So, day 3 begins! The con is going swimmingly: there are lots of people, everyone seems happy, the organizers feel it's going well, and I sold all my number ones! Even on Easter Sunday, people are still showing up!
Yesterday evening after panels were done, I chilled at the bar, worked on SPECTRAL IRON, struck up a conversation with a writer who saw me writing and had a lot of questions about getting back into the game. (Talk about doing the right thing putting you into the right places!), and still had time to catch the end of the Lee Presson and the Nails concert!
All in all Clockwork Alchemy appears to be a success. Here's hoping we do it again!
P.S. Almost forgot: at 2pm I will be on the panel for "Getting Past Chapter One" to help writers overcome their creative barriers!
SO! I survived the first day of Clockwork Alchemy, and only had to make one trek back to the house from the hotel to pick up something I forgot (something important - my frigging costume, not pictured because I wasn't wearing it). But the convention was great, and we had great talks on Worldbuilding with Madeline Holly-Rosing and Villains and Heroes with Sumiko Saulson and more, and the Author's Alley was delightful.
Most people seemed to think there were more people this year than last, possibly because (a) the hotel is cheaper and easier to stay in and (b) we continue our long slow slide back out of the pandemic. Certainly there were a good number of people at the morning panel, and even more for the afternoon panel.
And the hotel restaurant wasn't bad either! I got to spend some time with some friends in the evening nibbling away at some noshies before driving down to get my costume and some extra books. Oh, that's right - books ...I sold some! But don't worry, I have plenty more ...
Tomorrow I'll be at the following panels:
Science of Airships Saturday 11am – Synergy 5(2nd floor) Anthony Francis Steampunk is more than brown, boots, and buttons: our adventurers must travel the world in style! Learn about the science behind the leviathans of the skies. From how they stay up to how they crash down, explore how the physics of flight gives distinctive shapes to airships past, present and future!
Author Signings: Anthony Francis Saturday 4pm – Convene Lobby(2nd floor) Get your books signed by Anthony Francis.
Secret Hideout or Secret Lair? It’s All What You Do With It. Saturday 5pm – Synergy 5(2nd floor) Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Michael Tierney Sometimes it’s not obvious who is the hero and who is the villain. We have the traditional heroes, anti-heroes, villains we love to root for, and villains we love to hate. Then there are the redeemed villains and fallen heroes! It’s a slippery slope and a lot of fun to play with as an author and a reader.
Hope to see you all there!
Pictured: Various panels and events from Clockwork Alchemy
Hey folks, the Clockwork Alchemy steampunk convention is back, and in a new location, the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport! I’ll have an author table there with all my Jeremiah Willstone books - the CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE and the Thinking Ink Press anthologies TWELVE HOURS LATER, THIRTY DAYS LATER and SOME TIME LATER, and much more, including the Dakota Frost urban fantasy series and my science fiction writing!
I will be at two author signings and four - count them, FOUR panels, including World Building, Who’s the Villain, Science of Airships, Secret Hideout or Secret Lair, and Getting Past Page One - hey, wait a minute, that is five, I counted them, FIVE panels! I may need a nap after all that. But not before I’ve signed a book or given a talk for you!
Time and Location:
Clockwork Alchemy 2023 Friday April 7 - Sunday April 9 San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport 1770 South Amphlett Blvd San Mateo, California 94402
And here's where you can find me:
World Building Friday 1pm - Synergy 5 (2nd floor) Anthony Francis, Madeleine Holly-Rosing Come and find out what's necessary to create a living, breathing world for your characters, whether you're writing a book or running an RPG.
From the Darkly Ironic to the Moody Byronic: Who’s the Villain Here? Friday 4pm - Synergy 5(2nd floor) Sumiko Saulson, Anthony Francis From the ghosts haunting Ebenezer Scrooge to Dr. Frankenstein’s childlike creature, Victorian horror embraced a new class of complicated, morally ambivalent heroes and villains such as Prince Prospero, Carmilla, and Dorian Gray. If Mr. Hyde is a part of Dr. Jekyll, who is really the villain here?
Science of Airships Saturday 11am - Synergy 5(2nd floor) Anthony Francis Steampunk is more than brown, boots, and buttons: our adventurers must travel the world in style! Learn about the science behind the leviathans of the skies. From how they stay up to how they crash down, explore how the physics of flight gives distinctive shapes to airships past, present and future!
Author Signings: Anthony Francis Saturday 4pm - Convene Lobby(2nd floor) Get your books signed by Anthony Francis.
Secret Hideout or Secret Lair? It's All What You Do With It. Saturday 5pm - Synergy 5(2nd floor) Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Michael Tierney Sometimes it's not obvious who is the hero and who is the villain. We have the traditional heroes, anti-heroes, villains we love to root for, and villains we love to hate. Then there are the redeemed villains and fallen heroes! It’s a slippery slope and a lot of fun to play with as an author and a reader.
Getting Past Chapter One Sunday 2pm - Synergy 5(2nd floor) Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Michael Tierney Why being perfect keeps you away from finishing your book.
Author Signings Sunday 3pm - Convene Lobby(2nd floor) Shelley Adina, Madeleine Holly-Rosing, David L. Drake, Katherine L. Morse, Michael Tierney, Belinda Sikes, Dover Whitecliff, Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Thena MacArthur, Sumiko Saulson Last call! Get your books signed by any of our authors at Clockwork Alchemy 2023.
Well, it's that time of year again ... 65,000 of my closest friends have gotten together in five hotels and two convention halls in Atlanta to celebrate all things science fiction!
My schedule is below. I worked right up to the start of the con, so am just now posting this two days later, but for the benefit of the time travelers in my audience, I'll include the first two panels:
8:30pm - Start Now, Research! - Hyatt Embassy EF How much research is enough? How much is too much? When do you stop doing research and start writing?
7:00pm - The People Who Live in Your Book - Hyatt Embassy EF Characters rise off the page and become people--if they're well-crafted. Discover ways to make this happen in your fiction.
10:00pm - Stories Needed: Get Yourself Invited into an Anthology - Hyatt Embassy EF There's an anthology being published that might just work for a story you have in mind. Or, when you hear about an anthology and KNOW you have a story for it, what do you do? Get some professional help from our pros.
10:00am - Writing About Star Trek - Hilton Galleria 2-3 There are thousands of worlds within Star Trek, and thousands of topics to talk about. Where do we start? Join a panel of published writers to discuss what's worth discussing in Trek books, articles and more
1:00pm - Where Do You Get Your Ideas? - Hyatt Embassy EF This is a question that every writer gets asked by everyone they know. What is the answer to that question?
2:30pm - Predicting the Future - Hyatt Embassy EF Where in the world is fiction headed? Do the old tropes still work? What's fresh and new for the future?
At each panel, I'll be giving away signed copies of the writing inspiration book Your Writing Matters by my friend Keiko O'Leary. This is the latest release from Thinking Ink Press, and we're very proud of it! No matter where you are on your writing journey, I think this book can probably help you, so come on by!
So Dragon Con has come and gone again. I can't tell you how great it was to see my friends again, to be in that environment again, to get a fresh supply of genre t-shirts again. Last year, while the zombie apocalypse was shambling past, we hunkered down and met virtually, which was actually quite nice - one of my friends shared a picture of the Westin bar where a lot of writers used to meet, and we used it as a backdrop for our our Zoom calls:
That year (2020), I was having so much fun in the mentoring sessions I never checked out the other content. But this year (well, now, 2021), despite the raging zombie apocalypse being worse than ever (except for the presence of the vaccine) I didn't check out any online content in favor of real-world experiences.
P.S. Almost a year later (now 2022, with Dragon Con coming up in 3 months), I just noticed this post never went up. Sigh. I wonder what else I was going to say.
So a number of sales are running this month featuring stories about Dakota, Jeremiah or Nicole.
First off, Dakota: on February 16-28 of this month, BLOOD ROCK will be back on sale for $0.99 wherever fine eBooks are sold - for example, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. BLOOD ROCK continues the story of Dakota and her weretiger daughter Cinnamon, facing their greatest challenge yet: getting Cinnamon into a good middle school. Oh, and there may also be magic graffiti, deadly fires, cranky werewolves, magical police investigators, and vampire romance. You should check it out.
Second, Jeremiah: the LATER series anthologies are on sale at DriveThruFiction through the 11th. Each features pairs of stories set in Jeremiah Willstone's time at Liberation Academy. We're adapting these for audio, so I feel this is a good way to get into this universe early!
The DriveThruFiction sales ends February 11, so strike while the iron's hot!
P.S. Also, while I'm under the hood, let me point out that the new WordPress editor continues not just to suck, but to get worse over time, as it was markedly harder to write a blog post on the Library of Dresan than the Jeremiah Willstone and Dakota Frost websites, both on older versions of WordPress. It's harder to edit text, insert links, navigate texts, add lists, or add tags, and the tags no longer show the relative category sizes. "Modern looking" is not a substitute for usability, and never will be. End of rant.
Well, Dragon Con 2021 was a resounding success. I have a page full of notes to transcribe here, but just wanted to put a stake in the ground, now that the move and the con are over, so I can get back to blogging and drawing and posting drawings every day.
Pictured: The bus stop, after all the busses stopped.
Well, we're back at a con at last! And as usual, I'm posting my schedule at the last minute. At least I got the chance to see some people I haven't seen in person for two full years!
And here is my schedule:
Title: Star Trek Essays Description: There are thousands of worlds within Star Trek, & thousands of topics to talk about. Where do we start? Join a panel of published writers & producers to discuss what's worth discussing in Trek essays, articles, & videos. Time: Fri 11:30 am Location: Galleria 2-3 - Hilton (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Kyle Mackenzie Sullivan, R Alan Siler, Anthony Francis)
------------------- Title: Teaching Robots to Learn Description: When you tell a machine to learn, all bets are off on what it will learn to do. In this panel, we'll discuss techniques used today to teach robots to recognize objects, to grasp them, to navigate autonomously around people, & even to imagine the future. Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: Atlanta - Sheraton (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Anthony Francis)
------------------- Title: To Series or to Stand-Alone? Description: Fantasy readers fall in love with the characters & worlds we build. How do you sustain the interest in a series--or would this idea work better as a stand-alone? Time: Sat 10:00 am Location: Embassy EF - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Anthony Francis, Moderator: Nancy Knight, A. J. Hartley, J. Gregory Keyes, Seressia Glass, Dakota Krout)
------------------- Title: Author Signings: Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: International Hall South 1-3 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Clay Gilbert, Patricia L. Briggs, Anthony Francis) ------------------- Title: Dead at the Keyboard Description: Panelists discuss strategies to combat writers' block, stress, fatigue, boredom, insecurity, & deadline anxiety. Time: Mon 11:30 am Location: Embassy EF - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists:Moderator: Nancy Knight, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Anthony Francis, Peter David, Trisha J. Wooldridge)
------------------- Title: My Favorite Author, Book, Series, Character... Description: Authors discuss their favorites among their own works & offer insights into their favorites in other authors' writing. Time: Mon 01:00 pm Location: Embassy EF - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Anthony Francis, Moderator: Bill Fawcett, Trisha J. Wooldridge, James R. Tuck)
Hope to see you there!
P.S. I have been drawing more or less every day, but I have also been moving, so you get a drawing another time.
What happens when deep learning hits the real world? Find out at the Embodied AI Workshop this Sunday, June 20th! We’ll have 8 speakers, 3 live Q&A sessions with questions on Slack, and 10 embodied AI challenges. Our speakers will include:
Motivation for Embodied AI Research
Hyowon Gweon, Stanford
Peter Anderson, Google
Aleksandra Faust, Google
Anca Dragan, UC Berkeley
Chelsea Finn, Stanford / Google
Akshara Rai, Facebook AI Research
Sanja Fidler, University of Toronto, NVIDIA Konstantinos Bousmalis, Google
Not sure if I mentioned this or not, but there's an ongoing round-robin story going on at the Clockwork Alchemy website, The Codex of Quills! My episode is the current one up, #4. Here's a summary so far:
A steampunk serial adventure with a new author every episode!
Hot. Smoky. Irritating. Any or all of which could pertain to the wildfire-permeated valley air, or the mélange of personalities on the bus. Or the perfect description of Kilpatrick’s commute from the cubicle farm to the coffee house off the freeway.
Cold Brew. That’s all I need. Thirty ounces of caffeinated goodness with just a pirouette of cream will erase Monday and make everything better.
Kip tentatively opened his eyes and peered around the shop. Only, it wasn’t the bookstore. Instead of the marine cryptobiology section, the shelves displayed rows and rows of lace, some slightly singed at the edges. A large quantity of star charts and compasses replaced the teen romance. Strangest of all, by far, was the old person giving Kip a pointedly annoyed look. The eyes peering out from behind their shiny spectacles looked like goat eyes. Small antlers sprouted from their head and when they opened their mouth to speak, Kip spied sharp teeth like a cat.
“Young creature, I do say! I did not request any messengers this day. And your friend has damaged some of my lace!”
“This the right grave?” Kip eyed the blockish monument; most of Highgate Cemetery was a gothic tour through Victorian willies, weeded to ruins and taking his calm with it, but this imposing rectangle and dour, bearded bust were clean, had fresh flowers, and bore the improbable name KARL MARX. “Seems … I dunno, too high school econ—”
Lieneye the pony snorted, as if to neigh, Are you doubting me? Extrapolating from the rules for talking animals—don’t piss them off—Kip thanked the diminutive steed and dismounted. He barely had to lean before his foot hit flowered gravel.