Posts Tagged ‘RadCon science fiction’

Yep, next weekend I’ll be at RadCon SF convention in Pasco, WA. I do have some misgivings, since we see rabid anti-masking demonstrations there on the local news. However, I sell more books through public appearances than anywhere else. I also want to support the RadCon organization. So I’m mentally preparing myself to respond if questioned about wearing a mask. (“Mind your own business,” but spoken very graciously.)

I’m also in preliminary stages of planning what to bring, packing my case with books, getting laundry done ahead, what food we need to bring, and other such matters. And I’m trying to bring Tale of the Drakanox to a good stopping point before I go. Any scenes I sketch during the weekend will fuel me the following week.

This is my schedule at the moment. I’m trying to get a reading time, and I’m also hoping to get some time in the game room for an Animal Crossing visit. In general, though, I’m glad to be on some of the more substantial writing panels.

Saturday is my busy day. At 2 pm, I’m moderating a panel on “Point of View.” About five other authors are joining me, and I’m pleased that the topic I suggested was so well received. Then at 6 pm I have “Using Topes Effectively” and at 7 pm “Building Characters.” Since I just did my series of posts on games and writing, I feel like I’m well prepared for that one.

On Sunday I have just one panel, at 11 am. “Social Media and the Independent Writer” is another topic with a lot to say, and it should be fun.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Last Saturday, right about this time, I was “at” Virtual RadCon, waiting to start a panel called “Why Story?” Luna Corbden and I began with the basics. That people are inherently social and therefore any kind of gossip intrigues us — even made-up stories. We talked about how the Hero’s Journey and other frameworks help people find logic and order in a world of confusion.

When things got exciting for me was when someone in the chat asked whether stories are just momentary diversions. Do they matter beyond the time it takes to read them? Can a story change the world? My answer was yes, because stories can start people thinking.

A good example (although I neglected to bring it up in the panel) is Rachel Carson’s seminal work of environmental reporting, Silent Spring. The issues Carson raised in 1962 opened a lot of eyes. Her words ultimately led to legislation such as the Clean Air Act of 1970, that we now take for granted as protecting public health.

Another, more current example is Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, A Handmaid’s Tale, which effectively vocalizes women’s dread of oppression based on our gender. Although, its dystopian setting of an environmental and political disaster zone certainly resonates with many other groups.

This was my opening to talk about my own series, Minstrels of Skaythe. How it sprang from my recognition that in so much fiction, we solve every problem at the point of a gun or a sword. My main characters are trying to live without violence, while surrounded by it. How will that even work?

Although it’s always great for panelists to mention our stuff, the point I was trying to make is this: if we want the world to change, we first need to imagine the change. Then, we have to write or illustrate the change, so other people can also imagine it.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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A virtual convention had lots to offer. I got to be on panels and chat with friends, even if it was in the form of a 3″ x 4″ image on a screen and their voices held a hint of audio buzz. Because I was physically at home, I was able to drop in and out, and still finish a few routine chores. Also, it was interesting to see the attendees come together and develop a few customs on the fly. For instance, everyone but the panelists having their microphones muted and cameras off, but all the while typing questions and quips into the chat room associated with the panel.

As usual, a couple of ideas stuck with me. One of these was about zombies. Which are not my favorite critter, I think I’ve mentioned before. A friend said that zombies are a reflection of the Black experience of slavery. Being chained so tightly that you can’t run, only shuffle. Being robbed of your voice until you can only moan. I said it’s particularly cruel that zombies are often blamed on Voodoo, a folk religion based partly on traditional African faiths.

But I also mentioned that zombies not only reflect the suffering of the enslaved, but the guilt of the slavers. They know they are part of a great evil. No matter that they control the whip and chains. No matter that the law and their own religion tell them their actions are acceptable. In their hearts, they know the truth. The slow and relentless zombie is the nightmare they can never awaken from.

Considering the widespread denial of how systemic racism still shapes American life, I’m afraid that the specter of zombies will be with us for some time to come.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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This will be quick, as I’m rushing to get through my morning chores before I hop back over to RadCon.

The convention started last night, with… well… technical difficulties. I completely sympathize with the con runners as they found out about the limitations of their platform. Especially since these entities exist entirely online, and there probably wasn’t even a live salesman to talk with them about the video sharing capacity they needed.

Not so long ago, I was running my first groups of students on Teams. I remember the stress and embarrassment when I tried to share documents that didn’t work, while my students waited for me to know what I was doing. Ah, fun times!

For me, this is especially a cautionary experience because our own convention might have to move to some sort of hybrid format, and this lets me know what questions we should ask about our base platform. It is also giving me some ideas for publicity meetings that I might do myself.

Anyway, I’m going to show up for my appearances, and be gracious and positive and focused on my topics. I’ll even share a few links to my books. Cheers!

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Here’s what I’ll be up to this weekend! Unless otherwise noted, I am a member of the panel and not in charge of things.

Friday, February 12, 6:30 pm — Dragon Age Meet-up. Gather at the virtual Hanged Man, bring your own cheese and whine, and we’ll all talk about Dragon Age! (I am the host for this one.)

Saturday, February 13, 11:00 am — Why Story? The Psychology of Narrative. According to Jung’s archetypes theory and Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces, humans seem to need story the way we need sunlight and air. What is it about stories that makes them so compelling to our nature? Why do we seek them out and how do they help us? Can a story do the opposite of helping? If you are a reader, movie watcher, or even a creator, come learn the behind-the-scenes mental mechanisms of why we like to watch the journey of someone else.

Saturday, 4:00 pm — Writing Non-Human Characters. From aliens to furries, we’ll discuss how to write the non-human POV, how to create an character that is still relatable without coming off as a human in alien skin, and how to capitalize on unique non-human traits to make epic alien, animal, and inanimate objects come to life on the page.

Saturday, 8:00 pm — Publishing in the Age of Pandemic. Even before the pandemic threw publishing schedules into disarray, the publishing industry was facing enormous change. The change from physical to electronic books, blurring of boundaries between traditional, small press and independent authors. What is our industry becoming? How can writers plan for the future? (This is one where I moderate.)

Sunday, February 14, 11:00 am — Using Tropes Effectively. Tropes are one of the building blocks of stories, but they can be misused, overused, and just plain worn out. How can you use tropes effectively in your writing? What are some stories that have done to well? Let’s talk about using tropes, with and without flipping them around.

Don’t forget, it’s virtual, so anyone can join the fun. You do have to register — but registration is free. So if you’ve ever wondered what a genre convention might be like, this is your no-risk opportunity to get a taste of it.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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What’s Happening? Slowly my school is coming back to in-person learning. Third-graders are attending every day, and the Fourth-graders start in A/B cohorts tomorrow. I was a little dismayed at first, but that was just the knee-jerk reaction of my schedule being overhauled. I’m getting more excited for it now. This is the job I’m supposed to be doing as a paraeducator.

What I’m Working On. The Renegade Count, naturally. I’m about 6,000 words in to the latest Minstrels of Skaythe novella, and feeling worried about where the plot is going… or not going. But my anxiety is typical for this stage of a novel, so I think I have a shot at finishing it before April, which is my goal.

What’s Next? In two weeks, or a little less, I’m doing a virtual convention. RadCon is a science fiction convention that I attend in person most years. This year will be online. I’m going to do a few panels and help with a virtual room party. It’s my first time participating in this way, and I’ve ordered a new webcam to make it look better. So here’s hoping it goes well.

Hey! Since it’s online, you might be able to join in some of my events. It’s even FREE! Here’s a link if you’re interested.

Fun and Games. Fallout 4 and Animal Crossing. What can I say? I like a game where I get to build things.

Speaking of building things, I’ve started pre-planning for this year’s garden. I set up my small greenhouse/cold frame over the weekend. It promptly blew down. Guess I need more bricks!

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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Every February, I visit the Central-Washington town of Pasco for the RadCon science fiction convention. Here’s what my schedule will be for this year:

On Friday, I have one panel, Common Grammatical Errors, at 3:15. I also have a Reading at 6:15, and I will have chocolate to entice the audience. Who doesn’t like chocolate?

On Saturday, my panels are Diversity and Inclusion at 12:45 and Hard Fantasy – a New Sub-Genre at 7:00 pm. Hard Fantasy will be especially interesting, since I hadn’t even heard of this sub-genre before I got the panel assignment. If you recall, I’ve been trying to figure out my own exact genre, so this will be enlightening.

Science fiction conventions are always a great time, and this year should be no exception. The only problem? We have 2-1/2 feet of snow on the ground, and more expected. So whether we can make the drive is still to be determined. But, we are also determined, so I hope to see a few of you there at RadCon.

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This coming weekend, I’ll be at RadCon Science Fiction Convention in Pasco, WA. This con is an old favorite of ours that we regularly attend, and I’m really looking forward to going again. Here’s my schedule of panels and talks during the weekend.

Friday, 3:15 pm — (Re)Tired Genres? Noire, vampires, zombies… What are some of the tired genres? Ones you think should be retired, and why they haven’t been.

Saturday, 11:00 am — Book Table. I’ll be in the dealer’s room, persuading anyone who comes near to buy one of my books.

Saturday, 3:15 pm — Reading. I’ll be reading from my books and greeting fans.

Saturday, 4:30 pm — Writers Answer Questions. Writers answer the questions you always wanted to ask.

Sunday, 10:15 — Reading Education for Writers. This is the panel I’m working hardest to prepare. Using my experience as an educator and children’s writer, I’ll discuss how Common Core has changed reading education and what opportunities this creates for writers.

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