I’m home at last after a trip that took me up to Colorado to sign the anthology Straight Outta Tombstone, to Louisiana to sign my vampire and horror novels, and to Bubonicon in New Mexico where I promoted all my recent books and debuted Maximum Velocity: The Best of the Full-Throttle Space Tales. In the middle of all that was Texas and on the way from Colorado to Louisiana I stopped in Acton, just outside Dallas to visit a memorial to a distant relative of mine, Elizabeth Patton Crockett.
Elizabeth was Davy’s widow and she was granted a plot of land after Texas became a state in gratitude for Davy’s service at the Alamo. She moved from Tennessee to Texas in 1853 and lived on the land until her death in 1860. There seems to be some debate about whether the statue is supposed to depict Elizabeth Patton Crockett or a pioneer woman in general. I like to think of it as Elizabeth, or at least an idealized form of Elizabeth. The one painting I’ve seen of her could be an older version of the woman immortalized by the statue.
Another homesteader in the area around Acton was a fellow named Isaac C. Burson, born in Alabama around the outbreak of the War of 1812. He died the year after Elizabeth Patton moved to the area around Acton. His daughter Martha married one of Elizabeth’s sons from her first marriage, a fellow named James C. Patton around 1859. As it turns out, Martha’s brother, Elisha Micah Burson was my great great grandfather. Three of Elisha Micah’s sons picked up and moved out of the Acton area. Two of the brothers homesteaded in Briscoe County, Texas in the late nineteenth century while my great grandfather, James Daniel Matthew Burson went on to homestead in the northeastern corner of New Mexico. The photo to the right shows him at his general store in Des Moines, New Mexico circa 1920.
My daughter, who accompanied me, thought this little side trip through the heart of Texas to see a statue dedicated to the memory of a pioneer woman connected to our family was worthwhile. It’s rare to see a statue to a woman and, indeed, this one is hidden away in a quiet little cemetery. The “Acton Historic Site” is supposedly the smallest state park in Texas and is Elizabeth Patton Crockett’s grave site. I grew up knowing several women like Elizabeth Patton Crockett and elements of their personalities became templates for characters such as Fatemeh Karimi and Larissa Crimson in my Clockwork Legion novels.
Next weekend, I’ll be at El Paso Comic Con in El Paso, Texas. The event is being held from Friday, April 21 through Sunday, April 23 at the El Paso Convention Center. Special guests for the weekend include Alan Tudyk who played Wash in Firefly, Lou Ferrigno who played the Incredible Hulk in the 1980s, and Nicholas Brendon who played Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There will be cosplay, vendors, and panels all weekend long. You can get more information about the event at: http://elpasocomiccon.com/
Through much of the event, you will be able to find me at booth A77 in the vendor hall. I will have all my books available for sale and I’ll be happy to answer your questions. Also, on Sunday, April 23 at noon, I’ll join authors Gary Wilson, R.S. Dabney, and Natalie Wright for a special Q&A session in Juarez Panel Room 2. Be sure to bring all your questions for us!
In other news from this past week, I discovered a nice mention of the anthology A Kepler’s Dozen on Physics Today’s blog in an article about the state of exoplanet science fiction. Physics Today is the flagship publication of the American Institute of Physics. In the article, they discuss the stories written by Mike Brotherton, Laura Givens, and Steve Howell. In summary, they say “the stories represent a glimpse of where science fiction might go if real exoplanets are taken as inspiration.” You can read the entire article at: http://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.5.3049/full/. You can learn more about A Kepler’s Dozen and order a copy for yourself at: http://hadrosaur.com/kepler.html.
Next week, I’ll be attending LoneStarCon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention, in San Antonio, Texas. I’m excited partly because it’s WorldCon and many of my favorite writers will be there, but I’ve also wanted to visit San Antonio for a while. A few years ago, I discovered that I’m a distant nephew of Davy Crockett, so I’ll definitely pay a visit to the Alamo while I’m there. The convention is being held from August 29 through September 2 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. You can get all the details about the convention at lonestarcon3.org.
10am-11am – The Poet as Activist: On Seeing and Saving the Natural World. In the 19th century, inspired by Emerson’s essay, Nature, Henry David Thoreau initiated a tradition of the nature writer as observer-artist. Today, that tradition continues, but amid a natural world that has been nearly devastated by our own species. Explore the evolving role of the nature writer as artist and activist. Are seeing the world and saving the world part of the same work? On the panel with me is Rie Sheridan Rose.
11am-noon – Presentation of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling & Dwarf Stars Awards. Nominees for each year’s Rhysling Awards are selected by the membership of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Each member is allowed to nominate one work in each of two categories: “Best Long Poem” (50+ lines; for prose poems, 500+ words) and “Best Short Poem” (0-49 lines; for prose poems, 0-499 words). All nominated works must have been published during the preceding calendar year of the awards year. The Dwarf Stars Award is for best speculative poem of 1-10 lines published in the previous year.
1pm-2pm – The History of Science and the Experience of Science Fiction. Science fiction, janus-like, gives us a perspective on the future by examining how science and technology have developed. Speculating on the future in our fiction can also give us insight on how science developed or went into blind alleys. How does the history of science inform the way we read and write science fiction? Or is it vice versa? On the panel with me are: Miguel Angel Fernandez, Donald M. Hassler, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Kathleen Goonan.
4pm-5pm – Kaffeeklatsch. Come join me for a cup of coffee and the chance to ask me what you will!
Sunday, September 1
10am-11am. Speculative Poetry Workshop. Come and learn about speculative poetry and create your own poem. I’ll be hosting the workshop along with Alan Stewart and Jaime Lee Moyer.
Monday, September 2
11am-noon – Doctor Who: Celebrating 50 Years. Doctor Who turns 50, and we’ve had a year of not only new episodes but specials, novels about all the Doctors, audio production, comics, and more. What’s ahead for the next 50? On the panel with me are: Lynne M. Thomas, Alastair Reynolds, Shanna Swendson, and Perrianne Lurie
Looking forward to seeing some old friends and making many new friends in San Antonio next week. If you’ll be there, drop me a note or a comment so I can be on the lookout for you.
Deby Fredericks, author of the wonderful fantasy novel, Seven Exalted Orders, nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog Award.” Deby’s blog looks at dragon lore and history from around the world. If you enjoy dragon stories, fantasy, or folklore, this is a site you don’t want to miss!
This blog award comes with the following rules: Thank the person who made the nomination. Post the award graphic. List seven things about myself. Recommend seven more blogs. So, without further ado, let me present seven random factoids about myself:
I have two brothers and no sisters.
Of my brothers, I’m the only one who wasn’t named for someone in the family.
Despite that, I do share a name with a distant uncle—David Crockett.
Neither my parents nor I knew that Davy Crockett was a distant uncle until I was well into my 40s.
I am the only one of my brothers who is not a native Texan.
One of my brothers is also a writer and publisher.
Although I’ve never lived in Texas, I was on the staff of the award-winning literary magazine of El Paso Community College for several years.
Here are seven blogs that are worth taking a look at:
Sky Warrior Books is one of my publishers and offers some great writing, publishing and marketing tips.
J Alan Erwine is an author and editor with many interesting projects.
Melinda Moore is an author, musician, dancer, and teacher who blogs about writing, shares guest blogs, and even the occasional recipe.
Rick Novy presents writing tips and interviews with some very well known authors.
Mike Brotherton maintains a wonderful blog that discusses astronomy, science fiction and where the two come together.
STEAMED! Writing Steampunk Fiction is a blog with several contributors including Suzanne Lazear, Theresa Meyers, Maeve Alpin, and O.M. Grey, plus regular guest posts. If you want to see just how varied and wonderful the world of Steampunk can be, this is a great stop.