Feb 22

AnachroCon Rocked It

One of the marks of a good convention is how much of the return flight I sleep through. In the case of my recent return from AnachroCon, I nodded off as we were pushing back from the gate and returned to consciousness about a half-an-hour before we started our descent into DFW. AnachroCon was a *very* good convention.

With it being the con’s 10th Anniversary and with the theme of “Time-Travelers’ Ball”, the field was wide open for a full range of solid costuming that is an AnachroCon trademark. The many fine programming tracks, killer vendor room, special events, and concerts made excellent use of the convention space in their first year at the Hilton Atlanta Airport.

My programming schedule was concentrated on the Writer Track and except for being scheduled opposite Opening Ceremonies and the Costume Contest, could not have been better. Good topics, good discussions, and the fun of working with writers I’d not had a chance to work with before. Built into it was plenty of time to visit with friends, chat with fans and fellow writers, and spend time at my vendor table.

Many thanks to the concomm and volunteers for their many kindnesses and for doing what they do so very well.

As for the case of con crud that announced its feverish and congested presence three days after getting home, I earned it.

Feb 9

And Away We Go!

The traveling boots have been dug out of the closet, suitcases are being filled, and an eye is being kept on 10-day weather forecasts in two cities. And, because I haven’t done this in a few months, I’m double-checking packing lists. Experience has taught me that if I’m going to forget to pack something vital, it will be on the first convention trip of the year.

First up in 2019 is AnachroCon, Feb. 15 - 18 in Atlanta. This year’s theme is “Time Travelers’ Ball” and, based on my schedule so far, it’s going to be grand fun.

Friday, Feb 15:

6:00pm: Writing Kick-Butt Female Characters: What it takes to write effective female characters. Panelists: Mandy and G.D., Stephanie Osborn, Taylor Hoch, Lee Martindale (M).

Saturday, Feb 16:

2:00pm: Researching Effectively. Tips for doing effective research and getting the facts right. Panelists: Stephanie Osborn, Kyle Hannah (M), Lee Martindale, Cecilia Dominic.

5:00pm: Time Travel Stories and Why We Love Them. What is it about time travel stories that catch our imaginations and make them so popular. Panelists: Stephanie Osborn, Lee Martindale (M), Dan Hollifield, Cecilia Dominic.

6:00pm Writing Effective Villains. Without villains, heroes have nothing to do! Panelists: Mandy and G.D., Taylor Hoch (M), Kate Shaw, Kyle Hannah, Lee Martindale.

Sunday, Feb. 17:

1:00pm: Fish Out of Water Tropes. Tropes are tropes for a reason. What makes them work and why do we love this one. Panelists: Mandy Burkhead (M), G.D Burkhead, Stephanie Osborn, Kyle Hannah, Kate Shaw, Lee Martindale.

2:00pm: The Business of Writing. Stuff writers need to know, even if they think they don't. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Stephanie Osborn, Kyle Hannah, Dana Fraedrich, Cecilia Dominic.

3:00pm: Closing Ceremonies.

And that’s just the Literature Track! Panels, including those on other tracks, could be added any time between now and the end of the convention. I’ll also have table space in the AnachroMall Vendor Room where I’ll be selling books, signing autographs, chatting with folks, and trying to resist the temptations available from all the Purveyors of Fine Temptations therein.

As I said, grand fun anticipated. Especially if I manage *not* to forget to pack something vital.

Jan 13

It's A Good Week When....

...one is told she's been approved as a Guest for Dragon Con 2019.

Unladylike noises of joy and anticipation may have scared the cat and been heard in a multi-block radius.

Jan 3

Free Shipping Continues At HarpHaven Merchanter

Until further notice, the Free Shipping Special is being carried over into the New Year at HarpHaven Merchanter. Whether you buy one book or the entire catalog, we'll pick up the cost of shipping.

Use the handy link at the top right of the screen or see us at www.harphaven.net/dir/

She's Rested! She's Ready! Bring It On, 2019!

There’s nothing quite like a quiet and enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s Eve for hitting the ground rolling on New Year’s Day. My husband and I celebrated both holidays at home, just the two of us, enjoying wonderful meals of his crafting and recharging the batteries.

Which was good, because I spent my New Year’s Day as I traditionally do, in a marathon session of closing out the books on the year just passed, setting up the files for the one just arrived, and doing some of the prep work for things like 1099s, incoming tax filing, and the paying of royalties. Despite taking breaks to watch the Rose Parade and the Doctor Who New Year’s Episode, I managed to finish and fall into bed around 3:00am with a few brain cells still firing.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions – haven’t in decades – but I do make plans. Most of the ducks are lined up for AnachroCon 2019: Time Traveler’s Ball in February, and are beginning to assemble for Wholanta! in May. I’ve very excited about serving as ToastMistress for WindyCon 46: Space Opera in November. Other conventions will be added as things firm up.

2019 is also a milestone year on the home front. My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary and I’ll turn 70. (Not sure how we’ll celebrate either, but we’ll think of something.)

As with any New Year, 2019 holds both promise and concern. I expect to remain active on the political and human rights activism fronts, writing and editing fiction, and teaching the occasional workshop. I may even make a dent in my to-be-read stack.

So Happy New Year, everyone. Let’s make it a good year!

Nov 22

Thanksgiving 2018

For the first years we were married, Himself and I spent Thanksgiving Weekend attending the local Mensa Gathering. Fitting, since that’s where we initially crossed paths. (Although we didn’t “officially” meet until several months later, but that’s another story for another time.) For the several years after that, we hosted dinner for friends who couldn’t get home or, for whatever reason, would be spending the day involuntarily alone. Then came several years I guested at local SF conventions held on Thanksgiving weekend.

Ten years or so ago, we started getting up in the wee small hours of Thanksgiving Day, driving down to the Hill Country, spending Thanksgiving Day in the country with a good friend, her family, and the friends she invited in for the festivities, and capped with a lovely night-time drive home. By far, my favorite way to spend Thanksgiving and the closest thing to “going home for the holidays” I ever had.

Sadly, last year and this one, logistical challenges on my end have made the trip a no-go. There’s a turkey breast happily being brined in the fridge, bread and cornbread getting just a little bit drier in anticipation of onions, celery, sage and broth turning them into dressing, a pumpkin pie about to go into the oven, and other traditional sides lining up for preparation. Himself’s culinary wizardry for the win!

However you’re spending the holiday, have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 17

Shop Small, Support BIG

November 24th is Small Business Saturday, and it seems a good excuse to remind you that small publishers, self-publishing authors, artists and artisans are all small businesses. When you shop with us, you’re not only finding unique gifts for the folks on your holiday list, you’re supporting the makers, the writers, and the crafters who bring you what no one else can.

To celebrate the year-end festivities, HarpHaven Merchanter is again offering Free Shipping on all orders. Use the handy link at the top right of the screen or see us at www.harphaven.net/dir/

Sep 13

Signs of the Times

Since 1995, when George W. Bush took office as Governor, Texas has been considered a “red” state. Staunchly and reliably Republican. Likewise my home county of Collin. I’ve joked about there being four registered Democrats in Collin County and my knowing the other three. Yard signs springing up in my neighborhood have been almost exclusively for GOP candidates. I say “almost” because there have been brief glimpses of signs for Democratic candidates now and then. Those signs have rarely survived more than a few days in place before being vandalized or stolen. The one I put out several years ago didn’t last twenty-four hours.

So it came as quite a surprise when my husband came in a couple of weeks ago and told me there was a “Beto for Senate” sign in the yard next door. A campaign sign for Beto O’Rourke, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate running against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. Right. Next. Door. Nor, he went on to tell me, was it the only one. There are several such sign in the immediate neighborhood. One, a few streets over, at a house that has also sprouted a Rainbow flag and signs for Lorie Burch (Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative for District 3), Lupe Valdez (Democratic candidate running against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott), Mike Collier (Democratic candidate running against incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick), and Justin Nelson (Democratic candidate running against incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton). There are signs for Beto and one or more of the other Democratic candidate in at least three other neighborhood yards.

There’s a “Beto for Senate” sign popping up in my own yard later today.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s a sign that my neck of Texas isn’t as reliably red as it’s been for the last twenty-eight years. Maybe, just maybe, it means people are starting to pay attention.

Aug 9

Dragon Con 2018: The Tentative Schedule

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Dragon Con, the annual gathering of 80,000 or so genre fans that pretty much takes over downtown Atlanta during Labor Day Weekend. Once again this year, I have the honor of being one of the guests, and I’m very much looking forward to industrial-strength mischief, excellent programming, superb costuming, and untold hours of prime people-watching while visiting with friends and fans.

My tentative schedule has arrived, and it is wonderful! In addition to a fine roster of my favorite programming-related activities, there are two new things on my plate: teaching a workshop and taking part in the “15-minute mentoring” sessions. I am excited!

It being the tentative schedule, things are subject to change. Additions to or deletions from the list of my scheduled activities, time changes, alterations to the list of panelists are all possible at this stage. Watch this space, the Dragon Con website, and the Dragon Con app when it goes live. But as of right now:

Thursday, August 30

1:00pm - 3:30pm: Workshop - Writing Killer Openings. That workshop mentioned above, wherein I’ll lead the attendees through live exercises and critiques geared to sharpening their skills in writing openers that grab the reader right out of the gate.

As I write this, there are still a few slots available. Check it out at http://dragoncon.org/?q=Acting_Workshop

Early evening: Once again this year, I’ll be giving the fine folks on the Costuming Track the opportunity to practice on a live wheelie as they train on panel room procedures.

Friday, August 31

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Social Media as an Effective Tool for Authors. The write-up: “Social media can launch your career--or kill it. What's effective? What isn't? Learn how to navigate the tricky waters of social media. Panelists: Tyra A Burton, Denise Baker Camacho, Michael Chatfield, Jean Marie Ward, Lee Martindale (M), Aleron Kong.

2:30pm - 3:30pm: 15-Minute Mentor Sessions. The write-up: “A chance for budding authors to talk one-on-one with a successful industry professional about business, promotion, the writing process, and career advice. Sign up in the Writer's Track (Embassy C-D).”

Saturday, September 1

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Autograph Session. Stop by to get something signed or to say hi.

4:00pm - 5:00pm. Reading Session: Lee Martindale. As usual, I’ll probably give the audience choices and decide what I’m reading based on those.

7:00pm - 8:00pm. Keeping a Series Moving. The write-up: “In SF/F fiction, the series is more popular than ever. How do you plan a series? How do you develop a compelling character? Successful series writers discuss the challenges of series fiction.” Panelists: Cheree Alsop, Todd McCaffrey, Jennifer St. Giles, Janny Wurts, Lee Martindale (M), John D. Ringo.

Sunday, September 2

11:30am - 1:30pm: 200 Years of Women in SF. The write-up: “In 1818, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Taking that as a starting point, our panelists will discuss women in SF, how they have fared, who they are, and how things have changed over the years. Presented in conjunction with the Diversity in SF track.” Panelists: Bethany Kesler (M), Lee Martindale, L. M. Davis, Anya Martin, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Amy J. Murphy.

2:30pm - 3:30pm: Plotting or Plodding? It's the story, stupid! Everybody loves a great story. This panel discusses how to create that unforgettable story roiling within you. Panelists: Janny Wurts, Anthony Francis, Lee Martindale (M), Richard Kadrey, Laura Anne Gilman, Melissa F Olson.

4:00pm - 5:00pm: Super Seniors & the Enabled. The write-up: “A discussion addressing issues & solutions that deal with age & the differently abled in fandom.” Panelists: Paige G Gardner, Lee Martindale (M), Stephen Richard Letnes.

Monday, September 3

10:00am - 11:00am: Comfort Reads. The write-up: “There are books we keep coming back to, keep re-reading. Some make us feel better when we're down, some are just so mesmerizing that they demand a re-read. Discuss with our panelists the books they love and the books that you love, too.” Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Robert J. Sawyer.

Along the way, I’m hoping to see share meals with friends, see folks I don’t see all that often, spend time with convention regulars, and enjoy the heck out of what Dragon Con has to offer.

May 23

New Mischief

Every year, in addition to a staggering array of panels, programs, and events, DragonCon offers a variety of workshops and seminars taught by some of the best in their respective business. I’m pleased to announce that, this year, I will be joining the “faculty” with a workshop on Writing Killer Openings.

Scheduled from 1:00pm - 3:30pm on Thursday, August 30th, in the Marietta Room of the Hyatt, the workshop involves hands-on exercises and individual critiques to sharpen skills in grabbing the reader’s attention from the get-go. The cost is $25.

For more information and the link to sign up, go to:

http://dragoncon.org/?q=Acting_Workshop

I Also Write Non-Fiction

Now and again, I commit non-fiction for publication other than on the 'Net. The occasional article for a magazine, an op-edit piece for a magazine or news venue, the stray bit of commentary.

My latest such contribution is a short essay, titled "One Old Man", in Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who, edited by R. Alan Siler & Drew Meyer and published by Kozmic Press. (Yes, I'm a Whovian. You didn't know this?) I'm pleased to be included in this delightful collection, which is absolutely chocked full of good writing and love for characters that have populated the WhoVerse over the years.

You can find it in trade paperback and Kindle editions at Amazon.com.

May 2

And Then...OutlantaCon!

Hot on the heels of Wholanta (as in the following weekend), I’ll be a guest at OutlantaCon/Gaylaxicon, a wonderful SF convention focused on the LBGT+ community. I’ve been attending this one for years and always have a grand time. This year should be no exception, and I have the programming assignments to prove it!

Friday, May 11

5:00pm - 6:00pm: Opening Ceremonies. Wherein we kick off the 10th year of OutlantaCon, welcome Gaylaxicon back to Atlanta, and see what’s in store.

6:00pm - 7:00pm: Bad Author, Bad! The write-up: “How should authors respond to negative reviews? Argue, ignore, pay them off, or quietly cry?” Panelists: Brent D. Seth & Lee Martindale.

Saturday, May 12

10:00am - 11:00am: Gay or British? The write-up: “We will discuss how British entertainment "does" and normalizes gay and queer-coded characters.” Panelists: Jevocas Green & Lee Martindale.

Noon - 1:00pm: Disabling ABLEISM & Ageism. The write-up: “Unpacking ableism and ageism in your fandom.” Panelists: Lee Martindale, Abeke "Kay" Baker, & The Chameleon.

2:00pm - 3:00pm: Book Signing and Sales. Sharing the Author’s Table with Jevocas Green for an hour of autographs, chatting with fans, and (hopefully) selling a few books.

9:00pm - 10:00pm: The Match Game. The Outlantacon version of the venerable game show, rated R for risque and rainbow, and outrageously fun. Emcee: Michael Stork / Panelists: Lee Martindale, Moxie Anne Magnus, Shawn Balentine, Michael Bode, Fabian Washington & Jaye Lish.

Sunday, May 13

noon- 1:00pm: Book Signing and Sales. This time, sharing the table with Aaron-Michael Hall.

3:00pm - 4:00pm: Hollywood Squares. Outlantacon’s version of the classic. Emcee: Michael Stork / Panelists: Lee Martindale, MadDog, Jevocas Green, Jaye Lish, Shawn Balentine, Madame Askew & Grand Arbiter (as one), Michael Bode, Brent D. Seth, & Darie L.K. Wolfson.

4:00pm - 5:00pm: Closing Ceremonies.

For more information about OutlantaCon/Gaylaxicon, visit http://www.outlantacon.org

Apr 23

Next Stop: Wholanta!

My next convention is Wholanta, the very fine Atlanta gathering centered around Doctor Who and British media that takes place May 4 - 6th at the Atlanta Airport Hilton. The programming for this convention is always good, and this year is no exception. I have a delightfully full schedule of panels and other mischief. Behold!

Friday, May 4

6:00pm: Opening Ceremony

7:00pm: A Genre is a Genre is a Genre. Remember when a genre work was either science fiction or fantasy? Now, it seems, new genres and subgenres crop up with every new publication. Panelists: Sue Phillips, Lee Martindale, Shawn Carter.

9:00pm: Be Kind - Saying Goodbye to the Twelfth Doctor. Peter Capaldi has passed the key to the Tardis to his successor. Looking back on his three-season run and the companions who went along for the ride. Panelists: Alan Siler, Rob Levy, Courtland Lewis, Lee Martindale

Saturday, May 5

10:00am: Breakfast With The Books. Grab a cup of coffee (or other morning beverage of choice) and join us for a discussion of favorite books, recommendations, and general appreciation of reading and readers. Panelists: Sue Phillips, Lee Martindale

11:00am: Alt History or Steampunk? A discussion of early alternate history, the introduction of steampunk, and the paths taken to the present. Panelists: Bill Ritch, Lee Martindale, Dawn Benton

3:00pm: The Man Behind "A Brief History of Time. Our tribute to the late British physicist and author Stephen Hawking. Panelists: Lee Martindale, Robert Lloyd

4:00pm: Book Signing: Two books make their debut at this year’s event: Why I Geek: An Anthology of Fandom Origin Stories and Children of Time: The Companions of Doctor Who. The editors and as many contributors as can be mustered of both works will be there to sign your copies.

5:00pm: If Fandom Is Broken, How Do We Fix It? From the write-up: “Given all the negativity, we ask the question, is fandom broken? A look at the issues, and ways to combat ‘toxic fandom’”. Panelists: Mark Hefferman, Lee Martindale, Candace Young

6:00pm: Comfort Reads. The write-up: “Are there books you go back to over and over? What makes a comfort read?” Panelists: Lee Martindale, Sue Phillips, Kelly Swilley Ceccato, Dawn Benton

Sunday, May 6

2:00pm: Trending in SF. Grab your crystal ball for a roundtable discussion of the next Big Thing in speculative fiction. What genre will be next to explode onto the scene. What writers should be keeping an eye out for? Panelist: Lee Martindale

6:00pm: Closing Ceremony

You can find complete information on Wholanta, including the full schedule and list of guests, at http://www.wholanta.com

Apr 4

It's Official!

Now that it's been announced on the website, I can officially and happily announce that I will be a guest at OutlantaCon 2018, which is hosting this year's Gaylaxicon, May 11th - 13th. A fine time is anticipated.

For more information, go to http://www.outlantacon.org

Feb 4

Vikings On The Horizon!

My convention year begins in a couple of weeks, and it does so in very fine fashion. I’m serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at AnachronCon, Feb. 16 - 18 at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria. This year’s theme is “The Viking Age” and, since costuming is encouraged, I’m rifling through my SCA garb and lobbing things at the suitcases.

My schedule looks to be a fun one, and very nicely laid out.

Friday

5:00pm: Should I Sign That? A “primer” on contracts, scams, and what to look for (and look out for) when getting your work published.

6:30pm: Opening Ceremonies. Wherein we officially land the longships and get the party started.

7:00pm: Dinner With The Guests. Meeting, mixing, and mingling with my fellow guests and attendees over a meal and entertainment by Valhalla’s Vixens.

Saturday

11:00am: What Is (And Was) Bardcraft. My presentation on traditional bardcraft

2:00pm: Writing Diverse Characters. Joining Mandy Burkhead, G.D. Burkhead, Alereon Kong, and Jannaea Adams for a discussion of the importance of diversity in literature and how we approach writing realistic diverse characters.

3:00pm: Author Reading. In which I’m being turned loose with one of my stories and an audience. Should be fun.

5:00pm: Costume and Cosplay Contest for Fondo “Por Los Nuestros”. Most happily serving as MC for Anachrocon’s first-ever costume contest for charity. Categories include Kids, Couples/Groups, Handmade, Male Characters, Female Characters, and Judge’s Choice. Winners in each category will be picked by audience cash donations, with all donations going to benefit victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

8:00pm: Rebuilding Civilization. Moderating this round table, audience-participation discussion of how we put things back together once the apocalyptic dust clears. With Tammie Darden, Richard Jackiel, Paul Cashman, and Ginger Probst.

Sunday

2:00pm: Closing Ceremonies.

There’s a bunch of panels and presentations I want to see, of course. And I’ll have table space in Authors/Artists/Guests area where I’ll be spending much of the time I’m not on a panel. Come by and say hello.

For the full schedule and further information, go to http://www.anachrocon.com

Jan 28

The 2018 Convention Schedule

There will come a time when I will no longer be able to take to the road and enjoy one of my favorite activities, guesting at genre conventions. But 2018 doesn't appear to be that time. The schedule is coming together.

My convention year begins as Mistress of Ceremonies for AnachroCon, February 16 - 18 at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria. This year's theme is "The Viking Age", and I'm looking forward to having a grand time.

Next up will be Wholanta, May 4 - 6 at the Hilton Atlanta Airport. As a fan of Doctor Who and many other British delights, this one is always a treat.

And, of course, I'm grinning ear to ear with the addition of DragonCon over Labor Day Weekend.

Additions to the schedule are expected. I'll keep you posted.

Jan 1

Happy 2018!

Hey! Happy New Year!

There's a lot to do out there. Let's get busy!

Dec 31

The Clock Ticks Down

Midnight marks the arrival of the New Year and the end of HarpHaven Merchanter's Holiday Free Shipping Offer.

Place your order before midnight tonight to receive Free Shipping.

Dec 24

Merry Christmas!

from all of us at HarpHaven.

Dec 14

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like....

E-books make great stocking stuffers and last-minute gifts. At the HarpHaven Merchanter e-store, you'll find direct links to the Kindle and Nook e-book editions of our catalog on each book's page. Check them out using the handy link above-right or send your browser to

http://www.harphaven.net/dir/

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