Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Wednesday, May 20, 2020

    My 2020 Balticon Schedule

    Memorial Day weekend is coming up fast, and so is Balticon. This year we won’t be traveling to Baltimore for our annual dose of Memorial Day weekend joy. But never fear. Balticon is coming to you. Check out the website for the details. There will be panels, filking, gaming and a fabulous virtual Masquerade. The best part is it’s all free—though nobody will complain if you decide to support the con and its literacy efforts through the donate button. In fact, we’ll cheer.
    Meanwhile, take a look at the panels where you’ll find me:

    Friday, May 22, 6PM
    Writing for Themed Anthologies
    Michael Ventrella (Moderator), Keith R.A. DeCandido, John L. French, Monica Louzon, Jean Marie Ward
    Anthologies offer an excellent opportunity for writers to get their work to new readers. Writers and editors discuss where to look for submission opportunities, how to write to a theme, and tips on catching an editor's eye (for the right reasons).

    Friday, May 22, 8PM
    Write What You Know! Wait, What Do I Know?
    Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Catherine Asaro, Stephanie Burke, Larry Hodges, Scott Roche
    Regardless of how literally you take the old adage, you're going to be writing some degree of what you know and have experienced. What are some different ways you can incorporate this knowledge into your story? How much detail should you convey to an audience, and how do you know what's going to be interesting to other people?

    Saturday, May 23, 9PM
    Getting the Most from a Writers’ Association
    Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Bud Sparhawk, Jamaila Brinkley, Sarah Pinsker, Lee Murray
    Genre association groups such as the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and the Romance Writers Association (RWA), as well as more local groups like the Maryland Writers Association (MWA), can offer benefits and perks. Panelists talk about what different groups have to offer and how to get the most out of your membership.

    Sunday, May 24, 6PM
    Bad Transportation Math vs the Speed of Plot
    Jean Marie Ward (Moderator), Julayne Hughes, Mark Van Name, Ken Schrader, Catherine Asaro
    The logistics of travel and travel times don't always need to be ironclad, but can make for an easily noticed and unpleasant plot-hole, whether in a fantasy setting (with travel on horseback or sailing ships) or in a science fiction setting (with various FTL devices). What are tricks to avoid these holes, and how can apparent errors be reconciled if only caught late in the process?

    Hope to see you there!

    Tuesday, May 5, 2020

    Someone's in the kitchen with Arturo

    Like a lot of folks in these locked down times, I think about food. A lot--what I can find, what I can persuade people to deliver, and what I can cook. There is a school of culinary thought that says all US cuisine derives from African-American cuisine, and African-American cuisine is the United States' only original, homegrown cuisine. Sure, we eat food and dishes from all over, but our national bedrock, our unique contribution to the culinary world is the product of centuries of black cooks and black celebrity chefs. (Yes, our first homegrown celebrity chefs, dating to the early 19th century, were all African-American. Look it up.

    Arturo Schomburg--writer, thinker and historian of the Harlem Renaissance--wanted to celebrate that legacy in a mammoth collection of 400 recipes. It was never published, but still became a seminal work of modern culinary history. What strikes me, however, is what a totally American tale the story of his never-finished cookbook is, from his book proposal's stated pan-American goals to its much more limited, US-centric focus to the one recipe it contained: a recipe for gumbo from a cookbook by Lafcadio Hearn.

    Hearn, for those of you who aren't obsessed with Japanese movies (Greg Uchrin, I'm looking at you), was an Irish-Greek American newspaper man, who after years of covering stories around the US and the Caribbean, moved to Japan, took a Japanese name (Koizumi Yakumo), and wrote a number of seminal collections of Japanese ghost stories and legends, including KWAIDAN: STORIES AND STUDIES OF STRANGE THINGS. The United States is and always has been a melting pot, a great big glorious stew of people and ideas. Celebrate it!

    #ArturoSchomburg #LafcadioHearn #AmericanCooking #recipes