Steampunk CommuniTea Weekend

This coming weekend, I’m honored to be one of the participants in a great virtual event and everyone is invited! The event is the Steampunk CommuniTea Weekend, which is presented by the Tucson Steampunk Society, the Tea Scouts, Madame Askew and the Grand Arbiter, and the Temporal Entourage. This will be a weekend full of virtual panels, performances, and sundry adventures. To register for the weekend and receive a complete schedule of events once it’s available, go to: https://madame-askew.ticketleap.com/steampunk-communitea-weekend/

Registration for the event is free and includes access to the Zoom panels and Discord chats. There will be additional performances that will include an extra charge. You can get all the details on the event’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/336440080917274

Guests for this event include a number of my favorite writers, including Gail Carriger, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Karen Carlisle, and Beth Cato. There are also events with makers, artists, and costumers. I see many familiar faces from other steampunk events I’ve attended in the past such as my alter ego, David Lee, the Airship Ambassador, Kevin Steil, and costumer, Tayliss Forge. I’m especially excited to see that there will be a concert by Nathaniel Johnstone, one of my favorite musicians. The concert does cost extra, but it’s a very reasonable price.

You can see a complete listing of the guests along with information about them at: https://madameaskew.com/covidween-2020/

As of this writing, I will be participating in at least three events this weekend. At 7pm Pacific Daylight Time on Friday, April 8, I’ll join a discussion called “Libations with Literati.” I gather this will be a social hour where the guest authors and publisher will be on hand to chat about their work and and be available to ask questions. At 9pm, I will give my presentation “Mars: A Land Across the Aether” as Mars itself sits high in the sky. This has been a popular presentation at several steampunk events and this is a great opportunity for folks who can’t ordinarily travel to events to watch the presentation. At 2pm Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, I’ll join some of the other authors for “The Care and Feeding of Great Steampunk Stories.” I will certainly be sitting in on other events as well through the weekend.

I do hope you will join us for this wonderful, virtual steampunk event. It will be an opportunity to connect with steampunks from around the world and learn more about the fun of steampunk literature, arts, craft, and music.

Supporting Indie Publishing

By necessity, big publishers can’t provide a platform for every writer whose voice is worth hearing. They simply have a limited number of books they can publish. Also, over time, big publishing has been reduced to five media companies with an obligation to their stock holders to maximize profits. This limits the number of risks they can and should take. These two facts limit the number of new and diverse voices that can share their creativity.

Indie publishing allows an outlet for those voices. The term “indie publishing” has evolved over the last few years to incorporate self-published authors, authors with boutique presses, and small press authors. It’s a little misleading because they’re not all the same. However, they all provide the opportunity for more voices to be heard.

Self-publishing literally allows anyone to publish a book in print or electronically. That said, it probably still favors voices of privilege since they’ll be the ones who have money for the best covers, editing, and advertising, plus potentially more free time to do the work of getting the word out. Small presses vary greatly but there are a lot of them out there. The best will provide editing, covers, and at least some marketing.

Indie publishing keeps authors from being forced to accept the publication terms of the big publishing houses. While it’s true the big publishing houses pay advances up front, and arguably pay more per book than small presses, the pay can still be surprisingly small. At least anecdotally, I know writers who stick with the big five and yet sometimes barely make ends meet. Indie publishing provides a possible alternative outlet for authors to supplement their pay. When authors do well with indie publishing, it provides some pressure for the big five to offer better pay to compete.

The limited number of publishing venues is a small problem compared to the tiny number of retail outlets for books. By far, most people discover books by visiting bookstores and we only have one major brick-and-mortar retailer in the United States, Barnes and Noble. Shelf space at Barnes and Nobles is limited. It’s not uncommon for me to go into Barnes and Noble and have difficulty finding even current, big name authors with big publishers.

The challenge is how can readers find and support good authors, working through small presses and who self-publish. The usual recommendation is to leave reviews in places like Goodreads and Amazon. This is good, and it’s incredibly helpful.

Some public libraries and local, indie bookstores will host events for authors. I have attended wonderful events at the Branigan Library in Las Cruces and at stores such as Bookmans in Tucson, COAS in Las Cruces, and Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans. If your library or bookstore hosts such events, please go and meet the authors. Talk to them, find out if what they write is to your taste. If it is, give their work a try and then follow them online. If it’s not to your taste, please don’t write off small press or self-published authors because of one or two bad experiences. Go to the next event and meet different authors until you find someone you like.

In the genre world, there are science fiction, steampunk and comic conventions. Some of these provide venues for indie authors, either on panels or in the dealer’s room. If you like hearing from indie authors, make sure to send your feedback to the convention committees. If they hear that people like hearing from indie voices as well as the most popular authors, they will often make room for those indie authors.

Indie publishing provides a platform for new and diverse voices. I won’t try to convince you that all those voices will be ones you want to hear or even great voices, which is true of any media. But if you look, you will find the gems. I encourage you to seek out the gems. Leave reviews and visit authors at stores and events. There’s some great stuff out there, just waiting for you to find it.

2016 Tucson Festival of Books

This weekend, I’m at Wild Wild West Con, which is a steampunk convention being held at Old Tucson Studios just outside of Tucson, Arizona. If you’re in the area I hope you’ll drop by. The link above will take you to the convention’s home page where you can get more information. I hope to post some photos in the next couple of weeks.

TFB-Logo

Next weekend, I’ll be back in Tucson for the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona. Clicking the name or the logo to the left will take you to the festival’s home page for more information. I see lots of great authors scheduled including Greg Bear, Jeffery J. Mariotte, Marsheila Rockwell, Beth Cato, Diana Gabaldon, Jonathan Maberry, and many more. I’m scheduled for the following event:

Scientists Writing Science Fiction:
Two real life scientists discuss writing science fiction.

Location: Integrated Learning Center Room 151
Time: Sun, Mar 13, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Signing area: Sales & Signing Area – Integrated Learning Center (following presentation)
I’ll be on this panel with Chris Impey.

I will also be signing books at the Massoglia Books Booth during the weekend. Be sure to stop by the book and check for times. They’re booth number 446 and in addition to my books, they have an outstanding selection of used and collectible books. I can easily spend hours just browsing their selection.

Hope to see you there!

TusCon 41 Schedule

TusCon41 TusCon is Tucson, Arizona’s annual science fiction, fantasy, and horror convention. Normally it’s held about mid-November, but this year it’s coming up early, on Halloween weekend. Once again, I’m honored to be invited as one of the guest authors. The Author Guest of Honor is Janni Lee Simner and the Artist Guest of Honor is Sarah Clemmons. You can find all the details at tusconscificon.com. Here’s a look at my schedule:

Friday, October 31

  • 7pm – Ballroom – Mingle with the Guests. This is your chance to learn who’s who at TusCon and chat informally before festivities begin.
  • 9pm – Panel Room 1 – Is It Still TusCon If It’s On Halloween. Normally TusCon happens around my birthday. This year it’s two weeks early. This definitely feels strange to me. Discussing the situation with me are Scott Glener, Bruce Wiley, Carol DePriest, and Curt “Fergie” Booth.

Saturday, November 1

  • 3pm – Panel Room 1 – Has the future become “unknowable”? Was it ever knowable in the first place? I’ll discuss how science and science fiction have changed with Anna Paradox, Cynthia Ward, and Jim Doty.
  • 6pm – Ballroom – Mass Autograph Session Get your wares autographed by any and all of TusCon’s guest authors and artists. If it has mass, I’ll sign it!

Sunday, November 2

  • 11am – Panel Room 1 – Don’t Quit Your Day Job. On this panel, we’ll be discussing the struggles of making a living in this crazy business of science fiction and fantasy writing and storytelling. On the panel with me are Eric Schumacher, Janni Lee Simner, Liz Danforth, and John Vornholt.
  • 1pm – Ballroom – Monsters vs. Megalomaniacs. We’re here to help you figure out how to tell the difference between these two groups. On the panel with me are T.L. Smith, and Paul E. Clinco.

Of course, if you don’t catch up to me in one of these great panels, be sure to stop by the dealer’s room and find the Hadrosaur Productions table where you’ll find many wonderful books, magazines, and anthologies, several of which contain stories and poems by people at TusCon. I look forward to seeing you there!

Interview: David Lee Summers, Author of Lightning Wolves

I’m interviewed this week on the Dab of Darkness Blog. I’m asked a bunch of fun questions ranging from which dead authors I’d invite to dinner to what fantastical beasts I would like to encounter.

Dab of Darkness

SummersLightningWolvesFolks, please welcome David Lee Summers to the blog once again. He’s previously gifted me with a bit of his time in this other interview. Today we chat about fairy tales, Star Wars, Cherie Priest’s works, awkward fan moments, and question over the correct use of the term ‘parsec’. I had quite a bit of fun in reading through David’s answers and I expect you’ll be as entertained as I am.

Myths and beliefs that we would consider fiction or fantasy in modern literature once upon a time shaped history (think of all the hunts for unicorns & dragons). Do you see modern fantasy fiction affecting human cultures today and how?

One of my favorite poetry collections isJean Hull Herman‘s Jerry Springer as Bulfinch or Mythology Modernized. Throughout her collection, Ms. Herman recounts stories of Greek myth and recounts similar episodes from the Jerry Springer Show

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Bubonicon 45

Hard to believe it’s almost time for Bubonicon again! Bubonicon is an annual science fiction convention held each year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year, it will be held from August 23-25 at the Mariott Uptown. The writer guests of honor are Brent Weeks and Tim Powers. The guest artist is Alan F. Beck and the Toastmistress is Diana Rowland. You can learn more about the convention at their website, bubonicon.com

Bubonicon Logo

Hadrosaur Productions will be back with a table in the dealer’s room. We have all kinds of great new products including my novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order and the anthology A Kepler’s Dozen: Thirteen Stories About Distant Worlds that Really Exist. When I’m not on panels, you will likely find me there. My schedule at Bubonicon is as follows.

Friday, August 23

  • 9:30-11:00pm – Astro Boy Salon – For the Love of Cheese: Son of the Cheese Magnet. In this panel, I’ll be discussing many of my favorite cheesy movies and the fine line between “classic schlock” and “just plain bad”. On the panel with me are Adam Jarmon Brown, Craig A. Butler, Victor Milán, Scott Phillips, Robert Vardeman, and John Jos Miller.

Saturday, August 24

  • 10:00-11:00am – Main Room – Short Fiction in the Era of Digital Publishing. My fellow panelists and I will explore the implications of digital publishing on the realm of short fiction. On the panel with me are Daniel Abraham, Suzy M. Charnas, Joan Saberhagen and Josh Gentry.
  • 2:30-3:00pm – DC Comics Salon – 25 Minutes with David Lee Summers. Let me tell you a tale. I’ll give a short reading from my new novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order. I may also give a quick sneak peak at Lightning Wolves.
  • 5:20-6:30pm – Main Room – Mass Autographing Session. I’ll be there along with all the other Bubonicon authors to sign my books.

Sunday, August 25

  • 1:30-2:30pm – Main Room – What if Humans NEVER Go Into Space Again?. I’ll be moderating this provocative panel exploring what might happen to science fiction writers and humanity in a world where people never go into space again. On the panel with me are Mario Acevedo, Doug Beason, T. Jackson King, and Morgan J. Locke.

If you’re in Albuquerque next weekend, I hope to see you at Bubonicon 45!