2019 Year In Review

This year. Wow. I am not sorry to see 2019 go. It’s been a quiet year overall for me, in part because of an unexpected death in the family. Additionally, I had my very first run-in with pneumonia, and it packed a punch. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t affected by the tenor of politics, the lies that go unchallenged every day, the brink it feels we’re perched on and have been for awhile now. My brain can be a noisy place, and this year it was too often deafening.

But it wasn’t all bad—not by a long shot. My book baby Implanted got some award recognition which was so gratifying see now that its one-year anniversary has come and gone. I finished another novel project I’m excited about that I’ve been chipping away at for the last two years, and I’m plugging away on a new one that I not only love but love the challenge of writing it as well. There are also other ideas (of course!) percolating in my hind brain that I can’t wait to get to too. You can’t have the highs without the lows, and while this feels a little bit like a trough for me at the moment, I’m really looking forward to next year and what it might bring.

So, without further ado, the year’s highlights:

Award love for Implanted:

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New Short Story:

“Sing! And Remember” was published in the inaugural “Founders Issue” of DreamForge Magazine and illustrated by the Hugo-award winning illustrator Elizabeth Leggett.

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I talked about the story here and here on the blog, but it is a story that means a lot to me, and I’m so grateful it’s out in the world thanks to the passionate team behind DreamForge magazine.

#Authorlife Appearances:

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  • I attended the Nebulas, Armadillocon, Bubonicon, and MileHighCon and got to see old friends and new as well as participate on my share of panels.
  • I also participated the Williamson Lectureship, held each year in Portales, NM, on Eastern New Mexico University’s campus, and it was great to see my book in the library there!

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Wishing everyone a fitting end to 2019. Onward to 2020!

August Con Schedule

August is convention season! You’ll be able to find me at ArmadilloCon in Austin, TX, and Bubonicon in Albuquerque, NM, this month. My schedule is below. If you are in attendance, be sure to introduce yourself!

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ArmadilloCon — Austin, Texas

Friday, August 2, 10pm — Social Impact of New Technology (Ballroom F)

How do authors and media like Black Mirror explore technological impacts? While we mostly dwell on the dark side, what are the positive impacts of technology.

Saturday, August 3, 11am — Autographing (Dealers Room)

Saturday, August 3, 4pm — Series vs. Standalone (Southpark B)

Fans love series. Writers love series. Or are these statements just myths? Our panelists discuss the merits of both series and standalone books, whether we love them, and why.

Sunday, August 4, 11am — Science Fiction Mysteries (Ballroom F)

What do we love about the combination of these genres? What are some of the best examples? Why do we love to write them?


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Bubonicon — Albuquerque, New Mexico

Friday, August 23, 5pm — Spy-Fi: Science Fiction Thrillers (Salon E)

What happens when authors combine espionage themes with SF? What are the ins and outs of SF spy thrillers? What kinds of seemingly innocuous objects become super high-tech spy gear? How do characters become embroiled in a world of adventure & espionage in far-flung settings or in the cyberpunk near-future? And what makes a spy story satisfying as a SF crossover when the opposing force may be something as realistic as a foreign government or as fanciful as a diabolical mastermind?

Friday, August 23, 9pm — The Future You Imagine Is The Future You Get (Salon E)

In the past, dystopian fiction has served as a kind of modern-day cautionary fable. But what’s the other side of the coin? How do we tell tales of futures that we can aspire to, rather than ones that we warn against? What are we working towards, and how do we avoid the pitfalls of premature nostalgia and the tendency to excessively homogenize our utopias?

Saturday August 24, 10am — Dreamforge Wants You To Forge Dreams of a Better Future (Salon E)

DreamForge Magazine is a new pro-market that wants positive fantasy and science fiction–stories where characters endure, overcome, and embrace that spirit of wonder and discovery through which sentient beings invest the universe with meaning and purpose. The magazine seeks to be faithful to those dreamers and makers who came before us to brave ages far darker than our own, supportive of present idealists who remain indomitable in the face our time’s apocalyptic fears, and hopeful that the principles of compassion, justice, and truth shall endure until the end of time. Meet some of the first authors and illustrators featured in this exciting new venue! 

Saturday August 24, 2pm — The Smitten Word: Romancing the Reader (Salon E)

Panelists discuss the power of romance, and the range and voice of the genre – including paranormal romance and its cousin, urban fantasy. What has worked in novels and on the screen? Does romance have a place in “mainstream” SF and Fantasy? It’s a potentially blush-inducing conversation, and potentially a hilarious battle over books, movies, TV shows and Hollywood’s hottest.

Saturday Augst 24, 4:14pm — 55 Minutes with Lauren C. Teffeau (Carlsbad)

Saturday August 25, 5:45pm — Mass Autographing Session (Salon E)

Sunday, August 25, 12:30pm — The Role of Secrets in Speculative Fiction (Salon E)

Secrets are powerful things: secrets from a character’s past, secrets between characters, secret worlds, secret doorways, secret words, and secret abilities. How are secrets used in SF & F? Which are your favorite to use in plots and relationships?

 

Potpourri – Summer Edition

I’m thrilled to announce Implanted finaled in the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal RWA chapter’s PRISM contest for best Sci-Fi and Futuristic Novel. The award is bestowed by one of the largest chapters in the romance community to celebrate excellence in published romance with speculative elements. Be sure to check out the other great books featured in the different categories. Winners will be announced at Nationals in New York City later this month. Fingers crossed!PRISM2019Badge

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My short story “No Regrets on Fourth Street” was made into a podcast by StarShipSofa. It’s narrated by Larissa Thompson, a talented voice actress, and it’s exciting to have another story featured at StarShipSofa, which published my story “Jump Cut” way back in 2016.

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If you ever wanted an opportunity to be mentored by moi—or other amazing NM-based judges—you’ll get your chance by entering The Land of Enchantment Romance Author’s The Writer contest. Our local RWA chapter will be accepting the first 5k of unpublished romantic works through July 31st. Check out the rules here.
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This Friday at the Albuquerque Science Fiction Society, Sarena Ulibarri and I will be reprising our presentation on Climate Fiction that we did for Creative Santa Fe in May. If you are local, I hope you’ll join us for readings and spirited discussions on solarpunk, cli-fi, and what’s next for our field.

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Finally, be on the lookout for my schedule for Armadillocon in Austin, TX, August 2nd-4th, and Bubonicon in Albuquerque, NM, August 23rd-25th.

Remembering Victor Milán

Last week, sad news came in that prolific New Mexican author Victor Milán passed away after complications with pneumonia. That’s a bit deceptive as he had been in and out of emergency room since early December, but so much time in the hospital took its toll and robbed us of one of the greatest adventure writers out there. Some good retrospectives on his writing career can be found at Locus, File 770, Tor, and GRRM’s blog.

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Victor Milan, John Jos Miller, Jane Lindskold, Lauren C. Teffeau, S.M. Stirling and Emily Mah at Page 1 Books, June 2015

Vic had a tremendous impact on the local science fiction and fantasy community here in Albuquerque, and it’s only fitting there will be a remembrance ceremony celebrating his life and work at Bubonicon, the local SFF convention, this August.

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Victor Milan at the Dinosaur Lords release party / birthday — August 2015

I met Vic through the NM-based Critical Mass writers’ group, which I first joined back in fall of 2012. He was always witty and kind and an insightful critiquer. I felt privileged to have read his work in turn, most notably his Dinosaur Lords series with Tor. His encouragement and support of my own writing over the years was a huge gift, and one I’ll carry with me for a long time.

 

 

 

When he got sick, getting shuttled from emergency rooms to hospital beds to nursing rehabilitation facilities only to be sent back to the ER for the process to start all over again, it was hard seeing such a gentle vibrant man brought low by illness and an indifferent healthcare system. But he was fighting up to the very end.

My last visit with him, a few days before his passing, was a good one. I wanted to see him before I left town for a weeklong trip back East to visit family. There were the usual gripes about the facility, interruptions by staff members taking vitals or administering meds, but he brightened up considerably when I mentioned some editorial feedback I’d received on a project, happy to talk about the writing process he’d devoted so much of his life to. When I left, he was still weak but showing outward signs of improving, even as pneumonia and sepsis were unknowingly setting in. I didn’t realize that would be the last time I’d see him.

After that visit, he sent me the following text:

 

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I didn’t respond—I was going to see him as soon as I got back to town. We could talk then, right? Wrong. In any case, here’s my belated reply:

No, Vic. Thank you. And wherever you are now, happy voyaging!

 

Bubonicon 2017!

The 49th iteration of Bubonicon, New Mexico’s science fiction and fantasy convention, is in just a few short weeks. C. J. Cherryh and Sherwood Smith are guests of honor, Ursula Vernon is toastmistress, and Elizabeth Leggett is our artist guest of honor. Back in time is this year’s theme.

The festivities are August 25, 26, and 27 at Albuquerque’s Marriott Uptown.

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There are a number of panels and events scattered throughout the weekend, so if you are local, be sure to check out the programming guide.

On Friday, you can find me participating in the following:

Panel # 4 – FACTS BEHIND THE FANTASY: RESEARCH IMPACT

Panel # 7 – REBEL SCUM: OPPOSING THE EMPIRE

Saturday, we’ll be talking about the science in science fiction.

Panel # 12 – HEY, YOU GOT YOUR SCIENCE IN MY FICTION

Hope to see you there! Be sure to check out bubonicon.com