Eating Authors: Brian Niemeier (Campbell Award nominee)

No Comments » Written on May 23rd, 2016 by
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In just under twelve months, thousands of people will converge on Kansas City, and while they’ll doubtless consume vast quantities of barbecue, that won’t be their main reason for the trip. No, they’ll be showing up for MidAmeriCon II (also known as the WorldCon), a wondrous celebration that for many is the highlight of the convention year. And a regular feature of the convention is the Hugo Award ceremony, which includes the coveted John W. Campbell (not a Hugo) Award for Best New Writer.

Long time viewers of this blog know that, as a former Campbell nominee myself, I am a sucker for this award. Which is why each year I reach out to the nominees and invite them to come on down and share the tale of their most memorable meal. Alas, the pickings are a bit slim this year. Of the four nominees, Sebastien de Castell has already graced this space with a meal (back on July 27th of last year), Andy Weir sent his regrets as he’s swamped with books, TV pilots, and screenplays, and Pierce Brown never responded to my queries. This leaves Alyssa Wong (who will be featured here next week) and today’s EATING AUTHOR guest, Brian Niemeier.

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Eating Authors: Bishop O’Connell

No Comments » Written on May 16th, 2016 by
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Bishop O'Connell

I’m writing this before the Nebula Awards take place, so I don’t know if I’ve won for Best Novel or watched one of my incredible co-nominees take home the prize. What I do know is that I’ll be on a plane flying home from Chicago the morning this posts. But just because I’m going to be recovering from what will (win or lose) be a gloriously exhausting trip is not sufficient reason to deprive you of an EATING AUTHORS post. Especially when I have Bishop O’Connell standing by as this week’s guest.

Bishop is the author of the American Faerie Tale series, with three volumes published thus far and a fourth book (The Returned) coming out in just a couple months (July 12th, to be precise). He resides in Richmond, Virginia.

I’d tell you more about his background and history, but he’s gone on record as making some or all of it up, and it’s a slippery slope to be sure. And attempting to Google him is also somewhat fraught, unless… made he really is a high school in Arlington. Hmmm, it would explain some things…

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Eating Authors: Ada Palmer

1 Comment » Written on May 9th, 2016 by
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Ada Palmer

As you know, Bob, the Nebula Awards Conference is happening this week (I fly out on Wednesday), it’s always an exciting time, a chance to reconnect with old friends and to make some new ones. Among the latter is Ada Palmer, this week’s guest here at EATING AUTHORS. I first noticed her name when I received my preliminary programming schedule for the GenCon Writer’s Symposium and saw we were doing a panel together. Then I spotted it again when I was perusing the “Ask An Expert” offerings at the Nebs. And again upon discovering that not only is her debut novel, Too Like the Lightning, coming out tomorrow from Tor Books, but also that we share a publicist. It’s like the universe was speaking to me.

And if that weren’t enough to convince me to invite her in to tell us about her most amazing meal, you need to know that this is a woman who is organizing a four-person team to determine, once and for all, the best possible gelato experience in Florence! Ada is also a history professor at the University of Chicago, and I can only imagine that if any of the people who tried to teach me history had shared even a fraction of her passion for empirical gelato discovery, my education would have gone a very different direction.

Also worth noting is that tomorrow’s debut fiction release is just the first volume in her Terra Ignota series. Book two, Seven Surrenders, comes out the first Tuesday in December (but feel free to pre-order it now).

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My FINAL 2016 BayCon Schedule

No Comments » Written on May 3rd, 2016 by
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BayCon

Now that it’s actually May, the Powers That Be over at Baycon have a couple minor tweaks to my schedule. Here now is the result, so you can properly find or stalk me.

NB: I do not have a formal signing slot in the program. That’s not a problem, as panels leave plenty of time at the end for brief conversations and autographs. Feel free to come at me with something you want signed at the end of one of my panels, or wherever you happen to find me.

Friday, May 27th
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Convene ) Opening Ceremonies
The official start of what you know will be an awesome weekend!
With David Gerrold, Chris Butler, Anastasia Hunter, and The Library Bards

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Connect 4) How to Remember EVERYTHING!
Mnemonics and You! Come here me explain how memory works and how to enhance yours.

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. (Collaborate 2) Star Trek – Why We Still Love It
From The Man Trap to to Star Trek Beyond, the franchise has spanned 50 years and still captures new generations of fans. Our panelists talk about the shows, the movies and the captivating universe that is Roddenberry’s legacy.
With David Gerrold, Wanda Kurtcu, and Irene Radford

7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (Convene) Meet The Guests
All attendees are invited to come meet and mingle with our guests at an informal reception.

Saturday, May 28th
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. (The Courtyard) GOH Breakfast
We’ve got to eat, and apparently it’s a spectator event at this convention.
With Chris Butler, David Gerrold, Bonnie Gordon, Anastasia Hunter, and Xander Jeanneret

11:30 – 1:00 p.m. (Collaborate 2) Klingon 101
What’s the point of a convention having a Special Language Guest is you can’t learn some Klingon? In less than an hour I will teach you 80% of Klingon grammar. Believe it!

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Synergy 4) How Can Science Fiction and Fantasy Blend Well?
Yeah, how? Well, I could tell you here, but then you wouldn’t come to the panel. Ha!
Jennifer L. Carson, Jacob Fisk, Todd McCaffrey, and Irene Radford

Sunday, May 29th
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. (The Courtyard) Reading
Come and hear me read from Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard.

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Strategy) A Chat With Lawrence M. Schoen
They tell me there is ***LIMITED SEATING*** for this event. Please visit Prog Ops to sign up and be a part of the small group of attendees with whom I will officially chat.

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. (Convene) GoH Interview: Lawrence M. Schoen
They won’t tell me what the questions are in advance, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be under oath. With luck, they will not be solicited questions from colleagues and family members.

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. (Synergy 5) Linguistics For The Storyteller
This is more than a “how to write” panel. Language is everywhere in our stories: it’s the vehicle we use to tell them, but also the engine that runs societies and personal relationships, and the tool that characters use to define their own identities. Linguistics is the study of language structure, from the level of sound, to word and sentence structure, all the way to the level of political discourse. Come learn about how it can turn your gut knowledge of language into a more conscious and powerful tool.
With Juliette Wade (M)

Monday, May 30th
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. (Synergy 4) Second Life’s Second Life
The living world is not enough. Come here us discuss existence in the virtual world of Second Life.
With David Ciriello (M)

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Engage) How We End
Death – social and personal experiences, in life and literature.
Gregg Castro (M), Colin Fisk, Setsu Uzume, Fred Wiehe, and Randy Smith

As always, be aware that some of the people listed on the items above may have to drop out due to other obligations (or be replaced by clones, pods, or distant cousins). Times of things are unlikely to change but I’ve been told a location or two might so always check the latest updates. And, as noted previously all attendees are responsible for their own action verbs.

See you at BayCon!

Eating Authors: Jennifer Foehner Wells

1 Comment » Written on May 2nd, 2016 by
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Jennifer Wells

Welcome to May! I have to say I have mixed feelings about this month, in part because I’ve enjoyed having all of April without the need to do any traveling. The first three months of this year have taught me what a simple pleasure it is to sleep in one’s own bed night after night. For that, as well as other reasons, April was glorious. May, on the other hand, represents a return to more, albeit delightful, travel. I’ll be spending a full third of the month away from home, first as a hopeful nominee at this year’s Nebula Conference in Chicago, and then as one of the GoHs at BayCon in San Mateo, California. Along the way I’m hoping to have some truly memorable meals (Valerie has scouted out and made reservations!), which is a good segue to why you’re really here, so let’s get to today’s EATING AUTHORS guest, and her most memorable meal.

Jennifer Foehner Wells is another indie-author success story, the woman behind the tentacles of Blue Bedlam Science Fiction. Her first novel, Fluency, smashed its way into best seller success via Kindle Direct Publishing, and this past March she followed it with the release of Remanence, the second book in her Confluence series. For my reading, it certainly didn’t hurt that her protagonist starts out as a linguist before transforming (butterfly-like) into the commander of an interstellar starship. You know, as one does.

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My 2016 SFWA Nebula Conference Schedule

No Comments » Written on April 29th, 2016 by
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Nebulas

In less than two weeks I’ll be returning to Chicago for the annual Nebula Awards Conference, and for the fourth time in four years I have the honor of being up for a prize. The previous three times were for Best Novella, but this year I’ve upped my game and am on the ballot for the BIG prize, Best Novel. I have no expectation of winning, mind you, but seriously just being nominated truly is an honor.

The conference has a massive signing session, an award banquet on Saturday night, as well as various outings/fieldtrips, but this year the people working behind the scenes have really outdone themselves in assembling some really great panels that will be of interest and support to professional writers. I encourage you to check out the full list. Meanwhile, here’s where you’ll be able to find me:

Thursday, May 12th
8:00 – 9:30 p.m. (Monroe Ballroom) Welcome Reception
The formal start of the conference as SF/F professional mingle and eat free nibblies.

Friday, May 13th
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Clark 3) Ask An Expert – Memory
This year, they’re offering something new and different for those authors (and anyone, really) who want to pick an expert’s brain for ten minutes. In this case, the topic is human memory. Come and aske me how it works (or doesn’t). Sign-up required.

8:00 – 9:30 p.m. (Red Lacquer Room) Mass Autographing
Seriously, this is probably the best opportunity to catch so many authors in one place at one time for free. Dozens and dozens of authors will be there, pen in hand, waiting for you to shove a book in front of them. Don’t have a book? No probably, Dreamhaven Books will be there to sell you a few.>

Saturday, May 14th
10:00 – 12:00 p.m. (TBA) SFWA Business Meeting
For the first time in far too long, I won’t be giving a department report. Instead, I’ll be quivering with anticipation as the results of the Election are announced by the awesome Fran Wilde, the new Chair of the Election Committee. Whether I win a seat on the Board or not, I suspect I’ll be due some solace; I’m thinking breakfast pastry!

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (Clark 3) Ask An Expert – Hypnosis
Same concept as above, but I’m changing hats. In this session, I’ll answer your questions about hypnosis. How does hypnosis really work (as opposed to the crap that is the public portrayal of it)? What is trance? Can it be used to get a better contract out of a publisher? Once again, sign-up required.

6:00 – 6:30 a.m. (Empire Room) Nebula Reception
Whether or not you’re attending the banquet, come see how nicely I clean up (i.e., before I spill overpriced banquet food all over my tux). I’m told sedatives will be available for all the anxious nominees (but that may not actually be in the budget).

6:30 – 7:30 a.m. (Empire Room) Nebula Banquet
Why do we have a banquet before an awards ceremony? Is it a clever ruse to get people to show up? Wouldn’t renting out a room in a bar be a more effective ploy? It would certainly make for more interesting acceptance speeches, am I right? In any case, we’re having a banquet. You should come too.

7:30 – 9:30 a.m. (Empire Room) Nebula Award Ceremony
This is the big event, and we have John (I’m a PC) Hodgman as our emcee. With luck, the presentation will be a bit more PG than last year’s (c’mon, am I the only one who thought “butt-sex jokes” more than a little inappropriate?), and likely a lot more entertaining. Also awards, at least for some folks.

Sunday, May 15th
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. (LaSalle 1) Language, Dialect, and Code-Switching
Societies are reflected in their language. Looking the common grounds of past and current societies gives a groundwork for developing dialect in future and secondary world settings.
With Juliette Wade (M), Tamara Vardomskaya, and Ellen Wright

The rest of the time I’ll either be sneaking off to some truly fine Chicago restaurants with my wife, sitting in the audience at other panels and soaking up all the brilliant things my colleagues are saying, or just chillaxing in the hospitality suite or the bar (you know, as one does).

See you at the Nebs!

My Tentative 2016 BayCon Schedule

No Comments » Written on April 27th, 2016 by
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BayCon

One month from today I’ll be back on the west coast (northern California this time), starting my Memorial Day weekend by attending Baycon, where I’ve had the privilege of being named their “Special Language Guest.” We’re still working out a few of the details (like just how much Diet Coke I’ll drink in the course of four and a half days), but here’s the current version of my schedule. Personally, I think it looks pretty fantastic, but I confess I’m slightly biased.

Friday, May 27th
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (Convene ) Opening Ceremonies
The official start of what you know will be an awesome weekend!
With David Gerrold, Chris Butler, Anastasia Hunter, and The Library Bards

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Connect 4) How to Remember EVERYTHING!
Mnemonics and You! Come here me explain how memory works and how to enhance yours.

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. (Collaborate 2) Star Trek – Why We Still Love It
From The Man Trap to to Star Trek Beyond, the franchise has spanned 50 years and still captures new generations of fans. Our panelists talk about the shows, the movies and the captivating universe that is Roddenberry’s legacy.
With David Gerrold, Wanda Kurtcu, and Irene Radford

7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (Convene) Meet The Guests
All attendees are invited to come meet and mingle with our guests at an informal reception.

Saturday, May 28th
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. (The Courtyard) GOH Breakfast
We’ve got to eat, and apparently it’s a spectator event at this convention.
With Chris Butler, David Gerrold, Bonnie Gordon, Anastasia Hunter, and Xander Jeanneret

11:30 – 1:00 p.m. (Collaborate 2) Klingon 101
What’s the point of a convention having a Special Language Guest is you can’t learn some Klingon? In less than an hour I will teach you 80% of Klingon grammar. Believe it!

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Synergy 4) How Can Science Fiction and Fantasy Blend Well?
Yeah, how? Well, I could tell you here, but then you wouldn’t come to the panel. Ha!
Jennifer L. Carson, Jacob Fisk, Todd McCaffrey, and Irene Radford

Sunday, May 29th
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. (The Courtyard) Reading
Come and hear me read from Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard.

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Strategy) A Chat With Lawrence M. Schoen
They tell me there is ***LIMITED SEATING*** for this event. Please visit Prog Ops to sign up and be a part of the small group of attendees with whom I will officially chat.

2:30 – 4:00 p.m. (Convene) GoH Interview: Lawrence M. Schoen
They won’t tell me what the questions are in advance, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be under oath. With luck, they will not be solicited questions from colleagues and family members.

Monday, May 30th
10:00 – 11:30 a.m. (Synergy 4) Second Life’s Second Life
The living world is not enough. Come here us discuss existence in the virtual world of Second Life.
With Chris Butler, David Gerrold, Bonnie Gordon, Anastasia Hunter, and Xander Jeanneret

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Engage) How We End
Death – social and personal experiences, in life and literature.
Gregg Castro (M), Colin Fisk, Setsu Uzume, Fred Wiehe, and Randy Smith

As always, be aware that some of the people listed on the items above may change or disappear. Times and locations of panels may alter. All attendees are responsible for their own action verbs.

See you at BayCon!

Eating Authors: Nina Post

No Comments » Written on April 25th, 2016 by
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Nina Post

One of the best things about traveling to new conventions is the opportunity to meet new authors. It’s also a great time to seek out fresh meat (so to speak) for EATING AUTHORS. While attending Norwescon, I served on a panel with this week’s guest, Nina Post. The panel was entitled “The Languages of Speculative Fiction” and included famed Dothraki creator, David J. Peterson, whom Nina had brought in to develop a language for one of her novels. What more could I ask for?

Well, it turns out, even without asking, there’s more. In addition to writing novels, Nina also does webcomics that confuse and befuddle. Seriously, it can’t just be me, right?

We didn’t get as much time to chat as I’d have liked, but perhaps our paths will cross again, at another convention or perhaps a restaurant.

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