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/

Dec 10

Well, What Do You Know

When the city told us that replacement of the alley behind the house would take two weeks, I was skeptical. Understandably so, given our experiences with previous public works projects on our block. So the day-glo green doorknob hanger that appeared late Saturday morning, advising us that the work was completed came as a surprise.

We'll still be having a conversation about the fence "repairs", and keeping an eye on the phone line going from a temporary patch to a more permanent repair, but the heavy equipment and barricades are gone. Our vehicles are off the street and back in their usual spots. And that is the sound of muted celebration you may be hearing.

Dec 4

We Have Landline Again!

Up at 6:30am this morning in preparation for the call, sometime between 7:00am and 7:00pm, telling us the repairperson was 30 minutes out. Workmen from the city began making their noise at about 7:15am. Just before 10:00am, the landline phone rang.

Yes, it took me half a beat to recognize it as the landline ringing.

It turned out to the repairman, out in the alley, telling me we were back in business. It's a temporary hook-up until the city finishes in the alley, after which the phone company will return and bury the line properly.

No, we didn't need to be home to give anyone access to the house. No, the temporary repair (or the permanent one when the time comes) didn't need access to the house. No, we wouldn't get a bill. (Ahem.)

And it's working!

Dec 2

When Contractors Attack - Again

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, in mid-afternoon, a red doorhanger appeared at the front door. It was a notice from the city advising us that work would begin on the alley behind our house on the Monday after Thanksgiving Weekend, with scheduled completion due two weeks after that. Since the work involved tearing up the existing surface and pouring a new one, vehicles in the garage and/or would have to park on the street, where trash bins would also need to be placed.

Yes, we’ve been here before. About six years ago when the city did this exact same thing, and about three years ago when extensive repairs to the three-year-old surface were needed. (Garbage trucks are destructive beasties, they are.) And, of course, there was the truly epic work done about eight years ago involving tearing up large portions of the street out front in the service of sewer repair, which lasted nearly two months, another round out front two years ago, and the fun and games this spring detailed in a previous post.

Sunday afternoon, we moved the vehicles out front. Monday morning, the destruction began at the end of the alley, with the sound of jackhammers, backhoe, and dump trucks getting closer through the day on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning, Himself had an audit gig in Ft. Worth and left the house around 7:15am, just as the sounds of jackhammers, backhoe, and dump truck started up behind the house next door. I settled at my desk, noise-canceling headphones close at hand as I happily anticipated a day of uninterrupted wordslinging. Oh, silly me.

At 8:15am the doorbell rang. One of the contractors asking for permission to go into the back yard. A scoop-load of broken concrete had gotten away from the operator and had hit the fence, and he wanted to gauge the level of damage so the crew could get the necessary supplies and make repairs. I gave him permission and directions, texted Himself, and went back to my desk. Which was when I noticed that the landline was dead. You guessed it; the crew had cut the buried phone line. I was assured the city would arrange for repair of that, too.

As of today, the fence as been repaired – sort of. Himself suspects they used nails instead of screws, which means he’ll be doing it again once the alley work is finished. The vehicles are still out front. And the phone line is still dead, thanks in part to the city’s process for arranging repairs bearing no relation to actual, functional process. We’re still trying to unscramble that one.

Stay tuned!

Nov 20

A Little Something For The Holidays

Over at HarpHaven Publishing, we’re gearing up for the Holidays. From now until New Year’s Day 2018, we’ll pick up the postage on all orders from HarpHaven Merchanter, our online store.

Whether you order one book, one of each of our titles, or mix and match a dozen, the shipping is on us.

As always, you can get your purchases signed, or signed and personalized, by Lee Martindale at no additional charge, for that one-of-a-kind gift.

Come visit us at HarpHaven Merchanter. Use the handy link on the top right.

Sep 30

Gone Ahead

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Mistletoe (a.k.a. Missy) 2000 - 2017

Aug 24

DragonCon: The Final Schedule

Even as packing lists are being revised, a game of suitcase tetris is being played, anything with batteries is being charged, the indispensable DragonCon 2017 app goes lives, and the sound of dragonwings grows louder in my mind’s ear, my official Guest Information Sheet has arrived in my email.

As expected, there are a few changes from the preliminary schedule, all to the good. Behold.



Friday, September 1

1:00pm: Panel: Research: You Gotta Do It. Lee Martindale (M), Margaret S. McGraw, James Palmer, Elizabeth Moon, William Alan Webb. Write-up: “What are good sites for research? How much do you do before you write, or during?”

2:30pm: Reading. As I usually do, I’m planning to give those in attendance the choice of what they want to hear. But one of the choices may be the first chapter of Camino UnReal.

Saturday, September 2

1:00pm: Panel: Significant Short Stories. Larry Davis (M), Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, Lee Martindale, Amy J. Murphy, Lou Antonelli. The write-up: “Our panelists discuss short stories that made or are making a significant impact on the field.”

7:00pm: Dragon Con Guest of Honor Banquet. A lovely evening recognizing the Guests of Honor and recipients of the Eugie Foster Award for Short Fiction, the Julie Award, and the Hank Reinhardt Fandom Award. I’m quite pleased to be going this year.

Sunday, September 3

11:30am: Autograph Session. DragonCon autograph sessions are always fun, and a great opportunity to catch up with folks I wouldn’t otherwise see during the convention, meet new fans, and perhaps get copies of books into readers' hands. A schedule change has me in the lovely company of Gail Z. Martin, Elizabeth Moon, Amy J. Murphy, and Jody Lynn Nye.

8:30pm: Panel: Editors Speak Out. Nancy Knight (M), Claire M. Eddy, Kevin O. McLaughlin and James Minz. The write-up: “This panel provides an opportunity for editors to tell writers what they're looking for. They'll also answer questions from writers.” Looking forward to donning my editor’s hat in some very fine company.

Monday, September 4

11:30am: Panel: Ask Us Anything. Lee Martindale (M) John D. Ringo, Jane Yolen, Jerry Pournelle, Mercedes Lackey. The write-up: “Writers and authors gather to answer any questions you have that might not have been answered during the rest of the convention.”

The non-scheduled schedule – touching base with friends, meals in good company, panels I want to see, etc., is still being populated. Thursday evening, I’m helping one of the tracks train volunteers by being a designated practice wheelie. For the first time since I’ve been going to DragonCon, the BritTrack is in the Hilton, a hotel I can get to via the Habitrail system, and I’m hoping to catch some of the panels. Sunday night could find me party-hopping between the Spectrum Party and the 3rd Annual Doctor Who Ball. Visiting the Armory is also high on my list. And there’s likely other mischief I can get into.

Who am I kidding? Of *course*, there will be mischief. It’s DragonCon!

Aug 5

New Commenting Process

Over the course of the last month or so, the amount of spam hitting the comments section has seen a marked increase. From one or two a week to between 100-200 per day. Legitimate comments on the blog are welcome. The crap dropped by spambots is most definitely not.

Therefore, all comments received are now marked "Pending" and put aside for review. Legitimate comments will be moved to the blog. Spam will be dropped into a deep, dark hole. This does mean a delay in seeing your comments on the blog. Most days, it will be a matter of, worst case, a few hours.

Onward and upward, as they say.

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