Thursday, March 27, 2014

Boskone Follow Up!

February slipped by quickly, as I figured it would.  So here we are, over a month later, and I thought I'd write a little bit about Boskone 2014 and how it all went.  Technically, the most recent con I went to was Vericon, an enormously intimate con which happened at the Harvard campus this past weekend, but I started this post prior to going there!

This convention felt a lot more relaxed compared to last year.  This turned out to be a nice, low-key affair.  I caught up with a number of authors both in and outside the area and generally was a lot less rushed than at Arisia 2014, a con which sold out on Saturday.

The first panel I attended was The Art of Writing Young Adult Fiction.  The panel was a pretty formidable one, rounded out with Strange Horizons editor Julia Rios and long-time writer, Jane Yolen.  My favorite takeaway in my notes was that, "A teen is not a characteristic" but an individual in another frame of life.  Also, I adored Yolen's story of how she accidentally traumatized her kids with a viewing of The Wizard of Oz.

Why You Want to Go to Florence is probably the least genre-related panel I've ever been to at a convention but it was still a lot of fun.  Jo Walton and Ada Palmer related anecdotes, both historical and tourist-ical, about the Italian city.  It reminded me of my own brief visit there on my high school Europe trip.  And now I want to save up to go back, a fact which makes me wonder whether or not Walton and Palmer are secret agents from the Florence Tourist Board.

Exploring the Whedonverse was the first panel I was on for this convention and I thought it went enormously well.  The audience was enthusiastic but not hesitant about criticizing Joss Whedon's past work. It was moderated by Stephen P. Kelner and I had the pleasure of being in the company of Dana Cameron, Nancy Holder, and Erin Underwood.


I saw Killer Plagues, a cheerfully grim little panel.  Seanan McGuire is, by the way, my tapeworm hero.  It was a nice mix of scientific inquiry and gory anecdotes.

The kaffeeklatsch with Jane Yolen was enlightening and I wish I had taken more notes with this one!  It was also just plain fun.

The Cinematic Landscapes panel I did with Bob Eggleton, Greg Manchess,  and Frank Wu was quiet.  I liked the conversation I moderated, but we all sort of wandered back and forth over the topic.  Lots of trivia about old films and a ringing endorsement for The Lego Movie (which I've since seen and can confirm is a real treat).

Fun With Seriously Silly Poses was a panel I was very nervous about.  It was an informal "posing" challenge in which I projected (cheesecake/beefcake) pulp novel covers on a screen and panelists John Chu, Mur Lafferty, Jennifer Pelland, E. C. Ambrose, and surprise special guest, Max Gladstone, attempted to mimic the poses.  They were all game.  I was so pleased.  The audience was sizeable, too, and were all too happy to provide extra props (a cane, a stuffed dragon) and extra bodies.  We had a lot of fun with gender swapping the covers, as well, which pointed out just how awkward some of the female-oriented poses could be.


On Sunday morning, I caught the Theodora Goss-moderated panel, A Literary Wonderland, which, like the panel she moderated the night before, The Enduring Power of Fairytales, explored modern folklore, Alice in Wonderland, and the stories people tell their children and themselves. Lots of lovely stuff here.

Bob Devney, who's an absolute sweetheart, moderated Against a Dark Background: Looking Back at Iain M. Banks.  I was on that panel echoing the sadness of Banks' sudden death this past year and enduring quality of his works.

Who's in the Attic, What's in the Basement, and I Don't Know Is Under the Bed was the last panel I was on for the convention.  I moderated it, but our discussion of horror tropes in contemporary film and literature was lost to the sleepy haze of the convention's last few hours.  It was nice, but I wish we had had more time to delve into monsters and the things that terrify contemporary audiences.

All these panels were sandwiched in between meal outings and drinks with friends and con-goers.  I also got to catch up with one of my Clarion teachers, Elizabeth Bear, which, as always, was an absolute delight.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Apex Rides the Hurt

Earlier this week, the 57th issue of Apex Magazine featuring my poem, Sleep Lives Inside the Bed, dropped.  The "top billing," if you can call it that (and I wouldn't), is due to nothing but the luck of having a last name starting with a letter early in the alphabet.  Mine is the shortest piece in there.

I love Karla Oritz's cover art.  Wonderfully creepy but beautiful.  Looking at her blog, a number of her pieces fit that to a T.  I definitely recommend checking her site out.

And the magazine, if you haven't already.  It's rad.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Strange Horizons and Apex Magazine

Promotional poster for Josephine Baker
(circa 1930) Zig [Louis Gaudin]
"The Liar's Charm," a poem of mine, is on the January 2014 acceptance list for Strange Horizons.

And also? Another of my poems is appearing this year in Apex Magazine.

I'm very happy. Thank you, everyone, for your support and kindness.

EDIT: OH HEY! My poem, Sleep Lives Inside the Bed, is now available for your viewing pleasure!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Boskone 2014 Schedule

Doriane (1926) Charles Gesmar
As promised, here's my finalized panel schedule for Boskone 2014 (February 14th-16th)!  I'm moderating three out of the five panels I'll be on, a prospect which I'm finding full of more terror than I probably should.

But if you want to drop by and say hello at the convention, here's where I'll be:

Exploring the Whedonverse
Friday 21:00 - 21:50
From "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to the new "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," Joss Whedon has had a hand in some of the most significant genre television programming ever. How have Joss and his Whedonverse shaped TV (including shows he didn't actually develop) and affected the wider genre community? What is the Whedon Effect? What would primetime television be like if Buffy never came to Sunnydale, or _Serenity_ never lifted off? What was _Dollhouse_ all about?
Stephen P. Kelner (M), Dana Cameron, Nancy Holder, Gillian Daniels, Erin Underwood

Cinematic Landscapes
Saturday 14:00 - 14:50
How do art and cinema interact? What would _Lord of the Rings_ have been without its artistic landscapes? Would the film _28 Days Later_ have been so unsettling without its cinematic beauty? The panelists will discuss how art and landscapes interact to help convey the story of the film as well as to build tension, increase emotion, and leave a lasting image of the place in the minds of viewers.
Gillian Daniels (M) , Bob Eggleton, Greg Manchess, Frank Wu

Fun With Seriously Silly Poses
Saturday 19:00 - 19:50
Expect to emit great giggles at our group reenactments of scenes from SF/fantasy/horror cover art. Warning: high probability of awkward audience participation and pretty pathetic props.
Gillian Daniels (M), John Chu, Mur Lafferty, Jennifer Pelland, E. C. Ambrose

Against a Dark Background: Looking Back at Iain M. Banks
Sunday 12:00 - 12:50
Scottish novelist Iain M. Banks (1954-2013) wrote brilliantly for both SF and mainstream fans, and was named one of the top 50 authors in postwar Britain by _The Times_ of London. What do we make of his troubled viewpoint characters? His fondness for set pieces, rants, bleak smiles, and nasty shocks? His portrayals of sex, tech, morality, art, violence, and death? What sets his Jeeves-like Minds and drones apart from other writers' robots? Aren't his ship names just the coolest thing?
Bob Devney (M), Mark L. Olson, Vincent Docherty, Gillian Daniels, Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Who's in the Attic, What's in the Basement, and I Don't Know Is Under the Bed
Sunday 13:00 - 13:50
A panel discussion of the things that give us goose bumps, send chills down our spines, or otherwise scare the daylights out of us.
Gillian Daniels (M), Darrell Schweitzer, F. Brett Cox, Paul G. Tremblay, Max Gladstone

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Arisia 2014

Allegory with a Boy Lighting a Candle
in the Company of an Ape and a Fool
(1577-9) El Greco
I've finally gotten over my exhaustion from Arisia and it's now the following weekend.


 Worth it, though.  I had a blast.

It also looks like I'll be a part of Boskone 2014 in some capacity (details to come) so I'll be revving up once more for February!

But for now, some snippets from Arisia 2014!  I went to many panels, mostly on the Literature and Writing track.

Some panels I attended (but was not on):

Writing the Other. Saturday 10am. This panel was about writing a culture, race, or group that wasn't your own. So much insight! Nisi Shawl is awesome and Mikki Kendall is hilarious.  I thought a lot about the otherness categorization system Don Sakers suggested.

Write What You Know All Too Well. Saturday 4pm. Lots of discussion on confessional writing and personal truth vs. fact.  I believe Shira Lipkin referenced Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, an excellent how-to-write book I read in undergrad.

The Unheard Voices of SF/F/H. Saturday 8:30pm; Representation, Race, and Reconciliation. Sunday 2:30pm. Both different panels, but both about authors of different backgrounds in the predominantly white, straight science fiction and fantasy community. Catherine Lundoff gathered a list of resources referenced from The Unheard Voices panel, if you're interested in checking that out. K. Tempest Bradford was on both panels in place of Nisi Shawl because Shawl had too many panels, I gather, but the latter sat in the audience.  Hilarity ensued and it was wonderful.

Queering Up Canon. Sunday 7pm. Activist Kate Nepveu is an excellent moderator and A.J. OdassoCassandra Lease, and Julia Pilowsky wonderful panelists.  There was a good balance of "fangirling" and analytical discussion interrogating fandom. Maybe it's because the panel was about fan fiction and being a fan of integrating shows with LGBT content, but there was a warm, excited energy in the room.

Looking Forward to Last Thursday. Monday 10am. A time travel panel moderated by John Chu. I was still a bit foggy when I walked in but the ban on discussing paradoxes made me chuckle.

Stick With It! Complex, Rewarding Literature. Monday 11:30am. Among others, Greer Gilman, Max Gladstone, and Lila Garrott gave book recommendations and discussed the rewards of tackling difficult books. Not a lot about strategies to finish said complex books, but they kept what could have been a dry panel very lively on the last day of the convention.

Gothic: Women in Houses. Monday 1pm. This one was at the tail end of the con and the last thing I went to before I called it a day.  It was fairly easy to get off topic, as there are tons of books and stories that potentially fit the "gothic literature about women" category, but moderator April Grant kept this one fun.

Annnd I guess I should talk about my own panels!

Reading: Altabef, Daniels, and Kimmel Hale Fri 7:00 PM
Authors Ken Altabef, Gillian Daniels, and Daniel M. Kimmel will be reading selections from their works.
An excellent reading.  I had a lot of nerves going in because it was the first time I'd read my work at Arisia, but the environment was ultimately comfortable and the people in the audience welcoming.  I volunteered to go first as the handful of things I wanted to read (two poems, two flash pieces, please see previous entry on stuff I've published this year for which ones) didn't take very long to get through! Ken Altabef and Dan Kimmel then read from their respective novels, the former of which was about Inuit culture and the latter an unpublished but enormously funny work.

The Future Is Now: Online Short Fiction Faneuil Fri 8:30 PM
Shira Lipkin, Julia Rios, Ken Schneyer, Gillian Daniels
I was unsure what to expect from this panel and, in preparation, put together as many notes as I could.  It started with a discussion of the best place to find short stories online and became advice to audience members on how to submit your work.  We discussed the future of print vs. online publications and the increased presence of places like Lightspeed Magazine and Clarkesworld Magazine at the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

QUILTBAG Representation in YA Faneuil Sat 11:30 AM
Julia Rios [mod], Victor Raymond, Adam Lipkin, Emily Wagner, Gillian Daniels
Julia Rios made a recording available on Outeralliance and I strongly recommend a listen. This isn't the first time my voice has appeared on her podcast, either! I say the word "um" a lot, here, and I'm pretty sure the click of ice cubes is me continuously drinking water.  Then Emily Wagner and I bond over Sailor Moon fan fiction.  I very much wish this panel could have been longer. Arisia's panels have a pretty long run time to begin with, too.  By the end, we really started to get into the lack of asexuality in YA lit.

Welcome to Night Vale: And Now, the Weather. Paine Sat 1:00 PM
Gillian Daniels [mod], Lila Garrott, Melissa Honig, Adrianne Brennan, Kate Nepveu
Agh, now this was just too much fun!  To start with, I read a small, Cecil-like intro I scratched out beforehand in order to set the mood for discussing the series.  The audience responded wonderfully.  We just had a lot of good vibes running through the entire block of time, whether we were discussing the overarching plots or the diversity within the cast.  The positivity was also tempered with criticism, keeping the panel interesting and thoughtful.

Gravity Falls Paine Sun 11:30 AM
Gillian Daniels [mod], Dan Morris, J. S. Hailer, Jennifer Pelland, Sonya Taaffe
Another fun panel!  Lots of discussion on the well executed, surprisingly sincere Disney cartoon series and why it feels more in-depth and interesting than most of the channel's live action content.  We talked a lot about the theories behind the show and where it may be headed.  At the end, the audience and panel finally talked about the multiple secret codes and puzzles the show gives its fans.

When Poets Write Prose and Vice Versa Faneuil Sun 8:30 PM
Erik Amundsen [mod], Adrienne J. Odasso, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Sonya Taaffe, Gillian Daniels
Okay, this panel was pretty loose.  I loved it, but considering the attendance was light (it was the same time as the Masquerade) and the panel itself was punchy, we got off-topic pretty fast.  I was on the panel with Sonya Taaffe again, who has an amazing voice and the ability to just delve into subjects so beautifully.  First, there was some discussion on craft and how the writers on the panel develop and write poetry vs. prose.  Then it somehow became a discussion on creepy stories on the Internet and how much fun scary things can be. Yup. I'm a little unsure how we started on that subject in the first place, but I have no complaints and we were all pretty into it.

Whew.  Writing all that up took longer than expected!  I'm not sure I'll have such an in-depth summary of conventions I attend in the future.  Suffice to say, this was pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to next year.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2013 in Review

A Forest Pool (1595-1600) Paul Bril
Though visible in the side bar, I figure I'd recap the things I published in 2013.  It appears to be The Thing to Do if you're a writer with a blog.  

Also, I'm proud of the way this past year has gone and genuinely surprised it's ended up so fruitful in the publications realm!  I was really discouraged in the first few months of 2013.  The acceptances below mean a great deal to me.


"Eat the Children" (Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, April 2013)

"The Tiger is Herself" (Flying Higher: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry, Aug 2013)


Of course, a world of thanks  to the editors who plucked my work out of the slush pile, smoothed it out, and placed it in their fine publications.  I remain honored.  John Klima, Shira Lipkin, Suzanne Vincent, Anna Yeatts, Michael Damian Thomas, Dave Thompson, Lucy Zinkiewicz, and all others involved in the process, thank you.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Blog Updates

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1885-6) John Singer Sargent
1. I added a list of publications in the sidebar.

2. The blogs I contribute to regularly have been linked.

3. I've added a list of my teachers and fellow students from the 2011 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop, who continue to impress and inspire me.

4. This place is beginning to look halfway decent.

5. John Singer Sargent painting because of the lovely watercolor exhibit over at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston.