Aug 10

Yard Work

Buying into an established neighborhood in North Texas meant having mature trees around, and one of them graced our front lawn. It was a silver maple, and a handsome example of the species it was. About 40 ft. tall when we moved in twenty-three years ago, with a thick trunk that split into sturdy limbs. A wide, lush canopy of leaves that shimmered silvery green in the breezes of Spring and Summer, and turned bright yellow in the Fall. Shelter and home to assorted birds and squirrels and purveyor of shade over house and yard through the years. I loved that tree.

Silver maples live approximately 35 years in urban settings, so watching it come to the end of its time was not a surprise. Taking it down before it came down on its own, probably into the bedroom, was not going to be a DIY situation. So we took bids and decided to go with Barksdale Tree Service based on a competitive price, competent approach, and the impression we got that he was respectful of safety and property concerns.

This is how things looked just before he and his crew showed up to do the deed a couple of weeks ago

Promptly at 9:00am on the appointed morning, Mr. Barksdale and three other people showed up. And it was clear, from the get-go, these folks knew their stuff. The last time we had the tree trimmed, numerous chainsaws ran constantly to accompany by near-constant shouting. This time, from where I’d taken refuge (in my office), there were fewer chainsaws that ran in bursts of varying lengths, and no raised voices.

Things got quiet around 1:00pm, and we figured they’d taken a lunch break and were taking the opportunity to haul away the first load of our former tree. Himself popped out with his camera and grabbed some in-progress shots. Here’s one.

The crew’s return was announced by the sound of what can only be described as a motorized sanding machine on wheels and steroids. While three of the men loaded their trailer with the rest of our former tree, Mr. Barksdale employed the aforementioned device to turn the stump into a sanded wood bowl, the rim of which was flush with the ground. He then collected the sawdust and tiny woodchips he’d made and filled the depression.

I expected them to haul away the remains. What I didn’t expect was the yard being thoroughly raked and left in pristine condition, as shown below. I fully expect to call these folks in the future for tree service on other parts of the property.

And while we’re both sad to see the silver maple gone, we’re starting to plan on what to do next with the front yard.

Feb 20

Notes From The Ice Age

It’s been an interesting week-and-change here at HarpHaven. Two rounds of freezing rain and sleet with about 5" of snow in the middle, outside temperatures that stayed in the single-digits for days, bottomed out one night at -2F, and didn’t get above freezing until yesterday afternoon. And what can only be defined as an epic failure of the Texas power grid that resulted in millions of Texans battling the cold in the dark. Without water, in many cases, or with water rendered not potable by equipment failures in many others.

We were, and continue to be, incredibly lucky. The longest our power was continuously off was about eight hours. Most of the week, power would come on for between two and three hours, followed by three to four hours without it. During the hours the power was on, we’d run the furnace, drink hot beverages and have a hot meal, hot soup, or a snack, and charge phones, iPads, camp lanterns, and flashlights. During the hours the power was off, multiple layers and extra blankets were our friends, we kept an eye on dripping faucets, and I did more reading-for-fun than I’ve managed for years. Temps in the house went no lower than 55F, except for that one subzero night when the house temp dropped to 45F. It made for a less-than-restful sleep schedule, but it could have been so much worse. The fridge and freezer both held. So, it appears as of this writing, did the pipes.

The only casualty seems to have been the cable TV box. Himself is going out later today to turn it in and pick up the arranged replacement, so my task tonight will be setting up the new box.

As I said, we were, and continue to be, incredibly lucky.

Dec 18

Just In Case!

Need a last minute stocking stuffer? Something that won’t break the budget to ship to that distant friend in time for Christmas? Ebooks just might be the answer.

The following ebooks from HarpHaven Publishing are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Search on the title or “Lee Martindale” at either vendor. Happy Shopping!

The Ladies of Trade Town', edited by Lee Martindale. Introduction by Elizabeth Moon. Fifteen original SF&F tales of those who offer pleasure – and other things – for a price. Note: not porn or erotic.

Bard’s Road: The Collected Fiction of Lee Martindale. Introduction by Esther Friesner. Twenty-five previous-published short stories plus four never-before-published works.

Prejudice By The Pound: Collected Essays From The Size Rights Movement by Lee Martindale. Editorials and essays from twelve years of Rump Parliament Magazine.

Nov 27

I Confess!

I married my husband for his cooking skills. Okay, I married him for many reasons, but his cooking skills were definitely high on the list. And yesterday’s Socially-Responsible-Quarantined-Thanksgiving-Dinner-For-Two proved, without a doubt, that he’s a keeper.

The turkey breast: moist, tender, perfectly seasoned. He brined it for several hours before slow-roasting. Cornbread dressing, that began with homemade white bread and cornbread and baked in muffin tins for a tasty combination of crunchy outer layers enclosing pillow-soft middles. Green bean casserole, because we like it. Sweet potato mashed with butter. Whole cranberry jelly. I enjoyed mine with a glass of homemade 12-year-old sweet mead. And, of course, there was pumpkin pie several hours later when we finally had room for dessert.

There are leftovers aplenty, which will be enjoyed for several days to come.

We enter the Holiday Season with very happy palettes.

Nov 25

Yeah, I Know It's 2020, But Happy Thanksgiving, Anyway!

To all the friends, fans, and "family-of-the-heart" who visit here from time to time, a very Happy Thanksgiving from the Halls of HarpHaven.

Stay safe!

Oct 3

Into The Summerlands

Egg Nog 2000 - 2020

Eggnog, last of the HarpHaven Pride and the Christmas kittens, passed beyond the Veil last night. She left us peacefully, without distress, in her sleep at the age of 20.

When our most senior cat Pixel passed (at the age of 16) during Thanksgiving Weekend 2000, we were concerned that his “little sister” Chiya wouldn’t be long in following. She was mourning, lonely, and suddenly showing her 15 years. So we went to the animal shelter and adopted two female kittens, which the pound said were about four months and littermates. Based on the time of year, we named the tabby Mistletoe for her brilliant green eyes. The one who looked like a Turkish Van, white but for cinnamon ears and tail, we called Eggnog.

Eggnog was Daddy’s Girl from the get-go, although she never slighted me in the love-and-cuddle department. Himself became an instant hit with our vet’s staff from the moment they walked into the exam room to find a big, fuzzy guy waiting with an adorable kitten on each shoulder. And Chiya, once she settled into having two kittens around, perked up and started being her own kittenish self and playing with the youngsters. I am firmly convinced the Christmas Kittens added another five good-quality years to Chiya’s life.

Eggnog, true to her Turkish Van markings, loved water. She’d play in it every chance she got, including joining me in the shower. She loved the water fountain we got several years ago, that ran a steady stream into the water bowl. Her favorite way of getting a drink was to stick her head into the stream and lap at the stream as it ran off her forehead.

When Mistletoe passed at the age of 17, almost exactly three years ago, we wondered how Eggnog would do without her. It turned out she was quite happy as a solo. Her favorite spot became the arm of Himself’s recliner, whether or not he was in it but especially when he was. I think she liked not having to share him, the water fountain, or me in the shower.

I have no doubt that Eggnog’s arrival in the Summerlands was met by Pixel, Chiya, and Mistletoe, and that the HarpHaven Pride is together again. They gave us thirty-five years of continuous laughter and love, and they have earned their sunbeams.

Sep 20

Virtually Conventional

We’ve always known that the genre community is resilient and inventive, and 2020 has gone a long way toward illustrating that. Con-runners, creatives, and fans coming together in virtual versions of conventions have been a joy to see. I’ve had the pleasure of working a couple of panels for Con-Tinual and, between Sept 21 - Sept 27, I’ll be a happy participant in the online version of Imagination on the Accelevents platform. My schedule looks like a lot of fun.

(All start times are Eastern Time Zone. All panels except the Workshop are 1 hour.)

Monday, Sept 21

8:00pm: “Submissions”. How to submit to a press, writing the perfect cover letter, pitches, and much more. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Michele Sagan, Lynn Slaughter, RJ Sullivan, Morgan Hazelwood.

Thursday, Sept 24

7:00pm: “Well, That Was Short”. Writing the perfect story, that is short and leaves the readers wanting more. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Lee E.E. Stone, Sela Carsen, Kathryn Sullivan.

Friday, Sept 25

10:00am: “How To Be A Good Panelist”. Many writers will tell you that being on a panel is great in terms of gaining new readers. Being a good panelist does the same for gaining new fans and a go-to reputation among convention-runners. Our experienced panelists offer hints, tips, and things to avoid for those new or newish to being a panelist. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Paul J.Hoffman, Lynn Slaughter, Carma Haley Shoemaker, Daniel Dark.

Saturday, Sept 26

11:00am: “Interview with a Writer”. Join in this discussion to hear the hardest and greatest aspects about being a writer. Questions from the audience are welcome. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Anne Marie Lutz, Tommy B. Smith, F. Paul Wilson, Anna Bowman.

3:00pm: WORKSHOP: “Writing Killer Openings”. No matter the genre, medium, or whether you’re writing short form or long, a killer opening line and a solid hook can grab the attention and increase the odds of making a sale. Writer, editor, and publisher Lee Martindale will help you develop that ‘killer opening’ with live exercises & professional critiques. (Attendees please have writing supplies with you.)

Sunday, Sept 27

1:00pm: “Contracts: The Good, The Bad, And the Oh-HECK-No”. Even with an agent, one should read the contract for a sale for it’s signed. The panel offers tips and cautions about the kind of clauses that should be included and clauses that should prompt negotiation or a hasty retreat. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Eric Moser, Paul J. Hoffman, Carma Haley Shoemaker/

3:00pm: “Everything You Wanted To Know About The Writing Business And Weren’t Afraid To Ask”. A panel of experienced writers, editors. and publishers answers questions from the audience. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Tony Acree, Gery Deer, Janie Franz, James Hunter, Carol Preflatish.

5:00pm: “Tips from an Editor”. Learn editing tips from seasoned editors and why not to self edit. Panelists: H.R. Raymer (M), Lee Martindale, Dionne Lister, Kelly Ferguson, Kristina Kaye.

For more information, go to

Jun 6

Pride 2020

It’s happened quite a few times over the years. I post something in honor of Pride Month, or guest at a LGBTQA+ convention like Gaylaxicon or OutlantaCon, and one or more someones will ask me some variation of the “What’s a nice/old/heterosexual/married girl like you doing...” question. It happened again recently. As luck would have it, I’d just run across the following piece I wrote for Kage Allen’s “The Face of Gay” online column back in 2012 or 2013. I think it answers the question pretty well.

For me, being an ally isn’t just about what’s right, although that’s a big part of it. It’s also about the people – co-workers, colleagues, friends, and family-of-the-heart – who’ve made activism for gay rights personal. There have been many, but when Kage asked me to contribute a piece here, my thoughts immediately went back more than forty-five years, to the two men who began my journey as an ally.

David and Jeff were, literally, the All-American boys next door. They grew up on neighboring farms and were best friends from the first day of grade school. Good-looking, athletic, popular, solid grade point averages, dated the prettiest girls, on the football and basketball get the picture. And, as they told me later, they spent most of their lives trying to hide being gay from each other. They managed to sort things out during the summer before they started college and, by the time I met them in 1967, they’d been together as partners for a year.

I was a freshman that year, away from a very sheltered home life for the first time. To say I was naive is an industrial-strength understatement. My survival that first year of college can be laid squarely on the two of them, who took me under their collective wing and kept me from getting into the kind of trouble that it would have been so very easy to get into. They were the older brothers I never had and, as corny as it may sound, we were “family”.

Being included in their lives was a constant learning experience. They were my first exposure to two people of my generation in love and, apart from my grandparents, the only such relationship of any generation I’d seen. They were the first to suggest that my mother’s evaluation of my value as a human being was wrong, and the start of my journey toward healthy self-esteem. And, I suspect, David and Jeff are at least partially responsible for the fact I genuinely like men.

They exposed me to facets of society I didn’t even know existed. That, in that time, in that place, at least to my admittedly-inexperienced eyes, being a gay man was tough. There was no support, no networking as we think of it now, no inroads by a gay rights movement that was rising elsewhere, little in the way of “community” beyond the gay bars. For many it meant a life of lies – to themselves, their parents and siblings, the women they married, their children, to the lovers and casual partners they hooked up with on the sly. That the raids and harassment of patrons by police that, in the near future, would fuel the Stonewall Riots were common, as were the gangs of local thugs who hunted the alleys and parking lots near the bars around closing time. That, even in the face of all that, two men who loved each other as much as they did, could form what, in all respects save legality, was a marriage.

But they were a product of their time and, except in the safety of their apartment, intent on keeping their “secret”. It bothered them, but not enough to risk hurting the families they both loved or jeopardizing their future. When their parents showed increasing concern that neither talked about the girls they were dating and brought “someone special” home to meet them, they enlisted my aid. David, being an only child, was feeling more pressure from his folks than Jeff was from his, which is how I became, at least as far as the families were concerned, “David’s girl”.

The Viet Nam War was in full and bloody swing, and every eighteen-year-old man I knew sweated blood every time he went to the mailbox. With the coming of his nineteenth birthday, the pressure was supposed to be off. Why David suddenly got an induction notice no one ever figured out, just as no one ever found out why his student deferment was canceled or his lottery number went from high 3 digits to “you’re up, kid.”

There was only one other way out of it...David telling the draft board he was gay. Jeff was more than willing to back him up and testify to the fact from first-hand knowledge as his lover. As someone who practically lived with them, I was willing to testify, too. In the end, however, it was the effects on the families that made up David’s mind.

You know where this is going. Just before Christmas 1968, David’s parents were informed that he’d been killed on patrol. Jeff didn’t come back to school after the semester break and, after a few short letters from various places around the country, I never heard from him again. But I’ve thought about him, and about David, many times over the course of the last forty-five years, and about how different things might have been for them if the changes happening now had happened then.

Being an ally isn’t just about what’s right. It’s about the people in our lives who make it personal, the people we love. And I’ve been very fortunate in that regard.

Mar 12

Well, Drat

First off, kudos to the folks at OutlantaCon 2020 for being on top of things with a robust and practical plan for the convention during the current Covid-19 outbreak, for acknowledging that we each have to make the call for ourselves, and for graciously accepting the call when it’s made.

In my case, the call was not an easy one. I love this convention, the people who put it on, the guests and attendees. I love the mischief they get me into. It’s a convention I always want on my schedule. However, age and several chronic medical issues put me squarely in the segment of the population most seriously affected by the Covid-19 virus, with air travel and large groups of people being serious risks. The decision to cancel was not an easy one, but the right one under the circumstances.

That doesn’t mean I have to like it, or that I’m still not sorry I have to cancel.

Jan 30

On The Road Again

On the one hand, I’m happy to begin my 2020 convention schedule and looking forward to the fun that is AnachroCon. On the other hand, I’m sad that this will be the final year for that lovely convention. But it will be going out in style - 1920s style. Flappers and Speakeasies and Mobsters, Oh MY!

When not on a panel, I’ll be spending as much time as possible at my spot in the Dealer Room, selling the limited number of books I can when flying a trip, and enjoying visits and conversations with those who stop by.

Here are my assignments for Programming, and they look like fun. Unless otherwise noted, all panels are 50 minutes in length.

Friday, Feb. 14

5:00pm - How To Write Effective Villains: Villains can be fun to write, do wonders for plot advancement and character development, and turn into fan favorites. Panelists: Taylor S. Hoch, Lee Martindale (M), Matthew Quinn, Bill Ritch

6:00pm - Opening Ceremonies: Let’s get this party officially started!

7:00pm - That Took Me Out Of The Story! How to avoid losing your readers.: You can’t foresee what might disconnect a reader from your story, but there are some common trip points. Panelists: Lee Martindale, Cecilia Dominic (M), Jo Scott

Saturday, Feb. 15

3:00pm - How To Research Effectively. We discuss how to get the details right without wandering in the wastelands or becoming ensnared. Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Matthew Quinn, Cecilia Dominic

Sunday, Feb. 16

11:00am - "How I Did It" Different Writers Do Different Stuff, Differently. We discuss and compare our methodology.

1:00pm - Give the Princess a sword! Writing Heroes That Aren't Dudes: It starts with writing a believable female first. Panelists: Mandy & GD Burkhead, Dennis Medbury, Lee Martindale (M)

3:00pm - Closing Ceremonies

Jan 1

Happy New Year!

Well, will you look at that. It's a bright, shiny New Year. And, by popular consensus if not mathematical fact, a bright, shiny New Decade.

Certainly, we've got challenges ahead. When have we ever *not*? And when have we ever just plain quit? It doesn't seem to be in our nature, and that's a good thing.

Happy New Year, all. Let's go to work.

Dec 6

There Comes A Day...

...when a decision you know is inevitable must be made. When going one way is impossible, and going the other breaks your heart. For me, that day came this week.

If you know me or have been reading here for any time at all, you know how much I love the convention known as Dragon Con. Except for two years when WorldCon, where I had to be while on the SFWA Board of Directors, fell on the same weekend, Dragon Con has been, professionally and personally, the highlight of every convention year since 2008.

But it goes beyond that. Dragon Con has been a family reunion and gathering of the clan. It’s been spending time in the company of people who had my back, made me laugh, facilitated experiences that I would never have dreamed I’d be part of, and been there with what I needed when I needed it to do what I do. Friends who fit the definition of “family of the heart”.

The decision I’d been putting off couldn’t be put off any longer. The upper body strength that, as a wheelchair-using paraplegic, I’ve been relying on has been degrading over the year or so. Strength and stamina have likewise decreased. Solo travel and the physical stresses of a weeklong, 80,000-attendee convention spread out over multiple hotels and venues has become more than my body can handle.

I’m still able to work smaller, shorter conventions, and will be doing so. But not Dragon Con. That day has passed.

For all the wonderful memories, to my DC family, friends, and fans - thank you for everything. It was one hell of a good ride.

Nov 27

And That’s A Wrap!

The final convention on my 2019 schedule is now a happy memory, in what was a very special travel year for me. It began in February with the 10th Anniversary AnachroCon, on the theme of “Time Travelers’ Ball” and in the company of many of my Atlanta con family. The first convention of the year is always a joy, and one that encourages me to pack a bit of costuming even better.

In May, I guested at the final gathering of Wholanta!, a convention that’s been near and dear to my heart since Atlanta fandom seduced me into the world of Doctor Who in 2007. Many happy memories of that convention over the years, and I’m going to miss it.

Also in May, it was out to Los Angeles for the Nebula Awards Weekend, where my volunteer work for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America was recognized with the 2019 Kevin J. O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award. To say this means the world to me is putting it mildly. I managed *not* to cry, but it was a very near thing.

The week around Labor Day Weekend saw me, once again, at Dragon Con, where I did two sold-out sessions of the “Killer Openings” workshop, a mentoring session, and a full schedule of excellent panels. I’ve loved this convention every year I’ve attended, and this year was no exception.

In October, I guested at the inaugural year of MultiVerseCon. Fun panels, good people, and great conversations in between my various scheduled events. This convention is off to a good start, and I look forward to returning. Plus the added fun of getting to introduce The Mighty Himself and the aforementioned Atlanta con family to each other.

And, finally, headed to Lombard, IL to serve as ToastMistress for WindyCon in Lombard, IL. And what a splendid time was had. These folks know how to throw a convention and spoil their GoHs, and every minute was a delight. Many thanks to Kerry Kuhn, Con Chairman, and a crack cadre of volunteers for all their many kindnesses to me and The Mighty Himself. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. November in the Chicago area is not for wimps, but I learned the joys of lap robes and multiple layers.

The traveling boots are drying by the fire, the suitcases have been put away for a few months, and I’m charging headfirst into the holidays with a very satisfied smile. It was a glorious year.

Nov 9

One More For The Road

The curtain is about to come down on my 2019 convention season, but not before one last, very special engagement. I’ll be serving as ToastMistress for WindyCon 2019, Nov 15 - 17 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, IL in the Chicago area. To say I am both honored and excited is putting it mildly.

Consider the most excellent company I’ll be in, including:

Author GoH: Elizabeth Moon Artist GoH: Mitchell Bentley Science GoH: Geoffrey Landis Musical GoHs: The Harp Twins, Camille and Kennerly Kitt Fan GoH: Chris M. Barkley Special Guest: Eric Flint

And there’s what I’ll be getting into, according to the schedule:

On Friday at 7:00pm, Opening Ceremonies, wherein we get this party started.

On Saturday, I’ll be signing and visiting with folks from 11:00am to noon. Then I have about an hour to get into my fencing gear and warmed up for Fencing GoHs at 1:00pm with Geoffrey Landis, Mary A. Turzillo, and Elizabeth Moon. Yes, there will be pointy steel put to use in a variety of styles. Then at 6:00pm, in an hour called What Makes a Good Space Opera, I’ll have the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Moon.

My Sunday begins with a reading from 10:00am - 11:00am and concludes with Closing Ceremonies at 2:00pm.

I can’t think of a more perfect way to finish off the year’s schedule.

Oct 7

Gearing Up For MultiverseCon

With very few exceptions, I enjoy working first-time conventions. Certainly, I’ve seen my share of disasters, but I’ve also seen the first year turn into the second and on to a long tradition. And it’s a lot of fun to be part of that. Which is why I’m looking forward to MultiverseCon’s inaugural weekend. So far, the folks behind this one seem to be doing things right.

My schedule certainly looks like a lot of fun. Here’s what I’ll be up to:

Friday October 18

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm: Opening Ceremonies. Meet the ConComm! Meet the Guests of Honor! Hear about some of the fun in store for us! And we’re OFF!

2:30 pm to 3:30 pm: So You Want to Write. A good panel for new and aspiring writers to learn more about being a writer from veteran writers. Panelists: Darin Kennedy, Lee Martindale (M), Rena Mason, Seanan McGuire, Jarvis Sheffield

Saturday, October 19

11:30 am to 12:30 pm: Reading: Darin Kennedy and Lee Martindale. I’m leaning toward reading “Combat Shopping”, but that could change.

2:30 pm to 3:30 pm: Place As Character. The write-up: “Urban fantasy often delights its audience by setting stories in places they know like New Orleans, Atlanta, and New York. How important is Place to the authors of Urban Fantasy and how important is it that those places be from the real world or is approximation enough? Panelists: Stuart Jaffe, Kyoko M (M), Lee Martindale, L.L. McKinney

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm: Accessibility in Futuristic Societies. The write-up: “Accessibility is not just about bigger bathrooms or assistive devices. Creating welcoming environments for people with differing abilities and challenges is vital to a well-functioning society. From dampening loud noises for people with autism or PTSD, to strengthening floors for people wearing exoskeletons, panelists will discuss ways future societies can apply advancements to ensure everyone has what they need to thrive. Panelists: Meg Elison, Tiara Janté, Lee Martindale (M), Josh Roseman, Alex White

Sunday, October 20

10:00 am to 11:00 am: Beyond The Sword. The write-up: “The sword has a central place in fantasy. Panelists will discuss the swords they love and the swords they hate and what weapons from other cultures might fill the place the sword currently holds in fantasy. Panelists: Paige L. Christie, Milton Davis (M), Lee Martindale, Balogun Ojetade

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm: The Outsiders. The write-up: “Inclusion has become a large and important area of focus in fantasy. How do you write characters from outside your own experience? How do you avoid the pitfalls of stale, stereotypical characterizations that depend on old tropes that have become unviable in storytelling and bring something fresh and new to the genre? The panel will discuss writing characters from outside your culture, gender, and orientation. Panelists: Darin Kennedy, Kyoko M, Lee Martindale (M), Errick Nunnally

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

Aug 27

Workshop News

Preregistration for my "Writing Killer Openings" workshops at Dragon Con 2019 has closed, and the news is making me smile. Thursday afternoon's session is completely SOLD OUT!

There are, as of this posting, 10 slots open for the Friday morning session that will be available for sale at the door. If last year's response is any indication, these won't last long.

A grand way to start my Dragon Con.

Aug 21

And Another Thing.....

My final schedule for DragonCon arrived and included an addition to my schedule. And it’s a goodie!

Sunday, Sept 1: Dealin' with the Devil. Getting published really doesn’t involve Faustian bargains. Editors and agents discuss what they look for from new writers. Panelists: Lucienne Diver, Anne Sowards, Steve Saffel, Claire M. Eddy, Jonathan Maberry, Chris A Jackson, Lee Martindale(M)

What a grand way to finish out my DragonCon 2019!

Aug 6

Hearing The Rustle of Dragon Wings

It’s that time of year again. Lists are being made. The BattleChariot is getting a good checking out. Electronics are being paired with their chargers are being tested. I’m banking a little extra sleep against upcoming nights of not nearly enough. And my tentative programming schedule has arrived. DragonCon is less than a month away!

Here’s what currently on my schedule:

Thursday, Aug 29

1:00pm - 3:30pm: Writing Killer Openings Workshop. No better way to kick off my DragonCon than by warping young writer minds and, hopefully, improving slush piles near and far. Live exercises, on-the-spot critiques by yours truly, and fun will be had by all. At last report, there were still spots available. Check it out at

The evening will be spent with friends from the Costuming Track.

Friday, Aug 30

10:00am - 12:30pm: Writing Killer Openings Workshop. No, you’re not seeing double. Last year, there were so many on the waiting list that, this year, it was decided to add a second session. Same as above, including there being spots still available and where to check it out.

2:30pm - 3:30pm: Why We Read. So many reasons, so little time to talk about why we pick up a book.

Saturday, Aug 31

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Edit, Edit, Edit--& Edit Some More. The “heavy lifting” begins after you type The End on the first draft. Seasoned pros talk about their approach to the revision process. Panelists: R.R. Virdi, Lee Martindale (M), Trisha J. Wooldridge, Patricia Briggs, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Clay and Susan Griffith

5:30pm - 6:30pm: Writing for Today's Savvy Audiences. How do you catch the attention of today’s more sophisticated readers and keep them coming back for more? Panelists: Jonathan Maberry, Cinda Williams Chima, John G. Hartness, Lee Martindale

7:00pm - 8:00pm: Reading. They’re turning me loose for an hour with an audience and my stories. Which story I’ll read hasn’t been decided yet.

Sunday, Sept 1

11:30am - 12:30pm: Who Needs Research? One writer’s casual toss-off of a minor detail can be the reason a reader stops reading if it’s wrong. There’s isn’t a genre out there where it doesn’t happen. We’ll discuss how to research and when to stop and start writing. Panelists: Lee Martindale, D.J. Butler, Marc Alan Edelheit, Declan Finn, John L. Flynn (M), K.N. Lee (M)

1:00pm - 2:00pm: 15-Minute Mentor Session: A chance for budding authors to talk one-on-one with a successful industry professional about business, promotion, the writing process, & career advice. Sign up in the Writer's Track. (Embassy C-D)

4:00pm - 5:00pm: Author Signing: Come by and say hello!

As I said above, this is going to be fun. And having all of Monday free (so far!) may give me a chance to catch a panel or two or catch up with friends. I definitely want to catch one of Tom Smith’s concerts some time during the weekend. And who knows what other mischief I might get into. It’s DragonCon, after all!

Jun 25

A Gentle Reminder

Are you a writer? Are you going to DragonCon? Would you like to sharpen your skills in grabbing the reader’s attention right off the bat? Thanks to the success of last year’s sold-out-and-then-some “Writing Killer Openings” workshop, I’ll be teaching two sessions during DragonCon 2019. We’ll use live exercises and individual critiques to help students get out of the slush pile and into shopping carts.

Students signing up can chose either the Thursday, Aug. 29th session at 1:00pm or the Friday, Aug. 30th session at 10:00am. There’s a hard limit of 20 students per session. If last year’s response is any indication, advanced registration is highly recommended.

For further information, see

Jun 22

How The Hell Did THIS Happen?

I wasn’t supposed to live this long, according to five doctors (the first when I was 8 years old) and one unidentified staff member in the office of a sixth who predicted I’d “be dead in five years” if I didn’t do what they told me to do and take whatever prescription drugs they wanted me to take. I’ve managed to outlive all five doctors, and that unidentified staff member in the office of the sixth isn’t looking too good.

This weekend I'm turning 70, and I'm still here.

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