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Readercon

This weekend, as I frequently do around this time of year, I’ll be headed to Readercon in Quincy, MA. It’s a delightful con focused – as the name implies – on readers (and by extension, writers) and reading. I’m not officially participating in programming, but I will be taking part in a group reading for the upcoming Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories edited by Ellen Datlow.

Friday – 1:00 PM

Salon C • Group Reading: Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories • Ellen Datlow (mod), Gemma Files, Jeffrey Ford, Stephen Graham Jones, John Langan, Paul Tremblay

Contributors to the forthcoming anthology Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, edited by Ellen Datlow, will read from their work.

My name didn’t make it into the program, but Ellen assures me I’m allowed to be there, so I’ll be reading an excerpt from my story “The Ghost Sequences”. As you can see from the above program description, I’ll be in incredibly good company with a stellar line up of my fellow contributors.

Other than that, I’ll be browsing the dealers’ room, catching up with friends, and attending various program items throughout the weekend. One of my favorite parts of cons is going to readings. I’ve discovered new stories and new favorite authors that way, and gained fresh perspectives on stories after hearing them aloud in the author’s voice. The panels at Readercon are also top notch. If you’ve never attended and are considering going, I highly recommend it.

Hope to see you there!

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Three(ish) Things Make a Post

Here we are in July, and at long last Unlikely Story #12.5: The Journal of Unlikely Observances (aka the April Fool’s Day issue) has made its way into the world. Good things are worth waiting for, right? This issue celebrates the act of celebration with seven new pieces of fiction exploring fools, holidays, transformation, tricks, and rebirth. We have two Unlikely Story alums, Rhonda Eikamp and Charles Payseur, returning to our digital pages. We also have three new-to-Unlikely Story authors – Heather Morris, Arkady Martine, and Joshua A. Dilk. Something that is particularly exciting for editors, we also have two authors, Rajiv Mote and Anne M. Gibson, whose stories in this issue are their first professional paid publication. It’s a fantastic issue. I do hope you’ll check it out and let us know what you think!

Next week, I’ll be attending Readercon in Quincy, Massachusetts. For those unfamiliar, Readercon is a wonderful con with a literary focus. It’s become one of my favorite cons, and it’s one I look forward to every year. I’m not officially participating in programming, however I will be part of the group reading for Clockwork Phoenix 5. We’re tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday, room TBD. If you’re attending the con, come see us! The rest of the time I’ll be attending other people’s programming, hanging out in the dealer’s room buying far too many books, hanging out in the bar, and hanging out with friends who I don’t get to see often enough. It promises to be a fabulous time.

As you may or may not have noticed, my upcoming collection The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories is up for pre-order. For a limited time, it’s available for the super-special pre-order price of $13. That’s $5 off the regular paperback price. If you’re of a mind to pick up the collection, now would be a good time to do so. The super-special sale price of $13 also applies to my first collection The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again.

Last, but not least, to all my fellow Canucks, Happy Canada Day!
Fireworks

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Readercon 2015

Readercon is almost here! July 9-12, I’ll be in Burlington, MA at one of my favorite local(ish) conventions. As the name implies, Readercon is focused primarily on the literary side of speculative fandom. While a few panels do cross over into other media, it’s mostly all about the written word. I’m only part of one item of official programming this year, a group reading from the upcoming anthology, The Monstrous, edited by Ellen Datlow. The rest of the time, I’ll be attending other panels and readings, trying to resist buying every single book in the dealers’ room, and hanging out and chatting with friends. I hope to see you there!

Friday 8-9pm Group reading from The Monstrous, a forthcoming anthology edited by Ellen Datlow.

Take a terrifying journey with literary masters of suspense, visiting a place where the other is somehow one of us. These electrifying tales redefine monsters from mere things that go bump in the night to inexplicable, deadly reflections of our day-to-day lives. Whether it’s a seemingly devoted teacher, an obsessive devotee of swans, or a diner full of evil creatures simply seeking oblivion, the monstrous is always there—and much closer than it appears.

Ellen Datlow will be introducing several contributors to the anthology, including Peter Straub, A.C Wise, Gemma Files, John Langan, Stephen Graham Jones

Room: Embrace/Empower

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There and Back Again: Readercon 2014

Fair warning, a lot of this post will be me squeeing about things you can’t read yet, but which you will be able to some day, and on that day you will want to squee about them, too.

Getting to Readercon was an epic adventure in its own right. Perhaps there weren’t dragons to slay, or mines to traverse, but there was a heck of a lot of traffic. At every single turn. What should have been a six and a half(ish) hour drive became a ten hour drive. Luckily I had stalwart companions – A.T. Greenblatt and Shveta Thakrar – and together, we prevailed.

Readercon has firmly established itself as my favorite con in the three years I’ve been attending, and this year was no exception. I attended more readings than panels this time around, and each was incredibly enjoyable.

The first of my highlights was listening to Shira Lipkin read her swamp witch story. It doesn’t have a home yet, but I have no doubt it will find one in a flash. Another highlight was listening to Maria Davhana Headley read her supernatural Bonnie and Clyde Story. It’s also homeless at the moment, as I understand it, but it won’t stay that way long. Other highlights included the Fearful Symmetries group reading, the Latin@ Writers group reading, The Booty Don’t Lie: A Cheeky Discussion of Butts in Literature panel, (so many puns! so much twerking!), and The Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours performance. There were other wonderful things throughout the weekend of course, but those were few that stood out.

Outside of official programming, Readercon is always a fantastic opportunity to see people I only get to see once or twice a year, and to meet new people. So much of the con is hanging out in hallways, the dealers’ room, and elsewhere, just chatting. The one downside to this is there are so many wonderful people, I feel like I never get enough time to talk to any one person.

This year, I once again participated in programming, both official and unofficial. The Circlet Press group reading went over well, and the Unlikely Cartography panel was surprisingly well attended for being lateish on Sunday afternoon. The panelists were brilliant, talking about unlikely maps and imaginary geography. Thank you again to everyone who attended! On the unofficial side, I recorded a podcast for Circlet Press, and sneakily tacked a reading on to the end of a real and proper reading by Danielle Friedman. Despite having a hard act to follow, I read Doctor Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron, because it’s short and because glitter is never the wrong answer.

Can I gush again about something you can’t read yet? I’m going to anyway. Danielle read from her novel in progress, and I love it. I’ve heard two excerpts so far, and I can’t wait for it to be a real physical thing I can hold in my hands, because it is fabulous.

The drive home was much less obnoxious than the drive there. I was once again privileged to get a preview of an awesome story you can’t read yet, but which you will be able to read very soon. Shveta read her story, “Krishna Blue” from the upcoming anthology, Kaleidoscope, due out in just a few weeks. The story is beautiful and brilliant, and you should all run out and buy the anthology as soon as you can. I’ve been lucky enough to hear an except of another story, by E.C. Meyers, which will be appearing in the anthology as well, and based on these two stories, I can promise you this anthology will kick ass.

So that’s it. Readercon was fantastic as usual, and I’m already looking forward to next year. In the meantime, I’ll be off to Capclave in October and World Fantasy in November. Hopefully with less traffic to fight along the way.

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To Readercon I Go!

In just over a week, I will once again be headed to Readercon in Burlington, MA. For those of you who don’t know, Readercon is a wonderful, magical place full of books and people talking about books. This will be my third year attending, and I’ve been consistently impressed with the insightful panels, lovely people, and generally positive atmosphere.

As I have in the past, I’m unofficially and sneakily taking part in programming. On Friday, I’ll be participating in the Circlet Press Group Reading. I haven’t quite decided what I’ll be reading yet, but I’m leaning toward erotica about spies. On Sunday, I’ll be par of the Unlikely Cartography panel, which appropriately enough celebrates the publication of Unlikely Story #9: The Journal of Unlikely Cartography. I’ll be moderating, so my participation will mostly consist of gently prodding the authors of the Unlikely Cartography issue, then sitting back and listening to them say smart stuff. The program descriptions for these two panels appear below, and the full Readercon Program can be found here.

Friday – 9:00 PM – EM – Circlet Press Group Reading. Cecilia Tan (leader). For over twenty years, Circlet Press has been the only publisher specializing in erotic science fiction and fantasy. Contributors to the recent best-of collection Fantastic Erotica and other Circlet books will read excerpts from their work.

Sunday – 1:00 PM – G – Unlikely Cartography. Shira Lipkin, Sarah Pinsker, Carrie Cuinn. This summer, Unlikely Story will publish their Unlikely Cartography issue, featuring stories by Shira Lipkin, Kat Howard, Sarah Pinsker, Carrie Cuinn, and others. Together with editor A.C. Wise, these authors will discuss their stories, and other authors (historical and modern) who similarly explored the cartography of the fantastic. Influences and discussion topics may include Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Eco’s Legendary Lands, Post’s Atlas of Fantasy, Mieville’s The City and the City, and more.

When I’m not actively participating, I’ll be attending panels. I’ve already spotted several I’m excited about, and I suspect I will lament my inability to be in two places at once on multiple occasions over the course of the convention. Aside from panels, I’ll like be hanging out in the bar, hanging out in the dealers’ room, or wandering around in a daze, my head swimming with all the smart things people have been saying about books and speculative fiction. If you see me wandering in such a daze, say hi! I hope to see you there.

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Adventures in Being an Evil Minion or Readercon 2013

Like all good origin stories, it started long ago and far away. By which I mean last year at Readercon 23. I was innocently sitting in the audience, waiting for a panel to begin, and a stray tweet from Carrie Cuinn to Fran Wilde unleashed an epic battle between the forces of Good and Evil. Caught in the crossfire, I found myself sudden collateral to this struggle, the kind that usually winds up tied to train tracks. But the vagaries of Good and Evil being what they are, everything changed this year. Evil became Good, Good became Evil, and I was upgraded to Evil Minion status and bestowed with my very own mustache to twirl. mustache

And so it came to pass that the forces of Evil boarded a train from Philadelphia, to descend upon Readercon 24 in Burlington, MA, there to clash with the forces of Good. Lo there were epic deeds done, and much thwarting, plots most dastardly hatched and just as swiftly foiled. Or, there would have been were it not for the fact that both the forces of Good and Evil are easily distracted by shiny objects like liquor bottles, breakfast buffets, panels full of smart people saying intelligent things, and a dealers’ room stuffed with piles and and piles of books.

Much of the con was spent running from one shiny thing to the next. I was only involved in one official bit of programming, the Clockwork Phoenix 4 group reading, which went splendidly. It was lovely meeting some of my fellow contributors and hearing them read their work. Beyond that, I spent the majority of my time attending other people’s panels and readings and thoroughly enjoying what they had to say. A few of the highlights were:

The Latino Speculative Fiction Writers Collective Group Reading with Daniel Jose Older, Julia Rios, and Sabrina Vourvoulias

Writing the Other I & II with Michael J. Deluca, Andrea Hairston, Rose Lemberg, Maureen F. McHugh, Daniel Jose Older, Joan Slonczewski, Sabrina Vourvoulais, and Sarah Smith

A New Mythology of the Civil War with Dennis Danvers, Mikki Kendall, Scott Lynch, Romie Stott, and Howard Waldrop

Friendship is Magic with E.C. Ambrose, Rose Lemberg, Kathryn Morrow, JoSelle Vanderhooft, and Sabrina Vourvoulais

The Altered Fluid Group Reading with Paul Berger, Rajan Khanna, Sam J. Miller, E.C. Myers, Devin Poore, and Mercurio D. Rivera

Gender and Power in Literature and Life lead by Daniel Jose Older

There were other panels and other readings I very much enjoyed, but those were the ones that stood out. Between panels there was much running around and brief, flying conversations in the halls, since there wasn’t a common gathering space this year due to hotel renovations. I got the chance to see a lot of people I only see once a year, which was lovely, meet wonderful new people (including several stealth Canadians), and meet folks I’ve only interacted with online. I was especially pleased that to finally meet Barry King in person. We’ve been workshopping and critique swapping off and on since 2009 without ever having met in person. It’s good to finally put a face to the name! It was also great meeting some of the editors who have published my work and who I’ve only interacted with via email, and meeting at least one author whose work we’ll be publishing in the upcoming Journal of Unlikely Architecture. There were other people I was hoping to meet but didn’t get the chance, and of course I don’t feel like I got to spend enough time with the people I did meet, but such is the nature of cons.

And, of course, there was the buying of books, because no con is complete without several trips through the dealers’ room. I managed to be somewhat restrained and not buy everything in sight, but I can’t wait to dive into what I did buy: Fat Girl in a Strange Land edited by Kay T. Holt and Bart R. Leib; Where Thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe and Suffered from the Night: Queering Stoker’s Dracula both Edited by Steve Berman, and Before and Afterlives: Stories by Christopher Barzak all from Lethe Press (in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of their work); and Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. I also picked up contributors’ copies of two Clarkesworld chapbooks, and, of course, Clockwork Phoenix 4. So really only half my suitcase was filled with books on the way home. That’s reasonable, right?

A huge thanks to Rose Fox, the Con Comm, all the volunteers, panelists, and other attendees for making this year’s Readercon such a wonderful one.

Thus concludes this epic tale of villainy and heroism. But wait! All is not told yet! In a grand ceremony involving coffee and bacon on the final day of the con, before everyone went their separate ways home, the fearless leaders of Team Good and Team Evil once again switched allegiances and passed the twirlable mustache of dastardliness and the fluttering cape of justice off to new leaders for the coming year. It seems that in 2014, I will be the Champion of the Forces of Good, a job that comes complete with my very own nemesis, whose plans I must dedicate myself to thwarting. You’ll never get away with this, Pizarro! (Whatever it is you’re up to.) Never, I say!

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Lesser Creek: A Love Story, A Ghost Story

Clockwork Phoenix 4 is officially here! As mentioned in a prior post, there will be a group reading at Readercon next week, and a launch party, but the book itself is available now. My offering in the anthology is Lesser Creek: A Love Story, A Ghost Story, which, as the title implies, contains both love and ghosts. There’s also a creek, which is very loosely based on a creek across the road from a house in Vermont where I used to spend summer weekends with my family. Part of the creek, the part with fireworks, is loosely based on the river near my grandparents’ cottage, where I used to spend summer weekends before the house in Vermont. The big rock in the story really does sit in the middle of the creek in Vermont. To the best of my knowledge, no bets between a ghost and a devil are actually tallied there, but you never know.

Mike Allen has helpfully rounded-up all the reviews of the anthology that have popped up thus far. The full ToC is also posted on his website, so you can see I’m surrounded by good company.

If you’re planning to attend Readercon next week, come by the reading on Friday, and say hi. I hope to see you there!

#SFWAPro

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My (Ninja) Readercon Schedule

I’ll be attending Readercon in Burlington, MA from July 11-14, 2013. While I’m not officially a program participant, I will be participating in an official program item, because I’m sneaky that way.

Friday, July 12, 2013

4:00 PM NH Clockwork Phoenix 4 Group Reading. Mike Allen, A.C. Wise, C.S.E. Cooney, Gemma Files, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Barbara Krasnoff, Shira Lipkin, Yves Meynard, Ken Schneyer. All of the critically acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix anthologies have officially debuted at Readercon since the series began in 2008. That bond deepened when editor and publisher Mike Allen launched the Kickstarter campaign for Clockwork Phoenix 4 at Readercon 23. The campaign was a smashing success, and the latest lineup of boundary-pushing, unclassifiable stories has been bought and paid for. At this official reading, the new anthology’s authors will share samples from their stories with everyone who helped make this book reality.

I’ll be reading from Lesser Creek: A Love Story, a Ghost Story, and, as you can see, sharing reading space with some truly fabulous authors. Even if you stick your fingers in your ears during my portion of the reading, you should still come to the event and listen to all of them.

Beyond that, I’ll be spending the weekend attending panels, attending readings, and perusing the dealers’ room, trying and failing to resist the urge to buy all the shiny things. I’ve even heard rumors there may be a Clockwork Phoenix launch party as well, and if so, I’ll be there! Oh, and I believe it is also customary at these events to at least make a polite appearance at the bar? Hope to see you there!

Please note, no actual ninjas were involved in the making of this post. Or were they?

#SWFAPro

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Readercon Wrap-Up

Better late than never, right? Readercon had been on my list of must-attend events for a while, and this year, I finally managed to make it happen. It turned out to be everything I wanted, and more. In large part, this is due to my traveling companions, Kelly Lagor and Fran Wilde (who also has a great write-up of the con you should read.) My (possibly erroneous) feeling about cons in general is everyone already knows everyone, and they’re all too cool to hang out with me, or even want to talk to me in passing. Readercon never felt that way. It was the friendliest, most welcoming con I’ve attended.

At least part of this is due to my above-mentioned traveling companions, Kelly and Fran. They are the world’s awesomest road-trip buddies, and the world’s awesomest roommates. And they were kind enough to let me glom on to their Viable Paradise Group, which went a long way toward making me feel like I had any business being there in the first place. Having never actually attended Viable Paradise, I still have to put in a massive plug for it. They are the nicest people, and they kindly adopted me for the weekend, for which I’m grateful.

The other thing I have to credit with my positive Readercon experience is social media. I met several people last weekend I’d only interacted with online, and somehow that online interaction managed to overcome my natural oh-my-god-strangers-are-scary response, and translate it into hey-I-know-you-online-let’s-talk. Yay, interwebs!

As for the con itself, my highlights were: Genevieve Valentine’s Kaffeeklatsch (which was wonderful, and I hate on so many levels that she had a bad experience with the con (read about it on her blog)); Leah Bobet reading from a new work, which I can’t wait to see published so I can put it on my bookshelf; and The City and the Strange panel, which crystallized a lot of thoughts for me, and gave me a key to hopefully improving one of my works in progress.

Another huge highlight of the con for me was meeting people I’d only had contact with via email/twitter/other online social media, including, but not limited to: Carrie Cuinn, who may or may not be a super-villain, I can neither confirm or deny rumors; Don Pizarro, who may or may not be an accomplice to Carrie Cuinn’s supervillainy; Livia Llewellyn, who I have confirmed does indeed exists outside the interweb; and likewise for Shira Lipkin, and the aforementioned Leah Bobet.

There were other folks I met who I’d had no previous interaction with, including Scott H. Andrews of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, who gave me much useful advice on e-books, which will hopefully come in handy for the Journal of Unlikely Entomology. And, of course, the VP people. Did I mention they’re awesome? They are. I submit as proof of their awesomeness the fact they took over the hotel gazebo on the last night of the con and staged an impromptu concert. You really haven’t heard Nine Inch Nails until you’ve heard it on the ukelele.

Other than that: I ate good food; had good conversations; attended and enjoyed readings by Caitlin Kiernan, and Michael Swanwick; attended other panels; left way too much money in the dealers’ room (I regret nothing!); got books signed, some by proxy (thank you, Kelly!); and even got to participate in the group Ideomancer reading.

The ultimate point of all this rambling? If you’re even vaguely considering Readercon, go ahead and talk yourself into it. I’m very glad I did, and I’m already looking forward to next year.

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