Eating Authors: Claire McCague

No Comments » Written on August 29th, 2016 by
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Claire McCague

I am recently returned after spending over a week in Kansas City, where I celebrated my 11th wedding anniversary and also ate phenomenal meals at French, Austrian, German, and American fine dining venues, among others. And yes, there was also a night set aside to experience the city’s historic barbeque.

Oh, and I also spent five days of blur that correspond to the 74th World Science Fiction Convention that also happened to be going on in the city at that time. In my experience, the WorldCon is the best example we have of temporal distortion. So many days, so many panels and readings, so many people to meet and hug and shake hands with and speak to for far too short a time. And poof. How did it possibly go by so quickly. I feel I can barely recall any of it.

Well, that’s not quite true. I vividly recall doing a panel with this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Claire McCague. The convention had assembled five scientists (four of us had PhDs!), covering the span from geology to rocket science, and we spent the hour answering questions from the audience and solving all of the world’s problems.

Claire’s first novel, The Rosetta Man, came out from EDGE Publishing a year ago. It’s exactly the sort of book you’d expect from a Canadian who produces nanostructured materials by day, works for a university, and plays in a string band. Which is to say, it has a lot of squirrels in it. You’d be nuts not to pick up a copy today.

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Eating Authors: Geoffrey A. Landis

No Comments » Written on August 22nd, 2016 by
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Geoffrey A. Landis

I’m writing this a bit further in advance than is my usual routine, because by the time it posts I’ll have been away at this year’s WorldCon for the past week, and I don’t expect to return home until tomorrow. But neither rain, nor sleet, nor excessive con-going activities can stop the weekly juggernaut that is EATING AUTHORS, and so here we are.

This week’s guest is the real deal; Geoffrey A. Landis isn’t just another SF author, he’s a card-carrying NASA scientist and is actively contributing to the work that will carry us to Mars and beyond! The accolades he’s received from the scientific community are paralleled by those in the SF community, including the Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, both the Locus and Theodore Sturgeon Awards, as well as the Robert A. Heinlein Award “for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space” which neatly bridges his two worlds.

If hard SF is your thing, you can’t do much better than reading Geoff’s stuff!

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Eating Authors: Mary Robinette Kowal

No Comments » Written on August 15th, 2016 by
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Mary Robinette Kowal

The last few days have been pretty exciting for me. Friday was World Elephant Day, and as such it seemed like an ideal date to announce that the fine folks at Tor Books had purchased a sequel to my novel Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard (we’re still working on a title). Then on Saturday, Barsk received the Cóyotl Award for Best Novel of 2015. Yesterday I did massive amounts of laundry and packed up so that today, Monday, I could fly off to Kansas City for an early arrival at the WorldCon.

I suspect this kind of frenetic pace is routine for this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. Certainly she travels more than any other two authors I can name. I’ve known Mary Robinette Kowal since 2005 and have had the pleasure of watching her skills expand and her career explode. Nowadays she describes herself as a puppeteer and a novelist, but she’s known for being a voice actor, an art director, a past SFWA Board member, and an award-winning podcaster. Her work as an author has brought her the Campbell Award, multiple Nebula nominations, and two Hugo Awards, to say nothing of her legion of dedicated fans.

Mary’s Glamourist Histories series — often described as Jane Austen with magic — spans five volumes of utter delight (and not just because Doctor Who has a cameo in each volume). Tomorrow sees the release of her latest novel, Ghost Talkers, with as compelling a premise as anything you’re likely to hear (full disclosure: I heard Mary read a snippet from the book months ago and I’ve been hungering for it ever since). Take note, this is a title you’ll see on all the award short lists next year.

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Eating Authors: Randy Henderson

No Comments » Written on August 8th, 2016 by
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Randy Henderson

If you’re reading this on Monday morning (i.e., soon after it posts), please know that I have somehow managed to haul myself out of bed, visions of the glorious past four days at GenCon still dancing in my head, and dragged myself to the DayJob™ to toil away at vast amounts of data. Do Not Try This At Home.

Instead, I recommend you continue reading here, and meet this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest, Randy Henderson. Sorry, that’s about the best segue I can manage after completing three conventions in three weeks.

So what can I tell you about Randy? Well, he’s quirky. A self-described “milkshake connoisseur,” — seriously, what does that even mean? And what about malt? Huh, Randy, huh? — he took home the big prize from the Writers’ of the Future in 2014, and has since made a name for himself writing the Familia Arcana, a series of dark, funny, urban fantasy novels about Finn Gramaraye, a nice enough guy who gets framed for crimes of necromancy, and we’re off and running. The third book, Smells Like Finn Spirit isn’t due out until next March, but do go ahead and get started with the first two now, if you haven’t already discovered these books.

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My Updated Schedule for MidAmeriCon II

No Comments » Written on August 3rd, 2016 by
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It seems only appropriate that as I head out for a different convention this morning that I update what I’m doing — where and when — during the Worldcon. Here we go:

Wednesday, August 17th:
3:00 – 4:00 (KCCC 2207) Pacing the Novel
How do you intensify a scene, bringing the reader deep into the narrative, and still keep the novel moving? Learn how the three basic types of text (exposition, dialog, and description) affect the pace of your work so you can suspend time or send the story rocketing onward. Panelists share techniques and approaches to balancing intensity and movement in order to draw readers into your characters, allow them to experience key moments in your book, and get them excited about what happens next.
with Melinda Snodgrass (M), Elizabeth Bear, Brooke Johnson, and L. E. Modesitt Jr.

Thursday, August 18th:
9:00 – 5:00 (Marriott 1) SFWA Board Meeting
A long day during which Hamilton‘s “The Room Where It Happens” will be running through my mind nonstop. Maybe.
with Cat Rambo (M), Bud Sparhawk, M.C.A. Hogarth, Susan Forest, Kate Baker, Sarah Pinsker, Matthew Johnson, and Jennifer Brozek

Friday, August 19th:
9:00 – 10:30 (TBA) Codex Breakfast
The annual Worldcon gathering of Codexii and breakfast foods.
with J.W. Alden, Rebecca Birch, Ginny Campen, Tom Carpenter, Beth Cato, J. Kathleen Cheney, Liz Colter, Tina Connolly, Austin DeMarco, SB Divya, Nora Fleischer, Sarah Grey, Amanda Helms, Gary D Henderson, Randy Henderson, Jennifer Hicks, Larry Hodges, Sharon Joss, Anna Kashina, Benjamin C. Kinney, Gary Kloster, William Ledbetter, Fonda Lee, Terra LeMay, Stephanie Loree, Brian K. Lowe, Ronya F. McCool, Rob McMonigal, Mel Melcer, Allison Mulder, Nina Niskanen, Aimee Ogden, Sunil Patel, Laura Pearlman, Sarah Pinsker, Jenny Rae Rappaport, Matt Rotundo, Erica Satifka, Catherine Schaff-Stump, Rebecca Schwarz, Elizabeth Shack, David Steffen, Jeff Stehman, Julie Steinbacher, Andrea G Stewart, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, K.M. Szpara, Beth Tanner, Erin A. Tidwell, David VonAllmen, Tinatsu Wallace, Fran Wilde, Jay Wolf, Caroline M. Yoachim, and some of their guests (holy crap, that’s a lot of pancakes!)

1:00 – 2:00 (Autographing Space) Autographing
I will be signing all the things (yes, I said it, all of them!).
with Jeanette Epps, Alex Jablokow, Lyda Morehouse, and Mary A. Turzillo

4:00 – 5:00 (Literary Beer Space) Literary Beer
Sign up and come by and we will talk about stuff like language and death and why I don’t drink beer.
with Karl Schroeder (who will presumably be at another table talking about other stuff)

Saturday, August 20th:
8:30 – 9:30 (Marriott Lobby) Stroll with the Stars: Farm to Table
Before the city temperatures rise and the humidity takes over join us for a stroll of the The City Market where you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods at KC Tradition.
with Eva Elasigue, Esther Friesner, Jennie Goloboy, Mary Robinette Kowal, Geoffrey A. Landis, Perrianne Lurie, Jeff Orth (M), Cat Rambo, Julia Rios, Tex Thompson, Mary A. Turzillo, and Carol Wolf

11:00 – 1:00 (KCCC 2205) SFWA Business Meeting
All members of SFWA are encouraged to attend to hear the latest updates from the board about what SFWA has been doing and what plans are in place for the next year.
with Kate Baker, Jennifer Brozek, M.C.A. Hogarth, Matthew Johnson, Sarah Pinsker, Cat Rambo, Susan Forest, and Bud Sparhawk

3:00 – 4:00 (KCCC 2210) Ask a Scientist
Do you have a pressing question about the earth’s warming, worm holes, advances in communication technology, cloning? A panel of scientists in varied areas of expertise are here to answer your scientific queries. Answers will be timed out at five minutes each, so don’t ask for a detailed explanation of General Relativity! Please keep questions brief and specific.
with Rachael Acks, Bill Higgins (M), Claire McCague, and Geoffrey A. Landis

5:30 – 6:00 (KCCC 2203) Reading
To absolutely no one’s surprise, I will read a bit from Barsk.

Sunday, August 21st:
8:30 – 9:30 (Marriott Lobby) Stroll with the Stars: The Hugo Hangover
As we recuperate from the pageantry of the Hugo Awards join authors, artists, editors, fans and scientists as we look for the perfect hangover cure.
with David Brin, Eva Elasigue, Gay Haldeman, Joe Haldeman, Perrianne Lurie, Jeff Orth (M), Cat Rambo, Michelle Sagara, Alan Stewart, Tex Thompson, and Carol Wolf

10:00 – 12:00 (KCCC Lester Young B) Writers Workshop 4B
with Kelly Robson and three writer/student/victims

In addition, you’ll find me attending other authors’ readings, popping in at the Hadley Rille Books anniversary celebration, and hanging out in the bar and the SFWA suite.

Eating Authors: Todd J. Mccaffrey

No Comments » Written on August 1st, 2016 by
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Todd J. Mccaffrey

If you’re reading this at or soon after the time it posts on Monday morning, then I’ve likely somehow staggered into the office at the DayJob after a phenomenal but exhausting weekend as one of the GOHs at Confluence in Pittsburgh, PA. Which, of necessity, involved a long car trip to carry me back the roughly 300 miles from the west end of the state to the east, before I could sleep in my own bed last night. This is not a complaint. As I’ve remarked many times before, I think my life is pretty blessed. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment that time is laughing at most of us, and especially so at me, as in two days I leave for my third convention in three weeks.

Meantime though, let’s talk about EATING AUTHORS (you know the first words up there on the top of the page) and more specifically this week’s guest, Todd J. Mccaffrey. It’s a pretty safe bet that you’re familiar with the family name. It’s hard to imagine anyone involved in speculative fiction today who hasn’t read Pern. Todd, quite understandably picked up a lot of his writing skill from working with his mother, and soon was both collaborating on Pern novels, as well as penning a few on his own, and carrying on the family business. He also written a wide range of shorter works. And just this past May branched out with a powerful new novel, City of Angels, an edgy science thriller that asks some very human questions about what it means to be an A.I.

Todd may have started with dragons and thread, but he’s clearly going his own direction with a distinct and powerful voice.

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My Tentative GenCon Writers’ Symposium 2016 Schedule

No Comments » Written on July 27th, 2016 by
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GenCon Writers' Symposium

Huh. Oh well, I thought this had posted to the blog a couple weeks ago, but apparently not. Soo…

And now for something completely different, in a calendar year that has had me bouncing around the country to an unprecedented number of conventions and bookstore signings — and beginning about two weeks before I head off to Kansas City for the Worldcon — I’m going to Indianapolis to take part in the GenCon Writers’ Symposium 2016.

And not just me, but dozens of brilliant authors (as well as some agents and editors) too. And, oh yeah, I think there’s a big gaming convention going on around us at the same time.

Anyway, here’s where you can find me:

Thursday, August 4th
9:00 a.m. (Capital 1) Special Event: Symposium Opening Ceremonies
With Marc Tassin

10:00 a.m. (Chamber) Short Fiction: Plotting Short Stories
With Donald J. Bingle, Gabrielle Harbowy, John Helfers (M), and Sunil Patel

2:00 p.m. (Chamber) Short Fiction: Where to Start the Story
With Marie Brennan, Steve Drew (M), Cat Rambo, and Peter Tieryas

Friday, August 5th
9:00 a.m. (Chamber) Marketing: Social Media 101
With Gwenda Bond, Joshua Alan Doetsch, Steve Drew (M), Melanie R. Meadors

1:00 p.m. (Causus) Writing Novels: Story Arcs that Drive the Reader
With Matt Forbeck, John Helfers (M), Jody Lynn Nye, and Aaron Rosenberg

2:00 p.m. (Capital 1) Character Craft: Characters That Aren’t Reflections of You
With Rachel Dunne, Susan J. Morris (M), Carrie Patel, and Aaron Rosenberg

5:00 p.m. (Cabinet) Writer’s Craft: How to make your alien language alien

Saturday, August 6th
12:00 p.m. (Chamber) Writer’s Craft: Fun Story, Smart Message
With James Lowder, Christoper Rowe, Aaron Rosenberg, and Gregory A. Wilson (M)

5:00 p.m. (Congress II) Reading
With Sunil Patel

As always, all of the above can change, from topics to timing to the people listed. If I become aware of any major changes prior to the event, I’ll do my best to post a “final” schedule.

See you at GenCon!

Eating Authors: Mary E. Lowd

No Comments » Written on July 25th, 2016 by
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Mary E. Lowd

As you know, Bob, my novel, Barsk, is anthropomorphic science fiction. And while I bristle when people attempt to describe it as “Babar in space,” the intention behind it is a fair one. It’s drawing on what they already know. After all, people have been reading about talking animals for a very long time. Somewhere along the line the animals started doing more previously human-only things (e.g., using tools, building cities, baking cakes, writing literary criticism), and this inevitable slide turned into what in today’s market constitutes “anthropomorphic” fiction.

This week’s EATING AUTHOR guest, Mary E. Lowd, is a popular writer and editor in a subgenre ghetto that gets very little attention from the daily reader of more traditional science fiction and fantasy. It’s arguably something of a niche market, and primarily served by a handful of very focused small presses. But for all that, it’s a thriving market and Mary’s done quite well there. She’s won the Ursa Major Award as well as two Cóyotl Awards for her own work, and has edited several of the best anthologies in the field. She also put otters in space long before I did.

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