Readercon, July 10, 2014–Power Differentials in Reviewing

A really interesting (and somewhat outside the box) panel at Readercon on the real and/or perceived tension between reviewers, the work they’re reviewing, and the people who read and comment upon the reviews.  Kevin Clark, John Clute, Amal El-Mohtar, Lila Garrott, Alex Jablokow and I took on the topic from a variety of perspectives, and while there was some lively disagreement (John had a somewhat more Romantic perspective on the critic’s role than I do, for example!), it all contributed to a energizing and fun discussion.  As is often the case at Readercon, the audio here was a bit shaky, so be warned that this may at times be a little difficult to hear.

Origins, June 12, 2014–Werewolves, Vampires and Krakens, Oh My!

One of a number of panels and workshops I had at Origins this year, this was a really interesting panel which I was lucky enough to moderate. Aaron Rosenberg, Richard C. White and I had the chance to chat about the creation of monsters in speculative fiction–which ones have been the most terrifying influences upon our work (and what made them so), and how we’ve gone about constructing our own monstrous figures.

Norwescon, April 20, 2014 — Non-Western Settings In Fantasy

One of several panels, workshops and readings I had at Norwescon this year, this was probably the most enjoyable–a generally thoughtful audience combined with some really intriguing subject matter. Brent Kellmer and I spent the better part of an hour working through possible reasons for the dominance of what has for much too long been considered “default” fantasy, revolving around largely white and Western cultures, and how (despite the strength of that “default”) fantasy has begun to turn in new, more diverse and more productive directions.

Worldcon, September 1, 2013–Fiction About Real Politics

One of two panels I had at Worldcon this year, this session looked at politics in speculative fiction in a number of interesting ways, though I’ll admit that I sometimes felt we were losing the “speculative fiction” part a bit. But overall this was an engaging and thoughtful panel to be a part of, with some good contributions from the audience and fellow panelists David Nickle, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Lou Antonelli and Madeline Ashby. Not audible is my family, one member of which said she loved the chance to see me “in my element.” If a science fiction and fantasy convention is indeed my element, I think I’m probably doing something right!

Gen Con, August 16, 2013–Career Building

I always have fun talking shop with other authors, especially when they’ve got such different experiences from my own (while sharing the same love for story and narrative that I do). So a panel like this one, the table for which I shared with Kerrie Hughes, Matt Forbeck and James Dashner, was particularly enjoyable. I’ll admit that a particular Tweet which came through during the panel made this even more fun–you’ll just have to take a listen for yourself to understand the context!

Gen Con, August 15, 2013–Literary Alchemy

I’ve done panels like this before (most recently at last year’s Gen Con), but it was interesting to take another run at what fuels the author’s interest in language with Brad Beaulieu and James Sutter from Paizo, who brought both an editor’s and an author’s perspective to the mix. On the whole, an interesting and fun panel.

Readercon, July 13, 2013–Architects and Gardeners

An interesting panel at Readercon on, essentially, the age-old (and probably overly simplistic) distinction between “plotters” and “pantsers,” those who plan everything ahead of time and those who just, well, write and find the work as they go. Dale Bailey, Peter Dube, Stacy Hill, Cecilia Tan and James Patrick Kelly (our talented moderator for this panel) had a fun discussion, with more metaphors crammed into an hour than is strictly socially appropriate. One big caveat–I almost didn’t post this because of how bad the audio is, a function of a big room and an echoey sound system, so be warned that this is often difficult to hear.

Origins, June 16, 2013–Writing Your First Novel

Another fun panel from Origins 2013, again grouping me with Pat Rothfuss (two panels and a reading this con) and Jennifer Brozek, whom I’ve known for quite a while. This was a nuts and bolts panel about strategies for getting a novel completed; lots of great questions and discussion here, though I have to say it was amusing to have Pat, who took something like fifteen years to write his first novel and went on to become a #1 New York Times bestseller, on a panel with us, whose paths to publication were quite different. I think the audience was relieved to learn that the route to publication didn’t necessarily demand a fifteen year lead time!

Origins, June 14, 2013–Sexism In Writing

One of a number of great panels I got to be part of at Origins, which has clearly become a convention staple for me now. Here I joined Addie King, Kelly Swails and the inimitable Pat Rothfuss to talk about handling sexism in writing speculative fiction–how does one keep from reifying sexist tropes and (subtly or otherwise) re-engaging with sexist themes while still representing a potentially sexist society realistically? The answers are many, and this only began to look at a few possibilities–but everyone was in agreement that respectful, thoughtful and mindful writing was critical, as was proper research and careful listening. We were a bit less in agreement about how much something like Buffy The Vampire Slayer actually represents those things, but at least we were able to avoid a full out pie fight!

Norwescon, March 30, 2013–Authors With Volume

This was an interesting nuts and bolts type panel on podcasting, with good perspectives from fellow panelists Angel Leigh McCoy and Tina Connolly and good questions from the audience. I really liked the Norwescon attendees, who were engaged and enthusiastic the whole weekend, and this convention is definitely on my list to attend in the future if my schedule allows.