JordanCon 2018

Posted on 24 April 2018 | No responses

Seems I only ever post after a convention now. That’ll change one day? Who knows. I’ve realized that I’m not a “blogger” per se. But, it is a rainy day, I have the day off to recover from my vacation, so: Post-Con stuff!

JordanCon 10 was amazing, and I have to say that having an assistant director for the Writers Track has made all the difference. I have time to breathe, to relax, and to enjoy the con outside of my track room. Some highlights of the convention:

  1. We had 850ish attendees this weekend, with the vast majority showing up on Friday (Badge 700 was printed on the first day)
  2. Even on Friday, my panels had good attendance, and in what I observed (again, I thankfully was able to get out of the room for several panels), the numbers only kept going up on how many we had sitting in the room. We even had a 3/4 full room Saturday Night during the dance party and first thing Sunday Morning. Impressive achievements, if I say so myself.
  3. People like hands-on workshopy type things. We had 3 panels that directly engaged with attendees work: a 1000 word pre-submitted workshop, a 600 word pre-submitted “Slush” panel, and a Flash Fiction Writing workshop/panel. Now I have to try and decide how to balance that.

Deeper thoughts  below the break.

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Categories: GeekLife

DragonCon 2017

Posted on 6 September 2017 | No responses

Just got back from D*Con 2017. It was an amazing experience where I met new authors, visited with old friends, and had a refreshing revitalization of my sense of self that had gone too long without nourishment. I had typed up some sappy self-affirmation stuff, but y’all don’t need that. It was for me. Instead, have this wonderful bullet point list of the great times I had at con:

  • Got to be Director’s Second for Fantasy Literature this year, meaning I moderated more panels and got to take a hand in shaping the programming. I think it was a great success.
  • 5 hours of karaoke Friday night. That’s right, I ran it for 5 bloody hours. Lots of good singers. Lots of not so good singers. But everyone had fun, and that is the point.
  • Panels on the Science of Fantasy, Inaccuracies commonly seen, and Why Boob-armor needs to be less of a thing.
  • Not one but TWO great evenings at the Westin Bar meeting and chatting with writer and creative types. One of these nights included drinking “pie” that was closer to “rotgut moonshine” with Laurel K Hamilton’s posse. They are fun. The other night involved drinking with Christopher Paolini and getting ammo to taunt my track director with for years to come.
  • I only bought one thing in the dealers hall: a d20. I paid a buck-a-side, but this is no regular d20. It is a Boulder, and I could crush the skull of an unruly player no problem with it. I shall make it my boss die an name it “Curb-Stomp”. My luck, it will just roll 1s.

At the Dead-Dog party, they told us attendance topped 80k. That’s a lot of geeks, and a lot to do. And boy do I feel like I didn’t even come close to getting to do even just the things I really wanted to do. I missed the art show completely, didn’t see any gaming, and didn’t attend any panels outside of Fantasy Lit. But even for all that, I still feel like DragonCon is a chance to “come home”. For as big as the convention is, a person can make of it exactly what they will, and it will be everything you needed it to be.

Until next September Dragon Con!

Categories: GeekLife

JordanCon 2017

Posted on 25 April 2017 | No responses

Just got back from JordanCon 2017 down in Atlanta, and boy that was a blast. I have to say, I am becoming more and more happy with the way this con is growing, and with the Writers’ Track in particular. Yes, I’m biased since I run said track, but I’m still happy. I honestly don’t know what I enjoy more: seeing the aspiring writers eyes light up as they listen to the panels and have their questions answered, or the guests making having great times and making new friends and finding new readers. And now, back to the writing grindstone, all refreshed myself with creative juices.

Categories: Admin Blog

Yog’s Law

Posted on 1 May 2016 | No responses

There is a thing in writing called “Yog’s Law”, which is “All money should flow to the author.” In short, this means that a writer shouldn’t pay for any services to polish and perfect their work, especially since typically these services are scams. I am coming to realize Yog’s Law needs revisited. Because I have broken Yog’s Law, and I couldn’t be happier for it.

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Categories: Writing

On Earthsea Revisited

Posted on 8 April 2016 | No responses

So, I muscled through reading A Wizard of Earthsea. About halfway through, the generation-prior writing style stopped sticking in my craw, and honestly, it reminded me a lot of reading the old Icelandic Sagas, but I am still of conflicted thought.

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Categories: Writing

Sad Endings

Posted on 5 April 2016 | No responses

Listened to the last quarter of Hamilton on the way into work today. As always, hit me right in the feels. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do (at least some of us) enjoy amazingly sad endings? I mean, I’ve written my fair share of them, but the mechanic of why they work still kind of puzzles me.

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Categories: Writing

Evolution of Writing

Posted on 29 March 2016 | No responses

First of all: NOPE, NOT DEAD!

I’ve just spent the last two years consumed in local theatre, a disease I am not entirely recovered from yet, but there it is. On the bright side, I have finished a redraft novel “Of Brass and Blood” that takes place 5 years after the events of Tijervyn, but over in Adervyn, and has nothing at all to do with Tijervyn plot wise, probably because the story was written before Tijervyn. So yeah, redraft done, and actually in the hands of beta readers now. Feeling really good about this one, going to seek traditional publishing.

But, that isn’t what I’m writing a blog post, because “State of the Blogs” are so… well… Livejournal. Let’s get some meat, and for that, I want to muse on the craft of writing through generations. I’ll try to not get pretentious, but no promises.

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Categories: Writing

Dec 10, 2014 – Ghost Story

Posted on 10 December 2014 | No responses

The old man sat down in his arm chair and waved a hand. “Gather around, children. Grandpa wants to tell you a story.”

He waited, slowly unwrapping a mint and popping it in his mouth. The wrinkles that lined his face were cast into stark shadow by the singular lamp on the other side of the room, and he rocked back and forth in his recliner while he waited. Finally, once he was satisfied, he leaned forward.

“Grandpa has a ghost story for you.” He smiled and leaned back again. “Yes. See, once, long ago . . . .”

He stopped and furrowed his brow before shaking his head. “No, that isn’t how this story starts. Not that way at all. Ahem.”

“Not far from here, there is a town much like ours. It has all the things a town needs to be a town. Houses, for sure, and grocery stores. Churches and clinics, gas stations and stores of all kinds, dry cleaners and warehouses and even factories. What made this town special, though, was that it had only one graveyard, to the south of town. It was a curious thing, surrounded by a high, cast iron fence with points that curled inward. The gate was likewise cast iron and twisted into shapes with meanings long since forgotten. What is more, is that no one ever entered this graveyard.”

“Now, that isn’t fair to say. People did go in, for how else would people be buried? No. People entered it, but they did not do so lightly. It was on a day when people did enter it, one a day when two little boys were attending the funeral of their grandfather, that those very boys learned the truth of this hallowed ground. At the funeral parlor, there were so many people, all speaking in soft voices of how much they missed the old man the two little boys barely knew. Perhaps that was why they could see: they were not bereaved as the others. Of course they were sad the kindly old man who had given them mints was gone, but they hadn’t known him, not really. So they looked at the others, and they did not just see sadness in the eyes of their family. They saw fear.”

“When the clock struck one, the men of the family gathered in a huddle and talked in short, harsh whispers. The funeral director had to come over to them before they would finally decide whatever it was they were debating, and six of them walked with him back to the casket, where they surrounded it, three to a side, and carried it out to the hearse. The men seemed ready to leave, but the funeral director gave them a sharp glare from the driver’s bench, and they climbed onto the side of the large, long wagon. The rest of the family seemed content to stay in the parlor, but the boys’ mother did not see as they followed after the hearse.”

“Now, there is no law that forbids people from entering the graveyard. The iron gate, while latched, is not locked, and the boys knew from books and television that family were supposed to be the burial itself, too. Why had no one else came expect the six men, and them seemingly unwillingly? The boys slinked as well as one could in the heat and light of day, and they followed the procession into the graveyard. Tall tombstones lined either side of the cobbled path that lead deeper and deeper into that singular, large plot of land, and before long the boys could not even clearly see the fence. All was spires and angelic statues, urns and arches that lead to nowhere.”

“The hearse stopped near a spire with a hole before it. The men jumped down quickly from the hearse and, quickly and quietly as possible, moved the casket onto the straps that crossed over the grave. The funeral director watched, and soon as it was done, he triggered the mechanism that lowered the casket. The boys thought he mumbled something, soft and low, that could have been a blessing. Then, with a quick and practiced hand, he freed the straps from the frame, carried it to the hearse, and started it moving, even as the six men hurried back onto the sides. The hearse moved quickly now, and the boys tried to run after it, but soon it was lost to them around bends and past forks in the path.”

“The boys wondered, moving and trying not to be scared, but they had been left unknowingly behind in a place grown men fear, and they knew it. The sun continued to move, and the boys continued on, staying to the cobbled path, hoping to find their way out. Several times they found the fence, but all they say beyond it was barren plains, and no matter how far they looked in either direction, they never saw the gate.”

“As the sun became low enough to start casting long shadows from the tall grave markers, the boys found themselves somewhere familiar, but not where they wanted to be: their great grandfather’s grave. It was still open, the pile of freshly turned earth still sitting in a heap a shovel’s throw to the side. And that was when they heard the creak. It was the sound of hinges not quiet mean to be used, and it had come from the grave. Slowly, they tip-toed up to the hole and looked in, and there, looking back at them from the open casket, was the old man in his Sunday best.”

“’Hello boys, here to help fill in the hole?’ he asked. The boys stared for a moment, and then screamed and ran. And they did not stop running, following twists and turns blindly, until they at last came to the cast iron gate. The sun was just sinking below the horizon as they ran through the gate, and at that moment, they glanced back into the graveyard and saw hundred, thousands of people moving about, all dressed in their best.”

“The boys ran and ran all the way home to their worrying mother. When she asked them where they had been, they lied, saying they had snuck off to play in the park. They never spoke of that day again, but nor did they ever go back into the graveyard again, not until their dying day….”

The old man leaned back, finished with his story and sighed contently. A door opened, and an orderly looked in. “Oh, I thought I heard you talking to someone.”

“Just the children,” the old man said. “Just the children.”

The orderly smiled at the old man sitting by himself in the room and only nodded, closing the door softly behind him and leaving the man alone to his thoughts.

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Categories: Flash Fiction Writing

Dec 8, 2014 – The Factory

Posted on 8 December 2014 | No responses

The factory stood in the center of a slum, although whether the slum was actually part of the factory or simply one of its many products was up for debate. Likely, it was somewhere in between. Multistory tenements held the squalid and destitute workforce that manned the behemoth structure are their center that every eight hours, on the dot, ebbed and flowed a wash of humanity that blended together by its common traits: dirty faces and defeated eyes.

The building itself soared over the crumbling buildings that surrounded it, taking pains to both make the slums look even more pathetic and small, and at the same time to be a testament to just how little care could be taken to a structure that still stood. Smoke stacks bellowed black clouds out of not just their tops, but from gapping maws along their sides where masonry had given way to heat and grime, and more often than not, the tops of those towers were jagged, seeming to hint at days long forgotten when they touched the sky.

Below the spiky crown of chimneys, the factory was a cobbled together mess of buildings that were once a compound but had grown and bloated until only a single decadent building remained. Through, old walls with the faint lines of once glorious murals could be found, relics of a day when even the common workplaces were meant to be beautiful works of art that inspired. The happy, healthy images were hidden by sooth and worn by acidic rain, or had been knocked down in their entirety to make way for larger and more complex machinery that twisted through a maze of industry.

And just what did the factory produce? Each worker one might coax to speak would give a different answer. Gears, some would say. Barrels would say other. Machined levers, pistons, engines, cogs, flanges, gaskets, furnaces, and rollers. Even the foremen would only know what their specific lines produced, and beyond that, the managers did not care so long as it was being paid for and there were hands enough to produce it. And the dark, truth? The factory produced itself, ever expanding, ever changing, twisting, bloating, inflating, and consuming. It was its beginning and its end, and none could escape its loathsome reach.

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Categories: Flash Fiction Writing

Dec, 06 2014 The Would-Be Thief

Posted on 6 December 2014 | No responses

“Are you sure this is–?”


“Do you want to get caught?”

“No, I just—“

“Then stuff a rag in it!”

Sergey huffed but didn’t say anything else. John knew he would hear it all again, later. Hours of complaining and huffing and accusing in exchange for a couple minutes of blissful silence. Granted, those hours seemed to come no matter what. If only Sergey’s father wasn’t paying so well for John to take the little runt under his wing…. at least this time it would be worth it.

“Okay, Ginny, you circle down over that way.”


She ran off where John pointed, and he looked at Sergey.

“Why do—“

“Because I do,” John said quickly. “Now, you, go left, keep an eye out, and don’t get caught. If you see even the slightest bit of red, hold completely still and don’t make a sound.”

“What…” Sergey fought to lower his voice. “What if it doesn’t go away?”

“Then just stay still, alright? We’ll come and get you.”

“No you won’t.”

I wouldn’t leave a cash cow like you behind. That’s what John wanted to say, but he was forbidden by the contract to let Sergey actually know that his place in this little group was being paid for. He had to think they wanted him. What kind of lesson was that for a dad to teach his son? Sergey would learn one day or the other. Little good lying to him now did.

“We don’t leave squaddies behind,” he said instead. “Now go! And try to at least hit the switch, okay?”

Sergey blushed but nodded and ran off. The last time they tried something like this, Sergey went exactly where he was supposed to, waited exactly as long as he was supposed to, then ran back to the rendezvous, all without actually doing what he was sent out to do in the first place. And yet, somehow, it had been John that had to endure the hours of Sergey crying and blubbering and saying how it wasn’t his fault.

Some small part of John hoped Sergey would set one of them off completely. Yeah, it would make a whole other mess of things, but at least John knew how to handle that kind of problem. How do you turn a nitwit into a competent thief?

John finished a slow count of fifty he had been running in his head since Ginny ran off, and then started down the central aisle. It was too dark to see detail, but he knew the walls were lined with severe statues carved from strange, green rock that seemed almost too vibrant to be real. He’d also seen other statues, smaller, made of the same rock, just before the guards had removed them in the morning, most likely to take them out back and smash them, although occasionally one was put in the great square as a warning. No one stole from the Phirantium, and all paid the price. Would Sergey be out there tomorrow?

He felt a stone shift under this feet and he froze, moving only his eyes. Pressure plates? Really? Was it that simple? He had researched the place for a month trying to figure out how the statues worked. Bribed guards, hidden in shadows and watched, found the little secret door to a guard shack that surely had some sort of controls that made the statues docile, and it all came down to simple pressure plates? John nearly wanted to scream.

But he didn’t. Red eyes lit near him, and he did not move a muscle. There was only one thing truly known about the statues: if you stand still, they won’t hurt you. Thieves had stood still before the entire night until the guards lined both sides of the hallway and the eyes finally closed. Although not before the guards would throw rotten fruit instead, trying to hit the thief and make him or her move. So this was to be the end of the great John. Done in by a statue or a tomato because he was too busy worrying about a hapless kid he’d been saddled with.

And then the unexpected happened. That kid came tumbling down the hall.

“I did it! I got there without setting a single one off. Why are you just…?”

John couldn’t see Sergey—he was facing the wrong way and moving would be death, but he could almost hear realization sink in through the boy’s thick head. Yes, that’s right, even the best can get it wrong, thought John. What hope do you have? Now just run back to daddy and leave me to die.

“Hold still,” Sergey said. “Try and relax, that will make it easier.”

Yeah, like I was about to just start dancing the Corenda. Stupid kid. And then he heard Sergey running. Yeah, just what he thought. Now to try and think—

And something hit him hard from behind. The hallway flashed red. Not just red, but Red. Every shade from deep maroon to bright crimson, it was there all at once. And then it faded, and John tried to roll over from where he fell, but he found that he couldn’t. It was like something heavy was stopping him from moving anything at all. So this was being a statue. They didn’t say you could still feel. What would it feel like when they started to break him apart?

“Thank the six, it worked!”

The weight lifted, and John did roll over and look up at the sight he least expected to see. Sergey, big doofy grin splitting his face.


“I tackled you,” he said. “And carried us to the end of the hall. It worked!”

John sat up and looked around. Sure enough, they were in the wide antechamber after the hallway of statues. He felt like each and every one of them had fallen on him, but he wasn’t one himself.


The boy cringed, seeming to know what was coming. Insults. Chastisements. Yelling.

“You saved my life. Thank you.”

That big doofy grin came back, and John shook his head.

“Come on, let’s get on with this. That was only the beginning.”

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Categories: Flash Fiction

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