Balticon 2017 and New Story

May 26, 2017

I’m driving to Baltimore this morning and will be attending Balticon Friday through Sunday. Here’s where you can find me:

Saturday, 10am – 5th Floor, Guilford – The State of SFF Publishing panel

Saturday, 12pm – 5th Floor, Mt. Washington – Editing the Short Story panel

Saturday, 2pm – 6th Floor, St. George – Author reading (with John French and Elektra Hammond)

Saturday, 6pm – 8th Floor, Room 8006 – Contracts for Writers panel

Sunday, 9am – 8th Floor, Room 8029 – Kafeeklatsch (30 minutes)

Sunday, 10am – 6th Floor, St. George – Jews… In… Space… panel

Sunday, 12:30pm – 5th Floor, Autograph tables – Autograph session (with Starla Huchton) (30 minutes)

Sunday, 1pm – 8th Floor, Room 8029 – The Business of Short Fiction workshop

 

Meantime, read my latest SF flash fiction piece which came out from Daily Science Fiction this week:

Parametrization of Complex Weather Patterns for Two Variables

#SFWAPro

 

 


Balticon 50 (2016) Schedule

May 25, 2016

You can find me in Baltimore over the four-day Memorial Day weekend, attending Balticon 50 along with such luminaries as George R. R. Martin, Peter S. Beagle, John Varley and many more. I will spend most of the time in the dealer room, manning the UFO Publishing vending table. However, I’m also participating on several programming items. Here they are:

Friday, 9pm – St. George – Urban Fantasy Reading

I’ll read alongside Val Griswold-Ford, John Hartness, and S.L. Wideman. I’ll read “Dreidel of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Channukah” and maybe something else, time permitting.

Saturday, 9am – Parlor 11029 – The Business of Short Fiction

We’ll discuss researching short fiction markets, preparing manuscript for submission, cover letters, communication with editors, contract review and negotiation, reprint rights and markets, foreign rights, and other aspects of monetizing your short stories.  Advance registration is required for this seminar and attendance is limited.

Saturday, 5pm – Autograph Table 1 – Signing

Signing books with Sarah Pinsker and Michael Underwood.

Monday, 10am – Kent – Mass Signing

Lots of authors signing at the same time.

Monday, 11am – Parlor 8029 – How to Give and Get Critiques

With Sarah Pinsker (M), Scott Edelman, Connie Willis and K. M. Szpara

What goes into being a good critiquer. How to listen to others’ critiques of your work. Where to find critique partners, online and in person.

Monday, 12pm – Parlor 8029 – What’s Hot Short Fiction?

With Sarah Pinsker (M), Mike Underwood, Jean Marie Ward, Scott Edelman

#SFWAPro

 


My 2015 Balticon Schedule

May 21, 2015

I’ll be attending Balticon for the next four days, as I do every year. Here’s where you can find me:

FRIDAY

4:00 PM Retelling Fairy-Tales Across Media Garden
Alex Shvartsman (M), Sunny Moraine, Ruth Sanderson, Jo Walton, Melissa L Hayden (50 minutes)
9:00 PM Dangerous Voices Variety Hour Salon B
Sarah Pinsker (M), Michael Underwood (M), Alex Shvartsman (50 minutes)
Baltimore Science Fiction Society’s own readings series comes to Balticon once more! The Dangerous Voices Variety Hour takes its cues from such diverse inspirations as the popular 510 reading series, NPR’s quiz show: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, and Orson Welles’s original War of the Worlds broadcast. The hour long, free event features readings, irreverent author interviews, trivia, prizes, and more.

SATURDAY

3:00 PM Autograph – Saturday – 15:00 Autograph Table
Larry Hodges, Alex Shvartsman, Grig Larson (50 minutes)

SUNDAY

10:00 AM Exploring Publishing Platforms Salon D
Mike Allen, Neal Levin, Mike Luoma, Alex Shvartsman (50 minutes)
Desktop publishing has come a long way. Learn the ins and outs of the various publishing platforms.
11:00 AM How to Start Writing Derby
Michael Black (M), Paula S Jordan, Hugh J O’Donnell, Don Sakers, Alex Shvartsman (50 minutes)
Workshops, writing circles, and NaNoWriMo. How do you start writing, and how do you make sure you keep at it? Younger and beginning writers are encouraged to attend.
12:00 PM Putting a Pretty Face on Small Press Parlor 1041
Scott E Pond (M), Andrew Fox, Gail Z. Martin, Alex Shvartsman, Patrick Thomas (50 minutes)
Covers, often the bane of small press publishers. How do you put out a nice looking book without breaking the bank? What do you need to know when designing those covers and selecting cover art? What pitfalls should you watch out for that could mean the difference between looking pro and not.
1:00 PM Readings: Russ Colchamiro, Adam Ruben, Alex Shvartsman Chesapeake
Russ Colchamiro, Alex Shvartsman, Adam Ruben (50 minutes)
2:00 PM Starting your own Small Press Pimlico
Dave Robison (M), Andrew Fox, Gary L Lester, Alex Shvartsman (50 minutes)
Taxes, registration, a company name… there are so many things to consider before you even start. Learn some of the things you should be aware of before you take that plunge into the publishing mogul pool.

MONDAY

12:00 PM What Do Short Fiction Editors Want? Salon D
Mike McPhail, Bernie Mojzes, Alex Shvartsman, Joshua Palmatier (50 minutes)
What is the behind-the-scenes process of what happens at a magazine? From Slush to Sale panel

#SFWAPro

 

 


Balticon 2014 Schedule

May 21, 2014

Balticon

I’ll be attending BaltiCon again this year over the Memorial Day weekend, and here’s my schedule:

FRIDAY

5pm, Parlor 1041 – Designing a Trading Card Game

7PM, Parlor 1026 – How to Submit A Story

SATURDAY

10am, Maryland Foyer – Autograph Session

7:45PM, Parlor 1041 – Kickstarter 101 for Game Players and Designers

SUNDAY

11am, Pimlico – Reading – J.R. Blackwell, Alex Shvartsman, Many Turzillo

MONDAY

8am, Salon C – The Short Fiction Market

11am, Derby – Games fantastic and futuristic

12am, Belmont – Beta Readers

#SFWAPro

 

If you are at BaltiCon, please say hello!

 

 

 


My 2013 BaltiCon Schedule

May 21, 2013

 

I am going to spend four fun and very busy days at BaltiCon this weekend. My schedule is full of fantastic events, panels, and even an author gala. Here’s where I’ll be:

 

W-4 Broadening Horizons
Friday, 4pm, Salon C (50 minutes)
Moderator: Joy Ward
Panelists: Alex Shvartsman, Walt Boyes
How can writers reach potential readers outside of their immediate science fiction markets?

Author Gala
Friday, 5pm, Con Suite (2 hours)
Meet and greet with over 20 SFWA authors, including BaltiCon guest of honor Joe Haldeman

LE-4 Editor’s Pet Peeves
Saturday, 9am, Salon C (50 minutes)
Moderator: Michael A.Ventrella
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Alex Shvartsman, Leona Wisoker, Walt Boyes
A head’s up for writers on what editors don’t like to see or deal with from their authors. Headaches they’ve encountered in publishing.

G-5 Portable/Pocket Games
Saturday, 1pm, Parlor 1041 (50 minutes)
Moderator: Donna Dearborn;
Panelists: Eric Hymowitz, Alex Shvartsman, Krystina Lynch
All about games for entertainment anywhere!

P-11 Saturday, 10pm, Salon B (50 minutes)
Moderator: Alex Shvartsman
Panelists: Christine Norris , Eric V. Hardenbrook
A discussion about new magazine s that have come and gone, new zines that seem to have staying power, and short-lived publishing houses.

W-17 Writing, Selling and Publishing Humorous SF/F Fiction
Sunday, 9am, Salon B (50 minutes)
Moderator: Alex Shvartsman
Panelists: Stephanie Burke, Collin Earl, Phil Giunta, Sarah Pinsker
Panelist discuss how writing humor differs from “straight stuff”, both in the writing process and in the submission/marketing process.

P-10 From Slush to sale
Sunday, 1pm, Salon B (50 minutes)
Moderator: Sarah Pinsker;
Panelists: Scott H. Andrews, Damien Walters Grintalis, Alex Shvartsman, Christine Norris, Hildy Silverman
A detailed discussion on every aspect of the process of creating and publishing a professional and semi-pro magazine.

G-12. You Have Gaming in My Fiction
Sunday, 2:30 PM, Parlor 1041 (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Moderator: Neal Levin;
Panelists: Mike McPhail, Alex Shvartsman, Michael A. Ventrella, Jagi Lamplighter, Jon Sprunk
All about how to write media tie-in fiction for games

BL-2 The Dark Quest Books Mega-Launch
Sunday, 7pm, Frankie & Vinnies
Dark Quest Books launches their Spring 2013 titles with guest editors and authors:
Danielle Ackley-McPhail (“The Eternal Cycle”), Danny Birt, Jack Campbell (“The Lost Fleet series”), Myke Cole, Judi Fleming, Charles E. Gannon, Elektra Hammond, Eric V. Hardenbrook,
C.J. Henderson (“Teddy London”), Mike McPhail) , Bernie Mojzes, Christine Norris, KT Pinto, James Daniel Ross (“Radiation Angels”), Alex Shvartsman, Maria V. Snyder, Jim Stratton, Patrick Thomas (“Murphy’s Lore”, Robert E. Waters, and John C. Wright (“Chronicles of Chaos”), Jeff Young

R-47 Plotters vs Pantsers
Monday, 10am, Parlor 1041 (50 minutes)
Moderator: Michael A. Ventrella
Panelists: Jack Campbell (Hemry), Doc Coleman, Kat Otis, Jennifer Povey, Alex Shvartsman, Leona Wisoker
Do You Plan your Story or Write by the seat of your Pants? Panelists share the quirks and foibles of their working method with
readers. A Round Table discussion.

R-42 Is Science Fiction Giving Up on the Future
Monday, 11am, Salon B (50 minutes)
Moderator: Carl Cipra
Panelists: Michael D’Ambrosio, Darrell Schweitzer, Alex Shvartsmaon, Eric V. Hardenbrook
It seems ironic, in a time of such technical progress, and when we are confirming that the galaxy really does contain billions of planets, but a lot of science fiction seems to turn away from the future, as if, post-Singularity, it will be impossible to describe. Are alternate history and steampunk merely symptoms of a more general evasion of the future?

There are many other exciting panels and events at this excellent convention. You can download the complete listing here.


Shvartsman in the Wild

February 2, 2013

I find myself looking forward to attending a very large number of conventions and industry shows in the next few months. So if you’re looking to conduct any sort of writing- or gaming-related business with me, hang out, or simply say hello, these are the places you can find me:

Feb 10-13  –  Toy Fair – NYC  (Industry only. I will likely only attend on February 10 unless my appointment dates/times change.)

Feb 15-17 – Boskone – Boston – Feb 15-17 – I’m not 100% sure about this one yet, but it’s likely that I will attend on Saturday and Sunday.

Mar 15-17 – LunaCon – NY – Mar 15-17 – Will attend one or more days depending on what panels/programming I get tapped for and my work schedule, but will attend for at least one day.

Mar 18-22 – GAMA – Las Vegas – (Industry only. Will attend Monday-Thursday. Will be very busy, it’s best to schedule meetings/dinners in advance)

May 24-27 – BaltiCon – Intend to attend all four days. Will participate in panels, readings, etc.  Should have lots of time to hang out.

 

I’m always eager to talk to and meet other writers and fellow SF fans, so if you see me at one of these cons don’t hesitate to say hello!


BaltiCon and a New Sale

May 23, 2012

I will be attending BaltiCon, a science fiction convention in Maryland over the Memorial Day weekend.

There is a plethora of firsts in this for me:

This will be the first non-gaming science fiction convention I attend on my own. Anatoly Belilovsky was kind enough to bring me along on a day trip to LunaCon a few months back (which I enjoyed a lot) — but this will  be the first time I attend on my own and stay overnight.

The main reason for my trip is to attend the launch of “Galactic Creatures,” an anthology from Dark Quest Books’ Sparkito imprint, managed and edited by Elektra Hammond. This was the first anthology project I was directly invited to participate it, and will be the first physical, printed *book* that I’m in. I’ve been published in e-book anthos and printed magazines, but never in an actual book. .

I owe many thanks to Elektra Hammond, who not only had enough faith in me to invite me to this project, but also kindly encouraged me to come out to this convention. I’m still a little anxious because I know practically no one there, but she managed to convince me that I should go, and now I’m super excited and can’t wait for the weekend.

And, on top of everything else, I will get to do a brief reading from “The Dragon Ships of Tycho,” my “Galactic Creatures” story.

I’ve done a fair amount of public speaking in the gaming industry and have no fear of it. However, while I can speak well guided by a handful of bullet points, I’m *terrible* at reading aloud from the page. I realize that this is a weakness I have to correct if I’m to take writing seriously. If I’m successful at writing, it’ll come with more public reading opportunities in the future, and I have to prepare. So I’ve decided to practice.

I read the beginning of “The Dragon Ships of Tycho” out loud several times so far, using a timer so that I could figure out where to stop without going over my allotted five minutes of infamy.  My first reading was pretty awful, but it got a little better with each pass.  Reading an article about reading aloud by Mary Robinette Kowal posted on the SFWA web site was also very helpful.  I’ll continue to practice until the weekend and, hopefully, manage to put on a decent performance on Sunday.

If you are attending BaltiCon, I hope you’ll consider stopping by the Dark Quest Book launch party, which is scheduled for 7-9pm on Sunday in the Garden Room. And if you see me wondering the convention halls at any point during the weekend, please do say hello. There’s only a small chance I’ll then follow you around like a lost puppy, I promise.

###

When I set out to write science fiction, I imagined that most of my stories would be in the genre I love to read most — space opera. But it turned out that most of my stories fit into other sub-genres. “The Dragon Ships of Tycho” is one of the handful of true space operas with lots of alien races, galaxy-wide conflict and grandiose scale. Another such story is “Price of Allegiance.”

“Price of Allegiance” was among the first stories I wrote, back in 2010. The original iteration was unpublishable — it was poorly structured, featured a ton of exposition and suffered from most other faults that afflict the beginner writers. But the idea behind it was good — good enough that I didn’t want to give up on this story. I kept rewriting it, and each iteration became a little better. I had to eliminate some of my favorite lines and even scenes in the story, but those painful cuts improved it overall. I changed lots of things about it, until finally I felt like the story was good enough to be published.

 

Around the same time, Penumbra Magazine announced the upcoming lineup of issues which included a politics-themed one. “Price of Allegiance” is all about the interspecies politics on the galactic scale. The fit seemed perfect. So much so that I not only held the story until the submission window opened up, but trimmed it even further in order to make it fit within Penumbra’s length guidelines. The wait and those painful cuts of the extra few hundred words were worth it. After several close-call round 2 rejections for other issues, Penumbra has accepted “Price of Allegiance” for inclusion in its July issue!

I very much look forward to appearing in Penumbra, and this latest story sale is timely in that, along with last week’s Nature publication, it provides a much-needed confidence boost for my trip to BaltiCon. I hope to see a few familiar faces there, and especially look forward to making new friends.