Future Home of Epic Hat Battles


Tower of Geek at SuperCon in Miami. See if you can spot the Truly Impressive Hat.

If you saw my post on visiting Supercon in Miami, you might remember how much I liked the WordFire Press extravaganza, the Tower of Geek. Writers smiling, interacting one-on-one with fans. Happy volunteers helping people find their next great read. Where I had my awesome (if one-sided) hat battle (which I lost) and met some very cool people.

It reminded me of my old bookstore days. I didn’t have to look very far to find interesting people with sparkling minds back then … they just came walking into the shop. And then I got to talk to them about some of my favorite things: reading, and books, and art Star Trek and gaming and oh by the way if you like that have you seen this author. I didn’t make a lot of money, compared to some in other fields, but the quality of my hours was matchless.

The Tower of Geek is the kind of thing that makes you want to be part of it, whether you’re buying books — which I did — or being part of the crew. And I told Bertie.

And Bertie did what Bertie does, and wrote Kevin Anderson an e-mail. And sent him a book. And told him about the other we were working on.

And Kevin Anderson said yes.

So Albatross has been revised, the better to have a companion volume, and will be coming out in print and a new e-book, likely within the year. And Book Two, for now called Shimmer, is ready to be looked at by a pro Editor as well. And Bertie and I have signed both contracts with WordFire Press.

And I have purchased a new hat.

To celebrate.

Prepare for Epic Hat Battle, part Two!


Supercon and Supercool Humans


The self-proclaimed Tower of Geek from WordFire Press. Watch for this edifice, coming to a con near you! Say hi to authors. Discover cool books. See epic hats.

This has been a jam-packed week! Friday last, I gathered up the son, his various cosplay elements, a couple of fabulous hats, braved the infamous I-95, and headed to Florida Supercon. Saturday was sold out, a first for this event; congratulations to the organizers and volunteers for running a successful show!

Lots of great artists and some fun costumes in evidence. I got to chat with actor Emilio Delgado (Luis from Sesame Street) and we sang a bit of impromptu music from the “Lovers of 5” segment. I’d only seen that bit once, but the catchy tune, costuming, and staging stuck with me through the years. Emilio laughed and said it was one of his favorite bits. You can find the video online by searching “Sesame Street Give Me Five”: worth your time for the costuming and epic sideburns alone! That show had some great music. I think that segment, music and costuming alike, was likely a play on “Float On” by The Floaters. But I actually prefer the Sesame Street version. (Does it seem strange that a song about loving the number 5 would be performed by 4 guys?)

I love going to a convention that’s not primarily a literary event and seeking out the writers. At Supercon, I met some from indie and traditional publishing (sometimes both in the same person)! WordFire Press scored a great location in front of a set of entrance doors and erected their Tower of Geek; see photo above. Egged on by Todd McCaffrey, I entered a silent battle of hats with the gent above, which I will freely admit to losing. He had panache, and better accessories. And was unaware of our battle, until I told him he’d won. He won with panache too. A great hat and confidence go hand-in-hand.

Blew my budget on books and art (a refrain you will grow accustomed to around here) and you’ll be hearing about them in the weeks to come. Right now I’m in the throes of editing, though, so not much reading time. (I’m hoping to enlist a couple of younger readers to my cause today. I will use tea as a bribe, and with any luck I will get them to guest post here! Wish me luck!)

Also loved: attending a writing panel with Miami playwright and groovy human Andie Arthur (of Lost Girls Theatre fame) and her very generous friend, Kent Wilson, who so kindly distributed my extra ticket to the event to a forlorn-looking random stranger standing alone outside. (Kent went so I didn’t have to go through bag check again. And because he is an awesome human.) Kent missed part of the panel, but gave some huge delight to a guy who’d driven the length of two counties (on I-95) only to find there were no tickets available … Our co-conspirator walked up to him and transformed his day! There’s so much grim in the world. I love having been able to be a small part in this moment of kindness, and so appreciate Andie and Kent for helping it happen. You can find out more about Andie on her website. Or watch for her all over the South Florida theater scene.

In honor of Andie and Kent and the book-in-30-days panel we attended together, I’ll share with you a podcast I’ve discovered. (I wish I could remember who told me about this one. I want to think it’s Terri Windling, but I’m not sure.) In any case, I made the road trip north to Ocala (and back!) over the last three days for family stuff; wee dog Max and I while driving listened to several episodes of new-to-me podcast The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn. Just in time for Camp Nanowrimo, so of interest to some writers. But her opening thoughts on Brexit were calming to me, and very timely for reasons I won’t go into here, and I’d like to thank her for them. Whether you’re a new or established writer, indie or traditional, or a reader looking for more insight into the process, Joanna will have something in her backlist of podcasts that will be of use to you. Highly recommended.

How To Write 50,000 Words In A Month With Grant Faulkner


GBR #1: Connie Willis


Why Willis Comes First

I fell right out of reading Speculative Fiction for adults, and the world surrounding it, for a few years; why is for another day. One author that did make it into my consciousness, via the fine folks over at Metafilter, was Connie Willis. Her time travel novels are favorites over on the blue, and for very good reason. They are beautiful and heart wrenching betimes, and also funny, which is so very hard to do well. And Willis does funny brilliantly.

She’s first on my Great Balticon Readathon list, though, because I need to tell her to tell her that the jig is, frankly, up. In 2015, she survived being bitten by a bat. She jokingly alluded to vampires, and her relief at not being transformed. Ha ha, Connie. You can’t be transformed into a vampire … if you are ALREADY some kind of supernatural creature! I developed this theory during my research for this Readathon.  I looked at many, many images of Connie Willis. It is obvious that, other than the cleverly recolored hair, the woman has. not. changed.  I offer the following images as evidence:


Connie Willis, Circa 1996



Connie Willis, circa 2016

See what I mean? Unchanged. Something uncanny is afoot!

After the Readathon, in fact, I may go search through historic paintings to see if I can’t spot her. It’s a shame there are no paintings of Shakespeare’s wife. Because I have Suspicions there.


Aside from my fangirling, I discovered that she is a fellow Shakespearian and has in fact one-upped me by naming her daughter Cordelia. I adore this. Also,  I learned that in addition to the rest of her very substantial backlist, Blackout and All Clear exist. And I really want to read them. So my first selection for the Readathon is the Blackout/All Clear combo for Kindle (Two books for $23.98: less than the cost of going to a movie and will last hours longer. Bonus, I can eat this cauliflower I just roasted instead of buying overpriced popcorn. I can’t afford NOT to buy them!). If you have not read the previous books in this series, I highly recommend the award-winning Doomsday Book (funny, but heartbreaking) and To Say Nothing of the Dog (a delightful comedy of manners).

You can find ConnieWillis online or join the Fans of Connie Willis page on Facebook. She’s charming wherever you find her! Also, she’s a fellow chai tea aficionado and can sing in a choir (which I have never managed to do), can smile naturally in every known picture (another skill I don’t have) and has survived being bat-bitten (which I have also never managed to do. I have, however, helped raise an orphaned bat to release to the wild. Sincerely hoping these two events are not related … if so, my most sincere apologies, Connie Willis!) Watch for Connie’s newest book coming in October 2016: Crosstalk