress fabric & leather. Ideas on using junk to make fabulous creations! Examples and a material list will be provided.

Teslacon has long been my favorite convention, so I’m certain that this year will not disappoint. I hope to see you there!

Context 25 Schedule

I’m super excited about Context 25! Last year I got to talk to so many industry giants in such an intimate space and such a short amount of time that it was astounding. And this year they’re letting me do panels! Hooray! Here’s my schedule:

Friday 9pm: Doing Readings: Do’s and Don’ts – with Mike Resnick (squee!), Steven Saus (yay!), and Gordon Aubrecht

Friday 10pm: Flash Fiction Contest – Judges: me, Steven Saus, Jerry Robinette, and Gary Braunbeck

Saturday 11am: The Horror Genre, Women’s POV: with Raven Bower and Lucy Snyder

Saturday 10pm: Have Horror, Will Travel – with Christopher Shearer and Daniel Robichaud

Sunday 10am: Past, Present, or Future? – with Steven Zimmer and Bill Levy

I know a lot of you are attending Ohio Comic-Con and PandoraCon, but if you’re going to be at Context I hope you’ll enter the flash fiction contest. The details for the contest can be found here. There are categories for both amateurs and professionals, and fabulous prizes, plus you’ll get to read your work in front of Gary Braunbeck, an award-winning writer, and Steven Saus, a publisher. And now that I think about it, there’s also me, an up-and-coming editor. You never know what recognition or invitations this kind of public reading could garner you, so c’mon and enter, already!