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    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    My Capclave Schedule

    It’s almost here! Capclave, the Washington DC-area science fiction, fantasy and horror convention will run from Friday through Sunday, October 11-13, at the Hilton Washington DC North in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

    This is a big thing—not just for me, but also for fans of Guest of Honor George R.R. Martin. I can’t remember the last time he and fellow Guests of Honor—editor Sharyn November, writer Harold Waldrop—have graced an East Coast con.  Putting on my reporter’s hat, I have no idea how much Game of Thrones/Wild Cards/Old Mars gossip I’ll be able to wheedle out of them. But I plan to give it my best shot.

    And par-tay! At least, when I’m not on a panel. I think you’ll agree my schedule (below) is choice. Hope to see you there!


    4 p.m. Salon A

    The Darker Side of Fae (Ends at 4:55 p.m.)
    Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Alethea Kontis, Michelle D. Sonnier (M), Jim Stratton, Jean Marie Ward
    Not everyone can be Tinkerbell, sometimes the world is a little less clean and pure. Is the darker fae a return to time when the fae were strange and alarming?

    10 p.m., Salon B

    Nice Shoes … (Ends at: 10:55 p.m.)
    Judi Fleming, Jason Jack Miller, Betsy A. Riley, Patrick Scaffido, Jean Marie Ward
    Shoes, do they make the character? What are the tricks to subtly tell the reader about the character through clothes, furniture, job, and hobbies. Is this just a chic lit trait or a common tool?

    11 p.m., Salons CDE

    I'm Just Borrowing the Characters… Writing Fanfic (Ends at: 11:55 p.m.)
    Janine Spendlove, Elaine Stiles (M), Jean Marie Ward, Steven H. Wilson
    Why do people write fanfic? Is it fair use or unfair abuse? How is it different from retellings of Greek myths or King Arthur? Is using familiar characters and settings "training wheels" for beginning authors or a dangerous crutch that will engrain bad habits? Where are the lines?


    3 p.m., Salon B

    A Survey of Kickass Animals that Probably Don't Exist (Ends at: 3:55 p.m.)
    Thomas Holtz (M), Diana Peterfreund, Norm Sherman, Howard Waldrop, Jean Marie Ward
    From the Goatman to the Mothman, Yeti to Yowie, and Dodo to Ogopogo. From Bloops to Blobs, Giant Owls to Lizard men, Chupacabres to Mongolian Deathworms. From the foul smelling Skunk Ape of the Florida Everglades, to the brain eating Nandi Bears of Kenya, this course is a basic introduction into the study of absurd animals which purportedly exist based on the sightings and information gathered by stammering lunatics, drunken peasants and other researchers in the field.

    7:30 p.m., Salons A-E

    9 p.m., Salon B

    Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading (Ends at: 9:55 p.m.)
    Jean Marie Ward (M), Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Day Al-Mohamed, Meriah Lysistrata Crawford, Elektra Hammond, Dina Leacock, Christine Norris, Leona Wisoker
    Bite-sized readings from the writers of Broad Universe.

    Saturday, October 5, 2013

    Looking ahead

    Art by Kelli Neier
    Those of you who obsessively check the sidebar of my website (there's gotta be one of you, right?) will have noticed the release of Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil has been pushed back again, and I still don't have a release date for Gaslight & Grimm. (Boo.) But a new story and a new convention have joined the list. (Win!)
    First and foremost in any writer's mind is the latest acceptance. "The Gap in the Fence" is one of my favorite contemporary fantasies, but I wasn't sure it would find a home. Then Janine Spendlove and Ron Garner of Silence in the Library Publishing invited me to submit a story to Athena's Daughters. The fit between story and anthology was so close, it's almost as if I wrote it with Athena's Daughters in mind.
    Athena's Daughters will be the subject of a Kickstarter later in the year. The first level will fund the ebook, which features the beautiful cover by Kelli Neier shown here. As we go up the levels, there will be additional authors, illustrations and a paper edition. You better believe I'll have more about that as we get closer to launch.
    Also listed is my first confirmed con of 2014: World Fantasy Con. The 2014 edition will be happening just a few minutes from my home. But this is one local on I won't be commuting to. I plan to party!
    I also plan to party at next weekend's Capclave, and I'll be posting my schedule early next week. Hope to see you there!

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    Dragon Con 2013: The Good, the Bad, and the...Waffles?

    A Steampunk Clark Kent reveals his
    true identity at the Aether Lounge
    party Aug. 29.

    Oops! You weren't supposed to see the traditional post-Dragon Con Dead Bug Routine. But this Dragon Con was so much more than usual--more people, more lines, more panels...

    Did I mention MORE PEOPLE? Unofficial estimates put attendance at over 70,000 per day. There were lines for everything, including most of the writing track panels. Never saw that before! On the plus side, even the more obscure panelists played to packed rooms.

    On the negative, people spent more time in line than they did at events, and at least some of it was spent in the rain--not good if you were in costume. The dealers and exhibit spaces were moved to the America's Mart, which meant that folks not in line were probably on their way to or from shopping. As a hardworking panelist, I didn't get in much shopping. If my roomie Jana Oliver and Glennis LeBlanc of The Missing Volume hadn't conspired on my behalf, I never would've been able to get a copy of Jana's new novel, Briar Rose.

    The closest I got to shopping was the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab booth on the first floor of the America's Mart. There I went to town.

    Author Faith Hunter (left) and Alison,
    the embodiment of her series character
    Jane Yellowrock. You should hear
    the holy water clank when she moves!
    Did I mention I was hardworking? There were nine panels listed on my Guest badge, not including my stint as a presenter for the Parsec Awards. I wound up on two more--one as an emergency fill-in; the other because there were already eight people on the panel, and they figured one more couldn't hurt.

    I also recorded eight interviews for Buzzy Mag, including Jim Butcher, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Richard Epcar, two of the most distinctive voices from one of my favorite anime series, Ghost in the Shell. In the process I discovered that Faith Hunter has the best entourage. I mean, who wouldn't want to have Jane Yellowrock as their personal bodyguard? I also saw some amazing costumes.

    But I must confess to a major fail in the photography department. I wasn't fast enough to photograph two women in the Hyatt's Elevator of the Damned. One had diminutive bats doing duty as pasties and a bikini bottom consisting mostly of cobwebs. Her companion had a bra of rubber chickens over a bottom of waffles. Yes, waffles.

    I couldn't make this stuff up! I'm not that good!

    For the rest, you can see the pictures (and a little light commentary) on my Flickr page, The interviews will follow in about six months. Then we'll be ramping up to do it all over again. I can't wait!

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    My Balticon Schedule

    Balticon is this weekend—and I have schedule. Sort of. We’re talking Balticon, after all. Plans and schedules tend to be (ahem) fluid. The one thing you can be sure of is a lot of fun. So if you happen to be in the vicinity of Hunt Valley, Maryland, this weekend, I hope I’ll see you there! Friday 9 p.m., Salon A Steam-powered: Rage of the New Victorians Moderator: Jean Marie Ward Panelists: Martin Berman‐Gorvine, Richard Allen Leider, Neal Levin, Jeffrey P. Young From werewolves of property to anti-zombie airship pilots, the Empire has struck back. Meet the writers of this Brave Old World and learn about their stories and novels and where they get the ideas for those crazy gadgets. 11 p.m., Chase Room Cover Trends Moderator: Collin Earl Panelists: Richard Allen Leider, Starla A. Huchton, Philip Giunta, Jean Marie Ward What are the latest trends in science fiction, fantasy and horror covers? How are the new media changing the rules? What’s next? Saturday 4 p.m., Salon B Broad Universe Rapid Fire Readings Moderator: Kelly A. Harmon Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Gail Z. Martin, Christine Norris, Sarah Pinsker, KT Pinto, Morgen Rich, Roberta Rogow, Jean Marie Ward, Trisha J. Wooldridge Bite-sized readings from the amazing women/authors of Broad Universe. Sunday 7 p.m., Salon B Marketing and Promotion Moderator: Roxanne Bland Panelists: Ian Randal Strock; Cecilia Tan, Jean Marie Ward What marketing and promotion will publishers do, and how much of it? What marketing and self-promotion do publishers expect authors to do? Do the big houses do more for their authors than the small press houses, or do they only do more for their "big name" authors? 9 p.m., Parlor 3041 Balancing Creative Life with Real Life Moderator: Leona Wisoker Panelists: Phil Giunta, Jean Marie Ward How do you get your creative time in while still getting to work, having clean underwear and remembering to feed the cat? 10 p.m., Belmont Room Promoting Your Book Panelists: Jean Marie Ward, Michael Ventrella What works in promoting a book? Do book-signings really help a small author? Are bookmarks and/or postcards effective at garnering attention? Does a blog help or hurt an author? Does an author have to have a website? How do you find good reviewers? What tactics do NOT work? What methods might work for an established author that wouldn’t work for a beginner?

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013


    I'm back, with a first look at Ben Fogletto's amazing cover art for Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil, coming in August to a bricks-and-mortar and online bookseller near you.

    Hellfire Lounge 4 Painting

    And if that weren't enough, Edd Coutts has done a stunning job of capturing the moment when Eddie Woodhouse meets the Luftwaffe on the Hindenburg. Yep, "Glass Transit", my contribution to the anthology, features Eddie and Ducky "Duke D'Or" Orr, everybody's favorite hard luck sorcerers, on Nazi Germany's biggest flying bomb. Don't say you weren't warned.

    The scene on the bridge

    And I've posted pictures of RavenCon! The short version can be found in my Thursday Thirteen for Beyond the Veil. But there's more, lots more, on my Flickr page. Enjoy!


    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Boosting the Signal for a Good Cause and a Fun Promotion

    Nope, no RavenCon pictures...yet. But give a girl a break. I've got over a hundred photos and three interviews to assemble.
    Meanwhile, I thought I'd join the chorus pimping David Farland's Book Bomb. Per the Book Bomb Facebook page, David's son Ben suffered catastrophic injuries earlier this month. Conservative estimates, place the cost of his care at over $1 million. I don't know David or his family personally, but like many folks, I've learned a lot from his journal and frequent kicks in the pants. Now's the time to say thanks by helping out.
    On a much happier note, my good friend and frequent co-conspirator Danielle Ackley-McPhail has an interesting promotion in the works. In her own words:
    DA-M book coverHi, All. I received a wonderful review yesterday for my solo science fiction collection, A Legacy of Stars (DTF Publications/Dark Quest Books). It made my day, but it came with something of a mystery, which I’ll quote here: “One of the cleverest first contact stories to come along in a long time.” (Analog, June 2013 issue)
    Where is the mystery, do you ask? See…there are two first contact stories in the collection. Now I could just ask the reviewer which one he thought was the cleverest, but where is the fun in that? I say this calls for a contest. For the next week I will be taking a poll on what you thought was the cleverest first contact story in the book.
    How it works: If you really like me and want to give some support to a small press author buy the ebook version of the book for $2.99 and give it a read.
    Or, email me at greenfirephoenix (at) and I will send you a PDF file of the two stories in question. Whichever route you take, read the stories: "Building Blocks" and "To Look Upon The Face of God" and click the rafflecopter below by April 20 (EST) with your pick for which is the cleverest. Afterwards the reviewer, Don Sakers, will answer the question on my Facebook page. Two people will win a free, autographed copy of the print version of A Legacy of Stars.
    To help share this promo visit this link. Click here to read the full review
    Danielle Ackley-McPhail

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Heading to RavenCon

    Between deadlines and conventions, 2013 is shaping up as a wonderfully busy year.

    For those of you who missed it, I was one of the guests of honor at James Madison University's Madicon the first weekend in March. I had a great time with old friends and new, and as usual, I have the pictures to prove it.

    This weekend will find me in Richmond at RavenCon. This year's writing guests of honor are Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. The artist guest of honor is The Devil's Panties creator Jennie Breeden. I'm looking forward to all their panels, but I confess, I'm especially looking forward to Jennie's. Her web videos are laugh-so-loud-you-scare-the-cat funny, even when she's hawking merchandise. I can only hope to compete on my five panels.

    Yeah, you know what's coming--my RavenCon schedule:

    3 p.m., Room F
    Steampowered--the Rage of the New Victorians
    From werewolves to anti-zombie airship pilots, the Empire has struck back. What is it about this genre and time period that is so appealing. Is it the machinery? The celebration of intellect? Or is it the clothes?
    Carl Cipra (Moderator), Laura Anne Hill, Jean Marie Ward, Susan Zee

    11 p.m., York Room
    Yes, But is it Funny? Comedy in Science Fiction
    ...And presumably everything else. This is the late night panel. You really think we're going to stay on topic? Mwahahaha!
    Jim Bernheimer, Bud Sparhawk, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Joan Wendland

    2 p.m., Anna Room
    Judging a Book by its Cover
    What are the latest trends in science fiction, fantasy and horror covers? What do you love--and hate--about book covers? And what are the latest trends?
    Betty Cross, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), J. Andrew World

    4 p.m., Room E
    Beyond Steampunk
    Gaslight fantasy. Weird west. Dieselpunk. Cyberpunk. Explore the punked-out fictions that are not set in a British Victorian or Edwardian past.
    Betty Cross, Laura Anne Hill, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Susan Zee

    1 p.m., Room E
    The Discreet Charm of the Historical Fantasy
    What prompts otherwise sane writers to spend years researching Imperial Japan, the Silk Road, or the Ripper's London. How do they know when they've gotten it right?
    Day Al-Mohamed, Maggie Allen, KT Pinto, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)

    Hope to see you there!