We are not, repeat NOT, in snow eyelashes deep,
There’s sunshine, and temps do toward 80F reach,
All that’s missing are pina coladas and beach.
We’re not out on the highways or in airports delayed,
Simple plans for the Day, some might call them staid,
For as much as I travel and enjoy The Road,
It’s a treat to spend Christmas in mine own abode.
The Tree is assembled and merrily twinkling,
Why it’s still unmolested I haven’t an inkling,
No garland unraveled, no balls missing yet,
I’m starting to think that I should call the vet.
It seems that our furballs have called Christmas truce
To their usual turf wars and sibling abuse.
Beneath the lit branches, in unnatural peace,
Eggnog and Mistletoe snug together to sleep.
So before I head off to my own peaceful bed,
There is one think left hanging, a wish to be said.
To you, friends and fans, who these line should see,
Merry Christmas and the Best of The Season from me.
I'm back from DragonCon, after having an even better time than anticipated. I'll be putting together a report, after I finish working through the pile o' stuff that accumulated during the week I was away, but in the meantime...
The Daily Dragon is DragonCon's "newspaper", distributed in hardcopy throughout the hotels and function spaces and electronically on the website and through the DragonCon app. In addition to invaluable info like programming changes, cancellations, changes of location and/or time, reminders, and the like, there are features such as reviews of panels and interviews.
It was my honor to be one of the featured interviews this year, and it was great fun fielding questions from Amanda Faith. Here's the piece that resulted:
Lee Martindale: “Poet, songsmith, teller of tales, lover, student, teacher, warrior… Bard”
The gods have smiled, the patterns have aligned, and a bunch of hardworking volunteers in numerous departments have wrought their magick. My schedule and other pertinent info is in hand, I’m packing like a madwoman, and in a few short days I will making my way to Atlanta for the festivities. Here’s where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing during the slotted times. Again this year, it appears I’m listed as moderator for all the panels on my schedule, and I’m more than happy to put those skills to use. Besides, it’s fun!
Friday, Sept 4
11:30am - 12:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Bill Fawcett, Chris A. Jackson, Lee Martindale (M), Stephen H. Segal, and Mark L. Van Name.
What do all those genre labels mean? What elements define a work as being in a particular genre?
4:00pm - 5:00pm, Edgewood - Hyatt
Reading: Lee Martindale
As of right now, I’m thinking of making this one “listeners’ choice” from the Bard’s Road collection.
8:30pm - 9:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Panel: Blurred Lines: Genres within Genres
Jenna Black, David Mack, Lee Martindale (M), S.M. Sterling, Debbie Viguie
Earlier in the day, a panel defined the genres. This one examines mixing genres and subgenres in one’s work.
Saturday, Sept 5
2:30pm - 3:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Panel: Strong Women in SF
Elizabeth Moon, Esther Friesner, Lee Martindale (M), Kelly Swilley, Ceccato, Amy Herring
It ain’t your granddad’s science fiction, when men were men and women were good screamers, anymore, but then again, it never really was. We’ll talk about what makes a “strong female character”, and talk about some of our favorites.
7:00pm - 8:00pm, Embassy D-F - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Panel: Challenges for Today's Writers
Taylor Anderson, Kevin Dockery, Laura Anne Gilman, Ciara Knight, Lee Martindale (M), Linda Robertson
If we didn’t live in the real world, being a writer would be the ideal existence. But we do live in the real world, where things like eating on a regular basis, sleeping indoors, paying taxes, and other mundanity are important. We’ll talk about the logistics of being a writer in the real world.
Sunday, Sept. 6
1:00pm - 2:00pm, International Hall South - Marriott
Come by and say hello.
4:00pm - 5:00pm, Marietta - Hyatt
SFWA Informational Meeting
Open to current SFWA members only
Come here what’s happening in the organization, share opinions, and ask questions.
8:30pm - 9:30pm, Embassy D-F - Hyatt
Panel: Just Kill Me Now: Self-editing
Lou Anders, Lindsay Cummings, Lee Martindale (M), Rebecca Moesta, Elizabeth Moon
It’s painful, it’s difficult, and it’s an invaluable skill that makes for better work and better writers. Come learn from some of the best.
Monday, Sept. 7
11:30pm - 12:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Showcase: Eric Flint
I’ll be hosting an hour with the creator of the 1632 universe. He’ll discuss that, what he’s up to now, and take questions from the audience. This should be a lot of fun.
4:00pm - 5:00pm, Embassy D-F - Hyatt
Panel: Multi-Cultural and Diverse SF/F Fiction
Lee Martindale (M), Amanda Ray, John Johnston, Lisa Yaszek, Rebecca Kumar, Amy Li
Writers who deliver characters who are culturally diverse and non-stereotypical talk about the why and how of doing just that.
There are any number of panels, dances, meet-and-greets, and concerts I’d like to attend as well, so we’ll see how it goes.
The woman, it seemed, had downloaded the electronic version of one of the anthologies I edited. When she opened it, it was, she said, the worst piece of (expletive deleted) she’d ever seen. Badly formatted, typos and scrambled characters on almost every line, and more blank pages than pages with text. Some stories stopped mid-sentence, others started midword. Even worse, downloading the file apparently downloaded a nasty virus that required professional help to clean up.
You know where this is going. She’d downloaded the book for free. The hot mess she described was consistent with running hard copy through bad OCR and not reviewing the file that resulted. Sending a virus along as a “bonus” is a common practice, often the primary purpose, among those who set up such sites. But the final confirmation came with the name of the anthology she’d acquired. Such A Pretty Face was published in limited edition hardcover and trade paperback only. Once rights to each story reverted back to the individual writers, some put them out in e-version themselves, but as for the anthology as a whole, there has never been a legitimately published e-version. Any e-copy you see being offered for download is unauthorized and, most definitely, not “real”. It’s a rip-off of the writers, the editor, the copyrights holders, and those who download it.
Such A Pretty Face isn’t the only entry in the HarpHaven catalog being pirated. Granted, the files on the others may be better formatted, since I suspect they’re copies of the legitimately-available ebook versions. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find them serving as carriers for viruses and other malware.
So, as a public service, here’s a breakdown of where readers can find The Real Thing when looking for some of the items from HarpHaven Publishing.
There are currently authorized ebook editions of The Ladies of Trade Town, Bard’s Road, and Prejudice by the Pound. All three are available for the Kindle at Amazon.com, and for the Nook at barnesandnoble.com. As mentioned above, there is no authorized edition, in any format, for Such A Pretty Face.
Such A Pretty Face is available in limited edition hard cover and trade paper editions, while The Ladies of Trade Town, Bard’s Road, and Prejudice by the Pound are all available in trade paperback. All are available directly from HarpHaven.net or from Amazon.com. These are all new, not used, copies. You can also find them from other online and brick-n-mortar book dealers, either new or used, from time to time.
Happy, safe, and honest reading!
Thursday, June 4
8:00am - 5:00pm
While some attendees spend the day touring the Argonne/Fermi Labs, soaking up knowledge in the Self-Publishing Workshop, or enjoying an afternoon of writer-focused programming, I’ll be involved in the SFWA Board Meeting. Although the Board is in electronic session constantly, this is one of two face-to-face meetings held each year.
Welcome Reception: Wherein attendees are welcomed, Larry Niven, SFWA’s newest Grand Master is honored, and Ad Astra: the 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook is launched.
Friday, June 5
Another full day of programming focused on SFWA history and information for writers. There are several I hope to be in the audience for. And then this:
2:00pm - 3:00pm
What SFWA Can Do For You: Various programs SFWA has for authors and how you can get the most out of your membership. Panelists: Kate Baker, Lee Martindale, Sarah Pinsker, Bud Sparhawk
8:00pm - 9:30pm
Mass Autographing: One of my favorite events on any Nebula Weekend schedule. A opportunity to see and visit with folks I might not otherwise get a chance to the rest of the weekend, meet some fans, and – ohyeah – sell copies of The Ladies of Trade Town and Bard’s Road. Looking forward to this.
Saturday, June 6
10:00am - Noon
SFWA Business Meeting: All SFWA members encouraged to attend.
Disability and Narrative: The write-up: “Disabled characters are often omitted from science fiction and fantasy. Many of those that do appear are characterized through the use of stereotypes and tropes Panelists will discuss existing representations of disability, both positive and negative, and talk about ways to accurately research and engage with disabled characters.” Panelists: Walt Boyes, Russell Davis, Annalee Flower Horne, Matthew Johnson, Lynne Thomas, Lee Martindale
Beginning at 6:00pm
Awards Reception, The Banquet, and the Awards Ceremony: “And the Nebula goes to....”
Sunday, June 7
Another full day of good programming, and – since I’m not scheduled – I have the chance to sit in the audience and soak up info. Or I may play hooky and head for the Field Museum.
It’s going to be a quite a weekend.
I’m speaking, of course, of TimeGate, the wonderful Atlanta-area Memorial Weekend convention focused on all things Doctor Who and several other Brit-based media fandoms, literature, and culture. I’m honored to be returning again as a guest, and I’ve been gifted with a lovely schedule of panels and other assorted fun to get into. Here’s what’s on tap for me. (All panel descriptions are from the program.)
6:00pm: Opening Ceremonies
7:00pm: Trip of a Lifetime: The 2005 Season. “Looking back at 10 years of new Who - not to mention 10 years of TimeGate. We’ll reminisce about “Rose” and the amazing season that brought back The Doctor at last. Panelists: Martin Hennessee, Ashley Raburn, Chad Colvin, Lee Martindale, Kathy Sullivan.”
8:00pm: LIT: Sense of Wonder. “American and British authors tend to have different sensibilities. Our panelists discuss the differences and whether the Brits have a better ‘sense of wonder’”. Panelists: James Palmer, Lee Martindale, Bill Ritch.”
11:00am: LIT: A Remembrance of Sir Terry Pratchett. “Discworld, the Wee Free Men, the Long Earth. Terry Pratchett brought humor and thoughtfulness to fantasy. We remember the man and his work. Panelists: Lee Martindale, Dawn Benton, Sue Phillips.”
3:00pm: Don't Stop Me Now: Season 8 (2014) Review. “Listen! Take a trip through the 2014 series, from Victorian London to the Matrix Dataslice, from Sherwood Forest to the North Pole with Peter Capaldi’s compelling new Doctor. Panlists: Louis Robinson, John Rabon, Lee Martindale, Ashley Raburn, Martin Hennessee.”
10:00pm: Game! Of! Thrones! “(Say it like Wheel! Of! Fortune!) Are you hooked? Yeah, we know you are. Come detox with us and talk about what you love (and who you hate) Plus, no Game of Thrones panel would be complete without speculation about who is next to die. Panelists: Aaron Dunne, Hannah Hudson, Lee Martindale, Ellie Collins.”
11:00pm: OutlantaCon Presents: The Match Game. “For the 21+ crowd. The classic game comes to TimeGate - hosted by OutlantaCon.”
11:00am: LIT: Books We Would Like to See as Films. “Our panelists suggest books that have not yet been given the film treatment...should they or shouldn’t they? Panelists: James Palmer, Bill Ritch, Lee Martindale”
3:00pm: LIT: So You Want to Be a Writer? “Our panel of experts answer your questions about breaking into the field. Panelists: Lee Martindale , James Palmer”
Am I going to have fun? Youbetcha! For a look at the full schedule and other tasty tidbits of info, including a complete list of guests, go to http://www.timegatecon.org.
Friday, May 8
6:00pm - 7:15pm: Opening Ceremonies
In which we kick off the festivities good and proper. May be the first and last time “proper” applies to the weekend.
10:30pm-11:45pm: Writer's Story-Telling Improv
From the write-up: “It's like Who's Line Is It but for authors. Our host will pose the games and authors will make up the story line based on audience suggestions.” Host: Lee Cox.
Story-Tellers: Ally Blue, TC Blue, Lee Martindale, & Kiernan Kelly
Note: I’ve done something like this many times at MidSouthCon under the title of “It Was A Dark And Stormy Night”, and a couple of times at BayCon, where it’s called “A Shot Rang Out!”. It’s always been great fun for audience and panelists alike. And with this being OutlantaCon...
Saturday, May 9
noon - 1:15pm: Snappy Comebacks to Common Nonsense
The write-up: “Ever thought of a good comeback to an insult or silly comment 10 minutes after the opportunity to use it? Learn how a little prior planning equals thinking fast on your feet. Interactive role-playing and snark could be involved here.” Panelist: Lee Martindale
Note: Snark? Moi? Okay, okay, these folks know me pretty well.
6:00pm - 7:15pm: How NOT to Get Published: Tips for New and Aspiring Writers on the Mistakes and Pitfalls on the Path to Publication
The write-up: “This panel discusses the frequent mistakes that keep otherwise good stories from seeing publication.” Panelist: Lee Martindale
9:00pm - 10:15pm: Match Game
The writeup: “Our most popular event of the con, contestants attempt to match answers to humorous questions as provided by our panelists.” Host: Darren Nowell
Panelists: Java Green, Lee Martindale, Moxie Magnus, & David Yost
Tradition lives and I’ll once again be channeling Fannie Flagg in a version of the venerable TV game show with a distinctly OutlantaCon flair. (Note to self: pack a flask.)
10:30pm - 11:45pm: Confidence: The Ultimate Sexy
The write-up: “There's just something about a person who's comfortable in his/her own skin. The panelists explore what that is.” Panelist: Lee Martindale
Note: Really looking forward to this one.
Sunday, May 10
1:30pm - 2:45pm: Activism 101: Yes You CAN Make a Difference
The write-up: “Effective activism techniques for beginners.” Panelist: Lee Martindale
3:00pm - 4:15pm: Hollywood Squares
From the write-up: “It's OutlantaCon's version of the classic TV game show where panelists answer trivia questions to help contestants win prizes. “ Host: Jose Quiles
Panelists: Lee Martindale, Moxie Magnus, Jason Bush, Ellie Collins, Kiernan Kelly, Pinky Shear, Kage Alan, Brandon Ley, Don Teems
Note: what a way to finish out my programming schedule!
4:30pm - 5:45pm: Closing Ceremonies
The write-up: “We can't believe it's time to close out another Outlantacon. Please join us as we regale our 2015 The Outlantacon Team."
Yes, I’m going to have a great deal of fun. And that’s just part of a truly outstanding programming line-up, and the rest of the weekend’s activities, at http://www.outlantacon.org.