Conventional Matters

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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 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.

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!

Jun 13

Break Out The Mead!

I'm very pleased to announce that I will be serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at AnachroCon 2018, to be held and the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria, February 16th-18th, 2018. The convention theme next year is The Viking Age. And, yes, I'm anticipating having a grand time.

May 16

Cancel The Search Party - The Bard Is Home

Short version: Happy to report that I arrived safely home last night, full of happy memories and travel tales.

Long version: Will, unfortunately, have to wait until I dig out. Patience, gentle readers. I've shoveling as fast as I can while one cat won't let me out of her sight and the other is, very pointedly, ignoring me.

Apr 26

And Speaking of WHOlanta!

I’m excited and pleased to, once again, be a author guest at this fun convention that celebrates Doctor Who, British media and culture, and Atlanta fandom. My programming assignments are in, and it looks like I’m going to have a bloomin’ ball.

Friday, May 5

I’m sorry that I’ll miss the Opening Ceremonies and VIP Reception, which are always fun at this convention. But panels go on opposite those two fine hours, and this year I got tapped for those on the Literary Track. And good assignments they are.

6:00pm - 7:00pm: Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing. ''Is one better than the other? Why or why not?” (Jana Oliver, James Palmer, Kaitlin Bevis, Lee Martindale)

7:00pm - 8:00pm: Women Writers: Does it Matter? “Does it really matter whether a writer is female or male if it’s a good story?” (Lee Martindale, Jana Oliver, Kathryn Sullivan, Nan Monroe)

Saturday, May 6

11:00am - noon: Beyond the War Doctor - The Life and Career of John Hurt. “Before John Hurt portrayed the War Doctor, he had already had a very successful acting career. We honor John Hurt, who sadly passed away earlier this year as we take a look back at his career and his many acting roles in film and television.” (Lee Martindale, Mark Maddox, Matt Sweatman, Tony Bowers)

1:00pm - 2:00pm: Research: You Gotta Do It. “Research has to happen no matter whether you’re trying to find out what was eaten at state dinners in the middle ages or what a particular myth is all about. We’ll discuss the best ways of doing things.” (Lee Martindale, Jana Oliver, Kathryn Sullivan, James Palmer)

Sunday, May 7

2:00pm - 3:00pm: Series Here, Series There: Where Are The Single Novels? “Everywhere you turn there are series. Is it really the stories that demand them or just a desire to make money?” (James Palmer, Lee Martindale, Kaitlin Bevis, Nan Monroe)

3:00pm - 4:00pm: British Legends and Myths: From Arthur to Robin Hood. “We take a look at the mythical heroes and history of Britain, in particular King Arthur and Robin Hood, and their many portrayals over the years in cinema and on television.” (Louis Robinson, Lee Martindale, Bernadette Ackley, Allison Lane, Rhetta Akamatsu)

4:00pm - 5:00pm: Sherlock Series Four - the Review. “We review the latest series of the BBC series Sherlock. Was it worth the wait?” (Louis Robinson, Lee Martindale, Allison Lane, Tony Bowers)

5:00pm - 6:00pm: TV Sci Fi. “We end the convention with a bang as we look at modern Sci Fi TV: What it holds and where it’s going.” (Jennifer Hartshorn, Lee Martindale, Darin Bush)

6:00pm Closing Ceremonies.

When not on panels, I’m hoping to catch some from the audience. There are many that have already caught my eye. You can see the complete schedule and other convention information at http://www.wholanta.com

And yes, I did notice that I’m doing four in a row on Sunday (five if you count Closing Ceremonies), but that’s okay. I’m lightly scheduled on Friday and Saturday, and I should be fine unless I end up getting kidnapped into a Cards Against Humanity until the wee small hours of Sunday morning. And, honestly, I wouldn’t know which of those four panels to give up. They’re all panels I really want to do. But I’m glad I don’t have to do my usual late-night packing Sunday night and being up before dawn to fly home on Monday. I plan on sleeping in.

Apr 24

Adventures in Convention Travel Planning

If you’ve taken a look at my convention schedule on the HarpHaven website, you’ll have noticed that the next two on the list are on back-to-back weekends. WHOlanta! (the convention formerly known as Timegate) is on the first weekend in May, and OutlantaCon (the very fine LBGTQA-centered sf&f convention) is on the following weekend. Both, as it happens, in the same hotel.

There was a time, not all that many years ago, when such a thing was listed in the “Tough But Do-able” column. It meant packing for both conventions at the same time, screaming in from the first one, kissing the cats, scritching the hubby, pulling various modules from the just-in bags, replenishing consumables, throwing them into the headed-out bags, and screaming out again with the latter in tow. Some of you may remember the year that schedule and circumstance resulted in a three-cons-in-three-weekends run, a bedroom that looked like a bell captain’s holding room, and a waist-high pile of laundry at the end.

But those days are well and truly over. Encroaching age and advancing infirmity now serve the function good sense never quite managed, and I looked at the scheduling for those two conventions and wondering which one of them I’d have to miss. And then “what if...” took over.

Numbers were crunched, the hotel and people from both conventions got involved, and offers of the on-the-ground logistical support needed to pull this started coming in. Himself not only didn’t mind, he actively encouraged the idea. It was cost-effective, it cut in half the opportunities for airline screw-ups and/or damage to the BattleChariot, and it saved significant wear and tear on me. He and the cats would be fine.

So it is that, instead of the frantic turnaround routine described above, I’ll be staying over between WHOlanta! and OutlantaCon. A mini-retreat of sorts, with plans for catching up on sleep and holing up to write interspersed with a some leisurely meals with friends.

I’ll let you know how it goes.