What I like about going to cons

I’m back home for something like three full days, having spent the past two weeks in glorious California. Every time we head West, coming back East seems like a let-down. Maybe it’s a grass-is-greener thing (though the drought in California has done a number to said grass), but more likely, it’s just an attitude thing. Folks there really are friendlier, it seems.

But I’m about to head south to another friendly place — DragonCon. This will be my first repeat con, and there’s a reason for that. DragonCon is one giant celebration of all things geeky, and the positivity is contagious. (So is con-crud, but that’s a different story.)

Naturally, the biggest reason I go to conventions is to help make people aware that I’ve written books, and that they might like reading them. So I do a bunch of panels (and a reading) and talk about the geeky stuff we all love to packed rooms. It’s a deep-dive into geek with folks who appreciate that — and often out-geek me. I always learn something new from panels, no matter what the topic.

But the thing I love the most is community. Away from the Internet — which enables snark and cruelty like nothing else — folks are just generally awesome. Yes, there will always be a few bad apples, though the wave of anti-harassment policies and general behavior improvement has helped. Overall, people are just excited to share what they love with others, and celebrate creativity.

The other thing is the joy of hanging out with other creators. Writers are really a fun bunch, and most hangouts have left me smiling and laughing so much my face hurts the next day. I don’t get to do a lot of cons and other writerly gatherings — day-job, y’all — so it makes hanging out with my fellow scribes all the more awesome.

There’s been a lot of crap around fandom lately, what with the Hugos and all. That’s a very specific sub-set of SF/F fans overall, though. The tens of thousands of fans at big conventions like DragonCon have interests that range from anime to movies to D&D to comics and, yes, books. It all cross-pollenates into a big festival of fans loving what they love, without a lot of judgement.

Those are the cons I’ve enjoyed attending, and that’s what I’m looking forward to.

See you in Atlanta!

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Events

Heading off into the wild

A quick note for blog readers: I’ll be unplugged for most of this week, courtesy of a few days’ vacation in Big Sur. I’ll be reading Taiyo Fujii’s Gene Mapper and Chuck Wendig’s Zer0es and maybe working on my Secret Project as time and battery life allow.

There’s been a lot of ink spilled over the Hugo Awards of late, and honestly, I’ve been tempted to add my $0.02 to the mix at various times throughout the year. But then I see the insults and vitriol splashed around the Internet — on all sides, mind you — and I recognize that I’d open a can of worms I’ve neither the time nor inclination to deal with. Suffice it to say, I think the awards went off as well as could be expected, and my congratulations to all who walked away with a rocket.

And that’s all I got to say about that.

I’m looking forward to DragonCon immensely — my schedule is here, and I can’t wait to see old friends and make new ones. I love DragonCon because it’s a celebration of creators and creations, no matter where they’re coming from. Something to think about with regard to the Hugos.

I’ll be back next week with more. Until then, be good to one another.

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Events

The pictorial clues keep stacking up

Yet another photo, sans context or explanation. Seems like a rather dour fellow. Who is he?

You can see the others here. Feel free to speculate below as to what they are and how they’re connected.

teaser5

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Pictures

My schedule for DragonCon

In just a few short weeks, I’ll be heading down to Atlanta for my second DragonCon. Last year was absolutely fantastic, and I’m looking forward to this year even more. Here’s my schedule, still tentative, for this year’s festivities.

Note: We’ve already had one update, with the brewing/distilling panel moved from Friday to Saturday night, as reflected below.

  • Beginner’s Guide to Alternate History, Steampunk & Other Subgenres panel, Friday Sept. 4, 11:30 a.m, Augusta 1-2, Westin — This will be a great intro to everything alt-history and historical fantasy have to offer.
  • Cthulhu: New Spins on Old Mythos panel, Friday Sept. 4, 7 p.m., Peachtree 1-2, Westin — Yay, Cthulhu! We’ll be talking about keeping the roots of the Cthulhu Mythos relevant for today’s audiences, and there’s some awesome folks with me on the panel.
  • Reading: Michael J. Martinez, Saturday Sept. 5, 1 p.m., University, Hyatt — This one’s all me, all the time. Well, for an hour at least. I’ll read from The Venusian Gambit and possibly from “On a Kansas Plain” from the Cthulhu Fhtagn! anthology or even my Secret Project. And y’all can ask me whatever you like. It’ll be fun!
  • Alternate Armed Conflicts panel, Saturday Sept. 5, 8:30 p.m., Augusta 3, Westin — Looking at various conflicts through the lens of alternate history. Eric Flint is with me on this one, and I’m stoked to meet him.
  • The Steampunk’s Guide to Home Brewing and Distilling panel, Saturday, Sept. 5, 11:30 p.m., Augusta 3, Westin — You know I had to do this one. Let’s talk about brewing and distilling and my great-grandmother’s Prohibition still.
  • World Building, Part 2: The Multicultural Multiverse panel, Sunday Sept. 6, 7 p.m., Augusta 1-2, Westin — This panel goes beyond Britannia to talk about alt-history in other times and places.

Other than that, I expect I’ll be hanging out at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth, where there very well may be a rather large-ish giveaway of my work. I’ll post more as the time gets closer on that. And when not doing that, I’ll be roaming and Tweeting and hanging out with fellow scribes. Hope to see you there!

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Events

Greetings from San Francisco!

Just a quick note here. I’m working out of my company’s San Francisco office this week and part of next, and it’s pretty fantastic — killer views of the Ferry Building, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz…skyscrapers are awesome. And we got a HomeAway by Golden Gate Park, which is cool.

The reading at Borderlands Books on Sunday was great fun, and I had the distinct pleasure of sharing the stage with Taiyo Fujii, who’s a fine gentleman indeed; we even swapped signed books. I look forward to diving into my signed copy of Gene Mapper very soon — well, as soon as I get more words down on my next novel.

What next novel? Well, I’ve been leaving some breadcrumbs here and there — check out the Secret Project page for more, and this Tweet:

Sorry if you missed the reading, because I did let some things drop there. The business dealings on the project are dealt with; we’re merely waiting for the opportune moment to talk about it more. Soon, I promise.

In terms of other book stuff, I now have my tentative schedule for DragonCon, which I’ll probably blog about soon. Cthulhu Fhtagn! is out, and it’s awesome — go get a copy! And again, there’s other stuff I can’t quite talk about yet, but I’m super excited. Super. Excited.

Otherwise, we’re just enjoying our time here. Someone already offered me “sweet green buds” on the street in the Haight, and no fewer than four people have asked me for directions since I’ve been in town. Do I look like a San Franciscan? That would be cool, as it’s a fantastic city. The food is great, the beer is even better, and the sights are unparalleled.

Oh, and we were greeted early this morning with a mild earthquake that shook the apartment for a moment. At first, I just thought a big truck went by. Not so bad, but honestly, I’m good on earthquakes now, thanks.

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Events

Reminder: Reading/signing Sunday at 3 p.m. at Borderlands! Plus Cthulhu Fhtagn! is coming!

So I’m back at home for a solid 18 hours before heading off to San Francisco in the morning. This is a good thing, as San Francisco is awesome. And on Sunday, I’ll be at Borderlands Books at 3 p.m. for a joint reading/signing with Taiyo Fujii, author of Gene Mapper. I’ll likely read from The Venusian Gambit and perhaps from something else, too. If you’re around, I’d love to see you there!

Also, I got this:

It’s so pretty, in a dark and creepy way. Very excited about this one. The anthology got a nice review at Fantasy Literature and a “future treasures” mention at Black Gate. It’s available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at Word Horde, and comes out tomorrow, Aug. 15.

 #SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Events, Publishing

About to hit the road for a big heap of travel

Those who follow my blog or Twitter know that Kate and I get around a fair amount, but the next four weeks or so are going to be unusually intense — but mostly fun!

This Wednesday I head off to St. Louis for roughly 48 hours. That’s very much a day-job work trip, but I’ve not spent any quality time in St. Louis before, aside from an airport layover, so I hope I get to see a little bit of it. I hear tell they do some spareribs there that I believe need sampling.

I get back Friday, then turn around and go to San Francisco on Saturday for a couple weeks. That’s also largely for work, but Kate’s coming with me and I’m also doing a reading/signing thing on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Borderlands Books. If you’re around, stop by! After that, it’s primarily work, but we’re doing a few days in Big Sur as well. Because…well, heck, it’s Big Sur.

We get back home after two weeks of West Coast adventures, and then…well, I spend about three days in the office before heading out to Atlanta for DragonCon! I have my tentative schedule already, and it’s pretty neat. There will be some alternate history and some worldbuilding, but also some homebrewing advice and some Cthulhu thrown in. If all goes well, I’ll also be doing a rather large-ish giveaway for the DragonCon crowds; stay tuned for that if you’re going.

Long story short: If you’re in San Francisco or Atlanta, I hope you’ll come out to Borderlands or DragonCon and say hi. And when I travel, the blog tends to be a bit quieter, but my Twitter feed really ramps up as I post pictures and beers and all kinds of fun stuff, so be sure to check out that, too.

And then, well…I get a couple weeks at home before the next thing. It’s been quite the year for day-job travel, and combined with cons, I’ve really gotten around. By the time I get back from DragonCon, it’ll only be mid-September. And the autumn won’t really let up….

#SFWApro

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Travel