RavenCon, Richmond’s home-grown con. Yours truly will be on the program again this year—as will lots of my favorite people. What you see here is only the smallest part of the whole.
Friday, April 24
5 PM (Panel) Urban Fantasy in the Real World
Panelists discuss using real-world places and historical figures in your writing. What can you do and what will get you in trouble? How do you keep a place real enough to be recognizable to people who have visited or lived there, but still make it suit your fiction needs?
R.S. Belcher, J. T. Glover, Kurrie Hoyt, Gail Martin, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)
7 PM Opening Ceremonies
Rooms E and F
11 PM (Event) CJ Henderson Memorial
Friends and fans of CJ Henderson gather together to remember this iconic author and frequent guest of RavenCon.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail (Moderator), Heidi Hooper, Mike McPhail, Michael Ventrella, Jean Marie Ward
Saturday, April 25
4 PM (Presentation/Workshop) Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Bite-sized readings from seven of your favorite authors.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Meriah Crawford, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Gail Martin, KT Pinto, Jennifer Povey, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)
7 PM (Panel) Weird Westerns
What is it about the west that attracts speculative fiction writers? Firefly, The Dark Tower, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, and The Wild Wild West; film, television, anime, and commercial fiction use the west as a setting and place for magic to happen. Why do we love this sub-genre? Where is it going next?
Danielle Ackley-McPhail, R.S. Belcher, Doc Coleman, Nicole Givens Kurtz (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward
10 PM (Panel) The Villain's Journey
We all know about the Hero’s Journey. But is there a corresponding Villain’s Journey? Panelists will discuss the arc villains (or antagonists) can and should take through novels and other media.
Emily Lavin Leverett, Kate Paulk, D. Alexander Ward, Jean Marie Ward (Moderator)
Hope to see you at the con and at the book launch parties being hosted by my good friends Gail Z. Martin (Saturday, 11 PM—I love her so much I may actually crawl out of my coffin before noon to attend) and the folks at Double Dragon Publishing (Friday, 6 PM—by far a saner hour). ‘Til Friday!
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Where were all the other voters? If as one of my old political science professors claimed, people are more likely to vote when they're unhappy, it seems like most of the voters must have been okay with recent trends, such as increasing diversity among writers and subject matter. It will be interesting to see the numbers next year. To say nothing of the numbers for the other science fiction, fantasy and horror awards, like the 2015 World Fantasy Awards.
Mwahahaha! You knew I was hiding a big sharp, pointy thing in here somewhere.
Seriously, if you're eligible to vote in this year's World Fantasy Awards, please, vote. Vote for the works that make your heart sing, even if they aren't something your high school literature teacher would dismiss as unworthy.
No. Especially if it's something he or she would dismiss as "unworthy". Great writing isn't always about making you feel awful. Death, despair and dystopias are part of the human condition and need to be addressed in ways that make us think. But great writing also about opening yourself to wonder, possibility, hope and joy. Frankly, a lot more people read Agatha Christie and Bram Stoker than will ever read Henry James. And don't get me started on how many people have dissed Jane Austen through the years, both for her subject matter and for her gender.
In addition, may I suggest looking at candidates other than the usual suspects in all the awards categories. For example, there are a lot of great books published by small presses. Naturally, I plan to nominate all the 2014 anthologies on my home page. It's a writer's version of showing the flag. But I'll also be nominating a middle grade book for Best Novel--and I almost never read middle grade novels, much less recommend them. That book I wanted to live.
Even more important is coloring outside the lines when it comes to the Special Awards, Nonprofessional and Professional. There are lot of folks in fandom who are critical to the tribal gatherings we call cons. But do you ever stop to think about how important the con chair or department chairs are to your experience as an author or a fan?
For example, writers and fans in the DC/Maryland/Virginia metro area are facing a giant hole in the center of our universe due to the passing of Peggy Rae Sapienza, co-chair of World Fantasy Con 2014. Peggy Rae was a major part of every Washington area convention for close to forty years. She had a knack for finding the right people to do the big jobs and persuading them to do them--including me. I spent much of last year working with her, Sam Lubell and Bill Campbell on the World Fantasy Con 40th anniversary anthology, Unconventional Fantasy, at her behest. The finished anthology comprised six volumes (including an exhibit catalog for the con's Virgil Finlay exhibit), 3200 pages, over three hundred art works and a hundred historic photos. And that was only part of what she did for that one con.
But there are folks like that associated with every convention. I think of the good folks who run the many tracks at the cons I attend. I may be buying World Fantasy Con supporting memberships for years just to nominate all of them.
Then there are the professionals we take for granted. Maybe it's the reviewer or interviewer for your favorite online magazine. How about the publishers of that same magazine?
I can tell you one vote I'll be making this year. I'm nominating Joy Poger and June Williams of Buzzy Mag. Buzzy's parent company started life creating wonderfully snarky t-shirts and audio versions of novels by Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs and more. But that wasn't enough. About four years ago they decided they wanted to create an online magazine that covered every aspect of science fiction, fantasy and horror. They post interviews of Hollywood types and writers (in the interests of honesty, some of them by me), as well as reviews of anything that takes their fancy in films, TV, gaming and fiction. But best of all, they are a major market for new SF/fantasy/horror fiction. And the stories... Well, you can read them for yourself. Just follow the link.
Vote your joy. I'm voting mine. ;-)