West, north, and all directions in between

Hi all,

     It’s been a busy time, but I wanted to take a moment between sessions of grading, submissions and of course writing to update everyone on what’s been going on with me recently–for the most part, all fun (and positive) stuff:

1.  Two weeks ago I took part in my first Norwescon, the largest fantasy and science fiction convention in the Pacific Northwest (unless Spokane wins its Worldcon 2015 bid, in which case Norwescon might have to temporarily cede that title!).  The convention happened to fall right during both my and my daughter’s Easter break, so since my wife’s family lives in Seattle we all took a weeklong pilgrimage to the Emerald City.  It was a lot of fun; not only were the panels great, with a number of new people to meet and old friends to catch up with, but the audiences were almost all savvy and engaged (and engaging), with some great contributions to the discussion.  Moreover, the con staff ran a really tight ship, with a varied, interesting schedule for the attendees and an awesome green room for the attending pros.  It was such a good time that even a battle with pink eye didn’t detract too much from the experience, though I apologize to the people who must have thought I was fighting off the plague…another reminder of the obvious truth that anything your child gets you will eventually get, no matter how confident you are that you avoided it!  In any case, I also got a chance to see some good material from aspiring authors as part of the writing workshops coordinated by The Fairwood Writers; it’s the second time I’ve had the chance to work with Fairwood, and they too run a good program.

2. I was back home just long enough to teach classes on back to back days before heading north of the border to my fifth (!) Ad Astra in Toronto, Canada.  Ad Astra has always been one of my favorite conventions; it’s small enough not to be overwhelming yet large enough to attract some great professionals (sitting on a panel with the inimitable Ed Greenwood, whom I know very well, and Jim Butcher, whom I had never met before, pretty much says all you need to know about that!), and the interesting mix of authors, editors, publishers and agents is pretty unique.  And again: the audiences are great, and the attendance was solid all through the weekend; having close to twenty people show up to fill a small room for my reading on Saturday night–during dinner time!–was awesome, as were the conversations I had with them.  It reminds me a bit of Gen Con in terms of the relationships I’ve been able to form with people there, albeit more Canadian than Midwestern, and I plan to keep it in my regular convention rotation for a long time to come.  Again, kudos to the convention staff for doing such a great job running things–the selfless work they do to keep these critical events going year after year can’t be praised enough.  Now, if the Holiday Inn would be so good as to get real Internet access working (I would accept any speed, let alone high speed!), they’d really be cooking with gas.  But overall: great con, great time. 

3.  My third article for the SFWA Bulletin has just come out in the latest issue, and to say I’m tickled to have a piece featured on the cover alongside one by Gene Wolfe would be an understatement!  As usual, editor Jean Rabe has done a tremendous job, and if you haven’t already seen the latest issue, you can check it out here.  Finally, I’m continuing to work on writing, revision, and submission, and I’ve just sent out a new short story to an anthology to be announced soon; keep this site bookmarked for all the details.  And again, thanks to everyone who let me know of our site outage a few weeks back; we’re still making some tweaks to the site’s overall functionality, and I’m excited for the cool new stuff you’ll be able to see very soon, but in the meantime I’m just happy everything is back up and running.  Again, thanks to webmaster and friend Kevin Grinberg for making that happen!

So there you have it: always busy, never bored, which is a good combination!  Thanks as always for continuing to check in, and please stay tuned for more news to come.


P.S. I’ll have a few panel recordings from both recent conventions up in the next few weeks, too, in case you want to capture the magic of con going without the pink eye…which, I can now officially state, is a goal worth having.  Check out my Media page for more details.