MileHiCon 2019!

This weekend you’ll find me up in Denver for MileHiCon, which is celebrating its 50th(!) year and has a smashing line-up of author/artist guests. You can find me on the panels below, in the halls, or at the bar, if you want to say hi.

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Friday, 3pm — Writing SF&F Futures that Hold Up

Predicting and extrapolating is hard, and many books, stories, and movies have a short shelf-life before they seem very out-of date. Are there ways to slow that effect down?

Friday, 6pm — Self-Editing vs Hiring

When it comes to polishing up your work, the options vary. Our panelists will discuss the pros and cons of self-editing versus hiring a professional.

Saturday, 4pm — Mass Autographing

Saturday, 7pm — Writing Good Sex Scenes

We’ve all snickered at a sex scene now and then. Our panelists tackle how to do it (writing!) with aplomb.

Hope to see you there!

Join Me for Shrouded Loyalties Launch!

I’m thrilled to be joining author Reese Hogan for the launch of Shrouded Loyalties, her Angry Robot debut, at 2pm on Saturday, August 17th, at the Barnes and Noble in Albuquerque. We’ll be talking books, writing -punk subgenres, and more! If you’re in New Mexico, you don’t want to miss it!

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“Hogan writes with tangible energy, capturing the trials of divided loyalties in the midst of global war… Fans of military SF will enjoy Hogan’s fresh take on the genre.” —Publishers Weekly

A Message From Reese (Facebook):

Join me to celebrate the release of my new Angry Robot novel SHROUDED LOYALTIES, a military sci fi about submarines, alternate realms, spies, and enemy collaboration! Cyberpunk author Lauren Teffeau will be joining me to do a featured discussion about the book, a reading, and a Q&A from the audience. There will also be giveaway baskets and refreshments, and of course, autographed copies for sale! Can’t wait to see you there! 

Be sure to check out Reese’s website and learn a bit more about her writing journey here.

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.

#Authorlife, In Two Scenes

1)

As mentioned earlier, I had the privilege of participating in Creative Santa Fe’s Disrupted Futures Dialogue last month on Cli-Fi: Altered Futures Through Film and Literature. It was a fantastic evening where local sustainability partners like The Santa Fe Watershed Association350.org New MexicoThe Santa Fe Community College Controlled Environment Agriculture Department, City of Santa Fe’s Environmental Services Division and Water Conservation Department were invited to talk about their initiatives, fellow author and editor-in-chief of World Weaver Press Sarena Ulibarri and I sold books, and we watched some amazing films related to climate change.

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Photography courtesy of Luis Castillo Photography

Sarena read a story from the Glass and Gardens anthology she edited that she felt best captured the aesthetic of solarpunk, a burgeoning subgenre of speculative fiction invested in optimistic, sustainable futures that she’s been a tireless voice in championing. I followed with a reading from the Compton Crook nominated Implanted, which also focuses on a way forward after the climate cataclysm, and there was a great question-and-answer session with Creative Santa Fe executive director Cyndi Conn. You can get a sense for the entire evening here:

2)

I participated in my very first book club appearance at a group in Albuquerque who has been meeting for over ten years. Implanted was their June selection, and I had the honor of selecting what the potluck dinner theme was and try to relate it back to the book in some way.

I confess I had to put my thinking cap on for that. Ultimately, I decided to go with “secret vegetables” — ways to creatively include vegetables into meals that may not otherwise include them without sacrificing flavor. Given the theme of sustainability in the book and the vertical farm chase sequence, I thought that would be a nice way to go, whether it was subbing in cauliflower for pasta or adding extra veggies to a sauce or coming up with creative sides that don’t default to potatoes.

Well, the group was not daunted by the task before them, and we got to sample some amazing takes on mac and cheese (made with carrots, cauliflower and butternut squash), meatloaf (augmented with grated carrots, zucchini, and other veggies), cauliflower riced pudding, two kinds of black bean brownies, pumpkin cake, and some amazing salads.

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I was also asked to lead a discussion of the book, for which I prepared a couple of questions (for those of you who want to play along at home):

  • Internet usage, communication styles, and adoption of new technologies are all things I explore to varying degrees in Implanted. Emery and other characters have the option to respond verbally or nonverbally, use their voices or the augmented one their implants construct to communicate, depending on the situation. What are some of the considerations people in New Worth make when deciding how to respond? How does that change with the person they’re communicating with, the situation they’re in, their surroundings?
  • The implant technology portrayed in Implanted doesn’t yet exist. However huge strides in neural imaging and implanted devices are being made currently in the biomedical fields. If the technology becomes available in your lifetime, what are some aspects to it that you are most interested in using? What are ones that don’t appeal to you? We’ve already seen the changes the internet and mobile phones have had on society. What additional considerations would we need to make for implants?
  • The Law of Digital Recency plays a big role in how implants have changed society. What has been the impact on the people of New Worth, and how does Aventine take advantage of those changes? How do the Disconnects take advantage?
  • Early on in the book, Emery is faced with a tough decision when confronted by Aventine about her past and the future she’s risking. She chooses to give up her old life so her family will not stay trapped in the Terrestrial District. How was her choice justified or not? Would you make the same decision given the circumstances? What other potential complications could you see arising from giving up the digital footprint of your old life to go undercover?
  • Issues of sustainability feature prominently in the book, and a large part on the plot hinges on the idea of Emergence, when the people of the city can finally return to the land they had to abandon. It’s a founding conceit for the city of New Worth, a guiding mythology, a promise for the future, a given or a lie, depending on a person’s point of view. How does that play into the plot? Is such a concept beneficial even if it’s rooted in lies or misunderstandings?

While I was a bit nervous, as I am with all events, I realized pretty quickly that this one would be far more pleasant, in part because I didn’t have to convince anyone there to buy the book—they already had or purchased it on audio. So that immediately eliminated the whole marketing shtick that always makes me uncomfortable. Then there was the fact that they had all read it beforehand and enjoyed it (not that they would say otherwise to my face ;). That changed the dynamic dramatically and we could get into the nitty gritty details about the book and dive into my influences and intentions in a way that simply isn’t possible at most book events.

The resulting discussion was extremely gratifying, and I look forward to the next opportunity to share my work in this manner.