Balticon 2019 Schedule

May 23, 2019

I’ll be a guest at Balticon 53 this Memorial Day weekend. You can see the detailed schedule here.

Fri, 6pm – Room 6017 – Future SF pitch session

Sat, 11am – St. George – Reading (with Elektra Hammond and David Walton)

Sat, 3pm – Room 7029 – AMA: Editors and Publishers

Sat, 4pm – Room 6017 – Improving Your Pitch workshop

Sun, 3pm – Mt. Washington – Effective Marketing for a Self-Published Author (M)

Sun, 6pm – Watertable BC – Tales from the Slush Pile

#SFWAPro

Advertisements

Told You So

May 23, 2019

 

On April 28 I wrote a blog post predicting how Game of Thrones would end. And I mostly got it right. (Spoilers below!)

I figured the Iron Throne would be destroyed, figuratively if not literally (check and check.) I also figured the nature of how the Seven Kingdoms are governed would have to fundamentally change, with some combination of the survivors (good guys and bad) ruling as a council. While I did not get that exactly right, nor did I predict Bran’s ascension to the Wheelchair Throne, I feel as though I came pretty close. The Westeros elite arrived at something like their version of the Magna Carta and the monarchy is no longer hereditary. I feel like the finale definitely implied the Small Council having more power than it did during the previous reigns. So, I’m pretty pleased with how close I came. After all, I did spend three years writing a novel in a grimdark medieval fantasy world recently (more on that very soon, I promise!) and that comes with some finely honed plot instincts. 🙂

There have been a lot of dissatisfaction with this past season and I do agree that many of the elements felt rushed and many of the plotlines were left unresolved, but it was still a great show to watch and then to discuss around the water cooler as well as on the blog and social media. I’m thankful to everyone who was involved in creating the show that I’ve enjoyed for the past eight years or so. Kudos!

#SFWAPro


Publication: “Among the Blind” in Lost Signals

May 9, 2019

I got to play in Charles E. Gannon’s sandbox. Chuck writes the Caine Riordan/Terran Republic series for Baen that is part space opera, part military SF with a very healthy dose of interstellar diplomacy thrown in, and it’s great stuff!

Chuck invited a number of authors to contribute to the anthology of short stories set in his Terran Republic universe, Lost Signals of the Terran Republic. My story, “Among the Blind” is about the plight of the defeated army of clones in Indonesia, where they were used by a coalition of bad guys that included an alien species and a bunch of corporate interests. While the main thrust of the story has moved on after their forces were defeated, it left me wondering: what happened to the poor clones, bred by the corps, who were now stuck in internment camps as prisoners of war? There was a meaty story there, even though it didn’t involve aliens and starships (my suspicion was that many other contributors would play with those shiny toys.) I’m quite pleased with how the story turned out.

#SFWAPro


New stories in Analog and Galaxy’s Edge

May 3, 2019

Current issues of Analog and Galaxy’s Edge magazines contain my science fiction stories!

“Repairs at the Beijing West Space Elevator” was written for the Future Affairs Administration Lunar festival prompt in late 2017 and originally published in Chinese. Analog has the English language version out now.

“Royalty of Apartment Complex 417” is, at its heart, a YA story, but I think older readers will appreciate it as well. It’s free to read at the Galaxy’s Edge website.

 

 


End of Thrones

April 28, 2019

Like so many in our community, I’ve been a huge Game of Thrones fan over the years. I started watching the show having not read the books, and made the conscious choice to stay away from the books so they wouldn’t spoil the many great moments for me throughout the show. This, of course, is before such concerns became academic. 🙂

After having finished watching season 1 (and, still, having not read the books and avoided the spoilers) I predicted that, in the end, it’d be Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen who’ll team up, get together, and ultimately win control over the Seven Kingdoms. Over the years, I rather enjoyed patting myself on the back as the prediction seemed to coalesce into a stronger and stronger possibility. But now, with only a handful of episodes remaining and on the eve of the Battle of Winterfell episode which is likely to kill off a number of major characters, I’d like to revise my prediction to something seemingly a lot more far-fetched.

No one will sit on the Iron Throne.

By the end of the series, the Iron Throne will be destroyed. Figuratively, and perhaps even literally.

With the recent revelations on the show (avoiding specifics for those who are an episode or two behind) the long-lasting union between Jon and Daenerys is less likely. They’re focusing more on the bad things Daenerys has done on her path to power, and why Jon might be a better candidate to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. Were this a lesser series, one might predict that Jon, the character whose moral compass has remained true throughout, would be the perfect king and his triumph over all enemies and ascension to the throne would be a natural an end-cap to the story. But Game of Thones is not a Tolkien fantasy and it’s aesthetic has never been about clean and easy resolutions.

So what could possibly work as the resolution of the story to both provide a satisfying conclusion to the fans and stay true to its grimdark roots? A dark horse candidate could ascend to the throne: perhaps someone like Gendry Baratheon. They could opt to take a redemption arc further than it needs to go and have Jaime Lannister rule with the council and blessing of the Three-Eyed Raven (which would mirror the opening episode nicely, in its own way.) But I still like my own theory best.

Over eight seasons we’ve seen many examples of how the wars of succession have been the bane of the regular people of Westeros. Not only have many died or suffered in the conflict that is virtually meaningless to them, but these struggles have left the Seven Kingdoms ill-prepared for the zombie invasion from the north. Installing any one person on the Iron Throne would only perpetuate this cycle–even if the ruler is highly effective–as the new succession war might begin anew after their passing.

The destruction of the Iron Throne and perhaps even all of King’s Landing as a seat of power would break the wheel in a more meaningful way than Daenerys meant when she talked about interrupting the cycle of succession struggles with Tyrion a couple of seasons ago. I could see a council of survivors (some good, some bad, most in-between) overseeing the Seven Kingdoms without a single monarch as a more viable long-term solution to Westeros’s problems. In a true GoT fashion, I could see a character people love to hate, like Cersei, even surviving to claim one of the seats. (Though her dying at Jamie’s hand would probably be far more satisfying to most.)

This is how I would end the story but, of course, I’m no Martin. Supposedly he and the showrunners knew exactly how the story would end before they even began filming, and I doubt the fact that the show has outpaces the book series would result in significant changes to that intended ending. Whatever they end up doing, I’m certain there will be plenty of gasp-worthy moments in the remaining episodes and that the finale will not disappoint.

#SFWAPro


Pocono Liars Club Writers Workshop

April 14, 2019

I’m back from spending a day at the writer’s workshop in Stroudsburg, PA. This event is a brainchild of Mike Ventrella and is organized by the Pocono Liars Club at the Hughes Library (which, with its two stories, grand event space, and a built-in cafe, is among the finest libraries I’ve visited to date. Kudos!)

Speakers at this event included literary agent Marisa Corvisiero, SF/F author Gregory Frost, romance author Gwen Jones, and me.  Author and anthologist Mike Ventrella hosted. There were roughly 40 attendees (a bit smaller than average, I’m told, as the original event date got snowed out and we rescheduled for April.) Each guest delivered an hour-long talk on various aspects of writing and then selling one’s writing. I talked about editing your manuscript as well as how to benefit from outside feedback by beta readers and critique partners.

The event was free, with an optional $20 fee that got you into private sessions with the guests, whereas they would also read and critique a writing sample. That’s a bargain’ a professional level critique on a 5000 word writing sample would normally cost far more than $20, and that’s without a private session. And on top of that, Marisa requested several synopses and even a couple of fulls from the people in her group, so they might find representation, too!

There’s tremendous value in these sorts of workshops for the newer writers. I highly recommend that you sign up and attend the 2020 workshop next April if you’re in that geographical area.

Next month, me and Ian Randall Strock of Fantastic Books will lead workshops for high school students at a book festival in Maspeth, NY. That’s another free event and while the workshop is limited to high-schoolers, there will be panels and author tables open to everyone.

See more photos from the Pocono Writer’s Workshop here.

#SFWAPro


Heliosphere 2019 Schedule

April 4, 2019

I’ll be at Heliosphere in Tarrytown, NY this weekend. Here’s where to find me:

Friday, April 5

5pm-6:15pm – Ballroom 1 – SF/Fantasy/Horror on TV
10pm-11:15pm – Ballroom 4 – Two Stupid Ideas Make a Story

Saturday, April 6

2:30pm-3:45pm – Ballroom 6 – Books N Brews (Kaffeeklatch)
5:30pm-6:45pm – Ballroom 4 – Reading (with Lorraine Schein, C. S. E. Cooney, Barbara Krasnoff)

Sunday, April 7

10am-11:15am – Ballroom 5 – Crowdfunding 101
1pm-2:15pm – Ballroom 2 – Magic = Metaphysics of the Author

Schedule on the Heliosphere website, along with panel descriptions.

#SFWAPro