Gen Con – The Writers Symposium

The Writer’s Symposium has a new dedicated web site up and running.  For those who have slept on GenCon (August 4-7, 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana) in the past, dismissing it as just a “gamer’s convention”, the writers’ tracts feature 77 separate seminars, for beginning writers through areas of professional interest, covering about 85 hours worth of programming.  Plus, many of the 30+ writers and editors can be found either in Author Alley or, well, “what do you call a gathering of writers?  A bar.”

Thіѕ year’s panelists include Anton Strout, Brad Beaulieu, Daniel Myers, Dave Yυсkу, Don Bingle, Dylan Birtolo, Elizabeth Vaughan, Gregory Wilson, Jason Sizemore, Jean Rabe, Jennifer Brozek, Jerry Gordon, John Helfers, Kelly Swails, Bob Farnsworth, Kerrie Hughes, Lawrence Connolly, Linda Baker, Marc Tassin, Matt Forbeck, Maxwell Drake, Mike Stackpole, Monica Valentinelli, Pat Tomlinson, Paul Genesse, Ramsey Lundock, Richard Lee Byers, Sabrina Klein, Steve Sullivan, Steven Saus, аnd Tobias Buckell.  Wandering the halls you will find bestsellers lіkе Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Ed Greenwood, R. A. Salvatore, James Lowder, аnd many more.

Here is my schedule for panels at the convention (though you can probably find me at the Apex Books table when I’m not running my mouth):


8:00 a.m.

Pick Our Brains: We’re early risers. If you are too, come get a jump on the Writer’s Symposium activities and have a chat about this and that. From publishing and writing to the weather in Chicago and vampires in Toledo, we’ll cover whatever strikes your and our proverbial fancy. Science fiction, fantasy, romance, thriller, and horror authors Donald J. Bingle, Maurice Broaddus, and Elizabeth Vaughan

9:00 a.m.

Writing Your First Novel: No more excuses! It’s time to write that novel you keep talking about! But what does it take to move the story from your imagination to the page? Our panelists have been over that proverbial hump and are willing to give you a nudge.  Maurice Broaddus, Donald J. Bingle, John Helfers, Elizabeth Vaughan


8:00 a.m.

The Sword is Mightier:  A rousing sword fight can get the reader churning through the pages of your book. But you better know how to make it feel real. Our master wordsmiths share their expertise in writing the good fight. Dylan Birtolo, Maurice Broaddus, Jerry Gordon, Maxwell A. Drake


1:00 p.m.

Make it Steamy—a Look at the Steampunk Genre: Some say it’s what the future would look like if it had come along earlier . . . say, in the Victorian era. Steampunk has been around for quite some time, but it’s risen in popularity over the past few years. Our panelists look at the genre and discuss how to get published in it.  Anton Strout, Lawrence Connolly, Gregory Wilson, Paul Genesse


8:00 a.m.

Care and Feeding of Your Editor: You’ve got the acceptance letter, but now what? How do you keep your editor happy and asking for future manuscripts? What can you do to make their life easier, your writing more attractive to them . . . and what can you expect from them in return? Jennifer Brozek, Gregory Wilson, Maurice Broaddus, Jean Rabe,  William Horner

9:00 a.m.

Gender-Bending–men writing women and vice-versa: We’ve brought this session back because it was so successful last year! How can a man write a female character . . . and do it well? Can a woman get in the head of a male protagonist . . . and make that character believable?  Maurice Broaddus, Donald J. Bingle, Jennifer Brozek, Paul Genesse


Off to World Fantasy

As always, you can find me either in the bar or hanging out with the smokers.  You know, where most con business gets done.

There is an Urban Fantasy Party Friday night at 10 pm:

Join authors Lucy A. Snyder, Gary A. Braunbeck, S. Andrew Swann, Linda Robertson, Laura Bickle, Maurice Broaddus, Melissa Long, Seressia Glass, and editor Jason Sizemore for an urban fantasy themed party Friday night at the WFC convention!

We’ll have alcoholic (Pama-ritas!) and nonalcoholic drinks, munchies, and a drawing/contest to win free books.

Also, it’s the official launch party for Lucy A. Snyder’s new novel SHOTGUN SORCERESS!

Drop by and say hi.

Mo*Con VI: Return of the Mo? (Stickied)


May 20th-22nd, 2011

What is Mo*Con?

Mo*Con VI:  The Lowdown

Brought to you by the Indiana Horror WritersMo*Con is a convention focused on conversations revolving around horror literature and spirituality (two great tastes that taste great together!). If you enjoy writing, horror, fantasy, poetry, and food, you’ll find plenty to enjoy at this convention. Basically, imagine a room party held in a con suite, and that’s Mo*Con.

Who Will Be There?

Lee Thomas.  Lee Thomas is the award-winning author of STAINED, PARISH DAMNED (Telos), DAMAGE (Sarob), and THE DUST OF WONDERLAND (Alyson). In addition to numerous magazines, his short fiction has appeared in the anthologies A Walk on the Darkside (Roc), Unspeakable Horror (Dark Scribe), Wilde Stories 2008The Best of the Year’s Gay Speculative Fiction (Lethe Press), and Inferno (Tor), among others.  He has won both the Bram Stoker Award and the Lambda Literary Award.  Writing as Thomas Pendleton and Dallas Reed, he is the author of the novels, MASON, SHIMMER, and THE CALLING, from HarperTeen.  Lee currently lives in Austin, TX, where he’s working on a number of projects.

Cullen Bunn.  Cullen Bunn’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies. Somewhere along the way, he founded Undaunted Press and edited the small press horror magazine, Whispers from the Shattered Forum. He also managed to win the infamous World Horror Convention Gross-Out Contest four times -– an honor for which he is proud, appreciative, and–at least a little–ashamed.  The first issue of Cullen’s horror noir comic book, The Damned, was released by Oni Press in 2006.  The first story arc,  Three Days Dead, has been collected in trade paperback.  The second story arc, Prodigal Sons, has been published as a three-issue mini series.  A third arc,  Daughter’s Danse, is forthcoming.  Cullen still makes some time for prose, and some of his more recent short stories have been published in the Dark Arts Book collection, Like a Chinese Tattoo.

Gina Ranalli.  A New Englander by birth, Gina currently resides in the emerald green heart of Washington State, where she enjoys consuming copious amounts of caffeine, playing with her animals and generally acting like a hyper seven-year-old.  Gina Ranalli is one of the leading authors of the bizarro fiction genre, as well as an author of horror fiction. Some of her novels include Suicide Girls in the Afterlife, Chemical Gardens, Wall of Kiss, Mother Puncher, House of Fallen Trees and Praise the Dead. Her collection, 13 Thorns (with Gus Fink) won the Wonderland Book Award for Best Story Collection of 2007.

Lucien Soulban.  Lucien hates writing bios.  So, 1) Born in Saudi Arabia; 2) Lived there for 12 years; 3) Went to school in Hell… er… Houston, Texas for 8 years; 4) Moved to Montreal, Quebec and in doing so, found the glove that fit my hand; 5) I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.Q. What are you most proud of having accomplished?  A. So many things. The Orpheus limited series was the crowning achievement of my years writing for White Wolf. As was my novel Blood In, Blood Out. The Dragonlance novel Alien Sea is definitely another, given how much I love the series.


Danny Evarts.  Danny Evarts smartly quit writing long ago to pursue things he is more interesting at. Having lived in many places the world over, and experimented with many jobs and career paths, he discovered he was best suited to the visual realm, with an emphasis on playing with other peoples’ words. He now works as Art Director and Technical Editor for Shroud Publishing (, as well as doing freelance design and illustration (mostly in wood and linoleum block printmaking), and goofs around with various other forms from bookbinding to fiber manipulations. Danny obviously enjoys playing with new things. View more of his works at

Featured Guests Include:

Chesya Burke
With more than 40 publishing credits to her name, including the acclaimed Chocolate Park, Chesya Burke has been making her mark in the horror and fantasy worlds. She has several articles appearing in the African American National Biography published by Harvard University and Oxford University Press, received the 2003 Twilight Tales Award for fiction and an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction: 18th Annual Edition.

Jason Sizemore is not a fan of writing bios, so he makes up stuff to make himself sound interesting. For instance, he graduated from Transylvania University (okay, this one is true). He believes floods are the precursor to zombie infestations (again, true). And the first anthology he ever edited earned a Bram Stoker Award (all right, another fact). His latest anthology will be Dark Futures from Dark Quest Books. Jason maintains a personal website at  Most importantly, he owns and operates Apex Publications, the press that has helped Maurice Broaddus become a famous writer.

D Harlan Wilson. Award-winning novelist, short story writer, cultural theorist, screenwriter, pseudobodybuilder, and associate professor of English at Wright State University-Lake Campus. DHW’s books include Dr. Identity, or, Farewell to PlaquedemiaBlankety Blank: A Memoir of VulgariaPeckinpah: An Ultraviolent RomanceTechnologized Desire: Selfhood & the Body in Postcapitalist Science FictionThe Kafka EffektStranger on the Loose and Pseudo-City.  Dr. Identity, winner of the Wonderland Book Award, marks the first installment of The Scikungfi Trilogy. Book 2 isCodename Prague. Book 3 is The Kyoto Man.  This year Atlatl Press will release DHW’s latest fiction collection,They Had Goat Heads. DHW holds a M.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, a M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, & a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University.

Anderson Prunty.  “I write things. My latest book is called MY FAKE WAR.”

Steven C. Gilberts
Steven and his lovely wife Becky now live in a spooky Queen Ann cottage within a small Dunwich-esk village of southern Indiana, near the now abandoned ammo plant of his youth. While hiding from the townsfolk, Steven concocts odd illustrations for the small press industry. His work has graced magazines from Apex Digest to Cemetery Dance, Dark Wisdom to Shroud Magazine.

Gary Braunbeck
Gary A. Braunbeck is a prolific author who writes mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream literature. He is the author of 19 books; his fiction has been translated into Japanese, French, Italian, Russian and German. Nearly 200 of his short stories have appeared in various publications.

Lucy Synder
Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent and Shotgun Sorceress and the collections Sparks and Shadows,Chimeric Machines, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Hellbound Hearts, Masques V, Doctor Who Short Trips: Destination Prague, Chiaroscuro, GUD, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.


Attacking Cons (aka See me at Context)

On the “Writer’s Support” panel at GenCon, I was asked where one can find a writer’s support group.  I told them to look around the room and shared the story of my circle of friends.  We’d gotten to know each other over a couple of World Horror Conventions, realized we clicked with one another and we were all equally serious about getting ahead in this publishing biz.  So we banded together to pool our meager resources.

One strategy we employed was to coordinate our efforts at conventions.  For example, when the World Fantasy Convention came around, we divvied up the list of folks slated to appear (cause, seriously, who wants to Google 500 – 1000 folks) among ourselves and made a spreadsheet of who was going to be attending the con that listed who they were, where they worked, what they had published.  Then we each made wish lists of who we’d like to meet and we let each other know who was on our wish list.  Look, not to burst any myth bubbles, but writers aren’t always the most socially adept of God’s creatures.  So that became another way we looked out for one another:  if ever one of us found ourselves talking to someone we knew one of our friends was wishing to meet, we’d introduce them.  Just a few newbies scrabbling along trying to make our way in the scary world of publishing.

Ah, memories.

I wonder if anyone is Googling me with Context fast approaching.  Context is one of my favorite conventions.  It falls into that category of part relaxacon, almost as much a family reunion as con, much like Necon or Mo*Con.  Plus it’s one of the few cons I can take the whole family to.  As I’m continuing to do more panels at cons, you can catch me on these:

Saturday 10:00 a.m. – Blogging – Creativity and Publicity*

Sanford, Martino, Pendergrass, Harris, Broaddus, Greene, Harriett

Saturday 1:00 p.m. – How Did I Get Here?

Buckell, Broaddus, Valerie, Heaphy, Kemp, Tiedemann, Rotchey, Allen

*In the event that I am not fully cognizant at ten in the morning on the Saturday of a convention, I’ll leave a few posts here on the topic of blogging:

Blogging about blogging

Bob Freeman is Nuts

Writers Blogs

Countdown to GenCon

As part of the fiscal reality of being a writer, I can’t always make it to the cons I would like to.  Not that I’m bitter at all about having to have missed Readercon, Necon, and San Diego Comic Con, with no bitterness exacerbated by all of my friends who were at those events tweeting non-stop.  My convention schedule this year has been largely restricted to conventions I can drive to.  I still have a couple of conventions left for the year, including Context, and World Fantasy.  But GenCon’s up next.

It has always struck me as odd that GenCon is off of many writer’s radar when it comes to convention planning.  I’ll have to admit, despite the convention being here in Indianapolis for many years, up until recently, I, too, thought of it as just “the gamer’s convention.”  I had a couple of friends who regularly attended the convention, and I’d meet them to hang out and gradually I got to understand it as much more than a gamers convention.

For a start, part of making a living as a professional writer means being open to (and constantly looking for) all sorts of opportunities.  Video game writing, media tie in work, role-playing game writing, many of these options we might have considered but had no idea how to break into them.  Or begin making the right contacts.  GenCon’s the place.

For writers, there is a huge writers track of programming.  The convention is wall-to-wall panels addressing so many different aspects of writing topics.  Each year I’ve gotten a little bit more involved: from pestering my friends, to hanging out on author’s row, to now being on a couple of panels that week:

Thursday 10:00 a.m. – Plotstorming from Character
Brad Beaulieu, Paul Genesse, Kelly Swails, Maurice Broaddus

Thursday 11:00 a.m. – Writing Support

Elizabeth Vaughan, Jean Rabe, Steven Saus, Maurice Broaddus

Friday 10:00 a.m. – Crafting the Love Scene

Elizabeth Vaughan, Paul Genesse, Linda Baker, Maurice Broaddus*

Friday 11:00 a.m. – Setting is King

Chris Pierson, Paul Genesse, Bob Farnsworth, Gregory Wilson, Maurice Broaddus
Then there’s the people themselves.  For one thing, science fiction and fantasy writers, this is your target audience.**  These are the people buying your wares.

GenCon’s a great little convention guaranteed to entertain, if nothing else, for the sheer spectacle of it all.  And I mean little in the sense of thousands and thousands of people locking up downtown Indianapolis.

*Because when you think of the perfectly crafted love scene, you think Maurice Broaddus

**Don’t get me wrong, by Day 4 of the convention, you’ll be wishing your demographic bathed more often.

The Second Annual Las Vegas KillerCon

The Second Annual Las Vegas KillerCon will take place at the Palace Station Hotel/Casino in Sin City August 26 – 29. 2010. The Horror, Thriller, Sci-fi and Paranormal Romance genres collide in this multi-genre writer’s convention.  This event will feature panel discussions, readings, two writing contests, parties, book signings, and author Q&As with guests of honor Brian Lumley, Tananarive Due, John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow, and Stephen Barnes as well as many other top talents in Fear Fiction who will be in attendance.

Brian Lumley is the author of the bestselling Necroscope Series, The Psychomech Series, The Dreamlands Series, The Primal Land Series, and more than a dozen other bestselling novels.

Tananarive Due is an American Book Award winner, Bram Stoker Award winner, NAACP Image Award winner, and bestselling author of The Living Blood, My Soul To Keep, Blood Colony, and six other novels ranging from horror to supernatural thrillers to a mystery to a Civil Rights memoir.

Stephen Barnes is the New York Times bestselling author of The Legacy of Heorot and The Cestus Deception and has written numerous television screenplays for such shows as The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Andromeda, and Stargate, as well as four episodes of the immortal Baywatch.

John Skipp is a bestselling author and screenwriter whose eleven books have sold millions of copies and are reprinted in nine languages. His early works (co-written with Craig Spector) were considered seminal to the “splatterpunk” style of horror fiction. In September 2007, Leisure Books released his novel The Long Last Call, together with his novella, Conscience. In 2008 he released Jake’s Wake co-written with author Cody Goodfellow.

Cody Goodfellow is the author of RADIANT DAWN, RAVENOUS DUSK, and co-author of Jake’s Wake (with John Skipp.) His fiction and journalism has appeared in Cemetery Dance, Third Alternative, Dark Wisdom, Dark Discoveries, Dark Recesses and Ranch & Coast, and recent anthologies A Dark & Deadly Valley, Hot Blood 13 and Vault Of Punk Horror.

Come join us for this exciting event!  Learn more about the convention at

Dear Newbie Con Networker

There’s a type of person I want to be and one I don’t want to become. It’s a fine tension we walk. On the one hand, going to cons is about business. You’re there to make connections, writers, agents, and editors. Schmoozing is part of the game, they know it, we know it.  However, there was a point at a dinner I attended when I had to leave because I thought I had crossed the line and became guilty of name-badging people. When I reduce people to “who are you?” “What can you do for me?” When I become strictly about the climb, strictly about my opportunities, then I’m one step from becoming one of those “stab them in the back, climb their corpse” sort of people.

Dear Newbie Con Networker,

I’m not here to tell you how to go about your business.  Okay, I am, but I mean well.

Look, we’ve all been the new person in the business.  We’ve all been the anxious fan, the first time con goer, the up and comer looking for a break/someone to notice us, the stranger in the room hoping someone takes interest in us to talk to us.  We’ve been there, we get it.  People ask favors and many writers want to pay it forward as few get to where they are without the help and support of those who came before them.

But be a human being:

-Hanging around outside a bathroom as you wait your chance to make your move, well, it’s a little creepy.  Admittedly, post-BM I am in an idyllic state comparable to Nirvana, however, it’s not the preferred way I’d like to begin a conversation.

-If you give me a book as a “gift” and then ask me for a blurb in the next breath, I’m going to assume the gesture to be what it is.  Don’t be surprised if I’m terribly busy whenever you ask me for something.

-For that matter, if you view people as potential transactions, that’s all the relationship you will have with them.

Writing’s a lonely enough pursuit only made moreso if you view colleagues strictly as business contacts and fans as objects to be spammed.  Relationships are important, but they should be pursued for their own sake.

Professional Writer Who Already Finds it Hard to Trust People

Convention Schedule 2010

For those interested, here’s a list of where I’ll probably be out and about this year:

Indiana Horror Writers Retreat – February 19th – 21st

Mo*Con V – April 30th – May 2nd

WisCon – May 27-31

Gencon – August 5-8

Context – August 27th-29th

World Fantasy – October 28-31

Kentucky Book Fair November 7th

There are still a few conventions that are on the “maybe” list depending on how finances shake out. Hypericon. Necon. KillerCon. And a retreat at a haunted house.

Off to Killer*Con

Sorry. It’s been a flurry of activity trying to get my stack of piling up reviews written, work through the myriad details regarding the Dark Faith anthology, and writing a novel (not to mention that there are a lot of blog topics swirling around in my head that won’t leave me alone until I post them). Anyway, those are the main reasons for the blog silence, though I maintain a steady stream of gibberish via my Twitter.

And this weekend I’m off to KillerCon. Here’s my schedule for those looking for me:


2:00PM: Seven Deadly Sins of Marketing and Self-Promotion. Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: How to promote yourself and your work. Moderator: Matt Schwartz. Panelists: Brian Keene, Gabrielle Faust, Gene O’Neill, Maurice Broaddus, Lori Perkins


10:00AM Seven Deadly Sins of Characterization: Writing Believable Characters While Avoiding the Tropes: Moderator: Bill Gagliani. Panelists L.A. Banks, Hal Bodner, Maurice Broaddus, Adam Coats.

4:30PM Reading by Maurice Broaddus

7:00PM Male or Female? The game show that challenges the audience to guess the gender of the author of a passage of classic or current horror. Can you tell the difference? Moderator Matt Schwartz. Panelists Allen K, Maurice Broaddus, Rain Graves, L.L. Soares [For the record, I am going to SUCK at this game!]

And in a scary turn of events:


11:00AM Seven Deadly Sins of Living With a Writer. The Highs and Lows of Life With A Writer. Moderator: Jeannie Eddy. Panelists: Karen Lansdale, Christie White, Mark Worthen, Kelli Dunlap, Derek Sullivan. and now SALLY BROADDUS!!!


Convention Season (Where to Look for Me)

It’s almost that time of year we call Convention Season. Here’s where you’re likely to find me out and about this year (subject to change, of course):

Mo*Con IV
Indianapolis, IN
May 15-17

Nashville, TN
June 5 – 7

Indianapolis, IN
July 3-5

Bristol, Rhode Island
July 16-19

Indianapolis, IN
August 13-16

Context 22
Columbus, OH
August 28-30

Indianapolis, IN
Oct. 15-18

World Fantasy Convention
San Jose, CA
November 5 – 8